Where’s that bus? Wait no longer!

Griffith University graduate and hack-a-thon participatee Ian Murnane

Griffith Library held its inaugural Hack-a-thon event this year, where Griffith students were given 30 hours to work in a group to develop an app.

One of the students who participated was Ian Murnane, who has since graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology and a Bachelor of Multimedia.

While Ian has left Griffith University behind, he certainly hasn’t stopped creating apps.

Enter the Android app Where’s That Bus. it was developed by Ian, and fellow Griffith University graduate Ferguson McBryde.

The app, which covers the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, allows a user to see exactly where a bus is at any given time. It provides an ETA to within 30 seconds.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the desire to create Where’s The Bus came from the graduates’ own experiences.

‘We were students on student budgets, so we relied on public transport, but we were never able to see when buses would arrive,’ said Mr McBryde.

Mr Murnane soon realised the data they needed was already online and the app took shape.

‘I started to get information like GPS coordinates out of the Google Packet,’ he said. ‘Eventually we ended up with an app that allows you to actually see the buses driving around.’

Users can access the information by punching in their regular route or stop number.

The results will be displayed on a map along with real time information about the bus’ arrival. Thanks to feedback from fellow Griffith students, there’s also the option to bookmark favourites and see the direction of travel.

‘The information at the bus stop could say the next service is five minutes away, but you can check the app and see if it’s already gone past or running late,’ said Mr Murnane.

The app currently has a 4.9 star rating on Google Play.


Stay organised with Google Drive

At the risk of sounding like your mother: organisation is important at uni. To stay on top of all the content you’ve learned this trimester, to organise your assignments, your exam notes, and just life in general.

With all this comes an array of files. So many files. You’ve probably got some in Learning@Griffith, some saved to your USB, some emailed to yourself, some saved to your harddrive, some saved to your student drive, and some quickly saved to your desktop with a title of ‘sdjfsdjkf’.

Can you guess what we’re going to say? Probably…

You’ve got to organise your files!

If you’re not already using your Google Drive, we suggest you start.

Google Drive is basically an online file storage system. As a student you automatically have a Google Drive account attached to your student email, and it comes with unlimited storage. It’s accessible from any computer browser and most mobile devices. All you need is a connection to the internet and you’re sweet to access it anywhere.

You can store any file in Drive: pictures, drawings, videos, and more. You only need to store a file in Drive on one device, and it will automatically be available on all your other devices.

There are three ways to get your files into Drive:

  • Upload files to Drive on the web
  • Store files using a desktop sync client
  • Upload files from your phone or tablet

Go to the Google Apps Learning Centre to find out how!

Another wonderful benefit of Google Drive is that you can share folders with other people, so they can see and edit the contents too – a lifesaver for group assignments!

Now, we aren’t suggesting you save your work exclusively on Google Drive. Save files to multiple places in case something goes horribly wrong. But when doing so, stay organised!

Watch this YouTube video for helpful tips to keep your Google Drive folders perfectly organised.


Google Apps are the appsolute best

Google is basically Dumbledore. Like Dumbledore reigned Hogwarts (before he got thrown off a building, anyway), Google reigns the realm of internet-related services and products.

Not only does Google provide a search engine any millennial couldn’t live without (how would we win arguments without it?), did you know they have a whole suite of online apps?

As a Griffith student, you are automatically given a Google Apps account, which gives you access to:

  • Gmail: Kinda a necessity. Your Gmail also has unlimited storage, too.
  • Google Calendar: You can schedule meetings, get reminders and notifications, share calendars, create tasks lists, and basically manage your entire life (well, almost).
  • Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides: Create, share and collaborate on documents real time from desktops. Super handy for group assignments, or when you need someone to proofread your work. Plus, they’re all compatible with MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Google Drive: Never fret about a lost USB again. Store files in the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Google Hangouts: Chat to your friends via voice, video or instant messaging.

To get to Google Apps, from your student email simply click on the Google Apps button (the 9 cubes at the top right of the screen).

We suggest you take a look and utilise these wonderful apps – you don’t want to be left behind like Ask Jeeves or Crabbe and Goyle (yeah, you might have to Google those).

Find more information on Google Apps here.


Storing your files, made easy

Photo of folders

Did you know that your student email is Gmail based?

And with that comes a whole suite of associated apps, you’ve just gotta click the Google Apps icon at the top right to get to them (hint, it looks like nine small cubes). To get to Google Drive, you just click on the Google Drive option!

So, what is Google Drive? It’s basically a free online file storage system.

Google Drive allows you to easily store your photos, documents, slides, drawings, sheets, videos – anything. Your files in Drive can be reached from any mobile device or computer. So wherever you go, your files go. You can quickly invite others to view, download and collaborate.

Benefits include:

  • Unlimited free storage – no more running out of space.
  • Access everywhere – you can access your files anywhere either via the web or offline by installing Google Drive onto your computer, smartphone or tablet.  
  • Automatic syncing – if you change a file on the web, on your computer or on your mobile device it will automatically update on every device you have installed Google Drive.
  • Secure backup –with Google Drive you will always have your files safely stored in the cloud should anything happen to your computing device. #lifesaver
  • Easy and secure collaboration – you can share files with colleagues and edit them together on any device. So super handy for group assignments! You can also manage exactly who you share your files with and what level of access they will have (view only, or edit).

How convenient, right? I bet you’re kicking yourself as to why you haven’t been using Google Drive already!

No more tears over lost USBs full of all your important assessment! Though, do remember to backup your work and not store it all in the one location.


Quickly and easily cite your sources with Explore in Google Docs

A photo of couple exploring a city

Love exploring? Explore sources in Google Docs!

So you may not be writing assignments right now. It’s summer break and you have no interest in churning out a fully referenced, 3000-word paper on anything.

But we thought we’d tell you about some new additions to Google Docs, and to the suite of Google Apps (now appropriately called G Suite).

There are some new features that may make your life a tad easier come Trimester 1, and you need to engage your dusty word processing skills.

So back in September, Google launched Explore in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. According to their promotional material, Explore aims to ‘give you the insights, design tools and research recommendations you need to do you best work’.

That sounds wonderful, but what does it actually offer you? What can you now do in Google Docs that you couldn’t do, say back in August?

Well, for one, you can insert footnotes at the click of a button. To be fair, we aren’t sure how many of you use footnotes at Griffith. But if you do, you will find this pretty cool.

When you open Google Docs, there is a little button located in the bottom right-hand corner. It looks like a four-point star (sorry for the lame description). That is the Explore button. Once you click on this you’ll be able to insert citations as footnotes in your Google Doc.

Simply, search for content in Explore (Google Docs also suggests content), hover over the search result and click the Cite as footnote button (which looks like a double quotation mark). You can even change the format of your citation, switching between the MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

For more information on Google Docs Explore, go to the Google Help Centre.


Save files to your student Google Drive

googledrive

Did you know your student Google Drive has unlimited storage?

You can save all your uni assignments, group projects, research or general what-have-you to Google Drive, and you’ll never reach your maximum quota. Because, well, there is none.

The only limitation is the size of the file, and even then it’s nothing to worry about. You can store files up to five terabytes (TB) in size. To give you some perspective, five TB is approximately 1,250,000 songs or 380 hours of video. It’s seriously massive.

So if you are saving your work to a USB, CD, H Drive or the desktop, it’s time to diversify.

Now, we aren’t suggesting you save your work exclusively on Google Drive. Save files to multiple places in case something goes horribly wrong.

For example, save it to a USB, Google Drive and email yourself a copy. That way, the risk of losing your gazillion-word essay is minuscule.

So how do you get a student Google Drive? If you are a Griffith student, you get one automatically! Actually, you get access to a student Google Apps account, which also includes Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides and Google Calendar (to name just a few).

You can store any file in Drive: pictures, drawings, videos, and more. You only need to store a file in Drive on one device, and it will automatically be available on all your other devices.

There are three ways to get your files into Drive:

  • Upload files to Drive on the web
  • Store files using a desktop sync client
  • Upload files from your phone or tablet

Go to the Google Apps Learning Centre to find out how!


Do you know about your free Google Apps account?

googleapps

No? Well, you do now! Google offers students a range of apps that make organising your timetable, group assignments, emails, contacts, appointments and documents super easy.

Google Apps include:

  • Gmail is your fabulous Griffith email account with crazy storage capabilities. All students receive a Gmail account while studying and after graduation. You can also access Gmail on your mobile device.
  • Google Drive allows you to easily store your photos, documents, slides, drawings, sheets, videos – anything. Your files in Drive can be reached from any mobile device or computer. So wherever you go, your files go. You can quickly invite others to view, download and collaborate. And did we mention, it has unlimited storage?
  • Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are productivity apps that let you create different kinds of online documents, work on them in real time with other people, and store them in your Google Drive online.
  • Google Calendar is used to manage your time and to keep track of all your events. Any events you create or edit will sync automatically across all your devices where you’re signed in.
  • Google Chat is used to send and receive instant messages with other people in Griffith University or external students who also have a Gmail account.
  • Google Sites are an easy way to make information accessible to others online. They allow you to display a variety of information in one place – including videos, slideshows, presentations, attachments, and test and share it for viewing or editing with others.
  • Google+ is a social networking platform that lets users share information and collaborate with others, both internal and external to Griffith University.

You’ll also be ‘Appy to hear that as a Griffith student you automatically receive a Google account that lasts a lifetime.

Hungry for more information? Head over to the Google Apps support page.