Tech Tip Tuesdays

Tech Tip Tuesday: Keep Your Device’s Operating System Up to Date

If you use a smartphone or tablet, it’s important to keep the operating system (OS) up to date. Doing so can help avoid security risks, improve performance, and keep everything running smoothly.

blurred photo of a person holding a tablet

Taking the steps outlined on this page from the Federal Communications Commission both for before and after the update will help make the transition to the updated OS as seamless as possible.

Remember that each type of device uses a specific OS, and the update process for each OS is a little different.

The OS used by Apple mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones is known as iOS. Here’s how to update iOS on your mobile device.

Android devices are a little more complex, because different manufacturers may customize the OS in different ways, and the update methods vary a little with each successive version of the OS. Google provides instructions that will work on most devices for updating your Android OS.

Learn more about adopting safer habits with your devices at Allegheny.

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Tech Tip Tuesday: Create Meeting Notes in a Calendar Event

Now you can create a document for your meeting notes right when you schedule an event in Google Calendar, in addition to adding other attachments.

Here’s how:

  1. From within Google Calendar in a web browser, choose Create.
    Screenshot of the "Create" button in the Google Calendar web interface
  2. Set the options for the meeting, such as the date, time, title, and guests.
  3. Choose Add description or attachments.
    Screenshot of the event creation dialog in the Google Calendar web interface
  4. If you have other documents in your Google Drive to attach to the meeting, use the dialog box to choose those.
    If not, choose Cancel.
  5. After you close that dialog box, you will find an option to Create Meeting Notes.
    Screenshot of the "Create Meeting Notes" option in a meeting creation dialog box in Google Calendar
  6. Creating a notes document from Calendar will automatically populate the document with the event information and attach the document to the event.
    Screenshot showing a meeting notes document listing in the event details in a Google Calendar event
  7. Choose Save. This will automatically create the document in the Google Drive of the person scheduling the meeting.
  8. The first time you open the meeting notes from within the Google Calendar event, it will be automatically populated with the meeting details and some common tools.
    Screenshot of the Meeting Notes document showing the basic tools and meeting details prepopulated
  • Be aware that the meeting notes will be shared with all guests, including those outside Allegheny College (if any).
  • This feature is currently only available when creating events in a web browser; it is not yet available in the Google Calendar app on mobile devices.
  • Meeting notes can also be added in a similar fashion after the event is created.
  • Anyone with permission to edit the event details can add meeting notes.

Learn more about adding attachments to Google Calendar events.

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Tech Tuesday: Using Labels in Google Contacts

We’ve talked before about using labels in Google Keep. Google Contacts is another service where labels can help you keep things organized.

On your Android phone or tablet:

Create a label

  1. Open the Contacts app .
  2. At the top left, tap Menu and then Create label.
  3. Enter a label name and tap OK.

Add contacts to a label

  • Add one contact to a label: Tap Add contact and then choose a contact.
  • Add multiple contacts to a label: Tap Add contact and then touch and hold a contact and then tap the other contacts and then tap Add.

In a web browser:

Create a label

  1. Go to Google Contacts.
  2. At the left under “Labels,” click Create label.
  3. Type a name, then click Save.

Add contacts to a label

  1. Go to Google Contacts.
  2. Select one of the following:
    • A single contact: Check the box next to the contact name.
    • Multiple contacts: Check the boxes next to all the contacts you want to add.
    • All contacts: Check the box next to any contact and in the top left, click Selection Actions and then All.
  3. At the top, click Manage labels .
  4. Click the group label you want.
  5. Click Apply.
If a contact has multiple email addresses, only their default email address is added to the label group. You can use the Contacts app  on an Android device to change the default email address for a contact.

You can email all your contacts under a particular label from within Gmail.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click Compose.
  3. In the “To” field, start typing the name of the Contacts label, then select the label name from the list that appears.
  4. You’ll see a list of contacts in the “To” field.
What else can you do with Google Contacts?

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Comment on Microsoft Office Files & PDFs in Google Drive

You may already be familiar with using comments in Google Docs and Google Sheets. Did you know you can use similar features to comment on Microsoft Word files, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs that you’ve uploaded to Google Drive?

Comments can be a great way to collaborate–letting your team know your thoughts and asking questions about a document that all of you have access to.

To comment on a PDF file, double-click on the file in your Google Drive.

In the upper right corner, click on the “Add a comment” button:

Screenshot of the interaction menu from a PDF file in Google Drive, highlighting the "Add a Comment" button

You can then select a portion of the PDF to comment on, type your comment, and use the Comment button to save it:

Screenshot of a comment being left on a Google Drive PDF file, reading "This is a great illustration of this feature."

To be able to add comments, you must either be the owner of the file, or have editing or commenting privileges on the file.

You can also comment on images and video files!

Learn more about file storage and collaboration in Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets.

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Tech Tip Tuesday: Snooze Google Calendar desktop notifications

You can now snooze Google Calendar desktop notifications directly from the notification itself. Just click on Snooze within the notification popup to hide it temporarily.

By default, snoozed notifications will reappear one minute before the scheduled meeting; you can change this timing in your Calendar settings. You can also “re-snooze” a notification for an additional five minutes as many times you’d like, until the meeting ends.

screenshot of a sample event notification popup from Google Chrome in Windows 10


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Tech Tuesday: Add Co-Hosts to a Google Meet

Google Meet hosts can now designate co-hosts in a Google Meet. Here’s how:

  1. In a meeting, at the bottom right, click Show everyone People Tab.
  2. From the “People” tab, find or search the participant’s name.
  3. Next to their name, click Menu  and then Grant host controls Add people and bots.

The Meeting safety icon  appears at the bottom of the new co-host’s screen.

Flipped Classroom offers a quick video tutorial:

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  • For a meeting participant to become a co-host, they must be in the meeting.
  • Co-hosts can turn Host Management off. Only the main host can re-enable Host Management for all other hosts.
  • Participants can’t be appointed or removed as co-hosts from Breakout Rooms. Participants must return to the main room to be granted hosting privileges.
  • Only the main host receives meeting info, like attendance reports or polling details, but can share meeting info with other co-hosts.
  • Host Management settings are saved for any recurring meetings or meetings that re-use the same meeting code. Appointed co-hosts will need to be re-appointed for any recurring meetings.

Tech Tuesday: Open Office Files

Google has changed the default editing mode for Microsoft Office files in Google Drive on the web. Now, when you double-click on an Office file, it will open directly in Office editing mode.

Brief video showing a .DOCX file in Google Drive opening in native Microsoft Office editing in Google Docs

Office Editing Mode in Google Docs and Sheets offers improved compatibility with Microsoft Office for layout, formulas, formatting, and other features. This makes it even easier to work with files created in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. It works both on files you upload and on files shared with you.

Note that password-protected Office files will not open directly in Office editing mode. These files will continue to open in Preview mode.

Learn more about using Google Drive at the Google Drive Help Center.

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Tech Tip Tuesday: Tips for a Secure Password

Today’s tips are courtesy of Public Services Technician Sue Gum:

Tips for a Secure Password

  • Use a password manager that will create strong passwords for you.
  • Use a long password–8 is a great way to start, but the longer the better.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple sites.
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) when possible.
  • Avoid common words and character combinations – thequickbrownfox or thisismypassword.  Also avoid using personal information like your name, nickname, the name of your pet, your birthday or anniversary, your street name or anything associated with you that someone could find out from social media.
  • Avoid passwords known to be stolen – Click this link and type in the password you want to use to see if it was stolen.
  • Try to include letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols.
  • Remember to update your Allegheny password once a year, as soon as you get the email reminder.
  • For other accounts, no need to periodically change your password unless you suspect it has been exposed. Microsoft now recommends that unless you suspect your passwords have been exposed, you don’t need to periodically change them. The reason? Many of us, by being forced to change our passwords every few months, would fall into bad habits of creating easy-to-remember passwords or writing them down where others can find them.
  • Go to password generator sites like this or this where you can choose the length of the password and if you want or all of the categories; upper or lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.

Find out if your passwords have been stolen

Mozilla’s Firefox Monitor and Google’s Password Checkup can show you which of your email addresses and passwords have been compromised in a data breach so you can take action. 

Have I Been Pwned can also show you if your emails and passwords have been exposed. If you do discover you’ve been hacked, see our guide for how to protect yourself.

Use two-factor authentication (2FA),  but try to avoid text message codes

If thieves do steal your password, you can still keep them from gaining access to your account with two-factor authentication (also called two-step verification or 2FA), a security safeguard that requires you enter a second piece of information that only you have  (usually a one-time code) before the app or service logs you in.

While it’s common and convenient to receive these codes in a text message to your mobile phone or in a call to your landline phone, it’s simple enough for a hacker to steal your phone number through SIM swap fraud and then intercept your verification code. 

A much safer way to receive verification codes is for you to generate and fetch them yourself using an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator. And once you’re set up, you can choose to register your device or browser so you don’t need to keep verifying it each time you sign in.

The revised passphrase method

This is the multiple word phrase method with a twist — choose bizarre and uncommon words. Use proper nouns, the names of local businesses, historical figures, any words you know in another language, etc. A hacker might guess Weldons, but he or she would find it ridiculously challenging to try to guess a good password example like this: WeldonsLincolnSi

To crank it up another notch in complexity, you can add random characters in the middle of your words or between the words. Just avoid underscores between words.

The sentence method

This method is also described as the “Bruce Schneier Method.” The idea is to think of a random sentence and transform it into a password using a rule. For example using the sentence Roff School Tavern has the best pizza  I can take the first 2 letters in every word and it would give me: rosctahatebepi but then I can take it a step further and capitalize some of the letters like RoScTahathbepi and it makes it even more secure.

To anyone else, it’s gobbledygook, but to you it makes perfect sense. Make sure the sentence you choose is as personal and unguessable as possible.

 How to set up backup email & phone number in Self Service

  1. Log into Self-Service
  2. On the left click on the user options and then user profile
  3. Scroll down to add a personal email address and your cell phone number

These can be used to reset your password from