Monday, June 22, 2015

Muting Audio from a Chrome Tab

If you are like me, you often have many tabs open at one time in Chrome.  While I love having the ability to multitask, there are times when I will be working in a tab and one of the other tabs will automatically start playing an ad or a video.  Because I have so many tabs open at one time, it can be time consuming to hunt for the offending video-playing tab.  

Search no more.  Google has created an experimental function to allow you to mute the audio on a tab.  

Google Chrome indicates when a audio is playing in a tab by a speaker icon on the tab.  When audio starts playing in your browser, you can look for this icon in your tabs, click on the tab, and you usually can stop the video fairly quickly.  However, sometimes, the playing video can be difficult to find.

Chrome Function to Enable Tab Audio Muting

To enable Tab audio muting, type
in your omnibar (as below).

The page below will appear:

Click on the Enable link under the Yellow highlighted words Enable tab audio muting UI control.  This will change the enable the functionality and the link will change to Disable (as below).

In order for the audio muting to work in Chrome, you need to restart chrome.  Do this by typing Chrome://restart in the omnibox.

Once Chrome restarts, you will be able to turn off the audio on a tab by clicking on the speaker icon.  

Turned off audio will be indicated by a red circle with a line drawn through it (as below). 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Setting an Automatic Response to Your Email

This post was originally posted in February, 2015.  
Vacation responder.  If you are not going to be available during vacation (or illness or family leave) consider setting the vacation responder in Gmail.  This is how you can let parents and others that you will have limited availability to your email.

To access the vacation responder, open Gmail and go to your settings by clicking on the gear icon (right).
Select the Settings option.

At the top of the Settings page is the navigation menu below:

Click on the General tab, and scroll down to the Vacation responder setting.

  1. Set the first day of your vaction.
  2. Set the last day of your vacation.
  3. Subject Line. Say that you will be out of the office/school.  
  4. Message.  Be brief.  State that you will be out of the office/school and when you will be again available.  If you plan on checking your emails occasionally during vacation, say that.
  5. Choose who you want to respond to.  Only your current contacts?  Only people with or accounts?  Check neither box and you will reply to everyone. 
  6. Turn the Vacation Responder ON by clicking the button at the top.
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of the General Settings and click Save Changes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Phishing 101

Recently, a teacher at the high school reported receiving a phone call alleging that her school computer was using too much bandwidth. She did not recognize the number and thought the call was suspicious. So she hung up on the caller and reported the incident to the technology department. She did the right thing.

This call was an example of Phishing and is becoming more prevalent on the internet in both our personal and work lives. Awareness is the key to not being Phished.

What is phishing?

  • an illegal attempt to acquire personal information (e.g., usernames, passwords, and credit card number) for malicious reasons. Wikipedia 

How does it happen?

  • May happen through email messages, websites, and phone calls. 
  • Cybercriminal pretends to be someone trustworthy (e.g., bank, tech department) Microsoft 
  • An attempt will be made to convince you to hand over your personal information (passwords, bank info, credit card) under false pretenses. 

Be aware, Be wary, Beware

Phishing attempts may
  • catch you off guard and get you to give personal information 
  • ask you to download files from a website. 
  • This malicious software is designed to steal your personal information, give control of your computer to the cybercriminal, and/or add viruses to your computer. 
  • Emails and web sites may look real. 
  • Never give out your password. 
  • Only give out personal information when you initiate the email/call. 

How to avoid being phished.

Check out Visa's Top 5 Tips to Avoid Email Phishing Scams.  Also see the resource guide below.

Your Work Email and Computer

The Winchester Public School tech department will 

  • never call you and ask for your username and/or password 
  • never ask for personal information via email 
  • never call you on weekends or after school hours 
  • asks that you never provide your school passwords to anyone 

Want to learn more? 


Monday, June 8, 2015

2nd Annual STEM Night, Tuesday (6/9/2015)

The Second Annual STEM Night will be held on Tuesday, June 9th from 6:00-8:00pm in the Lincoln Auditorium.  The evening is a chance for students of the many STEM clubs and teams at both Winchester High School and McCall Middle School to share their club's activities and achievments with students and parents.

Demonstrations will run from 6:00-6:30 in the hall outside of the auditorium.  This will be followed by presentations in the auditorium from 6:30 - 7:30.  Finally, the evening will end with additional demos until 8:00pm.

Some of the clubs, teams, and demonstrations that will be at the STEM Night will be 
  • Technovation
  • Robotics
  • McCall Engineer's Club
  • Chemistry
  • Moody's Math
  • Girls Who Code
  • Computer Science Club
  • Math Team
  • Electric Vehicle Club
  • Tech Crew
  • RWDC
Come check it out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Google Calendar to End SMS Text Messaging

For the last few years, I have used Google Calendar's SMS text messaging to remind me of important events like meetings and appointments.  Receiving these text messages ten minutes before my scheduled events ensures that I am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there.

Today, I logged into my personal Google Calendar to schedule an appointment and was met with the message that Google would be discontinuing the service as of June 27, 2015.  I panicked a little, and clicked on the link for more information.  Here's what I found out.

  1. Google Apps for Education accounts will not be affected by the discontinuation of SMS text messaging.  (At least not yet)
  2. You can continue to receive messages to your smart phones by 
    • Downloading the Google Calendar App on your iPhone or Android phone.
    • Changing your default notifications within this app to notify you.
      Personally, I set my default notification time to 10 minutes before, but this can be set for 30 minutes before, 1 hour before, 1 week before as an email, or set a custom time.
  3. As you set new appointments in Google Calendar select Pop-Up rather than selecting SMS.
While this does not affect Google Calendar for GAFE accounts right now, it may affect it at a later date.   If you would like to read more information about this change, check out Google's information page on SMS Notifications.