Saturday, September 5, 2009

OU email and Gmail

I work for the University of Oklahoma, which uses an Exchange-based email system. As a Mac user, this is very frustrating for me; the Microsoft email client is definitely not something I want to install on my computer. I've had very good luck with Gmail, though. I use Gmail to collect my OU email, leaving a copy on the server, and I can send my outgoing email through the OU email server, so that as far as anyone is concerned my email comes from OU - in fact, it DOES come from OU, via the OU email server. Gmail uses the account information I provide to access that server.

Why this is better than just having OU email forward my email to Gmail:

1) I have a back-up copy of my incoming email on the OU server, just in case.
2) I get the benefit of OU's spam email filters, PLUS the Gmail spam filters - a double spam filter whammy!
3) I can configure my outgoing email so that it comes from OU, and people reply to me at OU.

Here's how it works:

FIRST STEP: OU Inbox. Get your OU email inbox under control. If you are not in the habit of cleaning out your inbox, do so now. Everything that is in your OU email inbox will be pulled over into Gmail when you follow these steps - but not any of your other folders. So, move stuff out of your inbox if you do not want to pull it over, and if you have emails in folders that you want to bring over to Gmail, move those items to your inbox.

SECOND STEP: Cancel forwarding. If you are already forwarding your email to Gmail, you will want to cancel the forwarding, so that the email will stay in your OU inbox, and Gmail can collect it, while also leaving a copy on the server. So, if you have a forwarding order in place, go to and cancel your forward (you can also use this as an opportunity to check on your OU spam filters; I have mine set at "normal").

THIRD STEP: Configure Gmail to to SEND your outgoing email using the OU email server and to COLLECT mail from your OU inbox.

Click on Settings along the top of your Gmail page, then choose Accounts.

In the Send Mail As section, click the button that says "Send Mail From Another Address" and when prompted enter the email address. For example, I enter, since that is my OU email address.

Then, I select to have my outgoing email actually sent by the OU email server. To do that, I have to specify the name of the OU email server, which is I select the server port, which is 587 - and do NOT check the secure option below. You also need to enter your username (your OU 4x4) and password. (Note that the name of the server is not what Gmail expects: it is - with a letter "a" before "smtp" - so you need to make sure you enter the server name correctly.)

Then, after you have saved this outgoing email option, you can choose it as your DEFAULT option if you want your outgoing email from Gmail to always come from this address. (You can choose your Gmail outgoing address for any email you want to come from Gmail directly instead.) Just click the "make default" link to choose the default outgoing email address:

Then, when it is the default, it will appear like this:

To have Gmail also collect the email from your OU account, go to the Check Mail Using POP3 section and click on the button that says "Add POP3 Email Account" - you will then be prompted to enter the email address you want to collect, so again I enter, which is my OU email address.

Next, you will have to specify the server,, and the port is 995. You also need to enter your username (your OU 4x4) and password. This time you DO need to check the SSL security box. Optionally, you can leave a copy on the server, which is what I always do - that gives me a handy backup in case something goes wrong with Gmail. Admittedly, OU email is down more often than Gmail is - but this way you have your inbox in two places, just in case.

Gmail will check your other email accounts quite often, but if you ever want it to force it to go check your email right away, just click on Check Email Now next to the account you want to check.

HAVE FUN! This ability to use the smtp server of your business or school is something Google just released in August, and it has been working great for me - now there is no reason at all for me to log directly onto my school email account. Gmail is managing all of that for me - both incoming and outgoing email! Nice!


Friday, August 28, 2009

GoogleSites: Sidebar and Site Navigation

By default, the GoogleSites Sidebar contains links to the pages you have created in your GoogleSite. If you click on Edit Sidebar, you have various options for customizing how the sidebar is displayed. You will find the Edit Sidebar link down at the bottom of your Sidebar (if you do not see that, it means you are probably not logged on to your Google account; log on, and then you will see the link):

Sidebar Width and Position. You can change the width and/or the position of the sidebar by clicking on Change Site Layout.

After you click on Change Site Layout, you will see a variety of options. You even have the option to hide the sidebar if you want by clicking on "No sidebar."

When you are done making changes to the size and position of the Sidebar, make sure you click OK to save your changes. This will close the Site Layout dialog window.

Sidebar Navigation. By default, navigation links to the pages in your site are included in the Sidebar. To change the ORDER of the links, un-check the box that says "Automatically organize my navigation."

Customize the Navigation. When you un-check the automatic navigation box, you will see a list of pages pop up, with up and down arrows to let you organize the order in which they are listed. There is also an "X" which lets you delete an item from the navigation listing. The left and right arrows allow you to indent the pages to create something like a Table of Contents with sections and subsections.

You cannot change the name of a page here, but you can get around that by using the Add URL option; just add the URL of your GoogleSite page with the Text you want to display.

After you click OK, you will see the Text that you added in the list of pages, which you can move up and down just like the other pages in your site.

Add Text to the Sidebar. You can add additional text to your Sidebar. To add a text box, click on Add a Sidebar Item, a scrolling menu will come up; choose Text as the option.

After you choose Text, a Text Box will appear; to add context to the Text Box, click Edit:

You will then see the Text Box Editor which allows you to include formatted text and links.

Although it does not have an image icon to make it easy to add images, you can do that by remote linking to an image. Just click on the HTML edit button, and then enter the image tag directly, using IMG SRC.

(To do this, you will need to understand the basics of HTML code.)

SAVE CHANGES. If you have made changes, don't forget to click on Save Changes at the top (or bottom) of the page when you are done. You can then click on Return To Site to see how the changes look.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GoogleSites: Adding a YouTube video to your page

For up to date instructions, please visit this wiki:
The contents at this blog are ANCIENT :-)

GoogleSites: Creating a new page

After you have created your site and added some content to your homepage (instructions), you can add additional pages to your site.

Create a page. So, go to, and you should see a list of the sites you have created. Click on the link to the site to which you want to add a page. Then, when you see the homepage of the site, click on the Create page button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Template and location. In addition to the basic webpage (which is probably what you want to choose), GoogleSites offers some other kinds of pages that you can build. In addition, you can also choose what kind of address you want. By default, GoogleSites will create a webpage in the same directory as your homepage ("Put page at the top level"). Unless you have a specific reason for changing this option, just leave it the way it is.

Page name. You can type in the page name with upper- and lower-case letters, spaces, and so on, and Google will adjust the page name so that it will function as a web address (all lower-case letters, no spaces). You can force the address to be something else, but you will probably just want to use the address that Google suggests. When you are done, click on the Create Page button at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Edit and save your new page. You can now edit your page following the same instructions as for editing the homepage - adding text, links, images, etc. Make sure to use the Save button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to save your work when you are done!

Site navigation: It's automatic! Notice that your new page is automatically added to the navigation sidebar on your homepage! That's a big advantage of the GoogleSites editor: you can go in and make changes if you want, but by default it builds the simple site navigation for you!

GoogleSites: Creating your first page

After a long wait, there is finally a Google wiki and web publishing tool: GoogleSites. This replaces and extends Google's earlier effort at online web publishing (the old system was called GooglePages). I'm guessing that GoogleSites is going to be a very useful tool for some of my online students, particularly those folks who are either living abroad or who might be doing their work on multiple computers and/or in Internet cafes. So, I'll be writing up some tips here, explaining some of the nice features available with GoogleSites.

To get started, you will need a Gmail account which gives you a log-on you can use for all the Google services online, including GoogleSites.

Then, go to the GoogleSites address:

Create new site. You will start by clicking on the Create New Site button.

Name your site. Next you will be prompted to give your site a name. You can type the name you want (with upper- and lower-case letters, spaces, etc.) in the box, and then Google will try to guess what you want the website address to be (eliminating spaces, punctuation, etc.). You can make changes to the website address, or accept the suggestion that Google gives you. Optionally, you can add a brief description to the website. Then, you can choose a template - but don't worry: you can always change the template later. When you are done, fill in the "captcha" challenge at the bottom (to prove you are not a spambot!), and Google will then create your site for you.

Editing and adding pages. You should now see the homepage of your site, ready to fill in. To start editing the page, you will click on the Edit button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. To add pages to the site, use the Create Page button which is next to the Edit button.

Edit the page. When you click on the Edit page button, you will be able to edit the two different portions of your page: the Title Bar, and the Contents area. The editor gives you the standard features you expect, such as the ability to format your text with bold or italics, change the font, insert links, etc.

Creating links. In the spirit of being a "wiki," the Google Sites editor expects that you are going to be making links from one page of your website to another. So, when you highlight a piece of text and click on the link icon, you will be prompted to create a link to some other page in your website:

So, in order to create a link to an external website, you need to first click where it says Web address:

This will change the editing screen, giving you an option to insert the address of the page you want to link to, along with an option to open the webpage in a new tab of the browser.

Inserting images. To insert an image, click on the Insert menu on the left side of the screen, and choose the Insert Image option from the drop-down menu:

You will then be prompted to browse for and upload an image. This is definitely the best option to choose! Although it is possible to remote link to an image on someone else's page, it is much better to save a copy of the image to your computer, and then upload it here to GoogleSites. That way, even if the other person's webpage disappears from the web, your image will not be affected. Just make sure you also include Image Information to credit your original web source!

Save. When you are done, make sure you click on the Save button in the upper right-hand corner to save your work!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Webinar: Latin 2.0 - Personal Learning Networks

Last week I did a "webinar" (ugh, terrible word!) for Latin teachers, providing an overview of my favorite web2.0 tools, along with some attempt to explain just what web2.0 means to me.

So... here is my question: what are YOUR favorite web2.0 tools these days, and is the buzzword web2.0 important to you in your work?

For more on my perspective, here are the three slideshows I used as part of the webinar - there's a link to the full-sized screen version for each one:

PART ONE: LATIN 2.0 PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORKS. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.

PART TWO: WEB 2.0 TERMINOLOGY. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.

PART THREE: WEB 2.0 TOOLS. Here is a link to the FULL-SIZED screen version.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Embed a Video

If your website allows members to upload videos, you can grab those videos and display them in your own webpage or blog by using the embed code. Here's how:

Video tab. Click on the Video tab to see what videos are available at the Ning. Here are the videos at the Aesopus Ning, for example.

Click on the video you want to use. Below the video, you will see a link that says Embed Code; click on that link.

Copy the HTML Embed Code, and insert it into your webpage or wiki or blog - wherever embedding is allowed... like here at! To make it fit, I changed the width to 400 and the height to 301.

Sharing what you read at Google Reader

Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to share what you are reading with others and/or to republish the contents of the feeds in your own webpage or blog.

Here's how it works: You can organize your subscriptions into folders, and then optionally make those folders public. When a folder is public, other people can access the contents of the folder either via a webpage (a bit clunky), or in a widget that shows a list of the feeds you are subscribed to, or the latest items in the folder. This is very cool! Using this option, you can instantly add a blogroll to your own blog, or a widget that displays the latest items in the blogs you are reading. See below for examples of what the blogroll and clippings widgets look like.

Feeds and Folders. First, you need to set up your GoogleReader service and organize your subscriptions in folders. To add a subscription to a folder, just click on a feed, then click on the Feed Settings button and select the folder(s) to add the feed to a folder. To remove a feed from a folder, just click on the folder and it will be deselected.

Share a Folder. To share a folder, click on Settings in the upper right-hand corner.

Then click on the Folders tab in order to access the folder the sharing options.

To adjust the privacy setting of a folder, select the folder, and then use the Change Sharing menu to choose public or private.

Ways to Share. After you make a folder public, you will see various options off to the right which are the links you need in order to share the contents of the folder as a webpage, as a clip of the latest items, or as a blogroll listing the subscriptions!

So here is the a blogroll of all the feeds in my Latin folder - are there other Latin- and Classics-related blogs I should be reading??? Let me know!

Plus, here is a clip of the latest items (I've chosen to list just 7 items, but you can configure the widget to list even more if you want) - cool!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Combination Scripts for Random Widgets

One of the fascinating things about the tool for creating widgets with randomized content is that you can actually do a meta-widget, where what is being randomized is the widgets themselves!

It works like this: First you create the individual widgets, which are available separately. Then, create another widget, and in the individual cells, put the javascript call for the other widgets. This new "meta-widget" will then run in two stages: to begin, it will randomly choose from one of the widgets, and then it will run that other widget. How cool!

So, for example, here is a "Random Greco-Roman Image" widget which randomly selects from these individual widgets: Greek Gods and Goddesses, Greek Beasts, and Roman Emperors.

Embed a Google Slideshow

My favorite feature of Google Slideshows - a.k.a. Presentations, in the GoogleDocuments system - is that they can be emdedded in other webpages.

Grab code from embedded slideshow. If you are viewing an embedded slideshow, you can get the code directly from that show - just click on the Menu button, and you will see a slide pop up that gives you the embed code which you can cut and paste directly - it's so easy!

Here are the instructions to follow if you want to share and distribute your Google Presentations in this way - embedding them in your own webpages, and also allowing other people to take the shows and embed them in their webpages. It's easy!

1. Share. To get started click on the Share tab in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and then choose Publish/Embed from the drop-down menu.

2. Publish. You will then need to click on the Publish button to publish your slideshow so that others can see it.

3. Get embed code. You can configure the size and features of your slideshow, and then get the embed code which is displayed.

4. Cut-and-paste embed code
. The specific instructions for how to add the HTML code will vary based on where you are publishing your content. For blogs, you can switch to the "Edit HTML" tab and insert the code.

4. Sizing for I like to make the player even a little bit smaller than 410 pixels in width so that it will fit nicely in a blog post. To do this, I manually change the embed code after I paste it into the blog post - choosing 400 for the width and 333 for the height. Here are the results:

Some dynamic content may not display if you are reading this blog via RSS or through an email subscription. You can always visit the How-To Tech Tips blog to see the full content, and to find out how to subscribe to the latest posts.

Embed a Google Calendar

One of the best features of Google Calendar is that you can embed it in other websites. For example, I embed a Google Calendar of my class assignments INSIDE the Desire2Learn course management system for my classes. Here are step by step instructions for embedding a Google Calendar in a blog or other webpage.

To embed a GoogleCalendar you will need the "embed code" (some scary-looking HTML). The embed code is only available for calendars you have chosen to share publicly. So, go to your panel of Google Calendars, and click on Settings to share a calendar and get the embed code.

1. Access Settings. Click on Settings in the lower left-hand calendar of the panel that lists all your Google Calendars.

2. Select Calendar. You will see a listing of ALL your Calendars. Find the calendar you want to embed, with a column that shows whether the calendar is shared.

3. Share calendar. Click on the share settings link for the individual calendar you want to embed:

To embed the calendar, it needs to be publicly shared:

4. Calendar detail. Next, click on the Calendar Details tab that you should see across the top of the screen. Change from Share this calendar:

By clicking on the Calendar Details tab instead:

5. Default embed code. There is a default embed code you can see on the Calendar Details screen - but what you really want to do is click on the link that says Customize, so you can change the height, width and other display options.

6. Customize embed code. It is important to change the height and width to what you want - and you can also select whether default view is Agenda, Weekly or Monthly, along with other options. You can then copy and paste the resulting HTML embed code that shows up in the box as you make your choices.

7. Cut-and-paste embed code. The specific instructions for how to add the HTML code will vary based on where you are publishing your content. For blogs, you can switch to the "Edit HTML" tab and insert the code.

Don't worry if it looks a little weird - sometimes the content will not display until you actually publish the webpage online and view it in a browser. For example, in, the embedded calendar does not display until you publish the blog page; what you will see instead is this (below). Don't worry: ou can use the Preview mode to check and make sure everything really is okay!

8. Publish the page. You can see the results of my embedded Roman Calendar below! :-)