Safer Internet Day – Security Checkup

Internet Safer Day was last week on Tuesday, February 5th. To celebrate, Google spent the entire week covering a variety of topics relating to being safe online (you can check out their series of articles here). For users who have Google accounts, one thing that you can and should do on a regular basis is perform a Security Checkup on all of your Google accounts.

Google Security Checkup homepage

Google’s Security Checkup is a three-step process where you will be asked to check on three important areas of your account safety:

Options menu for each app, site, and service that has access to your account info.
  • Third-party access: This is the list of sites, apps, and services that have access to some of the personal information found in your account. Sources that you haven’t used in a while may no longer need access and can be removed, and if you see an entry you don’t recognize or don’t remember giving permission to access your account should most definitely have their access revoked.
  • Your devices: This is the list of all of the devices that have been used to login to your Google account. If you don’t recognize a device, then it might be a good idea to remove the device from the list and then consider changing your password. (Click here to see how to use Gmail to force a sign-out of all of your active web sessions.)
  • Recent security events: This drop-down list will show any recent requests to connect to your account. Again, if you don’t recognize a request then your account may be at risk.
Google Security Checkup - recent security events list

It is a good idea to perform a Security Checkup on your Google account about once a month, and if you have more than one account (e.g. a professional account for work and a personal account) then don’t forget to run the Security Checkup on each one. For other web accounts, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the security options that they provide:

Google Calendar Now Has “Reminders”

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.31.26 PMIf you wanted to schedule a reminder using Google Calendar, using the Tasks tool was the way to go (just make sure you set a due date for the task). This worked great unless you were using the mobile version of Calendar since it doesn’t have nor display items from the Tasks tool. All of that changed last week when Google announced that Reminders has arrived for Google Calendar mobile.

How it works:

  1. On your mobile device, use the same Plus button you would use to create an event and choose the new Reminder option.
  2. Fill in the text box provided using the suggestion list provided or add your own custom reminder message. NOTE: Each reminder type contains its own list of pre-filled suggestions and the email, call, text, and meet options will automatically display your contacts list in the app window.
  3. Set your deadline.
  4. Determine if the reminder needs to repeat.
  5. Tap SAVE to finish.

One of my favorite features is that reminders “stick around.” If a reminder doesn’t get completed by the due date, then it will appear at the top of your Calendar agenda on the following day, and the day after, and so forth. The reminder will continue to “stick around” until you swipe it away (because you’ve completed the task of course) and move on to the next item on your to-do list.

Reminders is available for Android and Apple iOS, with a version for the web promised soon. For more information, check out their post on the Gmail blog.

 

Add Missing Google Classroom Calendars

With the recent integration of calendars into Google Classroom, some of our students are seeing some of their class calendars in Google Calendar but not others (i.e. the class calendars are not visible from the Calendar web app or the iOS mobile app). Why some students are experiencing this and not others is unknown.

This tutorial will show how to force Calendar to add Classroom Calendars so that they can be seen within the web application and from the Google Calendar iOS app.

Bla | Bla | Bla…App

One of my duties as technology coordinator for two elementary schools is to film various student productions. One of the challenges when filming students is getting them to speak loudly and clearly so that the camera can pick up their voices. For someone who hated presenting in grade school, I can sympathize, but public speaking is a part of one’s career as a student.

Enter Bla | Bla | Bla.Bla Bla Bla screenshot

This app comes with a library of 16 faces that will stretch, contort, and otherwise move in response to how loud the student speaks. This gives the student a visual meter that they can use to measure the volume of their voice and adapt accordingly. Right now, it’s a tie between the frog and the cat as the student’s favorite avatar.

  • For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch – Download
  • My thanks to Mrs. Keating, Music Teacher at Village Elementary, for introducing me to this app.

Google/Apple Dashboards

With more and more of the work we do migrating to cloud-based services, it can sometimes be difficult to troubleshoot when those services start misbehaving. For example, last week Apple users experienced issues accessing iCloud, App Store, and iTunes Store services (click here to read more). Whatever it is, when technology fails it triggers a flood of questions as we try to work the problem:

  • Is it my device?
  • Is it my Internet connection?
  • Is it the app?
  • Is it the service?
  • Is it the Internet itself?
  • Who is the techno-gremlin causing my issue?

In a world where knowledge is power both Google and Apple have created a resource that allows users to check the status of their cloud-based services. While these ‘dashboards’ do not provide solutions when problems arise, they at least provide some comfort with the knowledge that you are not alone on the island of failed technologies.

Google Apps Status Dashboard

Google’s dashboard lists the status of 20 different apps, including whether each app is experiencing ‘No Issues,’ a ‘Service disruption,’ or a ‘Service outage.’

Google Apps Dashboard screenshot


Apple Services Dashboard

Apple Services, Stores, and iCloud dashboard lists the status of 45 different apps, from iTunes Store to Siri to iOS Device Activation. Scroll down to bottom of the page to view a detailed timeline of any outages, as well as a link to contact Apple Support if your issue isn’t being reported.

Apple Dashboard screenshot