Turn off SMART Ink

Many people wonder what that liitle yellow “SMART Ink” tab is that seems to appear on every window of your computer, and how to turn it off.


It’s a function of the SMART board software; it provides a layer over whatever is on the screen that allows you to write directly on it with the SMART board tools. If you are not a SMART board user and this is bugging you, it is very easy to turn it off.

Go to Applications/Utilities and open the Activity Monitor.

Activity monitor

This shows you everything that is running on your computer….it’s probably NOT a good idea to randomly shut things off, as many of them are sort of important. But you CAN turn off selected things if you know exactly what they are.

Find “SMART Ink” in the alphabetical list, select it, then hit the red ‘stop sign’ in the top left corner that says “Quit Process”. When prompted, say “Quit” (not ‘Force Quit’), and it will close.

SMART Ink is set to initialize each time you restart your computer, so if you restart, you will have to come to these settings to turn it off again. But it will stay off until you do restart, so this is a good fix.

NOTE: If you merely click the dropdown on the SMART Ink tab and select “erase and hide”, it does hide the yellow tab, but the application continues to run in the background and wear down your battery. I suggest using the Activity Monitor method.

Categories: SMART tools | Leave a comment

Manage the Overload with Feedly

Imagine having a folder with bookmarks to about 50 different related websites. This would be useful if you wanted an archive of things under one category, but it would not make it very easy to keep track of changes in these websites on a daily basis. You’d have to spend an hour opening each webpage, one at a time, trying to remember if you had read the most recent post or not.

This is where an aggregator comes in. An aggregator is an online folder that contains links to as many other webpages that you want…but it offers one specific and distinct advantage: just as your mailbox indicates when you have new mail, the aggregator indicates when one of those websites has a new post. And better yet, you can read that post from within the aggregator page without having to go to the other website. So you can determine if there are any posts to read in hundreds of different webpages with just a glance, and even preview those posts to see if you need to read them in full.

The best overall aggregator for years was Google Reader, but for some unknown reason they decided to discontinue it last year, which certainly frustrated a lot of people. So now the new popular (and useful one) is Feedly.

Everyone at HKIS, student and teacher alike, should create a Feedly account and use it to keep track of the webpages they are interested in, including this one!

Such pages would include: blogs (such as this blog), classblogs within myDragonNet, news pages (like CNN.com), video blogs (vlogs), podcasts and other pages with things that interest you.

, go to www.feedly.com and click ‘Get Started’.Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 2.11.13 PM

Be sure you are logging in with your hkis.edu.hk account…

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and when you get to the home page, go to “add content” (top left corner).

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 2.10.11 PM

Subscribe to this blog first. IN MOST CASES, you only have to put in the URL of the page you are subscribing to, but in some cases (with WordPress), you have to put in /feeds/ after the URL….for example, instead of https://bytesizedtech.wordpress.com put in https://bytesizedtech.wordpress.com/feeds/

You can figure out the rest yourself…it’s easy…but I would strongly consider using Feedly to follow your friends’ and students’ SLR blogs,  Pat’s Portal, and others that you find interesting. You can even subscribe to the HS news page in DragonNet and see if there are any new announcements each day. To help you get started, here is a great resource for hundreds of education blogs from teachers of subjects such as your own. Take a few minutes and find some blogs that reflect your own subject matter and grade level, and subscribe!

Then, once every week or two, just open feedly.com and glance over your subscriptions to see if there is anything new. It only takes a few seconds, and you stay caught up without going crazy!

Categories: Blogging | Leave a comment

Track my Mac!!

Apple provides a powerful and useful app (for free) that will help you locate your iPhone, iPad or computer if they get lost or stolen, just to check that you left it at home or even where in the house it is! It’s called “Find my iPhone” and in case your device is missing, you can lock it (or even remotely erase it) so whoever finds it cannot access your data.

Be aware that you have to set up the account BEFORE you lose your phone, and if you want to use it to keep track of your computer and iPad, you need to have it activated on each of those devices.


1) Choose Apple Menu > System Preference and click iCloud
2) If you’re asked to sign in, use (or create) an Apple ID. You need an Apple ID to buy stuff from the iTunes store anyway.
3) Once you have created an account (or signed in), select the “Find My Mac” checkbox and confirm that you want to allow Find my Mac to use the location of this Mac.

THAT’S IT! Now your computer is registered with Find my Mac.

(NOTE: if the ‘Find my Mac’ button is greyed out and you cannot select it, there is something amiss with your Recovery Partition, and ETS can fix it for you. Do a complete back up (just in case) and bring your laptop to ETS for about 30 minutes).


You can either download the free app “Find my iPhone” from the itunes store, or just use the embedded program in your iDevice. I am providing instructions for the embedded program; the App is self-explanatory. You can always download the app after you set up the embedded program.

1) On your iDevice, be sure your iCloud account is active. (Settings/iCloud). If you don’t have an iCloud account, set one up.
2) Scroll to the bottom of that window and ensure that “Find my iPhone” is turned on


THAT’S IT. It’s activated and ready to track all your devices.


HOW TO USE IT (test this out beforehand to see how it works):

1) On the device you have not lost (duh), open a browser and sign in to http://www.icloud.com using your Apple ID. Then select ‘Find my iPhone’

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 9.21.56 AM

2) Click ‘Devices’ in the upper left corner, and select the device(s) you want to locate. Any device that has ‘Find my iPhone/Mac’ activated with your Apple ID will show up in the device list.
3) The device will appear on a map image (or satellite, if you choose) with a dot. A green dot means it’s online, a grey dot means it’s offline. These dots can be quite accurate….my own will locate it to within 2 meters at home, a little less at work (about 10 meters).

Note:   If Find My iPhone can’t locate this device, the last known location is displayed for up to 24 hours, after which the map is cleared. You can select the Notify Me When Found checkbox to receive an email when the device comes back online with a location.

From that management window, you can do the following:

  • Locate the device on a map
  • Tell the device to make a loud sound so it can be located
  • Lock the device with a passcode. You can still track it’s motions, and unlock it once you find it
  • Put your device in ‘Lost Mode’, which allows you to enter a phone number that someone who finds your device can use to contact you (along with a message such as “This item is LOST! Please call me to return it!)
  • Erase all personal data and settings from your device.

Even if your device is offline, Find my iPhone will queue up commands and execute them when it comes online.

So to protect your iDevice from theft, loss or misuse, everyone should activate this program on all their devices. More information can be found online here.

Categories: Mac OS | 1 Comment

Syncing your Google Calendar with your iPhone

This one is great…the power of google.calendar is that it can be used on all your devices, and all are synced, so changes on one appear on all the others, almost instantly.

A) If you already have your mail sent to your phone, you need to be sure it is not a GMAIL account type. The calendar will be a GMAIL account, but it works best if it is not the same account as your school mail so you want your mail to be set up either as an EXCHANGE account, or another type.

Go to Mail/Contacts/Calendars. You can tell what kind of account your mail is by opening the settings: it says on top.

IMG_4033   IMG_4034

  • If your mail is  a GMAIL account, then you need to turn ON  ‘calendar’ and turn OFF  ‘mail’, and create an Exchange account for your mail. Go to the bottom of this blog where I show you how to set up the Exchange account.
  • If your mail is an EXCHANGE account, then you just need to set up a GMAIL account for your calendar (the directions are next)
  • If you have neither, then set up a GMAIL account for your calendar, and an EXCHANGE account for your mail.

B) Setting up the Gmail account for your calendar is easy. 

1. Launch Settings from your home screen
2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.24.08 PM
3. Tap ‘add account’
4. Tap ‘Gmail’

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5. Use these settings:

.         name: Your name; First, last
          email: username@hkis.edu.hk  (‘username’ being YOUR username, of course)
          password: your school email password
          description: this is for you….call it ‘hkis’ or whatever

6. Tap  ‘next’, it will verify your settings.
7. Select ‘Calendars’ only, and Save

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.53.52 PM

Now, you have to choose WHICH of your school calendars you are making available on your phone.

To do this, ON YOUR COMPUTER, go to http://www.google.com/calendar/syncselect  This will show you a list of calendars that you currently have available to your google.calendar. Select the ones you want to send to your phone, then hit ‘save’.

That’s it. You now have a calendar subscription on your phone. To see it, select ‘calendar’ from your Home Screen on your phone, click ‘calendars’ in the top left, and select the ones you want to display.




This is also pretty easy.

1. Launch Settings from your home screen
2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 1.24.08 PM

3. Tap ‘add account’
4. Tap ‘Exchange’
5. Use these settings:
Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.09.54 PM

6. Your phone will try to locate your Exchange Server, then will ask for some more info; specifically the server address. Put in “m.google.com” and also select SSL ‘on’.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.19.15 PM

That’s it. You now have your mail and your calendars set up to sync to your iPhone.

Categories: Google Calendar | Leave a comment

The Option Key

This one is quick and sweet. Try exploring pressing the Option Key along with different menu items to see the extra features available. For example, pressing Option before you press the Sound icon will allow you to choose different output devices to send your sound to. Pressing Option before you press the Apple Menu will allow you to check your System Information quickly. 

And most importantly, clicking Option while you are selecting ‘Edit’ in Safari and Chrome will offer you such things as ‘Save As’ rather than ‘Save’.

There are lots of other features in places where the Option key will have an effect: experiment!

Categories: Mac OS | Leave a comment

Creating a google HW calendar

It’s very useful to have two DragonNet calendars on your google.calendar: one for your daily class schedule, and another for your homework. This assumes, of course, that your teachers are posting their class homework on myDragonNet.

To get the feed for your homework assignments, go to myDragonNet and select ‘Calendar’, then ‘Export’

.           Export calendar

Then choose the settings as shown below (make sure that “includes calendar entries” is the ONLY thing selected), and copy the URL at the bottom of the page.

.                               Copy URL

Then go to your google.calendar, and click on the down arrow beside “Other calendars” and select “Add by URL”. Paste that URL into the window.

.       calendar URL

You can go to the settings for that calendar and change the name after it installs.

This is different than the calendar feed you may have selected previously, which shows only your class schedule.  If you haven’t done that (or if you have both your HW and Class Schedule on the same calendar) download another calendar link with THESE settings, and again, copy the URL and paste it into google.calendar.

You can give them separate names and colors in google.calendar so they don’t get in each other’s way.

Categories: Google Calendar | Leave a comment

Google Survey: getting notifications

When creating a google form, you can set up the preferences so you get an email notification any time someone submits to the form. This has several advantages:

1) No one can change your spreadsheet, so your data is protected
2) The structure of the Google.form ensures that you get the info you want
3) You don’t have to check the form regularly….just when you get your notification that there is a change.

To do this, first set up a google.form (I’ll assume you know how to do this…if not, I’ll make it a topic of a future thread)

Then, go to ‘responses’ and select ‘choose response destination’ and allow it to create a spreadsheet for your responses in your Google.Drive


Now, go to the response spreadsheet. Under ‘tools’, select ‘notification rules’. In this window, you can tell google to notify you if a user submits a form.

Shadow 3


This means, whenever someone fills in the survey you send around, you will get an email letting you know to check their response.

Next time you set up a google.form, go ahead and add this handy feature!

Categories: Google Forms | Leave a comment

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