Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interesting New Blog

At UNL, I work with an amazing bunch of students with the Student Technology Assistance Program (STAP). It's a group of students doing real work while they learn. There is also a group that teaches other students computer programs. They have recently decided to begin a blog with tips, reviews and other interesting technology related news stories from a college student point of view. I'm really excited to see what they've already done and look forward to future posts. Please check out the Innovations blog and see what they're about. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clippy is My (Ribbon) Hero

It's a fact. I'm a Ribbon Hero. I took the test to prove it, too. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you should check out Ribbon Hero 2 from Microsoft. It's an add-in that will watch what you do and you earn points as you work. You can also launch the game-based learning and it will open the Microsoft programs (OneNote, Excel, PowerPoint and Word) where you perform the tasks asked of you. Best of all, it's the return of Clippy. If you think he got a bad rap back in 1997-2003, he is back to redeem himself. You start by helping him with his resume.

It's really kind of fun and a great example of game-based learning. If you don't know how to perform a task, you can ask for a hint to help you. If you are a "power-user" you'll find this easy. Too easy. If you are a casual user and want to explore a little more of what you might not know, this is definitely for you.

I'd recommend Ribbon Hero 2 for anyone who needs to brush up on their skills because it does have varying levels from beginning to advanced and covers a variety of tasks. You also can pick and choose your tasks and still progress through the levels so everyone can have a sense of accomplishment. For example, I'm not a OneNote user, so I chose the tasks for Word, Excel and PowerPoint and was able to work through the levels. When I was done, I was able to go back and tackle the tasks I skipped in those programs, too. I look forward to learning more about OneNote and taking on those challenges as well.

Have fun, and let me know if you're a Ribbon Hero like Clippy and me!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Microsoft Access: Web Browser Control

I love how on websites you can click to view a map. Somehow the address fields are set to map to a mapping program, such as Google Maps or Mapquest, and you’ll see a map to your destination. You can now replicate this on your Access forms using the Web Browser Control.

First, go to your favorite map site (I found deciphering Map Quest was easier), type in your address (you'll delete this later) and locate it on the map. Copy the URL.
  1. On the Form Layout Tools|Design ribbon, in the Controls group, select the Web Browser Control, and then click to place it on the form. Access opens the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.
  2. Paste the URL of the web page into the Address: field of the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, and then press TAB on the keyboard to move to the next field. Access clears the Address: field and separates the URL into the appropriate fields.
  3. To set the control so that its URL changes based on the data that is displayed on your form, you must replace the appropriate URL components with expressions that refer to the appropriate controls on the form. Here's where having your address helps you locate the correct areas for your fields.
    1. Click the path or parameter that you want to replace, and then click the Build button.
    2. In the Expression Builder, double-click the control that contains the data you want.
    3. Click OK to close the Expression Builder.
  4. Click OK.