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'Ask the Techies' podcast provides tech help videos

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 27, 2006) -- "Ask the Techies," a podcast created at the Computer Learning Lab in Ohio University's Academic Advancement Center, has begun producing its second season of free online tech help videos to open up the power of technology to people in a lighthearted way.

These videos can be downloaded from the Internet and viewed on a computer screen or on portable devices, such as a video iPod. They typically feature D. Lee Beard, computer skills teacher and administrator at Ohio University, and a student or other Ohio University "techie" explaining the latest in cool technology. Topics range from iPods, Photoshop and Dreamweaver to MS Office and video editing. 

"My goal with the presentation of these podcasts is to empower people with the use of technology, because I have a strong belief that information is power and technology gets you access to information," Beard said. "These videos show people how to locate and access that information, manipulate it and then re-present it in ways that express their hopes, their fears, their doubts and their knowledge." 

The idea for the podcasts emerged because of the rising interest in the seminars held at the Computer Learning Lab located in Alden Library. 

"When people couldn't attend them, the lab began to receive requests for the seminars to be recorded," Beard said. "So we started making these so-called training videos, but with an informal, lighthearted tone to keep it entertaining and more conversational." 

When new episodes of "Ask the Techies" reach the Internet there are about 2,000 downloads for that video in the first week. The reach of the videos is not just Ohio; this program is reaching people globally. Viewers in places such as Brazil, Canada, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, Venezuela and Africa are also tuning in. 

The name "Ask the Techies" is fitting because viewers can submit questions to be considered for video replies in future episodes. 

While the videos are of minimal cost and are shot in a classroom at the Academic Advancement Center, "Ask the Techies" has gotten a lot of attention. They have been mentioned by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Ohio Learning Network, G4TechTV and Yahoo!'s tech page. 

On Yahoo!, "Ask the Techies" is paired up with well-known groups such as commandN, an online weekly show that covers tech news, reviews and how-to's.

"One of the main hosts for commandN, Amber McArthur, also works for G4Tech TV, so we are paired up with podcast programs that are real leaders with this new technology," Beard said. "We seem to be meeting industry standards or exceeding them."

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Media Contact: Computer skills teacher and administrator at Ohio University D. Lee Beard at 740-593-2655 or beardd@ohio.edu or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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