Friday, August 7, 2020

What You Need to Know About the Latest Version of Flipgrid

Earlier this week Flipgrid published a slew of updates and had a big online event to hype it up showcase those new features. A lot of the updates were largely cosmetic. From what I've seen so far, nothing fundamentally changed with the way that Flipgrid works. What did change and is worth noting is some of the terminology that is now used in Flipgrid. In the following video I explained that change and a couple of other minor updates that you should be aware.

An Easy Way to Loop Videos in Google Slides

There are so many little "hidden" features in tools like Google Slides that even after more than a decade of using it I am still finding new things. One of those things that I stumbled upon earlier this week is an easy way to make videos play on a loop in a Google Slides presentation.

To make a video loop in Google Slides all you have to do is present your slides then right-click on the video. When you right-click on it you'll be able to choose an option to loop the video. Watch my short video to see how it's done.


Applications for Education
Playing a video on a loop in a slide could be useful when you want to play a video to use as a welcome announcement in a virtual meeting or in a physical meeting as students are slowly joining in.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Timeline for Transitioning to the "New" Version of Google Sites

The new version of Google Sites has been out since 2016 and since 2016 Google has continually told users that the "new version" would become the default version "soon." Four years later they're still telling us to get ready for the day when the "new" version is the only option. The latest reminder of that landed in my inbox this morning in the form of a message for G Suite domain administrators to make sure they've enabled the new version of Google Sites in their domains.

The email from Google also reminded domain administrators of the timeline for transitioning to the new version of Google Sites. Here's that timeline:
  • August 2020 - New Sites will become the default option for website creation.
  • Starting May 2021 - New website creation will no longer be available in classic Sites. This means that any new websites created in the organization will only be in new Sites.
  • Starting October 2021 - Editing of remaining classic Sites will be disabled.
  • Starting December 2021 - When users try to visit a classic Site, they will no longer see the website content. Any remaining classic Sites will automatically be:
    • Downloaded as an archive and saved to the site owner’s Google Drive.
    • Replaced with a draft in the new Sites experience for site owners to review and publish.

If you don't want to transition your old Google Site into the new version, follow the steps in this tutorial

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A New Way to Make Sure People Can View Your Videos in Google Slides

One of the common mistakes that people make when inserting their own videos into a Google Slides presentation is forgetting to change the permissions on the video file itself. If you don't do that the people with whom you share your slides can only see that a video should play, but they can't actually play it. I've forgotten this step plenty of times myself and I'd bet that some of you have too. Fortunately, Google has announced the release of a new tool that will remind you to change the viewing permissions on your videos in your Google Slides.

The new Access Checker for Google Slides will automatically run a check to make sure that the people who have access to your Slides also have the necessary access to your video and or audio files. If the Access Checker finds that a change needs to be made, that suggestion will automatically be displayed to you.

Access Checker for Google Slides is rolling out now to some users and will be available to all users by the end of the month.

Applications for Education
Access Checker should help teachers and students avoid the frustration associated with not being able to see the videos that are embedded into presentations.

On a related note, Google Sites also requires that you change the permissions on the video files you embed from Google Drive into the pages in your Google Sites. The following video shows you how to avoid that annoying little problem.


Here are five other things to know about using videos in Google Slides.

Watch Out for This Sneaky Email Scam - And a Super-techy Lesson on Email

On Monday I wrote about an email scam that tries to trick people into thinking they have violated a photographer's copyright and need to add a link to their websites to remedy the problem. Yesterday, I had another sneaky scam attempt land in my inbox.

The scam attempt that landed in my inbox yesterday can in the form of an email stating that an account had been created for me at Forte.net (a legitimate online payment processor) and that I needed to click the link to confirm my account. I was immediately suspicious because I didn't create an account. Obviously, I didn't click the link and I didn't copy and paste the URL that the email suggested I follow. What I did instead was head to the support page for Forte.net and filed a fraud report. Within minutes I got an email back from them. All of this is documented in this short video that I recorded yesterday afternoon.


What's the purpose?
You might be wondering why someone would try to use my email address or your email address to register for an account on a service. Sometimes this is done as part of identity theft attempt (often in the case of trying to register for payment services). Sometimes this is done as part of a larger attack designed to get hundreds or thousands of people to click a link that takes them to a nefarious site for a variety of purposes including the spread of malware.

The lesson to share.
What is significant in this little story is to always be suspicious of emails that state you have a new account created for a service that you didn't intentionally register for. And don't reply to those emails. Instead, go directly to the site if you want to do some investigating. Finally, always look at the "from" addresses, the "mailed by," and "signed by" addresses.

A Technical Lesson on Email Forensics
If you want to dive into the nitty-gritty of how email really works and how to analyze the sender of an email, watch this video.