Category Archives: Cool Tools

Apple iOS 5 Released Today!

In an ironic sort of requiem for the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs last week, the release date for Apple iOS 5 is finally upon us. It promises a wealth of new features, such as wireless syncing, iMessage for any device, and a new notification center to replace those annoying red push alerts we’ve come to know and love.¬† Interested in a guided tour? Schedule an Ask-A-Trainer appointment and one of us will walk you through the new horizon that is iOS 5, from installation to configuration and everything in between.

brought to you by Katelyn K.


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Filed under Cool Tools, Tech News, Uncategorized

Coming Soon…New Web Portfolio Class

Hello All!

This Chanel from STS ūüôā

As the season begins I’ll be starting my summer project building curriculum for a new web portfolio class for artists! As a recently graduated art major, I realized how much the artist community at UW-Madison is in need of a class that can push their portfolios to the next level of professionalism.

A good friend of mine shared some amazing resources with me last summer on how to build a successful art portfolio and included this recommended WordPress theme shown below. I’ll be investigating this little nugget of potential artists’ gold…

I encourage all of you to take advantage of all STS classes during your summer break! Take this time to finally put together your portfolio elements and enhance your work with our resources at STS ūüôā

See you in class!

‚̧ Chanel

Image for WPfolio

A highly recommended theme for Artists Portfolios on WordPress

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Filed under Cool Tools, Websites

AutoCAD for Mac!

AutoDesk’s famous software AutoCAD is now available for the Mac operating system. ¬†AutoCAD is a drafting tool used by thousands of architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, and many other design disciplines. ¬†It is a very powerful tool for designers, but has been limited to PC platforms. ¬†These restrictions have often forced many designers to just deal exclusively with PC machines and not even try Macs. ¬†Now, that is all changing! ¬†The availability of the software on the Mac will now give designers the ability to have more flexibility with software and computer choice.

AutoCAD for Mac uses the same principles and function of the PC version.  Many of the tools and commands are the same, but there are some changes to the user interface.  However, just watching a few tutorials and experimenting around for a few minutes was enough to get me familiar with the layout.  In no time at all, I was working with AutoCAD for Mac and exploring the new features.  Also, this program fully supports all .DWG files and is compatible with the PC version. This is a plus for those working in a collaborative environment where there could be some worry about file transfers and workflow.

One of the many pluses of the Mac version is that it is supported by all Mac platforms. ¬†This means you can access, view and make some minor edits with your iPad, iPhone, and even your iPod! ¬†You can now take AutoCAD ANYWHERE! ¬†The graphics seem to run faster, and the interface is a bit more smooth and intuitive on the Mac version. ¬†However, since this is only the first release of the software for Mac, not all functions, tools, and other compatible programs are available. ¬†Software developers hope to add these functions over time to create the same professional suite of products found on the PC version. ¬†Just watch some of the cool videos on the AutoDesk website and check out or download the software for yourself…

Right now, AutoDesk is offering free 30 day trials for AutoCad for Mac.  The software is also available to students for free.  So if you are looking for a reason to switch to Mac and try something new now is the time to do it!


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Filed under Cool Tools, Fun Facts, Software

Screencasting with Jing!

Jing Screenshot

For those of you unfamiliar with Jing, let me introduce you.

We here at STS spend a lot of time teaching people how to use software. You know: the where to click, how to find features, what the hidden secrets of a program are, etc. Along with the face-to-face classes that we offer, we also have chat and emails services that allows UW Madison students to ask software related questions (it proves quite useful when students get stuck while working on a project). However, we have found that sometimes the answers to the students’ questions are to complicated to attempt to write out in an email or a chat.

Enter Jing.

Jing is a FREE screencasting software with Mac AND Windows versions that allows us here at STS to simplify our question answering service. We simply SHOW the student the answer to their questions by recording what we are doing on our computer screens, then send the video over. Bada-Bing-Bada-Jing. Questions answered. Jing also captures voice while recording the screen so us STSers can explain what we are doing while the screencapturing is happening. All your burning software questions solved.

To download Jing and start sharing all of your computer knowledge, click here.

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Juice Up Your Presentations with VUVOX


We here at STS teach a lot of PowerPoint, in timetable courses for faculty members and in our evening classroom courses, however, we have also recently started teaching VUVOX. VUVOX is an online presentation tool that allows users to incorporate text, video, sound and time lines into their presentations.  A little more snazzy than what we are used to seeing in PPT presentations, eh?

Check out a VUVOX project made by a UW student here.

Interested in setting up VUVOX training for your classroom? See this page!

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Finding Seamless Background Patterns for Web Designs Screenshot

For those Web Designers, or aspiring Web Designers, who have not yet explored the amazing, please, do so now.

This site is a social community that allows users to create color palettes and seamless patterns (yes!), share them, then get feedback on how amazing (or not amazing) your design is.

What I find the site is best used for: exploring patterns and color combos that are highly rated, then putting them together and using them in my own designs. There are over 1 million to choose from.

You don’t even have to have an account to use the art! Just opposite click on the image and save and pattern or palette you enjoy!

To explore patterns, click here.

To explore color palettes, click here.

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Learn CSS Dynamically!

Know a little bit of CSS but need a little practice space to test out your skills? Try out, by description, the website allows users to experiment with CSS, see the results live, and share your code with others.

This little online tool is a handy dandy way to understand a what-can-be-confusing code.

Don’t know CSS yet, but want to learn it? Sign up for an STS class here!

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Filed under Coding, Cool Tools, Websites