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Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

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Many of us travel occasionally as part of our jobs here in CLA. Even when traveling for fun, some of us have a difficult time leaving work behind. Here are a few things to consider before your next trip.

Leave the Kitchen Sink
By Jamey Hansen

Unless you were moving permanently, you wouldn't take everything you have on your trip. You only need a few things to get by when you're away. But what about your laptop? It may not take up any more physical space on a plane, but do you really need your entire collection of files and documents? If you don't have a good backup, this is a big risk for you. If you have lots of student grades or other private data, this is a big risk for the U.

Let's say you're not worried about losing your files; there's still a chance someone else will get to view the entire contents of your hard drive--including your email if is isn't on Gmail. In addition to the ever present theft problem, U.S. Customs and many of their foreign counterparts can now confiscate, copy, and review the full contents of your hard drive in the interests of security. So, maybe it's best to leave some of this at home.

Our advice is simple: pack your electronic possessions just like your physical. Take along only what you need. In fact, take a loaner laptop from the CLA-OIT Service Desk instead of your everyday computer. Copy just a few of your most recent files and use Google Docs or the CLA Terminal Server to access anything else you need when you are abroad. Give us a call if you'd like to talk about how to do this.

Take Your TV
By Celina Byers

Traveling to attend conferences, participating in out-of-town meetings, and visiting other universities can be impersonal experiences. Hotels are nice, but not as comfortable as home. New technology can bring a little of your home life with you when you are away.

Do you wish you could have your live and recorded TV shows with you when you leave home? Do you find yourself watching a show that you think could spark a great discussion in a course you are teaching? Do you get frustrated with the quality of TVs available in hotels? Do you find yourself having nothing to watch, either because of poor quality or lack of options?

Enabling your mobile devices, like a laptop computer, iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Android, to connect with your live or recorded cable TV from home can make your stay a tad more personal and I've found a simple and low cost solution.

In my search for ways to use my iPad to watch the news in the morning I ran across Slingbox. Slingbox does exactly what I want, but the price is more than I want to spend. In addition to purchasing the box, I would need to buy a plugin for each device I want to "transform" into my TV.

Broadening my search I found Monsoon Multimedia, producers of Vulkano. It is a box you connect to your TV, with the same functionality as Slingbox. Vulkano enables you to watch live and recorded TV shows on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. A plugin for the computer and mobile devices is free. You do need to be connected to the Internet for the system to work.

There are various models of the Vulkano with prices much lower than Slingbox. The variation in price is mostly related to features like recording and broadcasting your favorite TV programs. For example, I have Comcast cable and a digital box at home. All I need is the simplest model of Vulkano. I can watch all my TV channels live and also have access to the programs I recorded to my Comcast digital box from anywhere I have Internet access.

I bought my Vulkano just before last Christmas. The technical support is very helpful and efficient. I called them when I received the box for help with the connection set up. It has been working great for me!

In the Classroom

When watching a TV show, have you ever found yourself thinking, "what a great resource to use in my classroom to illustrate a concept"? You push the record button, but then are faced with the challenge of how to access the recorded program when your class meets. Other times, you may learn about a live broadcast that will happen when you are teaching, but don't have classroom access to the channel that is providing the broadcast. A device like Vulkano can bring this content info your classroom.

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