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Entries from November 1, 2010 - November 30, 2010

Tuesday
Nov302010

Google Cloud Connect Brings Microsoft Office Online

Google Cloud Connect integrates with Microsoft Office (Windows only) to automatically back up and sync your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Image courtesy of Google.

Google Docs has continued its full-frontal assault on your preferred office suite with the introduction of Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which basically turns Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint into powerful Google Docs editors.  

Unfortunately, it's Windows-only for now (though Apple fanboys were graced with mobile editing last week), but it seems like a no-brainer for even the staunchest Office advocate.  Even if you have no intention of actually using Google Docs, the plugin can just hum away in the background, backing up your documents to Google's servers automatically, protecting you in the event of an unfortunate hard drive meltdown.  

[Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office via Gizmodo]

Thursday
Nov252010

Happy Thanksgiving from HackCollege!

And now, we feast. Image courtesy of Flickr user JacobEnos and licensed under CC by SA 2.0

Happy Turkey Day everyone!  Today we're thankful for all you readers, and this great list of 50 free apps to be thankful for.  Now go eat some food and shotgun some beer!

Wednesday
Nov242010

Rounding Up Thanksgiving

Mmm. Bring on the turkey. Photo courtesy of Pink Sherbet. Licensed under CC BY-2.0. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, y'all! I hope that all of you are able to spend the holidays with your friends and family this year. Today, I'm going to give you all a roundup of some Thanksgiving articles that you can enjoy and share with your family and friends. So from my home here in Texas, happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Plan, Delegate, and De-Stress Your Way to a Relaxing Holiday Get Together

The title of this article says it all. If the holidays are stressful for you and your family, check out this article.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving This Weekend

With tips from turkey cooking to starting off the holiday with a run, this article gives some great advice about the Thanksgiving season.

Top 10 Holiday Travel Tips and Tricks

Traveling this week? Check this article out for tips on how to make your journey as smooth as possible.

What Free Apps Are You Thankful For?

The readers of Lifehacker chime on on their favorite free apps. Be thankful for these suggestions!

Your Last Minute Guide to Thawing Turkey

Perhaps you're cooking your first Thanksgiving turkey and need some on advice on how exactly to go about it. If so, this article should give you some pointers.

Minimize Family Tensions by Inviting Someone Less Fortunate to Thanksgiving

A great idea to help make everyone's Thanksgiving a memorable one.

It's a Little Weird When Your Family Gets Geeky

This article just made me giggle. Gotta love families, right?

Apps for the Thanksgiving Host for the Most

Whether you're hosting your first or fiftieth Thanksgiving, these apps will help you make the day just a bit more geeky.

The Perfect Turkey Timer

This thing is just adorable. I want it for no other reason than that.

Monday
Nov222010

Winning Friends and Influencing People: College Cause Edition

Manners go a long way in life. Image courtesy of Flickr user Paula Bailey. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.College is a time for people to get really involved in something they're passionate about, whether it's a Free Tibet, vegetarianism, their college political party of choice, or something else entirely. However, what starts out as a well-intentioned passion for social change can quickly take a nosedive into the realm of irritating (and alienating) everyone around you. Here are some tips to prevent that from happening and, hopefully, encourage others to listen to you.

Don't get confrontational: This is the particular problem of newly-converted vegetarians (especially if they came to it via PETA). There is nothing wrong with not eating meat (or only buying fair trade, or campaigning for a candidate), but there is something wrong with being rude to people who disagree with you. If, to use the vegetarian example, you rag on your friends every time they sit down with a dining hall steak, they will grow to hate you. However, if they simply begin to notice that you don't eat meat and ask about it, it can be the opening for a great conversation about why you've made the switch. You don't want your defining feature to be your cause, because that alienates people who don't initially agree with you. You want to be "Tim, my lab partner who uses Linux and doesn't eat meat," and not, "Tim, that asshole who glares at me when I grab a burger." There's a difference.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov182010

Google Docs (Finally) Goes Mobile

Microsoft Office sucks and should go die, at least in my humble opinion, so I ditched it this semester and have been using Google Docs full time. You should too; I haven't regretted it for a moment.

Unfortunately, I could only read my Docs on my iPhone and iPad, but not edit them. You can't do this with Office documents either, but this should be expected, as I would like to throw my copy of Office into an active volcano anyway.  Anyway, Google stepped their game up yesterday as they started rolling out mobile editing to iOS and Android 2.2 and above.  Android users even get built-in dictation, which might result in some amusing typos.  I worked a bit on my paper with an iPad the other day, and it performed pretty much like you'd expectit to; which is to say much better than my DocsToGo app, which I actually think I like less than Office.

Anyway, check out the video below for a quick overview, as well as some fun lifehacky uses, of the new feature. 

Wednesday
Nov172010

My Netbook is Haunted

I just picked my rarely-used netbook off my desk, and this is what happened.

Wednesday
Nov172010

Conquering Group Projects

Remember when this was what "group project" meant? Ah, to use crayons again... Photo courtesy of gradin. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.

As I begin to work on an end-of-the-semester group project for one of my classes with fellow Trinity student and HackCollege writer Shep, I decided it would be prudent to write out a few guidelines to make group projects as painless as possible. Love them or hate them, every college kid is going to have to deal with them at some point. The main goal of a group project is to expand on original ideas and observations and to collaborate them to create something much more successful than any one student could have produced. Unfortunately, sometimes group projects turn into unwelcome burdens where one or two people are left with the load while the other members slide by without caring too much.

While you can't always pick with who you work with for a project, there are a few things that you can do for your project to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible.

Brainstorming is Key

As amazing as email and other forms of mediated communication are these days, there is just no substitution to a good, old-fashion brainstorming session to start off your group project. First off, this is a good strategy to become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of your group, especially if you don't know the members of your group. Listen to how your group members talk about the project to figure out how serious they are about it. Someone may take charge immediately, and sometimes it's okay to let them. Just make sure you're paying attention to what they're saying to make sure they actually know what they're talking about. Don't be afraid to speak out in the brainstorming sessions if someone starts to take too much of a lead. Similarly, be aware if a member seems to be bored or doesn't volunteer many ideas. It will help your group when it comes time to divide up responsibilities to know who is a good member and who isn't.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov162010

Four Loko Is Going the Way of the McRib - Here's How to Make Your Own

Given the recent cases of alcohol poisoning and whatnot, I can't say this is very surprising, but it looks like the FDA is about to ban Four Loko nationwide.  I won't touch the stuff, but if you can't imagine Friday night without the colorful concoction, Buzzfeed has posted this excellent tutorial on crafting your own version.  Looks incredibly nasty, but it will definitely keep you drunk and awake.  

Seriously though, be careful with that stuff.

[Via BuzzFeed and Gawker]