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Technology News and Notes

This page is being updated for 2024.  Some older things have been removed and some things have been updated. 


Tech Tip - Ticket System Review (Updated 2024)

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 1/30/2020 and updated 3/1/2024

For this week's tip, we will take a moment to briefly review our two ticket systems. The two systems are the Tech Request System and the Operations Request System

Operations Ticket System:
Login: Login with Google TTSD account
Uses: For custodial type needs in your classroom.
Examples: change light bulb, fix lock on door, broken glass, spilled food/beverage, HVAC, electrical outlet needs, broken sink, etc. 
Who sees this: Memmo (and district operations as needed)

Tech Request System:
Login: your TTSD login
Uses: For any technical/electronic needs
Examples: Computers, phone, video projector, printer, software, etc. 
Who sees this: Aaron and Jeremy (and District IT as needed)
Other features: Change password, support details

Change Password: Direct Link. You will be required to do this every 6 months or so but you can do it more often if you'd like. Changing your password here is the most reliable way of making sure all systems that use your TTSD account are properly updated. 

Support Details: Direct Link. This link will display some system information about the computer you are currently using to view the page. This can be referenced by members of the IT department when helping you troubleshoot problems. 

Tech Tip - Selecting and working with multiple files

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 1/22/2020

This week's tech tip will focus on file management. It will be applicable to both Windows and Mac users but the keyboard shortcuts will differ slightly. 

First we'll look at what a folder is and what a file can skip this section if you don't need the review. 

Folders: Folders are just a collection of: Files and folders. A folder inside a folder is sometimes called a "Sub Folder". Your computer has a file system built into it when it was issued to you. It differs between mac and windows users but serves the same purpose. There's a folder that holds the Operating System content and another one that holds applications and yet another that holds user data. We'll be focusing on the User folder here. 

On a mac, you'll find that by opening the Macintosh HD icon and then double-clicking on the folder named "Users" visible in that window then double click your username (mine is aleininger for instance). The icon will look like a house unless you customized it. 

On a Windows PC, click the Yellow folder icon on your task bar and you'll see a slew of shortcuts that live in your personal user folder available. Windows users can also press start and type c:\users\username (username is your username) to get a folder view that will look much like what the mac users will see. 

Inside your user folder you'll find things like Desktop, Documents, Images/Pictures, Movies, Downloads. These are all created for you by the OS developers to make life easier. For this tip, I'd like to work in the Documents folder. 

You will notice a list of files and folders there. Some of you use your desktop more than your documents. If that's the case, just back up to your user folder and open desktop instead. 

Files and folders to the computer are just objects that can be manipulated. You click once (left button for right-handers) to select a file or folder. Double click to open it and right click to give yourself a menu of options for it (cmd+click by default on a mac..though you can turn on right click if you want!). 

To select more than one file OR folder, simply select the first one you want, then hold ctrl (cmd on a mac) to select any other file or folder. You can continue doing this as many times as necessary to get all the files you want selected. You can then click and drag any one of the selected items (does NOT matter if it's a file or folder) and drag it someplace or act on it in some way. Examples might be moving a bunch of files into a folder for better organization or selecting a bunch of files to compress into a zip file. 

If you have a list of files next to each other and you want to select them all and NOT skip any, select the first file by clicking on it, then hold shift and click the last file that you want included and ALL FILES IN BETWEEN will be selected as well. On a mac, you need to be in list view for this to work. If you are in icon view, it will work just like if you held down cmd as above. 

I hope this tip proves helpful to some of you trying to organize your files. I am happy to do demos of this in my office at your convenience, if desired. 

Tech Tip - Fancier gmail

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 1/9/2020

Ever wanted to write an email with complex content in it that gmail just doesn't have controls for? Look no further, the answer is here! What Google hasn't told you is that gmail and Google Docs speak exactly the same langauge. They just provide a much simpler editor in gmail. 

Simply start a new google doc in your TTSD Google Drive. You can use the full power of Google Docs, which is vastly superiior to gmail's editor, and then simply copy and paste the entire thing into the body of a gmail!

To quickly copy the entire body of a google doc, press ctrl+a on windows or cmd+a on mac to select all then ctrl+c to copy to clipboard on windows or cmd+c on mac. Next, switch over to gmail, start your new gmail, enter any recipients and the subject then click where you'd normally type your email and press ctrl+v to paste on windows or cmd+v on voila! 


p.s. It also works with cells from Google Sheets. You can copy and paste those directly into a gmail as well. Be aware that those copy/pasted sheets will seem editable but any forumla and links in the copied cells will not come along for the ride...only the static results...but if you just need a quick copy of some cell data to drop into an email, you'll get it along with any formatting!!

Tech Tip - Zooming for Presenters

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 12/17/2019

Sorry for not having a tip last week. This week's tip will be on some useful ways to zoom in on a part of your screen for better viewing for your classes or other presentations. It will be in two separate parts as it is different on Macs vs Windows. Scroll to the section of this post appropriate to the type of laptop you have. 

Macintosh (Both macbook air and pro!)

To start, you will need to open System Preferences and from there, Accessibility. Next click on Zoom and check the box labeled: "Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom". The 3 shortcuts you will need are listed on that screen but I will also list them here and describe them for you. You can test them immediately with the current screen still open. 

opt+cmd+8 : Toggle zoom mode. This will turn on and off zoom mode. While in zoom mode, you can move your mouse cursor around to change the focus of the zoomed area. 

opt+cmd+= : This is used only while zoomed in. It will increase the zoom level. 

opt+cmd+- : This is used only while zoomed in. It will decrease the zoom level. 

Use the above to bring important material front and center during your presentation. 


I recommend a free microsoft tool called zoomit. You can download it here:

This will download a zip file to your computer. Open it and drag the file named "zoomit" to your desktop and run it. It will place an icon in your system tray (that's the area where your clock is, usually on the lower right-hand side of the screen). Once it's running then see how to use it below

On first run, you will be asked to approve some legaleze. After doing that you'll see the zoomit control panel showing you a variety of features available. Close it for now and continue below. Note: Use that control panel if you wish to customize the short-cut keys available. The program will not activate if the control panel is open! 

Now that you have zoomit running, press CTRL+1 to activate zoom mode. Press ESC to return to normal. You can move your mouse around the screen to change the focus of the zoomed area but in this mode, the screen is paused. Go back to normal mode to go live again. 

Press CTRL+2 to activate annotation mode. This will turn your cursor into a red drawing tool. Default action is freehand drawing on the screen. You can hold modifier keys to draw circles, rectangles, elipses and arrows. The control panel has the full list of shortcuts for that. You can also enter annotation mode from zoom mode. Click your left mouse button while in zoom mode to activate annotation mode from there. If you'd like to save copies of your doodles+screen, press CTRL+S (same as MS Word!)to bring up a save dialog. You can then pick a folder and filename and a screenshot will be saved. Want to type text in annotation mode? Press 't' to enter typing mode. As always, pressing ESC will leave annotation mode and go back live. Please note that if you did not save a screen shot, all your annotations will be lost. 

You can activate a timer by pressing CTRL+3. The amount on the timer can be set in the app's control panel under the tab 'break'. Default is 10 minutes. Advanced options exist to move the timer on the screen, apply a background image for it and even set an alarm sound when it hits 0. 

The final mode is livezoom. This is toggled with CTRL+4. This is like regular zoom but programs continue to run live. Sometimes this behavior is preferred over the regular zoom mode that pauses content. 

I hope this tip has proved helpful. As always, I am available to help in the setup, installation and/or use of these zoom tools. Enjoy!

Tech Tip - Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 12/2/2019

So rebooting your can and does fix many issues. That said, the title of this tip also can apply to specific devices attached to your computer such as printers and scanners and also works with your classroom/office phone! 


  • Your phone receives phone calls but many or all buttons do nothing. There's a good chance, unplugging the main cable and plugging it back in (turning it off and on again) will fix it. If not, maybe you have a stuck key...
  • Can't print? Already rebooted your computer? Try turning off the printer and turning it back on!! 
  • Computer just acting funny, slow or unresponsive? Have you tried turning it off and on again? ;-p

Why does it work? In a nutshell, there is certain code executed by the computer or device on startup..when you turn the device off, everything that was running stops and the code that is executed at startup starts fresh. Many times, whatever is causing the problem is forced to go away. 

Tech Tip - Choosing a Good Password

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 11/25/2019

This tip is related to the last one. I have been asked many times over the years what makes a good password. There are two components. One is length. Less than 8 characters is trivially guessable by a computer regardless of what letters, numbers and symbols are included. The second is ease of remembering. If a password, or password style, is hard to remember, no one will want to make a password in that style. 

A password of W#KANSKDNAsd32142NCXNZA@!#$@390 is incredibly secure but impossible to remember and thus useless without a password manager or writing it down (not a good idea...too easily stolen). On the flipside a password of password or qwerty is very easy to remember but a computer tool can get that in seconds. 

My best advise for choosing a password is to use a sentence, complete with spaces and proper punctuation, as your password. The password: "My dog's name is Fido." (without the quotes) is extremely secure with 21 characters (above 9 or 10 starts to take on the order of years for a computer program to get) and yet easy for us humans to remember! Also note in my password example that it has captial letters, lower case letters and punctuation marks. This adds complexity and thus makes it even harder to guess for a computer. 

If you are comforatable using password managers (see last week's tech tip for more!), you can resort to purely random nonsense for passwords and be secure as you'll never need to memorize them. 

Stay tuned for another tip next week.
Thank you for your time and have a great Thanksgiving! 

Tech Tip - Password Managers

Posted by Aaron Leininger on 11/19/2019

Today's tip is about password managers. I recommend LastPass and Keepass

Why a password maanger? Password managers help you store and remember passwords for all the different sites you access both at school and at home. It is highly advisable to use different passwords for every site you visit yet without a password manager, it's nearly impossible to keep track of them all. 

LastPass: This is an extension usable in chrome and firefox browsers that will use a master password that unlocks access to all your saved passwords. It accomplishes this by way of a single password that you will need to remember. Your passwords are stored on the cloud but they are encrypted and even LastPass has no access to them. 

Pros: You can install the browser extension on any phone, laptop or other device, login and have access to your passwords anywhere. Works on Mac, PC and Linux as well as common phones such as android and iPhone and most tablets. 

Cons: Your passwords are stored on LastPass' servers so should something happen to that company, you might lose access to them. It might be a good idea to back them up from time to time. Also, LastPass is not open source so the source code is not able to be inspected to see if it really does what the authors say it does. 

Keepass: This is a full downloadable app that encrypts and stores your passwords locally on your own computer or on a portable drive such as a flash drive. As with LastPass, you use a single password to unlock the encrypted passwords it saves. 

Pros: Open source. The code is available to prove that it does what it says. It works on windows and on linux through an emulator. There are separate programmers who have developed it from the source code for phones and macs and other platforms. 

Cons: Does not work for mac or native linux unless you get one of the ported project copies (see Pros). These ports are not official but work. You have to carry a copy of your passwords with you (or store the full database on a portable drive that you take with you) to use it away from your desk/home.