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Tales of a former software instructor

By Beth Blakely ·
TECHREPUBLIC BLOG ROUNDUP NEWSLETTER for October 12, 2005

TALES OF A FORMER SOFTWARE INSTRUCTOR

I used to teach software to the old and young, the quick and slow, and
the willing and forced (by their supervisors). Nothing was worse than
facing a room full of sour faces at 8 a.m. knowing that I'd have to
drag them through eight hours of training, whether they liked it or
not. Of course, I usually won people over with my sparkling personality
and natural charm. The others required something more: actual learning.

Sometimes I'd have seasoned computer geeks in my more rudimentary
classes. They were usually part of a small company whose management had
decided that everyone must take x, y, and z courses. They'd come in
looking bored, immediately start tinkering with the workstations, and
pay me the least amount of attention possible. It was always a personal
victory if I was able to pull a rabbit out of my hat and actually teach
these guys something they could use.

It didn't have to be a huge thing. For example, I can remember
mentioning to several folks that you could just type any word--Amazon,
for example--into IE's address bar and hit [Ctrl][Enter] to
automatically add the "http://www." and ".com" before and after. It's a
tiny thing, but it can save you a lot of time if you use it
consistently.

There was nothing greater than seeing the surprised smile on those pros
faces when they realized I'd actually shown them something useful.

So this week, fair bloggers, I challenge you to post your favorite tip
or trick in a blog post. Share the wealth of your knowledge! You never
know who you might help.

In the mean time, use this discussion to share your true tales of
teaching tech. I'll make the first post to get you started, as I have
an amusing anecdote about teaching Advanced Word.

Miss an issue? You can view the Blog Roundup archive here.
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THIS WEEK'S BLOG ROUNDUP HIGHLIGHTS

The TRIVIA GEEK dares you to respond to his blog post, "My problem with
Internet Federalism." He begins, "President Truman once admonished the
U.S. House and Senate as a 'do-nothing Congress' bent on stalling
rather than taking action. While I'm a fan of Harry, I almost wish the
do-nothing Congress would make a comeback, because the legislative
branch's obsession with legislating away the evils of computers and the
Internet is causing more problems than it solves."
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173893&messageID=1861668&id=1383826

Will the Office 12 interface become the defacto standard or does it
represent a "UI conundrum"? Find out what AKSELSOFT thinks in his post,
"R.I.P. WYSIWYG."
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=179675&messageID=1861746&id=4203374

TR staffer PETE SPANDE gets "unrealistically excited about Stanford
winning the DARPA Grand Challenge." He writes, "Perhaps this technology
will combine with the whole flying car technology I've been waiting for
since I was 6..."
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=174663&messageID=1861660&id=1583166

THE TECH JUGGLER has learned a valuable lesson: Take a close look at
all system requirements before buying new equipment.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=180502&messageID=1859985&id=4212131

Listen to contributor MICHAEL JACKMAN'S podcast about Palm Treo
smart-phone's move to Microsoft's mobile OS.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=178312&messageID=1861082&id=214483

Is Government ready for podcasting and RSS? RAMON PADILLA JR. believes
so. Read his latest post to find out what uses he believes government
agencies could find for the two technologies.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=178820&messageID=1861403&id=2235984

Do you know where you're going? TR staffer SONJA THOMPSON is convinced
that Internet driving directions can drive you crazy? At least there's
one reason she's glad to have delivered pizzas in college.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=180385&messageID=1860682&id=598322

TR staffer REX BALDAZO thinks that "Netgear SC101 is a piece of junk."
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173892&messageID=1862314&id=3690253

He's also pretty worked up about the lava lamp build monitor. I can
tell because he used the phrases "angry red" and "happy green" in the
post. Check it out.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173892&messageID=1860628&id=3690253

ROB BOGUE wants to know, "Is Everything in SharePoint a CAB file?"
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=176721&messageID=1862050&id=2720786

DR. TOM has posted about the imminent demise of the DMZ. Get his two
cents on the matter.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=176778&messageID=1862371&id=1494217

-------------------------------------

FEATURED BLOGGER: JUSTIN FIELDING

JUSTIN FIELDING'S day job is maintaining security, infrastructure and
inter-office communications for an international financial services
group. In his spare time, he'll be blogging about security and
compliance challenges, interoffice connectivity, e-mail, and DNS
challenges as part of TR's free Financial Services IT newsletter. ( Use
this link to automatically subscribe.)
http://nl.com.com/MiniFormHandler?brand=techrepublic&list_id=e069

Fielding's maiden post is titled, "Managing IM compliance challenges,"
and he addresses how to enforce IM policies and ensure that you're
fulfilling any regulatory obligations required by your industry.
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=182138&messageID=1861811&id=4178302

-------------------------------------

JUST FOR FUN

Are you geek enough to handle our new Geekend section? That's where we
gather up all the off-topic, humorous, home hacking, bizarre links and
serve them up to you on one delicious page that's updated every Friday
in celebration of--you guessed it--the Geekend. Enjoy.
http://techrepublic.com.com/1200-22-5844666.html

-------------------------------------

FEEDBACK: TRUE TALES OF TEACHING TECH

Do you have an amusing story about the trials and tribulations of
teaching end users? Share your pain by posting it in this discussion.

If you've got suggestions or comments about the Blog Roundup, send me
an e-mail. If you're recommending a blog for the next newsletter,
please include a link to the member's blog and a sentence or two about
why you found it helpful.
mailto:beth.blakely@techrepublic.com (Please use "Blog Roundup" as the subject.)

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6 total posts (Page 1 of 1)  
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Teaching Advanced Word

by Beth Blakely In reply to Tales of a former softwar ...

As promised, here's my true tale of teaching...

I was working for a New Horizons Computer Learning Center and had been assigned the delightful duty of teaching an Advanced Word class on Saturday. I was already depressed to be cooped up indoors on a bright, beautiful day. I figured that I'd be done early, though, as I only had eight students, all from the same company. Plus, this was Advanced Word, meaning that the students should have either taken the Beginning and Intermediate classes, or be extremely familiar with the program.

I introduced myself and the agenda for the day. Everything seemed to be going well. The folks were surprisingly perky for 8 a.m.

I asked the class to open a blank Word document so we could begin the first exercise. I knew I was in trouble when a woman in the front row looked very confused and asked, "What's that black line flashing at me?"

It was her cursor.

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ouch

by apotheon In reply to Teaching Advanced Word

That's gotta suck.

By the way:
I'd been using that IE trick for years (the <Ctrl>+<Enter> thing). When I made the migration to Firefox (actually still Firebird at the time), I noticed that Mozilla's new baby had extended that functionality. With Firefox, in addition to:

<Ctrl>+<Enter>
for .com websites

You can also use:

<Shift>+<Enter>
for .net websites

<Ctrl>+<Shift>+<Enter>
for .org websites

It always frustrates me to be forced to use IE for a few minutes and discover (again) that the other two such shortcuts don't work there: only the .com works on IE.

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That's what I'm talking about!

by Beth Blakely In reply to ouch

Little tips like that save a lot of time.

I find that most of the sites I visit are .com anyway, so at least it's the very rare exception for me to be using IE AND hit a .org or .net site.

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since you liked that one . . .

by apotheon In reply to That's what I'm talking a ...

The following work in both IE and Firefox:

<Alt>+<left arrow>
same as the "back" button

<Alt>+<right arrow>
same as the "forward" button

<Esc>
same as the "stop" button

<F5>
same as the "refresh" or "reload" button.


in Firefox only:

<Ctrl>+<T>
open a new, empty tab

<Ctrl>+<left click>
open link in a new tab

<Ctrl>+<W>
close current tab (also closes the browser if no additional tabs are open)

<Ctrl>+<Tab>
cycle through open tabs in your browser


There's more, of course, but it tends to start getting more complicated and less commonly used after that.

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these

by Jaqui In reply to since you liked that one ...

keyboard shortcuts work in all mozilla browsers ( I've been using them since mozilla first added tabbed browsing )
they also work for netscape

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not exactly

by apotheon In reply to these

Last I checked, they don't all work in all Mozilla/Netscape browsers. Some only work in Firefox, as I recall. In particular, I think the stuff for completing URLs doesn't work in Mozilla Suite or Netscape.

I don't use non-Firefox browsers often enough to remember off the top of my head exactly which don't work where.

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