Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Some of you may be noticing emails like this (or similar) in your SPAM folder - or it may be slipping into your inbox.  These types of emails are phishing emails.  Basically, these advertisers trick you into clicking a link and acknowledging that your email address is legitimate. Please, do not fall for these.

Before opening a link, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did I register on the site with my school email address?  In accordance with the AUP, you would not have.
  2. Does the from address look accurate?  Would Facebook be sending a message from
  3. Before clicking on the link, preview it (drop down arrow next to the link).  Does it really go to where it claims to go?  In this case, no.  It goes to a dating site:

With these kinds of emails, just ignore them and send them to junk (the thumbs down icon in Mac Mail or the exclamation point (!) in Gmail.  If you have not clicked the link, no harm has been done.

As always, when in doubt, don't click a link.  Email me, and I will look at it for you.  Even if it's from your home personal account.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Keep Your School Gmail Account Professional

Good Afternoon!

Today's post is a quick reminder about RSA 91-A, known commonly as the Right to Know Act (Download PDF).  New Hampshire's Right to Know Law provides access to the public records of state agency's, including our school district.

The documents are both print and electronic, meaning all email correspondence from your school Gmail account (, wether done from home or at school, are subject to this law.  With this in mind, please remember to always keep correspondence from your school Gmail account professional.  I suggest you create a private account for use at home / non-school communications.

Rule of thumb: If you don't want something printed in tomorrows Union Leader with your name attached to it, think twice about sending it out as an email.

Monday, December 3, 2012

District Software Recommendations

The purpose of this post is to help point staff in the right direction while choosing software for student or classroom work.  Though the district does not dictate which software package to use in your classroom, the IT Department feels it is necessary to give you our recommendations.  We'll divide this into staff and student choices.

Unsure on how to use these applications?  See your building Tech Leader for more information on upcoming workshops.

Please note, all Google recommendations are already available in your Drive accounts. (image to right)

Web Browsers

A browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web.
Teacher Student
Recommended Google Chrome Google Chrome
Alternate Safari Safari
Alternate FireFox Firefox

Word Processing

A word processor (WP) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting and possibly printing) of any sort of printable material.
Teacher Teacher w/ Student Data Student (2012) Student (2013)
Recommended Google Document LibreOffice LibreOffice Google Document
Alternate LibreOffice LibreOffice
Alternate* Pages Pages Pages Pages
* Not a standard wordprocessor.


A spreadsheet is an interactive computer application program for organization and analysis of information in tabular form.
Teacher Teacher w/ Student Data Student (2012) Student (2013)
Recommended Google Spreadsheet LibreOffice LibreOffice Google Spreadsheet
Alternate Numbers Numbers Numbers Numbers
Alternate LibreOffice LibreOffice

Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing software (abbreviated DTP) is the creation of printed materials using page layout on a personal computer. When used skillfully, desktop publishing software can produce printed literature with attractive layouts and typographic quality comparable to traditional typography and printing.
Teacher Student
Recommended Pages Pages


A presentation program (also called a presentation graphics program) is a computer software package used to display information, normally in the form of a slide show.
Teacher Teacher w/ Student Data Student (2012) Student (2013)
Recommended Keynote Keynote Keynote Keynote
Alternate Google Presentation Google Presentation
Alternate Prezi Prezi Prezi Prezi


Teacher Teacher w/ Student Data Student (2012) Student (2013)
Recommended Google Draw Paintbrush Paintbrush Google Draw
Alternate Paintbrush Paintbrush

Collaborative Engagement

Collaborative software or groupware is computer software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve goals.
Teacher Student
Recommended Edmodo Edmodo
Alternate Sakai Sakai

View PDF's

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.
Teacher Student
Recommended Preview Preview
Alternate Adobe Reader Adobe Reader


Recommended Google Calendar
Alternate iCal

Class Website

Recommended Google Sites
Alternate Sakai Public Pages

Friday, March 30, 2012

For our first post, I wanted to write about securing and protecting your passwords - not only at school, but the personal accounts you use at home.  I've been gathering information from around the web and hope to share some of the knowledge with you on this subject.

Create Strong Passwords

A strong password doesn't necessarily mean a string of random numbers, letters and special characters.  Though this can help the complexity of the password, it often makes it difficult to remember.  Take for example these two passwords:

HS#7q!G0 VS dragons

Clearly, one is easy to remember, and one, chances are, you'll have a tough time committing to memory.  But, 'dragons' is not a very secure password as it will fail a dictionary attack within seconds.  For hacking software, it would take the computer program 30,000 times longer to crack the first password (with just short of 6 quadrillion combinations to examine) compared to the second (Number of possible passwords = nr = 268 = 208,827,064,576).  So, ideally, you want to mix up your letters, numbers and symbols to make your password tougher to guess.  Perhaps something like Dr@9onZ would be easier to remember, and tougher to break.  

But still, this is a simple 8-character password and not as secure as you could be.

Make them Longer

Mathematically, making the passwords LONGER is the real key.  You should never have a password that is less than 8 characters.  Ideally, 11-17 characters should be your target  -  at a minimum.  Creating a sentence for a password has shown to confuse cracking software - the length alone making it near impossible to crack.  Here's an example of a long password, easy to remember, near impossible to crack:




Think of using ones like this to protect your financial and other personal data - if the website allows that many characters.  That first password has 37 characters of mixed case, numbers and one special character.  You can calculate the complexity of guesses on these permutations (Number of possible passwords = nr = 9437 = 1.0173 combinations - that's a lot, and beyond the capability of a casual hacker.)

Protect your Passwords

Do not, repeat, do not store your passwords in a plain text file.  I've seen too many people that have their passwords stored in a spreadsheet on their computer, just tempting hackers to steal their data.  Also, do not write your password on a sticky note and stick it to your monitor.  You need to protect your passwords like they are cash.  There are many methods you can use, from simple (keeping a small list of important ones in your wallet) to complex (software programs using multiple forms of encryption to hide and protect your password lists).  

Some people have a rough time remembering passwords so the purchase of software that will store all your passwords for you in an encrypted file makes sense.  Just remember, you still need to memorize one password to run the program - so make it a good one.

One more word on protection.  Do not have applications or websites remember your password!  What's the sense in having a password to protect your information if anyone can log onto your machine and get to it?

Any questions, feel free to email me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to the Derry Cooperative School District Technology Integration Blog!