Tech It Out Tips

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January 15, 2016
by Leanne Riseley
1 Comment

iPhone Secret – Allows you to delete default apps

If you have an iPhone/iPad and if like me, you have default apps such as “Tips”, “Game Center”, and “News” that you never use, until now, we have been unable to delete them off of our devices.  So the next best thing was to move them all into a folder and move it to your last home screen to get them out of the way.

Now you can use this little trick shown by videosdebarraquito in the below video to hide the apps.

Here are the steps:

  1. Create a new folder or open an existing folder
  2. Move the apps you want to hide into that folder
  3. Tap and hold on any icon until they all begin to jiggle, allowing you to rearrange them
  4. Grab any app in the folder and drag it to the right beyond the last tab in the folder
  5. While still holding the app icon, press the home button

Step 5 will cause the app icon to vanish completely.
iPhone photo by Pexels is licensed under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

The downside is this trick only hides your apps temporarily — the next time you reboot your device, all of the hidden apps will reappear in the folder.

The good news is that with the next version if iOS (9.3), you will have the ability to hide those apps permanently. It is a more advanced process, but if you are interested in the secret, keep a look out for a future Tech It Out Tips post.


Zech Estein, “The iPhone trick you’ve been waiting for: How to hide Apple’s default apps”, BGR,

videosdebarraquito, “How To Hide Any App On iPhone – iPad Up To iOS 9.2:”, YouTube,

January 14, 2015
by Leanne Riseley

URL Shortener Service

turn-long-shortA URL shortener converts a regular URL into a more condensed format. In other words, it takes a long url and makes them shorter.

University of Hawaii Students, faculty and staff can create short UH URLs for Google Docs, social media, and other online communications. This service is similar to other shortener services such as Google Shortener or Tiny URL, but since you are required to login with your UH username and password, your list of shortened URLs are saved on this service. Shortened URLs do not expire but they can be removed via the interface when they are no longer needed.

Go on and try it out at

Image by Hongkiat Lim on URL Shortening Services, The Ultimate List {link to}

May 28, 2014
by Leanne Riseley
1 Comment

Writing this summer? Consider using noise generators

White_noiseAre you working on your contract renewal or tenure or promotion document this summer? If music is a distraction or you can’t stand absolute silence, you may want to to use a noise generator to create just the right background noise helping you be more productive and less distracted. Some people like Coffitivity, an online and mobile app that offers the background noise typical of a coffee shop. Others like noise generators which produce consistent, yet variable sounds. The white noise helps your brain relax from jumping at any little sound if the background is otherwise extremely quiet. It can also be used to mask other sounds if you’re trying to concentrate. Some noise generators (online and mobile app) are:

SimplyNoise, which lets you choose from white, pink, or brown noise. You can set the volume to a particular level, or choose an optional oscillation speed that will vary it.

Noisli, which offers white, pink, and brown noise as well as sounds of rain, waterfall, fire crackling, and other sounds that can be combined in various ways. In addition to the sounds, the Noisli site changes color, which some find relaxing as well.

MyNoise, which offers the widest array of choices and customizable options. These choices include white, grey, and impulse noise; natural noises; tonal drones; soundscapes; and many more. There are many preselected options, but you can also customize the sound to your own preferences using ten frequency sliders. It offers a calibration mode that helps you adjust the sliders according to your own hearing curve and your computer equipment.

Adapted from the full article “Tools I Use: Online Noise Generators

April 23, 2014
by Leanne Riseley

How to Easily Schedule a Meeting Across Time Zones

Do you use online collaboration tools such as Skype or Blackboard Collaborate with colleagues or friends/family? Do you have trouble calculating the time difference in your head? If so, try this online tool – the Meeting Planner on the website to help you schedule the best times in all timezones.

From the Meeting Planner page, you simply enter the date and two or more cities or time zones in which the participants will be:





The next screen displays a color-coded chart of the corresponding meeting times in the different locations. Green marks times within standard business hours; yellow marks early morning or evening times; and red marks times typically considered undesirable.






Full article “How to Easily Schedule a Meeting Across Time Zones” by Natalie Houston may be found on the Chronicle of Higher Education.

January 28, 2014
by Leanne Riseley

Use Format Painter in MS Office to Replicate Formatting

Do you have formatting in one part of your document that you want to apply elsewhere? You can “copy” one or multiple characteristics of text (bold, color, font size, etc.) by using the Format Painter which copies formatting to another selection of text.

To do this:

  1. Select the text you like the look of by highlighting it. Click Format Painter, and then highlight the text you want to change.

FormatPainter2. If you want to copy the formatting to more than one selection of text, double-click instead of single-clicking Format Painter.  It keeps the Format Painter “active” which allows you to repeat it in multiple locations. To exit the Format Painter, press Esc. or click on the Format Painter icon again.

In addition to text, Format Painter also works on shapes, cells, or picture borders, and applies it to the second. You can easily apply the same formatting wherever you want in your document with a couple of clicks. This applies to all MS Office Applications.

Video Tutorial (2 min) on using Format Painter

October 30, 2013
by Leanne Riseley

Timesaver: Scrolling Down a Page

If you are like me, you use your mouse to scroll up and down web pages.

But, did you know you could tap the space bar to scroll down a page?

Use <Shift> + space bar to scroll back up the page.

This works on all browsers.  It also works with PDF files. Try it out, it saves time with long pages and documents.

October 10, 2013
by Leanne Riseley

Google Makes Quickoffice Free to Everyone

Quickoffice, Google’s app for editing Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on mobile devices, is free to anyone with a Google account (Google@UH qualifies).

Available for Android and iOS devices, Quickoffice integrates with Google Drive and allows users to edit Office documents without converting to Google Docs formats for collaboration with individuals who do not use Google products. Continue Reading Article–>

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