Category: Software

Google Launches Chrome Apps for Mac

Google has announced that it has brought Chrome Apps to the Mac.

First introduced in September 2013 for Windows and Chromebook users, Chrome Apps are designed to function like native Mac apps, working offline, updating automatically, and syncing on any computer where a user is signed into Chrome.  Chrome Apps behave and feel just like native software.

After install, Chrome Apps on a Mac can be found in the Applications folder on the Dock.  To make finding and launching Chrome Apps quicker, Google is also releasing the Chrome App Launcher for Mac.

Just download one of the new Chrome Apps and you’ll see the new Chrome App Launcher in your Dock.

 

iPad App Store App Update Page Got You Blank?

Over the past few days a significant number of iPad users have been left staring at blank App Store app update screens. It appears Apple is aware of the problem. How people have worked around the issue have been all over the board and no one solution works for everyone.

While some have been able to solve the problem and update their apps through manually updating apps under the Purchased button option. Some have fixed it by changing the language option. For many others, the system just fixes itself over time.

I tried most of the fixes and they did not work for me. However, I came across this suggested fix and it did work on the two iPad’s I tried, so I wanted to share…

  1. Kill the App Store app
  2. In settings, set side switch to rotate lock
  3. Make sure rotate is unlocked
  4. Turn iPad horizontal so side switch side is up
  5. Lock, and when icon fades, unlock
  6. With iPad still horizontal, launch App Store app
  7. Select the App Store app Update button

Again, this may or not work for you, but while it seems strange, it did work for me.

-Eric Schnell

A Few Alternatives to Google Reader

Twitter lit up on March 13th when Google announced it was shutting down Google Reader on July 1st. Google Reader was launched in 2005 but apparently over the years usage has declined. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout.

After looking at a few alternatives over the last couple days I’ve decided that even if Google decides not to pull the plug, I may stick with an alternative. This is primarily since many of the alternatives provide more of a magazine-style presentation of the content when compared to Google Reader’s headline display.

feedly (feedly.com)

This has become a popular alternative. The feedly team has been working on a project called Normandy which is a feedly clone of the Google Reader API. When Google Reader shuts down, the goal is for feedly to  seamlessly transition to the Normandy on the back end. So Google Reader users that are using feedly will have any wasy transition.

Bloglines (bloglines.com)

Ironically, when Google Reader started up Bloglines was an early causality. However, the service is back with new ownership and offers a similar Google-like summary of headlines as well as a usable mobile experience.

The Old Reader (theoldreader.com)

This basically is Google Reader. The interface is familiar and one can login with your Google account to import feeds.  The downside is that social integration is only through Facebook. Currently, there are also no apps.

Digg Reader (digg.com/reader)

Digg just launched it’s new RSS reader service. Its beta is currently in invitation only. It features like a built-in Instapaper button and full-on Digg thumbs-up, thumbs-down integration.

 

 -Eric Schnell

TechTips: BuckeyeBox: New Cloud-based Storage

BuckeyeBox is a cloud-based service provides a simple, secure way to store and share files and folders online that is now available to OSU faculty and staff. It will be available to students  in early 2013.

Similar to Dropbox and other online tools, Buckeye Box consolidates your content in a single location, accessible from anywhere, on any device. You can create files and folders, share them using a direct link, invite colleagues and classmates to collaborate, and continue to revise and review your content. Though similar in appearance to services such as DropBox, BuckeyeBox integrates OSU systems and security. The service will be available to faculty and staff on Saturday and will be opened to students in January.

BuckeyeBox is designed as a collaboration tool appropriate for personal files and institutional information classified as public or internal.  It is not for any institutional data classified as “protected,” “restricted,” or “critical.” As such, Protected Health Information (PHI) should never be stored on BuckeyeBox. See Data Classifications and appropriate data for BuckeyeBox at OSU.

Main features

  • View files of many types, including images and audio/video; for a full list, see Box support’s What file extension types can be viewed by Box’s Content Preview?
  • Access content through all major web browsers (i.e., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and through mobile devices running iOS, Android, and BlackBerry
  • Access through Microsoft Office applications (Windows only)
  • Share files and folders while controlling the level of access others have, with a range of permissions from view-only to full editing and collaboration rights
  • Comment on files
  • Create simple workflows using assigned tasks
  • Sync files between your desktop and other devices, and access them even when offline

Getting Started / How to Find Help

 

-Eric Schnell

TechTips: Discounted Apple Mobile Apps

Departments which have deployed Apple devices should consider taking advantage of Apple’s Volume Purchase Program to license mobile apps that support the work of their staff.  This program allows educational institutions to purchase multiple copies of the same Apple app with many of the developers offering up to 50% off of these multiple purchases.

To find out which apps are available through the discount program search  https://volume.itunes.apple.com/us/store/.  Each app’s page details the volume pricing.  For example, if you search Pages it states that the cost is $9.99 ea (1-19 units) and $4.99 ea (20+ units).

To utilize this program one must must have a Program Facilitator account. However,  WiredOut also serves this role and has a simplified process and departments can now order activation codes through them with using an eRequest:

  • go to volume.itunes.apple.com to find an app and figure out the pricing.
  • generate an eRequest to WiredOut ( listed as an internal order / vendor in the eRequest system as WiredOut, The Tech Store @ OSU)
  • once they process the order, whomever is listed on the eRequest will receive an email with a spreadsheet containing download links and activation codes.
  • activation codes work just like a gift card and are entered in the system for each license.

For more information or questions, contact WiredOut.

TechTips: Google Drive

Google has finally released their long awaited competitor to Dropbox, SkyDrive, and iCloud, which they are calling Google Drive. Individuals can get up to 5GB of space for free but a premium service is available for 25GB at $2.49/mo, 100GB for $4.99/mo, and $49.99 a month for 1TB.

Users of Google Docs will find Drive very familiar. In fact, Google Docs is built into Drive.  Just like Docs, one can collaborate with others on documents, can share content with others, and one can add and reply to comments and receive notifications when others have commented on shared items.

Users can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+ and will soon be able to attach Drive content into Gmail, which can reduced the reliance on the use of file attachments. Work is also underway to allow third-party apps to access the content.

Drive supports a large number of file formats and includes the Google Drive viewer, which allows one to preview documents in 16 formats. Drive also tracks changes made to content so one view the revision history for the past 30 days.

Like other cloud storage services, Drive provides a single location at which to save and store documents and media content that can be automatically synced across multiple devices.  Since Google is also behind Android, it’s mobile version of the service was released first. As of this writing the iPhone/iPad app had not yet been released. Drive also takes advantage of Android’s accessibility features so those with sight impairments can use the mobile app, eyes-free.

The desktop client works just like Dropbox’s.  A folder is created locally which is used to store the content to be synced. One simply has to drag and drop an item in the Drive folder. Also like with Dropbox, the contents of the folder can be managed as any local folder. Since the desktop I first installed the client on is located behind a corporate firewall, Dropbox required the use of a proxy to allow real-time syncing. This was not the case with Drive. After installation, I dragged a file into the desktop folder and it showed up on the web client within 3 seconds.

Those with Google/Gmail accounts should visit drive.google.com/start to get set up. It may take a day or two for your account to be setup. There is plenty of online support available.

Eric Schnell

TechTips: Optimizing EndNote to Access Full Text

Many researchers take advantage of bibliographic management soft to search online bibliographic databases, organize their references, images and PDFs, and to create bibliographies and figure lists. Although the a central site license provides campus access to RefWorks, many researchers instead use EndNote.

Bibliographic management tools like EndNote can not only help researchers to manage references, they can also be used to search for full text. To increase the liklihood that EndNote will find full text resources requires the proper configuration and an understanding of certain limitations:

  1. Finding full text requires the OpenURL path of  http://olinks.ohiolink.edu/olinks.php (see config at right)
  2. Finding full text requires authentication with URL https://library.osu.edu/Shibboleth.sso/Login?target=http://library.osu.edu/ (see config at right)”
  3. Searching and finding full text may work better on campus than off due to different resource authentication methods and licensing agreements.
  4. EndNote offers several pathways to some databases, such as Medline. However, OSU Libraries may not have access through each of these pathways.
  5. Thomson-Reuters offers excellent FAQs, tutorials and webinars at http://endnote.com/support/ensupport.asp
  6. Additional bibliographic styles can be downloaded at  http://endnote.com/support/enstyles.asp
  7. EndNote is available at a discount price of $79 at the campus WiredOut store.

Eric Schnell and Jessica Page