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General Hardware FAQ's

Index

  1. What is a SmartBoard?
  2. How do I burn a CD on my Mac laptop?
  3. What ports are included with my Mac laptop?
  4. How do I connect my laptop to a projector?
  5. How do I take a still picture with my iSight camera?

1. What is a SmartBoard?

An interactive whiteboard, like those made by SmartBoard, is a touch-screen projection surface. Your computer plugs into a projector and into the SmartBoard. Once the software is installed, the whole projection area becomes an interactive touch-screen interface for your computer. You'll be surprised at how engaging it can be, especially for applications with a strong visual component, like Inspiration or PowerPoint. For more information on what it is and what it does, and for a summary of research on classroom use, visit Smart Technologies' website, or stop by the Lounge.

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2. How do I burn a CD on my Mac laptop?

It is possible to transfer("burn") files to a CD using your laptop's built-in CD-R/CD-RW drive. This is a good way to back up your files. Before you can backup your files by burning them to CD, you will first need to purchase some blank media. You can use either CD-Rs or CD-RWs. CD-Rs can only be written to once, while CD-RWs will allow you to reuse the media. Once you have your blank media on your computer, there are several ways to burn a CD using the built-in CD burning features of Mac OS X.

Using the Finder:

  1. Insert a blank CD or DVD disc into the optical drive of your computer.
    Type a name for the disc in the dialog that appears (if CDs & DVDs preferences are set to "Ask what to do"), or under the CD icon if no dialog appears, then click OK.

  2. Drag files and folders to the open disc window and arrange the files exactly as you want them. The names of files, folders, and the disc can't be changed after the CD is burned.

  3. Choose File > Burn Disc.

  4. Select the burn speed and click Burn.

Using Burn Folders:
With a burn folder, you can create a compilation of files to burn to CD even if you don't have a blank CD at the moment. The burn folder will create aliases (shortcuts) to the files. When you are finished burning your CD, you can delete the burn folder and only the aliases will be deleted, not the original files.

To create a new burn folder (which will have the .fpbf extension in the Finder):

  1. Choose File > New Burn Folder.

  2. Give the folder a name, and add the items you want to include on your CD or DVD (for example, images, documents, folders, or applications).

  3. Double-click the folder to open it in a Finder window, then click Burn to begin creating a burned disc.

  4. Insert a blank or rewriteable disc into your computer and follow the onscreen instructions.

You can also use the disc burning features of applications such as iPhoto and iTunes to create CDs.

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3. What ports are included with my Mac laptop?

The image below shows you what ports are available on your laptop if you purchased an iBook. To see what ports are available on your PowerBook laptop, visit this page.

The FireWire port is used to connect your iSight camera to your laptop (as well as camcorders and some external drives). USB 2.0 is used to connect printers, digital cameras, a mouse, and other peripherals that use the USB connector. The Video Out port is used to connect your laptop to an external display or projector using the VGA adapter. The 10/100 BaseT Ethernet connector is used to connect your computer to a Local Area Network (LAN) using a network cable.

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4. How do I connect my laptop to a projector?

It's easy to connect your iBook or PowerBook laptop to an external display or projector with the VGA Cable. Simply connect one end of the VGA adapter to the output port on your laptop (this port is next to the headphone connector on the iBooks), then connect the other end to the appropriate connector on the projector or external display. This cable was included with your laptop.

VGA Adapter

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5. How do I take a still picture with my iSight camera?

The iSight camera included in your bundle can be used to take still pictures which you can include in your projects. One idea is to use the still pictures to create a seating chart using Inspiration.

To create a still picture using the iSight camera:

  1. With your iSight camera connected, open iChat (it may open automatically when you connect your camera).

  2. Click on the green video camera icon at the top of your Bonjour or AIM window.

  3. This will open a window showing the image from your iSight. You can press the Command key and drag the image in the video window to the desktop or into another application such as Inspiration. Another way to create a still picture is by going to the Edit menu and choosing Copy (the keyboard shortcut for copy is Apple + C), switching to another application such as Inspiration, and choosing Paste (the keyboard shortcut for paste is Apple + V).

Yet another way to take a snapshot is by opening the video window and choosing Video > Take Snapshot (Shortcut: Command + Option + S). The snapshot will be saved to your desktop as a TIFF file. You can then drag this image file into other applications such as Inspiration.

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