November 12, 2005

NewsForge presents free training videos

Author: NewsForge Staff

Massachusetts is trying to convert all computerized state documents to
the open
document format
(odt). We think this is a fine idea. One
concern that's been expressed about this move (at least by Microsoft)
is that training employees to use 2.0
or other software that
uses non-proprietary file formats (in place of Microsoft Office) will
be time-consuming and costly. But what if basic
training materials were available online for free? As a public service
for Commonwealth of  Massachusetts employees (and everyone
else), NewsForge is presenting -- absolutely free of charge -- 11 training videos as part of this
article. They're excerpts from the video CD that comes with
NewsForge Editor-in-Chief Robin 'Roblimo' Miller's upcoming book, Point
& Click!
, which will be available in
December from all major booksellers. But we wanted
you to have access to these videos now
instead of waiting until the book is available, so here they are.

About the Point &
Click! videos

They're released under a Creative
Commons license
, and will play in any
operating system, in any Web browser that has the Flash
plugin (version 6 or higher) installed. They were made primarily for
Windows users, with the Windows version of, but things
work pretty much the same in Linux, so they're just as valuable for
Linux users. (Our favorite derivative of for
Mac, NeoOffice,
lags behind the "main" version, but even so, you'll find that
things work pretty much the same way.)  

Do not worry if you are not a word processing, spreadsheet, graphics or
slideshow expert. These videos walk you through basic
functions one step at a time. And each video
has a
little player control bar beneath it you can use to pause,
stop, fast-forward or rewind the video. If you miss a step, no problem;
just back up and look at it again. No one is timing or grading you.
Take as long as you need to learn each step -- and feel free to follow
along in your own copy of and experiment as much as you
like. It's a robust program. You won't break it if you make a mistake.

The minimum browser window size for playing the Point & Click! videos with maximum clarity is 800X624 pixels. You may
want to expand your browser window to "full screen" size to make sure
its main window is this large
before you start clicking on the video links.  

To get back to this menu page when you're done viewing one of the
videos, use your browser's "Back" button. Then click on the next video
you want to view, then come back again, and so on.


The NewsForge Point
& Click! Video Menu


and formatting text documents

Adding graphics to a text document

in various file formats

and printing

Making a spreadsheet

values in a spreadsheet

Basic drawing functions

Manipulating images

a slide presentation in a hurry

pictures to slide presentations

Click Here!