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March 28, 2010

How to Find Free Microsoft Office Power Point, Word and Excel Templates


Today I am blogging about how to download thousands of free office templates from Microsoft Office. If you click on the picture above, it will take you to the Microsoft site where they post their free templates. Also if you create a template, you can upload it to their server and others will be able to download it as well. I am currently working on a (5 Year Planner) 2010 - 2015, 3 month planning calendar that I will be posting soon on the site. Stay tuned and I will let you know when I post it. It will be posted under academic year calendars. Hope this helps out. See you next week.

March 21, 2010

Why You Need to Back Up Your Files and Data Every Week!


Today I am blogging about a real life situation, and an important lesson in protecting your data files. Yes, that's right you need to be backing up your files, and data on all your portable hard drives, flash drives, and hard drives. What do you do when you have numerous important files (close to 40,000 files) on a 500GB portable hard drive that you have accumulated, or created over time and all the sudden, you are not able to access them anymore? Well this happened to me.

I recently purchased a 500 GB Western Digital Passport portable hard drive, and I would carry it with me everywhere I went. One day I went to plug it into my computer and it stopped working. I could no longer access all my important data files. Well fortunately I had another 250GB portable hard drive where I had backed up about 75% of the files from the 500 GB drive. So I lost about 25% of my data. When I called, and spoke to Western Digital, they told me to send it in to them, and they would send me a new drive. I mentioned to them about my data on the drive, and they referred me to their web site. On there web site, I found numerous partners that could attempt to save my data for a premium price.

I called these data saving partners and they want to charge anywhere from $750 to over $2,000 to try to recover the data. One partner told me that they would be charging me $149 an hour. I elected to recreate a lot of the files and data. Due to this experience, I recently purchased a 1 TB External hard (Toshiba 1 TB USB 2.0/eSATA Desktop External Hard Dive PH3100U-1EXB) drive for about $110 that sits on my desk, and every week I back up all my files on my current 250GB drive. You never know when your external portable drive will malfunction, and the files you have worked a long time to save will be gone forever.

The prices on these portable hard drives have dropped recently, and I am now finding that the protected cover on these drives are made of plastic. Any type of bump or movement on the drive could make it malfunction. So be careful when you go to purchase your new portable hard drive, and make sure you get one that has a metal casing around it. You will pay a little more for it, but in the long run it will be well worth it. I would recommend purchasing the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini 500 GB, 320 GB or 250GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive. I have been using the 250GB from Maxtor for over 1 year, and have not had any problems with it. I am about to purchase the 500GB external hard drive soon. Hope this helps you out when you purchase your external back up drive to protect your files, and data on your portable hard drives or flash drives.

Next week, I will be blogging about how to find free Microsoft Office Power Point, Word, Excel templates. Let's say your boss wants you to create a professional presentation for the staff. Where do you go to find these professional templates? I will share with you where you can download these templates for free! Don't forget in April I will be sharing with you how to use the new Flip Digital Camera software to make your own movies. See you next week.

March 14, 2010

1 Week to 5,000,000 Hits


It's amazing when something goes viral, that a lot of people find out about it, and all the sudden it spreads like a wildfire. Of course it does take time of posting to gather a following on your Youtube or Teachertube site. This next video was released on March 1, 2010, and as of today has close to 8,000,000 hits. That's right 8 Million visits. The video is about everything working together in a synchronistic way, where everything goes just perfect. You can check it out at

I think this is one of their numerous videos that they have been posting consistently over a 3 - 4 year period. This is where they slowly gathered their following. Remember it takes time of posting videos consistently to get noticed. Unless you do something great and Hollywood picks it up. Yes, it really can happen. If you have not done so you can see a post I did where a video post was noticed by Hollywood Directors and Producers and someone got a nice pay out. You can check it out on the post I did back in December ,27, 2009. I have posted the video in two froms, one off of Youtube and the other posted on blogger.

Ok, today's blog is about a cool web site where you get pictures by spinning a galaxy. That's right, if you don't believe me, you can check it out yourself at You can simply type in the tags that you are looking for and you will see a galaxy with a sun and various tags to limit your search. Then you will continue to see more planets with tag words that will help you narrow your search. With the mouse, you can spin the planets and move them side to side, or up and down. It's pretty cool. Here is what the galaxy looks like when you do a search on Spring BreakMost of the pictures will come from Flickr or a picture hosting web site. Anyways once you have found your globe with pictures you can click on it and spin it. Pretty cool. Alright, next week I will be sharing with you the importance of backing up your hard drive. What do you do when one goes bad and you have over 250GB of data and files on it and you have not backed it up? Yes, you can pay to recover it, but how much are you willing to pay? I will tell you about that story next week. Do not forget in April, I will be blogging about the Flip camera software and posting step by step pictures on how to create a movie using the software. Take care.

March 7, 2010

How to Create a Podcast or Vodcast Part 3 of 3

Today is the last blog post for our series on How to Create a Podcast or a Vodcast. I will be talking about the following steps.

5. Turning your Podcast into a Vodcast
6. Publishing and Promoting
Let’s get started with step 5.
5. Turning your Podcast into a Vodcast: You should have your own recording of your students in Audacity. Now let’s go over adding music to your podcast. Background music is an important part of most podcasts. When you add music it give it a professional sound. One of the biggest challenges in selecting music is to make sure you follow copyright laws. When you publish your podcast/vodcast to the internet it will be heard or seen by many people. To learn more about fair use guidelines for education please visit: Guidelines for Fair Use. To add music for your intro and outro, you go to Project -> Import Audio See the picture below.
Once you find your audio on your computer, you will need to click on the open button at the bottom to bring it into Audacity. This will bring the clip into Audacity on a neew audio track. Now, this is a good point to talk about copyright issues. You are suppose to only use the first 30 seconds of a song or 10 percent, which ever comes first. You can also write the writer of the song and ask for permission to use it. Once you bring your audio in you can edit it, cut it up and take the 30 seconds or less that you want to use for your intro or outro. When you have added your background music you will want to save your completed file by going to File -> Save Project This will create a special Audacity file format that you can come back and edit later on. See the picture below.
You can also find songs for use in your podcast on or

You can also find royalty free music to use on the following sites below:

If your school has an Apple computer the program Garage Band is included with the Mac and allows you to create your own music. Window users can purchase the program Mixcraft 5 from Acoustica for around $75

When you have all your audio files you want you can add different effects to your audios. Simply click and drag the mouse over the audio portion you wish to edit and click on Effect. You will want to play around with all these special effects. There even is a Darth Vader voice effect from the movie Star Wars. I believe it is the Change Pitch Effect. See the picture below.Now you are ready to compress all your audio files to create one single track and create an Mp3. By using an Mp3 format it will produce a high quality file in a very small size. This is where you will use the LAME file that we downloaded in an earlier blog post. To compress your wav file into a MP3 follow these simple steps: File -> Export As MP3 and name the file and save to your computer. It's probably a good idea to save the files to your desktop. See the picture below.

Now, you are ready to create the Vodcast. A vodcast is a video form of a podcast. To create your podcast using windows you can use Windows Movie Maker or PhotoStory 3. Both programs are free and most people do not know that Windows Movie Maker is already on their computer. You can download PhotStory 3 by visiting PhotoStory 3

To learn how to use Windows Movie Maker please visit my Sunday, November 29, 2009 post on Making Professional Movies with Digital Pictures/Videos for Free! To learn how to use PhotoStory 3 email me and I will send you a free tutorial document.

Once you have saved your final movie in Movie Maker or PhotoStory 3, you need to convert your files from a Windows Media Video to a MP4 by using Jodix. Simply visit and follow the instructions on the site. You can also download free software, like Format Factory that will allow you to convert it to numerous formats. Basically, you want to stay with the MP4 format so others can subscribe to it in Itunes.

6. Publishing and Promoting: To publish your finished podcast and vodcasts you will need to have a RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication). A podcast and vodcast can be played directly from a website. Of course they need to be downloaded to an aggregator like Itunes and Feedburner so that someone with an IPod or Zen download the content to a player to use.

You will need 2 separate files to publish to a website, which includes audio or video files. A special written language called XML language must be posted. This document contains all the important RSS information that allows your podcast/vodcast to work.

If you wish to use podcasting on your own domain, you will have to create this document for yourself. The document consists of an introductory portion and a list of items. Of course you can also use free and paid services that will help build the RSS, but to make it work well with Itunes, special tags should be included. You can also use other hosting sites that are free and paid like , , If you use these sites you want to remember to not have any pictures of your students in the video. You never want to post videos of your students online.

To promote your web site you want to use tags, or labels so google can find you. Tags and labels are key words that help people that are searching for content to find you. For example, if you look at the end of this post you will see the tags that I have used in this blog post. You also want to share your podcast or vodcast with people that are interested in your content. You will find that it takes time, and consistent posting to get noticed in the search engines and to draw traffic to your site. You can start a blog about your podcasts or vodcasts. You can also leave positive comments on other people's blogs, podcasts and vodcasts. Hope these tips help you out, as you start to create your own podcast or vodcast with your children.

Next week, you will hear and see a video that went viral on March 1, 2010 and as of March 6, 2010 it has received almost 5,000,000 visits. That's right almost 5 MILLION hits. Can you believe it? 6 days later a video gets those types of visits. Coming soon in April, I will be blogging about how to use the Flip Digital camera software and how to edit your videos to get them ready to post online. Also in 2 weeks you will be hearing about the importance of backing up your portable hard drives and how expensive it can be to recover data. See you soon.