Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Spring 2013 Semester Schedule

I can't believe it has been almost 6 months since I blogged. Writing certainly has taken up some of my free time!

Just wanted to post my Spring 2013 schedule. It looks like, as I write this, CIS-125-M02 and CIS-101-M13 are full, but there is plenty of room in the other classes so far!

CIS-101-M09 Computer Concepts & Applications Tuesday, Thursday 11:45AM - 01:00PM
CIS-101-M13 Computer Concepts & Applications Monday, Wednesday 11:45AM - 01:00PM
CIS-107-M01 IT Fundamentals & Applications Monday, Wednesday 10:20AM - 11:35AM
CIS-125-M02 Microcomputer Software I Tuesday, Thursday 10:20AM - 11:35AM
Web Graphics Thursday 07:05PM - 09:35PM
CIS/GD Internship Days/Times To Be Arranged with Employer

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fall 2012 Registration

If you haven't registered for the Fall 2012 semester, you can probably register online through Campus Cruiser.

However, if you cannot, or if you would prefer someone works with you, you can also register in person. I will be doing in-person registration at the campus in Passaic, NJ (2 Paulison Ave, Passaic) at the following times:
Tuesday, August 28: 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thursday, August 30: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

In my experience, the lines at the Passaic campus are usually much shorter than the Paterson gym registration is, so if you can get to Passaic, it might save you some time.

In addition, for students in the Computer Science or Information Technology majors, if you want someone to double-check your schedule, please feel free to email me a copy of your degree audit and any questions you have.

Here is the College's official list of registration times and dates. Remember the Fall semester starts September 5th!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Look Now, Here Comes Office 2013

As soon as we become comfortable with technology, we are probably behind. For example, many of you at Passaic and Bergen have just received training in the state of the art Office 2010. The biggest feature that will take some retraining is the touch-screen support. Windows 8 and Office 2013 will support touch-screen input, so if you have a touch-screen, you can use that instead of a mouse.

I am interested in seeing the changes they have made, so I will be downloading the free consumer preview and seeing how I like the changes.

Anyone can download and try out the consumer preview for free:

If you already have Office, I would not recommend removing your old version, as preview versions expire eventually. However, if you don't have Office at all and would like to play with it, or if you are a little more tech-savvy, here is your chance to be the first kid on the block to try it out.

That is my plan for Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Evolution of an Operating System (and my Windows 8 book)

I am finishing up my second book, a Windows 8 book for Pearson/Prentice Hall. Apparently, it will be published on October 12, according to Amazon (Link to my Windows 8 book here).

Delving in to the new operating system has been instructive for a few reasons. First of all, this version of Windows is going to change things. This rivals Windows 95 as the biggest change I've seen to Windows. Short summary: they have removed the Start menu and replaced it with a Start screen.

Wait, no, that is the Partridge family bus. You can see my confusion.

Yep, that's the Start screen!

You can of course add and move tiles. Notice my user name is my Gmail account. You can sign in with a Microsoft account and keep your files and settings "in the cloud". In other words, if I design my Start screen on my desktop, I can log in to my laptop and have the same screen. If I add bookmarks and pictures, they can follow me as well! Microsoft has also added the ability to log in using picture passwords and PINs, much like some cell phones.

The Windows Explorer interface has changed to include the Ribbon, which is the interface you may be used to from Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010.

Other key points: Windows 8 supports touch-screen monitors, so I am guessing in five years or so most people will have touch-screen monitors at home.

They've added new searching functions, gestures (like "pinching" on the screen to zoom), and basically ripped the heart out of the operating system.

There are many changes to be discussed, and a blog entry just won't summarize this. Just prepare to retrain!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Fall 2012 Schedule

I have a pretty good handle on my Fall 2012 schedule at this point. Here's how to avoid me in the Fall 2012 semester!

Passaic (Paterson Campus):
Computer Concepts & Applications (CIS 101 M13) Mon/Wed 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM
Microcomputer Software I (CIS 125 M02) Tue/Thu 10:20 AM to 11:35 AM
Internet/E-Commerce Technologies (CIS 152 ME1) Thu 7:05 PM to 9:35 PM
Website Design & Tools (CIS 170 M01): Tues/Thu 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM
CIS Internship (CIS 294 M01)

Due to my writing, I won't be teaching a class at Bergen in the Fall.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Credit Card Reporting

I have heard this story a few times. A married person brings their child for a car, goes to take out a car loan, and finds their credit is ruined. The reasons can be anything from identity theft to marriage problems. Either way, however, it is a bad situation to be in.

Maybe you have heard the "free credit report" Web sites advertising. The main one of these, freecreditreport.com, is free but requires users to sign up for services in order to get their "free" report. However, why do that when the companies that keep track of your history are legally required to provide you this information for free once a year?

In 2001, I graduated from college, and a friend mentioned that New Jersey residents could get copies of their credit reports by sending a letter to each agency. When I got the report, I was surprised to find I had a few active credit card accounts. They were open because I applied. Since I wasn't living at home, I didn't get my mail often, so I had accounts open. I recall applying for one in college in exchange for a t-shirt, and I filled one out at a Devils game for a hat. I spent a while calling credit card companies and closing accounts I did not use.

At that point in time, each state had different laws regarding this, but today, residents of the United States have the right to view this information online once a year for free from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. In order to get a copy of your report, you can log on to the Web site the three agencies have set up:

They may offer to sell you extra services, but if you decline, you will not be charged anything. The general rule of thumb is if they offer premium services, you don't want those.

In my experience, it was good to do a credit report for the first time to see what information they had there. Today, I check it for identity theft or fraud, and fix any errors they might have on there (they may have mistakes, and if it costs you a loan, that is bad).

For most users, an annual credit report for free is enough, but there are services for people who want something more (like real-time monitoring, or access to your credit score). For most users, I think spending an hour a year on this is a great idea. I put it on my calendar to do each year, so if something does happen, I should become aware of it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

It's Official! I am an Author!

As some of you know, I took the 2010-2011 academic year off at Passaic to work on some projects. One of these projects was writing a textbook, and it was awesome to see it has been published and is on Amazon's Web site.

It really has been a dream of mine to actually author a textbook, and Pearson gave me a chance to do this with a small textbook in their Your Office series. The series editor, Amy Kinser, had a vision for how she felt the books should be, and it sounded a lot like the way I try to teach application software. Instead of "click click click", I try to talk about how certain features may be useful in a business environment.
Visit my book on Amazon!

Interestingly enough, the writing wasn't difficult for me. The most tedious part ended up being creating good screen shots, getting them labeled, getting permissions, and so on.

The book definitely will not make me rich - as it is designed to be packaged with the Your Office: Microsoft Office 2010, Volume 1 textbook, I was paid a flat fee rather than a commission. However, it was an exciting start to an authoring career. I hope to contribute more to other texts in the future, and having gone through the process, I know I can do it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Death Wishes via Twitter

As a Giants fan, yesterday was a good day. The 49ers played a great game, but in the end, a few mistakes by a player pushed in to an unfamiliar role did them in.

The last time the Giants and 49ers faced each other in the playoffs (2003) the same sort of thing happened. A player named Trey Junkin was signed out of retirement to snap the ball for field goal attempts. He messed up a snap earlier in the game, and at the end of the game, he messed up another field goal snap and the Giants lost the game. Junkin faded away in to relative anonymity, though he had to read about the Giants in the newspapers.

In last night's game, a young player named Kyle Williams was pushed in to the role of punt returner because of an injury to the player who regularly filled that role, Ted Ginn Jr. Williams had only returned two punts this season. In the early part of the game, Williams made a mistake and the Giants got the ball. In overtime, he fumbled the ball, which led to the Giants kicking the winning field goal.

Trey Junkin was 41 years old at the time of his mistake, while Williams is 23 and a part of the 49ers team plans. The thing I want to highlight, however, is how the Web changed the reaction.

A number of fans of the 49ers went to Twitter, and Kyle Williams had his account listed and available for fans. Fans rushed to Twitter and starting sending him death wishes. Though a number of news outlets have called them "death threats", I haven't seen any evidence of that online. As opposed to threatening to kill him, they have sent messages saying they hope he, his wife, kids and family die, or that they hope he gets AIDS and dies. (Read some of the quotes here). Of course, if they were really extreme, they may have been deleted or reported to Twitter.

It is a shame how Web 2.0 technologies can lead to things like this.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Perils of Communication

This is a story that 20 years ago probably might have made the local news, and not CNN.

An Asian Papa John's customer in New York City ordered a pizza and after she left she noticed the area that says "customer name" listed her name as "lady chinky eyes". Obviously, a cashier thought they were being funny identifying her in this way.

Twenty years ago, she might have just ignored it after being annoyed. These days, she posted a tweet with a picture of the receipt, and it went viral.

This led to the employee being fired within 48 hours and an official apology being posted on Papa John's Facebook page.

The perils of being a smart ass in the information age!

Link to CNN story