All posts by Guest Author

5 Ways to Make Your iPhone Battery Last Longer

kelliThis guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, provides some tips for maximizing your iPhone’s battery life.

“Sorry, my phone died.” This short phrase is thrown around all the time—sometimes by us and sometimes to us. While it used to start out as an excuse for not responding to someone, more often than not now, it’s actually true. The transient nature of our battery lives is an increasing issue for phone-reliant college students. Luckily, there are little tricks you can learn to help keep your battery alive a little longer, or sometimes, even a lot. Check these tips out:

1. Turn off Parallax

You may have noticed that when you are at your home screen, your background will move with the tilt of your phone. While this feature is cool for some, it is often dizzying or unnecessary to others. Don’t think you need it? Turn it off through
Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > On, and save some battery.

2. Quit Your Apps

Most people know this feature, but if you are iOS7 or iOS8, you can double click the home button to display all the apps open. You can then proceed to “swipe up” any app that you don’t need. People often forget to quit their apps after they are done, so even if you stop using the app, if you don’t close it, it’ll keep running.

A cool new feature of iOS8 is that you can now see what apps are using the most battery under Settings > General > Usage. This helps you know which apps to quit if you need them all or simply want to have your battery last a little longer.

3. Turn Off Location Services

Some apps like maps and weather are necessary for location services, but others really aren’t; they are unnecessarily and unknowingly draining your battery life when you open them. Edit these settings under Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

4. Turn Down Your Brightness

Unless you need your screen to shine like a flashlight, turn down your screen brightness. The level of brightness on your screen may seem like no big deal, but the energy your phone expends to keep everything a little bit brighter would really surprise you. You can also turn on auto-brightness if you want your phone to help when you forget.

5. Turn Off What You Don’t Need

This is like quitting apps, but for settings like WiFi and Bluetooth. When these features are on, they are constantly searching for connectivity and searching drains your battery without you even knowing it.

Recently moved to an iPhone 6 or 6+, or from Android to iPhone? Check out this post for more tips on using iOS 8.

How to be Basic

linkedin photoThis guest post is by Amanda Gisonni, a junior studying Psychology in the College. In this post, she describes various ways to gain basic skill sets in computer software programs by using resources in the Weigle Information Commons. 

This is not what you think it is. I am not here to instruct you on how to dress or how to act “basic.”  But I will tell you how you can gain some basic skills in certain computer software programs; in other words, boost your knowledge when it comes to Excel, PowerPoint, Illustrator, and more. Weigle Information Commons offers a variety of WICshops that demonstrate some introductory topics in a hands-on approach that will help get you started.

seminarroom_800
This is the WIC Seminar Room in which many workshops are held.

WICshops give a brief but thorough introduction to these programs. They are a starting point and meant to introduce you to the essentials of each program. You will start at the beginning, with opening the program, then you will actually get to use the program and finish by learning how to save your work. Also, these workshops are for people of all skill sets! So, if you are not so tech-savvy, these classes are great for you, and they are also great for people who have some knowledge and are looking to gain more.

Some of the ones I have tried and recommend include InDesign, Photoshop Basics, Photoshop Selection Tools, PowerPoint and more. This October and November, Weigle is offering a variety of workshops for students, some of which include:

  • Introduction to Latex: For those looking to create a scientific document, learn what Latex is and the uses for it in this class. Use various documents, page layouts, fonts and images.
  • Introduction to ArcGIS I: This workshop demonstrates the software and data behind creating maps and geographic analyses. There will be simple exercises to introduce the program to beginners.
  • Introduction to Text Mining: This class is for beginners and those who have some prior experience. “Learn the why and the how of text mining, methodology, cautionary tales, and preferred tools.”
This WICshop calendar is comprehensive and easy to use.
This WICshop calendar is comprehensive and easy to use.

But why stop there? If you are too basic for these, then take some advanced classes! I recommend signing up for Advanced Illustrator Techniques and Audio and Video in PowerPoint.

Each month new WICshops are posted; check the website periodically to see if there is a workshop you are particularly interested in. I also suggest attending office hours if you have a specific question or need help with a certain program. Excel Office Hours and Copyright Office Hours are offered each week. Staff in Weigle and the Vitale Digital Media Lab will also help answer any questions you may have!

 

 

5 Must-Have Apps for Students

kelliThis guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, provides recommendations on apps. This post reflects Kelli’s personal opinions and should not be construed as an endorsement by Penn Libraries.

With the industry for app development booming, trying to navigate the app market is overwhelming and often times exhausting. While it’s nice to have so many options, it’s easy to settle for an application even if there’s an even better option out there for you, and it’s especially easy to scroll right past an app that could change your life, or at least the way you work.

Here’s a guide to some must-have, top rated apps that are certainly worth the download, and definitely worth the price—free! So check them out, download them, and enjoy the luxuries of this generation’s application boom.

Continue reading 5 Must-Have Apps for Students

Screening of Student Video Creations

ellenThis guest post by Ellen Reynolds, Lecturer in Fine Arts at Penn Design and video creation guide for our Seltzer Award winners, describes an upcoming event on September 11 to showcase student creativity.

I’m delighted to present, on behalf of The Undergraduate Department of Fine Arts, a screening of student video work this Thursday. We offer a course sequence in Video Production that is challenging, rich, and exciting! You probably know (if you’re reading this blog!) that video production is very time consuming. In a 13 week semester, students always work until the last possible minute on their videos and as a result we frequently don’t even have an end of the semester screening – making it random and rare to see work produced in one of our classes. What a shame!  I hSCREENING Fall 2014ope that students, staff and faculty who are interested in taking a video class with us, or in learning more about our course sequence, or who just love innovative short films, will come to our Screening and enjoy some cookies, beverages, and conversation about filmmaking at Penn!

Selected Student Work from Fall 2013, Spring 2014
Thursday, September 11th, 6:30pm – 8pm
Gregory House Screening Room, 40th and Spruce

Summer in Weigle

linkedin photoThis guest post by Amanda Gisonni, a junior in the College studying Psychology, describes her experiences over the summer using various resources in the Weigle Information Commons to improve her technology skills.

If you have ever been in the Weigle Information Commons before, you know it is a great place to work with a group. There are booths, study rooms and free-standing tables, plus talking is always welcome. But did you know it is a technology hub, too? It’s a place where you can get access to the latest gadgets, use top-notch software programs, and take hands-on workshops. Ultimately, you can learn how to use a new program like Excel, Photoshop, iMovie and more, which is exactly what I did this summer.

At the start of the summer I barely knew how to use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or WordPress. Now I can navigate my way through all three Adobe programs, and I even created my own WordPress website. How did I accomplish this? I spent time in Weigle. I took some WICshops, watched Lynda.com tutorials, and experimented with my own projects in some of the software programs.

This is the front and back of a business card I created with Adobe InDesign in the
This is the front and back of a business card I created with Adobe InDesign in the “Making Business Cards with Adobe InDesign” WICshop in July.

Weigle is a great resource for students, but it’s disappointing that not everyone takes advantage of it. Students often get bogged down with school work and claim they simply do not have time. I disagree. I think if students knew how to use the resources available at Penn, they would.

Here is a simple guide to get you started:

  • Sign up for a WICshop (aka a Weigle Information Commons workshop). Check them out this September! Try WordPress Basics, Photoshop Layers, Making mini iMovies, and Crafting a better resume with InDesign and more!
  • Spend some time in a booth or group study room using the software programs on all of the computers. Experiment with InDesign, Photoshop, Excel and more. Reserve a spot here!
  • Don’t have the time to take a WICshop? Reserve a time slot on Lynda.com and learn at your own pace and on your own time! Check out all the videos that Lynda has to offer on the Lynda.com website.
  • Lastly, if you have any questions, just walk in! The Weigle Information Commons staff are friendly and eager to help you out! For those who do not know, Weigle is located in Van Pelt Library on the first floor. Enter through the turnstiles and take a left after the elevators, and then continue straight and you are there!

Check out Amanda’s website at www.amandagisonni.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @amandagisonni

Learning how to teach (Excel)

ImageThis guest post comes to us from Nicolette Tan, a junior in the College studying political science. She wrote this reflection essay during her participation in MGMT 353 Wharton Field Challenge in fall 2013. WIC staff assisted students in the seminar taught by Arjun Bhaskar and Samaira Sirajee with guidance from Professor Keith Weigelt in learning how to present Excel skills to small business owners in Philadelphia.

It’s one thing to know how to use Excel yourself; it’s another to be able to teach it.  Today’s workshop definitely showed me that teaching is hard, and even more so when you’ve only met these people for the first time. The class got off on a high note, when Grace asked the class to “Raise your hand if you’re excited about learning Excel!” and people cheered and raised their hands enthusiastically. One thing that strikes me every time is the positivity that the students bring to the class, and how eager they are to improve themselves – regardless of age or background, and I have so much respect for that. Continue reading Learning how to teach (Excel)

You do you.

kelliThis guest post by Kelli Liu, a sophomore from southern California majoring in biology and Apple campus representative, describes her thoughts on software upgrades.

Like many people, I am a creature of habit and I often find myself resistant to changes unless I find them absolutely necessary. This aspect of change is extremely applicable to my life when it comes to updating my life technologically. Everyday I am bombarded with my apps, email, and softwares notifying me that my current version is outdated and that I must update immediately. However, I often become really comfortable with the structure of a software, app, or email format that I am using, and I find that often times when I update I regret the decision immediately. New updates are certainly nice and more developed, but sometimes they are not better for me. Continue reading You do you.