Computer How To

Desktop Text  Msconfig   Prodikeys   Change drive letter   Capture YouTube

    Share Google Calendars     Table of Contents    PPoint Page Turn Transitions

Office Network    Save Finale Files as PDF    Single Click w/o Control Panel   CPS

Page # + Running Header    SmartMusic    View Cache IE

Blackboard 8

Change  Clock from Military Time        Enroll Students in BBoard       Clear Java files

Copying Exams in Blackboard   Blackboard Grading Formulas    Blackboard Question Sets

Blackboard 9

Restart Order

Turn off:

  1. Wireless router and unplug

  2. DSL and unplug

  3. Computer and wait 30 seconds

Turn on:

  1. Plug in DSL and turn on (wait for it to recycle)

  2. Plug in Wireless

  3. Computer


To use the Prodikeys keyboard with a 3rd party MIDI software, simply select "Creative Prodikeys" as the MIDI Input device in the settings for MIDI devices.

 (Make sure you have also selected the right MIDI Output device). And you are ready to use the Prodikeys with any of your favorite MIDI software.

Adding color behind desktop icons:


Click on Start > Control Panel > Look for an icon called System, **if it is not on this screen click the Performance and Maintenance icon, then find the System Icon from there.

After you’ve opened the system icon select the “Advanced” tab.

Now under where it says Performance click the Settings button, this will bring up the Performance Options window.

On the visual effects tab you should see a scroll bar, scroll to the bottom and look for a checked box with the caption “Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”  uncheck this box and hit “OK” to apply this.


To change the icon color go to the desktop and right click, then go to properties. Select the desktop tab, you should see a “Color” option near the bottom right, set this to whatever color you want.


How to use MSCONFIG

Here is how to use MSCONFIG in Windows XP to disable some of the unnecessary programs that automatically load on start-up. Disabling these programs will help your computer boot faster and crash less. [For step-by-step instructions on how to use MSCONFIG in other versions of Windows, please visit my main How to Use MSCONFIG page.]

1. In Windows XP, go to Start > Run
Start > Run in Windows XP

2. Type MSCONFIG in the "Open:" box and then either press enter on your keyboard or click on the OK button.

3. This launches Microsoft's System Configuration Utility. Click on the Startup tab (the tab at the far right).
System Configuration Utility in Windows XP

4. This takes you to a page with a list of "startup items." Startup items are programs that are automatically loaded every time you turn on your computer. Some startup programs are absolutely necessary, others are simply a waste of RAM.
System Configuration Utilities, Startup Tab, in Windows XP

In Windows XP, all of Windows' essential programs are loaded through something called "Windows Services." This means that most of the startup items you see in XP are completely optional and can be turned off. However, a good rule of thumb is to disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running all the time. When in doubt, leave it on. Or, better still, check out Paul "PacMan" Collins' huge "Startup Applications" list at This list of over 13,000 startup items you may encounter in MSCONFIG tells you which items are absolutely necessary, which items are optional, and which items you should definitely uncheck.

Here's a good example. On my computer I have a mess of MP3s and I listen to those MP3s with a program called WinAmp. For some reason or other, WinAmp decided that it should always be running on my computer even when I am not using the program. That's silly. To prevent WinAmp from automatically starting every time I boot my computer, I ran MSCONFIG and unchecked "WinampAgent." That's it.

Remember, disable only those programs that you recognize and don't need to have running all the time. When in doubt, leave it on.

5. Click on the OK button.

6. A message will pop up telling you that you must restart your computer before these changes will take effect. Click on "Yes" and your computer will automatically reboot.
XP restart dialog box

7. That's it! Your computer should now boot faster and crash less.

And if you ever want to turn on any of the startup items you disabled with MSCONFIG, just run MSCONFIG again.

PowerPoint Page Turn Transition


  1. First produce your slides! Then save the presentation but choose the option to save as "jpeg file interchange format" (You'll need to scroll down in the save as type box).

  2. Now on slide 2 add from draw > autoshapes > basic shapes a "page curl" shape. You might want to make the curl more obvious with the yellow handle.

  3. Right click and > format autoshape. In fill > color choose "fill effects > picture" and insert the saved jpeg of slide 1 (note the slide before!). Change line to "no line". Slide 2 should now look pretty much the same as slide 1!

  4. Now give the page curl an exit animation of collapse > to left > medium speed and "with previous". Also add a with previous emphasis > grow 150% > medium speed.

  5. Test this out.

  6. If all is well copy and paste the page curl on to the next slide and use format autoshape to change the picture to the jpeg of slide 2. Continue!


Capturing YouTube

  1. Download a free .flv (flash movie player) such as VLC Media Player from://

  2. Find the YouTube video and copy its URL

  3. Navigate to or http://www.techcrunch.comget-youtube-movie/  and paste the URL there.

  4. The program will download the file.  It will send it to your computer to save it as a file called "get video" which is worthless until you . . .

  5. Rename the file and add the extension .flv   Example:  SusyBanjo.flv

  6. You can also purchase a program that will further convert the .flv to a .wmv file which Media Player (and others)  Replay Converter is about $30


Enroll Students in Blackboard

  1. Click on the 'Teach' tab

  2. 'Gradebook'

  3. 'Enroll Members'

  4. Select 'Student' role

  5. Enter student's UID #, click 'Enroll' and then 'Save'

  6. To unenroll, click on 'Teach' tab, check all students and unselect yourself and the demo-student, and click on 'unenroll' at the bottom right


Change Drive Letter

1.     Right click "My Computer".

2.     Drag down to "Manage" and click "Manage".

3.     In the "Computer Management" sidebar click "Disk Management".

4.     Right click on the drive letter you want to change.

5.     Drag down to "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." click "Change Drive Letter and Paths...".

6.     In the "Change Drive Letter and Paths for (drive letter:)" window, click "Change..."

7.     In the "Change Drive Letter or Path" window click the dragdown selection box with the drive letter in it and click the letter you want the drive to be.


Table of Contents

Mark individual text entries

If you want the table of contents to include text that is not formatted as a heading, you can use this procedure to mark individual text entries.

  1. Select the text that you want to include in your table of contents.

  2. On the References tab, in the Table of Contents group, click Add Text.

  3. Click the level that you want to label your selection, such as Level 1 for a main level display in the table of contents.

  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until you have labeled all of the text that you want to appear in the table of contents.


Share Google Calendars

  1. My Calendars

  2. Settings

  3. Click on your main calendar address

  4. "Share this calendar"

  5. Add e-mail address

Office Network



Copying Exams in Blackboard

How to copy an exam from one course into another course

  1. From the 'Build' tab of where the exam exists (may be in repository course), click on 'Assessments'.

  2. Click the checkbox next to the exam you want to export

  3. Click 'Export' at the bottom.  It will pop up and ask you where you want to export it to.  Make sure you're exporting it to your 'MyFiles'.

  4. Name it the test name.

  5. Go to the course you want to copy it to and click on the 'Build' tab. 

  6. Click on 'Manage Course', and click on 'Import'.

  7. Navigate to your 'MyFiles' and select the newly created test file.  Once you select it, it will unpack itself to your 'Assessments', and all you'll need to change are the quiz settings.

Blackboard grading formulas

Use the 'Average' function

  1. Use a calculated column to get the average of each type of grade; i.e. SS/ET, Daily Work, Computer Lab assignments, etc. 

  2. Add each of these calculated grades the number of times it takes to weight it properly.  For example, if it is weighted 25% of the grade, add it 5 times and add grades weighted 10% twice.



Blackboard Question Sets


To size notation graphics for test questions:


Use graphic in WebCT Test Files, or capture (with Jing) animated flash demos.

Open with Fireworks.  Bottom left of the screen, multiply W and H by .75 to make the graphics smaller.  Insert those numbers and save as to file.


To copy a question format (same answers in multiple choice, for example)


Set up original question and answer

For the next question, click on the question name of the first question and change the name

Make any other changes (for example a different selection of the multiple choice answers)

At the bottom, choose "Save as New" instead of "Save"


Save Finale files as PDF

  1. Download PDF Creator (open source and free software)

  2. Open the Finale file and choose "Print" from the File menu

  3. Click "Setup" and choose PDF Creator from the drop down menu

  4. Click OK and OK

  5. When the PDF Creator window appears, "Save"

Single Click w/o Control Panel

  1. Open 'My Computer'

  2. Select Tools

  3. Select Folder Options

  4. Select 'single click' option

Clear Java Files

  1. Close browser

  2. Control Panel

  3. Java

  4. Temp file

  5. Settings

  6. Delete files

Change Blackboard Clock from Military Time

  1. Manage Course

  2. Settings

  3. International

  4. 12 hour clock

Page # + Running Header

  • After inserting the left-hand portion of the header, tab to the right side (the Header style includes a right-aligned tab stop at the right margin) and then either

    - click the Page Number button and choose Current Position (*not* any of the other choices) and then the page number entry


    1. Go to
    2. Log in
    3. Choose class
    4. Class administration button
    5. Recycle class
    6. New class key


    Students add themselves to your classes by enrolling for class in the SmartMusic software.  You do not need to import the data for your students into the class roster.  Your students will enter this information for you when they enroll.

    • Click Class Roster at the top of the Class screen.

    • Use the drop=down lists to select an academic year, class, and grading period.

    • Select a student from the column on the left.  You can edit any of the information on this screen, including the student's name, student ID, email address, proficiency level, ensembles, and instrument.

    • You can also delete a student from your class by clicking Remove this record.  When you click this link,you can decide if you want to remove the student only from the selected grading period, or from all future grading periods.

    • When you add or edit the Parent/Guardian information, you have the option to include an email address.  This email address can be selected when you send an email to the student from your gradebook.  You can also enter phone numbers for the student's parent or guardian.

    • Print/Export class roster:  You can print your class roster and progress reports for any or all of your students, or you can export this data to a file. (Click Prit/Export in the upper right corner of the Class roster screen.)

    • Progress report:  to view and print a progress report for a particular student, select the student in the class roster, then click Progress Report on the right side of the student's First Name field

    Beginning of semester:

    1. Go to SmartMusic

    2. Log in with vjohnson email and default password, no caps; security key is default password with beginning cap

    3. Set up new class


    To add assignments:

    1. Open song (double click on song in list) in SmartMusic file

    2. Uncheck Tempo and Click and leave the rest checked

    3. Set points (on left) to 100 for assessment and recording evaluation

    4. This has to be done each semester for each class


    View Cache IE

    1. Open IE and go to Internet options

    2. Settings under Browsing History

    3. View Files under History Settings