Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taking Screenshots

Screenshots are great ways to create tutorials and provide a picture with an explanation.  There are several ways to create them.

Download Jing ( ), a free app

With Windows operating system (OS)

  • The Snipping Tool is an app with some of the Window OSs.  
  • In Microsoft Word 2010, click the Insert menu > Screenshot from the Illustrations section
  • If you have OneNote, you can click the Windows + S key 
On the Mac
  • Click Cmd + Shift + 4 keys
  • Click Cmd + Shift + 3 keys (full screen)
  • Click Cmd + Shift + 4 + space bar (open window)
  • Go the Dock > Utilities > Grab
On the iPad or iPhone
  • Click the on/off and Home button (takes full screen)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

EndNote for the iPad

I received an email notification that EndNote is now available for the iPad if you have EndNote X6!  The cost for the iPad app is $0.99. 

When you open the app, you are prompted to enter your EndNote Web username and password.  EndNote for the iPad has an 8 page tutorial on how to use the app.A screenshot of one of the pages is shown below.

The app has a built-in web browser to view websites while you are working with the EndNote web app.  The app includes a download function and also allow you to add files as attachments from Dropbox, the popular cloud storage solution that many of us us.   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Apple Release of iOS 6.1

Apple has released version iOS 6.1.    I just updated the operating systems on my iPhone and iPad.  After the software installed and the device restarted there were several startup windows.  One allowed me to choose the email address and phone number that could be used for text messaging and FaceTime.  Another window prompted me to sign into iCloud.  There is a new setting that allows you to limit ad tracking.

About the Advertising Identifier - quoted from the article:
iOS 6 introduces the Advertising Identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods. You can reset a device’s Advertising Identifier at any time. And, if you choose to limit ad tracking, apps are not permitted to use the Advertising Identifier to serve you targeted ads. In the future all apps will be required to use the Advertising Identifier. However, until then you may still receive targeted ads.

You can read more about the updates at 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Google Blogger Analytics

Just reviewed the results of the Google analytics and noticed for the first time that I noticed visits from Italy!  I was in Italy for a week just a month ago.  It was my third visit and still wonderful.  Thank you to everyone who reads this blog from another country other than the United States.  Please let me know what is information is helpful to you.  Thank you to everyone for reading the blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Georgia College Press Release of Book of the Year

The communications department at Georgia College posted a nice article on the 2012 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year award on Friday.  The article is online at

My sincere thanks to Tim Vacula, our university photographer, for the photo shown below.

Google Gmail Settings

Linda asked a question about gmail, which prompted me to explore the settings.  I was pleasantly surprised to see options available that I have not noticed before.

One is the ability to include a picture with your emails.  Another is the ability to use lots of stars colors. Some of the other changes in the new gmail look are outlined in the video  below.

Gmail and Google Drive

I was reading an article about Gmail and Google Drive that shared interesting information about how users can now share LARGE files using Google Drive.  If you use the combination, the attached file size limit is 10 GB!  The standard file limit for attachments with gmail is 25 MB.  Of course, to use the feature, you have to have a Google Drive account.

There was just one thing that confused me and that was the graphic showing Google Drive as a choice in gmail (see below) because it was not a visible choice with my gmail compose window.
With a little detective work, I realized that the Google Drive icon does not appear until you mouse over the plus sign (+) to the right of the paperclip icon (see below).
I am using the new gmail "look" that allows you to have many small compose menus open simultaneously.  Take a few moments to explore some of the new gmail options, if you have not already done so.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

MERLOT Spring Newsletter

The spring issue of the Grapevine, the official newsletter for MERLOT (multimedia educational resources for learning and online teaching) is available at

The editor, Cathy Swift, does a phenomenal job with the newsletter which includes news, features, updates, and numbers. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks - Now an Open Access Journal

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) - Now an Open Access Journal Sloan-C is pleased to announce that the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN) is now an open access journal. This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License.

All volumes and issues back to the first in March 1997 are now freely available at (copied from email)

To learn more about the Sloan Consortium, go to

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Desire 2 Learn (D2L) - A Learning Curve

The last few weeks, I have spent hours redesigning the four courses I am teaching this semester for use with D2L.  The University System of Georgia switched from the legacy Blackboard WebCT Vista as of January.  The timing is challenging for all faculty, not just me.  The students are a part of the learning curve, too.  I had a student phone me last evening, because he could not submit a quiz.  Fortunately, the IT help desk was able to help him.  He left a text message that all was working after he did some additional software updates.. 

I have been using learning management systems for 16 years.  It is not that D2L is not a good platform, it is more about figuring out which buttons to click to make lessons appear (yes, quicklink is my favorite) and how to get quizzes & discussions appear in the electronic grade book.  I am empathetic for other teachers new to learning management systems with the tight timeline that we have had.  The students have been terrific as they struggle to figure out how to navigate the courses. 

Facebook and iPhone Voice Calls

Facebook Messenger released an app improvement last Tuesday that allows for voice calls on the iPhone.  It uses the data plan instead of voice minutes.  I will have to explore the feature this weekend. Read more about Facebook Messenger for iPhone at

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Health Design Challenge Winners

The Office of the National Coordinator for Information Technology (ONC) announced winners of a contest to improve the design of health records.  Displays of the designs are at

The stated design objectives were:
  1. Improve the visual layout and style of the information from the medical record
  2. Create a human-centered design that makes it easier for patient to manage their health
  3. Enable health professionals to more effectively understand and use patients' health information
  4. Help family members and friends care for their loved ones
The design winners are amazing and worth reviewing.  I especially liked the first place design and byline "personal data in a personal way"  and the second place "body map."

I look forward to seeing the designs implemented into practice.  They are truly innovative and should push current clinical system vendors to improve designs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Google Drive Spreadsheet - Part 1

Google Drive spreadsheet ( is a popular choice for a cloud solution because of the many features common to desktop solutions and the ability to share collaborative editing.  Google Drive is available for the Window OS X, Mac OS X, iPad, and Android mobile devices.  An alternative cloud spreadsheet solution, SkyDrive, is available for users who have Microsoft Office desktop or Microsoft Office 365, a cloud solution.  SkyDrive is available for Mac and Windows mobile devices.  However, for the purpose of this blog, discussion of cloud-based spreadsheet software is limited to Google Drive because of its non-commercial nature, popularity and robust features.

Google Drive users get 5 GB of free storage for all Google Doc files, including spreadsheets). Google Drive is also a downloadable app for Windows and Mac computers, as well as Apple and Android mobile devices.  The app allows users to sync Google Doc files with either a Mac or Windows PC, providing a backup solution.  Google Drive files can be organized using folders and users have the ability to search for files and preview them.

The menu for a Google Drive spreadsheet is similar to other spreadsheet software (figure1).  

Figure1 Google Drive Spreadsheet

The Google Spreadsheet app includes text and number editing features.  The Functions menu is used to create formulas  and use common formula functions, such as sum, average, count, max, and min. The functions menu is available from the the Insert menu and also the sum symbol on the toolbar (figure 2).

Figure 2 Formula Menu with Common Formula Functions

Information on additional functions is available online at

Free (no fee) Spreadsheet Solutions

The following is a section from the eBook that I am writing on data analysis with spreadsheets and database software.

Free Desktop and Cloud-Based Spreadsheet Software Solutions

You can anticipate that the basic spreadsheet features available in Microsoft Excel and Apple iWork Numbers are also available in the free (no fee) spreadsheet solutions.  If you are not ready to purchase commercial software, but need to work with spreadsheets without being connected to the Internet, consider trying one or more of the free desktop office software packages.

Free Desktop Software Solutions

There is a growing choice of free desktop office software, which includes spreadsheet capabilities.  Table 1 below provides examples.  

Desktop Software Name
Web Address
IBM Lotus Symphony
Kingsoft Office
SoftMaker FreeOffice
Table 1 Free Desktop Spreadsheet Software Solutions

Cloud Based Spreadsheet Software Solutions

Spreadsheet software is also available using the cloud (table 2).  In other words, the software resides on the Internet, rather than a personal computer.  The table below shows four examples of cloud-based spreadsheets.  All require a login and password to use. 

Desktop Software Name
Web Address
Google Drive Spreadsheet
Table 2 Cloud-Based Spreadsheet Software Solutions

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

History of Spreadsheet Software

Prior to electronic spreadsheets calculations were done with pencil and paper, perhaps also using a slide rule, or if one had access to it, an adding machine.  Prior to the use of computers and spreadsheet technology one can only imagine the manual math calculations that allowed Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon and return to earth in 1969, much less to run large city hospitals efficiently. There were no electronic communication or barcode systems to keep up with inventory supply and demand needs in healthcare settings. 

Electronic spreadsheets originated with Richard Mattessich in 1961. Mattessich, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, developed the concept for business accounting  (Mattessich, n.d.).   His research served as a foundation for microcomputer spreadsheet programs, such as VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3, developed in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.  In 1978, Dan Bricklin, a graduate student at Harvard Business School, developed a spreadsheet prototype for VisiCalc for a case study report.  After designing the prototype, Bricklin engaged the assistance of Bob Frankston, a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with computer science graduate degrees, to create the production code (Bellis, 2012; Fleming, 1997; Frankston, 2012).  Later Bricklin and Frankston created a business to market their VisiCalc product.

During 1970’s and 1980’s personal computer (PC) science continued to develop.  In 1983, the Lotus Development Corporation released Lotus 1-2-3, a precursor to the many spreadsheet software products we use today.  The founders of Lotus 1-2-3 were Mitch Kapor and Jonathan Sachs (High Tech History, 2010). Kapor had left VisiCalc and Sachs had worked with a company that created spreadsheet software for Data General.  The popularity of Lotus 1-2-3 was highest in the 1980’s, but it ebbed sharply in 1988 a year after the release of Excel. Soon afterwards, other competitors began to develop other spreadsheet software applications.  IBM bought Lotus 1-2-3 in 1995.  Lotus 1-2-3 is still available as a commercial product from IBM.

The first iteration of Microsoft Excel was called Multiplan and released in 1982.   Multiplan was redesigned to accommodate additional operating systems and renamed Excel when first released for the Mac in 1985 (Haresoftware, 2008; Peter, 2010; Power, 2004).  Microsoft Excel was released for Windows PCs in 1987 with the sales promotion of “doing everything Lotus 1-2-3 does and better.”  By 1988, Excel was outselling Lotus 1-2-3.  Excel was the first software that allowed the user to customize the spreadsheet using fonts, character attributes, and cell appearance.  It offered auto-calculating and provided the graphical capabilities that are still popular today.

It was not until 2008 that iWork Numbers, the Apple spreadsheet app, was released.  Numbers was a part of the iWork office suite (Apple, 2007). iWork Numbers is now a competitor with Microsoft Excel because of the introduction of the flexible canvas concept that allows a user to arrange more than one spreadsheet and chart in a single layout. Numbers also introduced the contextual format bar, which hides the column letters and row numbers unless the spreadsheet is edited.   Apple released iWork Numbers as a mobile app with the introduction of the iPad in 2010.

Today, there are numerous spreadsheet applications available for a variety of platforms.  Standalone programs are available for desktop, laptop, and mobile computers, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Android phone.  Online cloud spreadsheet software is available for any of the multiple platforms that allow for Internet access.


Apple. (2007, August 7). Apple introduces iWork '08  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Bellis, M. (2012). The first spreadsheet - VisiCalc - Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Fleming, A. M. (1997, February 16). Daniel Bricklin  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Frankston, B. (2012). Bob Frankston bio  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Haresoftware. (2008). History of Microsoft Excel  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
High Tech History. (2010, January 26). History of Lotus 1-2-3  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Mattessich, R. (n.d.). Spreadsheet:  Its first computerization (1961-1964)  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Peter, R. (2010, December 25). The history of Excel  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Power, D. J. (2004, August 30). A brief history of spreadsheets  Retrieved November 25, 2012, from