Apr 1 2014

10 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

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If you’re used to working on a PC or Mac, you’ll be quite familiar with mouse controls to navigate around the applications. However, for those in the know there are a large number of keyboard shortcuts that in many cases are easier and quicker than the mouse equivalent – you may already know some of them. Here are ten of the best:

1. Close browser
If your boss walks up while you’re on Facebook (even though you really ought to be studying, right), or your other half comes in the room while you’re buying them a gift, close your browser instantly with this shortcut:

PC: Alt + F4
Mac: Apple key + Q

2. Show desktop
If you have several windows open on your computer and you want to see the desktop, just press:
PC: Windows key + D
Mac: F11

3. Add a bookmark
Create a shortcut to your new favourite website by bookmarking the page with the following quick trick:
PC: Ctrl + D
Mac: Apple key + D

4. Permanently delete
When you know you want to lose a file forever instead of clogging up the recycle bin, just tap:
PC: Shift + Delete

5. Change zoom level
Whether you’re working on the web or in a word processing program, zoom in or out with this command:
PC: Ctrl + scroll mouse wheel, or Ctrl + plus or minus sign.
Mac: Apple key + plus sign; Apple key + minus sign

6. Reopen previous tab in browser
If you have ever accidentally closed the browser tab you were looking at and had to spend time backtracking to find it again, this shortcut will restore that page to you almost instantly:
PC: Ctrl + Shift + T
Mac: Apple key + Z

7. Go to a previous location in browser
This clever shortcut lets you quickly return to the webpage you were looking at before your current one:
PC: Alt + ←
Mac: Apple key + [

8. Select the address bar
When you want to quickly type a new URL into your browser, the shortcut below will select the address bar for you, so you can start typing without moving your mouse:
PC: Ctrl + L, or F6
Mac: Apple key + L

9. Spelling/Grammar check
No more excuses: Perfect spelling and grammar is just one keystroke away:
PC or Mac: F7

10. Add “http://www” to your browser’s address bar
A quick route to your desired webpage is to just type in the name of the webpage you want (for example, type “Google”), then press the following keys to add the “http://www.” to the beginning and “.com” to the end.
PC: Ctrl + Enter
Mac: Apple key + Enter

Posted by: Posted on by Sebastiaan Eldritch-Böersen Tagged with: , ,

Jul 31 2013

AudioNote – Notepad and Voice Recorder for iPhone and iPad

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AudioNote is a fantastic note taking app. AudioNote combines the functionality of note-taking and voice recording apps to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes.

By synchronizing notes and audio, AudioNote automatically indexes your meetings, lectures, classes and interviews. Your text and drawings highlight during playback, helping you to remember the context in which they were taken. You can tap notes to search in the audio, taking you instantly to what you want to hear.

The official description from the app store shows how you can synchronise notes and audio with each key point being linked to the moment when the lecturer talks about that subject, and because it works on a tablet or phone there is no need to wait for a laptop to boot up.

Bookmarks can be created throughout the audio recording to highlight important points for easy referencing.  It allows you to take pictures and insert them into your notes and AudioNotes can be exported to Evernote, saved and organised there. A yellow background can be used instead of white for those with visual stress/sensitivity.

Many a student or academic has suffered for their flawed note taking. You accidentally get a name or a year wrong. You botch the transcription of a quote because you can’t type fast enough. You completely misunderstand the gist of a meeting, class, or speech because you cannot read your own handwriting.

A spate of products endeavors to make sure that never happens. There are applications for your laptop, like OneNote. There are Web-based and smartphone products, like Evernote. There are awesome, newfangled tools, like the Livescribe pen, which lets you write like normal on a piece of paper but records audio and transfers your notes to your computer. And the most recent wave of sleek tools aims to make your iPad or your iPhone as good as your computer or a pencil for jotting things down in the boardroom or classroom.

AudioNote lets you create, title, and organize notes. It lets you record audio. It lets you add drawings, so that you can sketch as well as type. It lets you email your notes, so that you can expand on them, edit them, or share them when you are done.

It also offers one awesome technical advance: syncing your notes to your audio recordings. Imagine you were halfway through a lecture or seminar, using one of the programs to record it and to type out ideas. A colleague elaborates on a particular theme about, for example, John Maynard Keynes. You write, “Keynes. economist. book title” Later, when you open up the note, you can just click on those words to hear that exact part of the conversation.

That means no more searching for a specific passage in a lecture. It means never again fudging a quote you cannot get down. And, for students, if not for budding academics, it makes writing notes much easier. Rather than spelling something out, you need only write enough to remind yourself of it. Phrases like “explanation of 2010 economic strategy in Bundestag under Angela Merkel” and “funny quote about colleague” and “this guy is such a bore” become useful shorthand rather than useless glyphs.

The AudioNote screen looks like a real notepad. Whenever you press Enter and start a new line, it adds a tiny timestamp. It also has some useful text formatting, like a handy highlighter function. It has much to recommend it and offers a vast leap over traditional methods of note taking— at least for those of us with woeful handwriting and the need to get down lots of quotes!

It costs £2.99 and is available from the iTunes store.

This YouTube video is a good introduction to AudioNote

Copyright © 2013 Luminant Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Posted on by Sebastiaan Eldritch-Böersen

Mar 6 2013

Amber Miro 30 July 1965 – 6 March 2012

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 – for Amber,
for the sake of whose difference I would gladly forsake all the sameness in the world….

image of amber miro I met Amber when I was interviewed for the job of Support Specialist – Assistive Technologies at London School of Economics in 2010. The day involved a brief exam in general IT, an interview, where James Hargrave, my line manager Adam Gale, and the head of Disability and Well-being Service, Nicola Martin were present; and the delivery of a Keynote presentation, the theme being ‘Over the next 5 years, what should universities aim to achieve by way of IT provision and support for students and staff with disabilities?’ As part of my presentation, I commented that I was, and remain, concerned, that many students and staff with disabilities are under-supported when trying to access learning materials with the appropriate software potentially available to them, either by poor and inaccessible web design or otherwise. One of Amber’s immediate replies asked if the LSE website was one such site. This definitely caught me off guard, but I had to be honest, and reply that like other Higher Education Institutions at that time, and other organisations, much time and work needed to be invested.

Suffice to say, I was offered the position on the day of the interview, which I accepted, and started on 01 March, 2010 – three years ago this week.

I already knew that Amber was very well regarded and had been at LSE for many years and was at that time one of the three Executive Directors of the then IT Services, and she was really helpful to me in getting settled in. I was very soon asked to visit the first iansyst conference at the University of Cambridge, and shortly after, the next UCISA (Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association) conference.

After this, Amber and I met to catch up, and we agreed that an audit of IT Services for students and staff with disabilities would be appropriate, with a view to benchmarking against similar Higher Education Institutions. This really encouraged me, knowing that I had an ally with a very similar outlook on how to potentially approach the problems faced within this sector, and how to work towards hopefully resolving some of them, with knowledge collection and sharing.

So, in the time I had the good fortune I worked with Amber at LSE, she was one of my senior bosses. We worked closely together and shared some difficult times. Typically we would get coffee from Pret and sometimes lunch. Amber always having a soya cappuccino with sweetener.  We shared a love for decent coffee, gadgets and a good few drinks when the opportunity presented itself as it frequently did at UCISA conferences. Later we both became avid social media users, particularly of Twitter.

My abiding memory of Amber is of her wearing her red coat and clutching her iPhone. That and (in a typical Amber paradox) a fountain pen!

Typically smiling, Amber always had time for people and a genuine interest in their lives. We shared a connection with Bath, my previous home town prior to my relocation to London. What will always make me smile was Amber’s unwavering ability to remember details, and the way she treated her colleagues as human beings, and not mere cogs in the machine, and as a consequence was extremely well regarded.

Amber combined this human touch with a strong competitive streak and a determination that you would not, perhaps, guess just by looking at her. I think it was the combination of these two things that enabled her to get things done. She would have an idea, talk about it, convince people and it would actually happen.

To add here that I obviously succeeded in getting the job I applied for is something I will honour and cherish for all time. Amber shared my passion for equality of access to learning resources, whatever the barrier, and actively encouraged anything that would reduce those obstacles, and for this, I applaud her.

On the day of Amber’s funeral, in the small Suffolk village of Thrandeston, where those closest to her went to “honour, cherish and bury” Amber, and then celebrate her life in a nearby pub in a way that Amber would, I am sure, approve of.  And whilst she leaves a huge hole in the lives of us all I feel privileged to have called Amber a friend and my life was better for knowing her. I know I am not alone. Whilst I was not able to be there myself, Amber was certainly with me in my thoughts that day.

At LSE and amongst the wider higher education community and amongst her friends and family I know there are many people feeling the same and that says it all.

If you would like to donate to Cancer Research in memory of Amber, you can do so here
Visit the virtual scrapbook in memory of Amber at http://www.ambermiro.org

Amber Miro was Assistant Director of IT Services at the London School of Economics and a member of the UCISA Executive. You can read the UCISA announcement of Amber’s death.

Posted by: Posted on by Sebastiaan Eldritch-Böersen Tagged with: , , , ,