Administration

These resources are useful in administration of all types, the routine necessary tasks of life.

Name Comments
ClipMate

What it Does: Enhances the windows clipboard dramatically
Runs on: PC only
Price: $20
Best Feature: Efficiency of doing multiple copies from a document and then pasting in another.
Worst Feature: Two different "views" or"modes" can be confusing.
Learning Time: Minutes --- Export/Import: Good
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: Remembers copy and paste (clipboard) functionality - and much more - includes a good screen capture (making an image file of something on the screen). Use it if you do a lot of copy and paste.
Administration note: Use it when there is lots of copy and paste or you have "boilerplate" text to place.
Review & Comments about ClipMate in Academic Tools Blog
Direct Update

What it Does: Allows connecting computers over the internet that normally are hidden.
TechSpeak - Allows creating an apparent "static" IP address to computers forced to connecting using DHCP.
Runs on: PC only
Price: $19
Uniqueness: It's one of only a few tools to provide this combination of functions
Best Feature: Allows publishing a single address for your machine - for web server, ftp, remote control
Worst Feature: Must also sign up for a free DNS account elsewhere - the program suggests where.
Learning Time: Half Hour ---
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: Techie: Useful only for those wanting their machine accessible, but using a non-static IP - e.g. most campus computers and home DSL computers.
Administration note: Because allows file synchronization with non-static IP address
Filemaker Pro

What it Does: Database tool (relational) with exceptionally straightforward interface
Runs on: PC, Mac
Price: $250
Best Feature: Allows fairly easy keeping of detailed grading and attendance records and personalized Emails.
Worst Feature: You'll have to invest several days of time to get comfortable enough to use it (or any database) easily.
Learning Time: Days --- Export/Import: Good
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: You want to pay for Filemaker if you do a lot of database work and want a really good user interface.
Any time you get over about 100 things that need to be remembered, sorted, searched - up to that point Excel may be easier. If printed output appearance is critical FileMaker is excellent.
- Access (in MSOffice) is licensed, but tougher to use. Base in Openoffice is an Access clone, and currently very flaky. MySQL is free and even tougher for the non-techie.
Administration note: Particularly grading & email updates in combination with Outlook and MSWord
Review & Comments about Filemaker Pro in Academic Tools Blog
GMail

What it Does: Online EMail account
Runs on: Web
Free
Best Feature: Superior search and spam filter.
Worst Feature: More spam because it's GMail.
Immediately Useful: Yes --- Learning Time: Half Hour --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: You can redirect other EMail accounts here. It's also easy to create on-the-fly sub-accounts by using the "accountid+subaccount@gmail" email ID.
MS Outlook

What it Does: The standard corporate Email/task/calendar/contact program
Runs on: PC, Mac
Drexel Site License
Best Feature: Integration of Email and tasks.
Worst Feature: Corporate backup is atrocious. I've had a colleague lose vital emails thanks to MS incompetence.
Learning Time: Hours --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: I use it every day - but enhance it with Neo - and am sure to backup my own local data (PST) files.
Administration note: Task management
Neo

What it Does: Outlook enhancement - Search, to-do, filing
Runs on: PC only
Price: $35
Best Feature: Multiple ways to see only the EMails you want without deleting the unwanted permanently.
Worst Feature: Works only with Outlook.
Immediately Useful: Yes --- Learning Time: Hours ---
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: If you get more than 20 EMails a day this will save you a great deal of time. It allows easy organization of your EMail traffic and tagging of "to-do".
Keep an eye in future on "Chandler", a developing Opensource product.
Administration note: Handling large volumes of EMail
pb wiki

What it Does: Online, easy wiki (collaborative, interlinked document) creation.
Runs on: Web
Free
Best Feature: "Easy" creation of interactive websites.
Worst Feature: Must learn wiki formatting rules.
Learning Time: Hours ---
My use: Regular --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: I use for having students submit "logs" of weekly activity that I want to be visible to others. It's very successful although there are inevitably plagiarism possibilities.
Administration note: Share between team members
PowerPro

What it Does: Many, many shortcuts (macros) for windows
Runs on: PC only
Free, Open Source
Best Feature: Make your own custom key combinations to do almost anything.
Worst Feature: Takes quite a lot of effort to make it worthwhile.
Immediately Useful: Yes --- Learning Time: Hours ---
My use: Daily --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: I use it probably the most of all these tools, but it took a while to be comfortable with it.
Administration note: Make routine tasks much more efficient
Quicken

What it Does: Bookeeping and financial reporting - small scale
Runs on: PC, Mac
Price: $30+
Best Feature: About as easy as accounting can get
Worst Feature: Intuit is almost as greedy as MS.
Learning Time: Hours --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Regular --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: Be aware that Quicken trys, like MS, to lock you in to their product by making data interchange difficult.
Administration note: If you want to track your finances independent of your institution's official system.
WebCT Vista

What it Does: Course Management system with many features
Runs on: Web
Drexel Site License
Best Feature: Very powerful - particularly for tests, quizzes, homework, remote learning.
Worst Feature: Confusing and cumbersome for all but the simplest tasks.
Immediately Useful: Yes --- Learning Time: Hours --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Infrequent --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: Drexel's major online courseware management system. We also have Blackboard in some departments.
Administration note: For large classes: surveys grades and quizzes

 

 

Update: 2006-11-26