Robots at the library

RobotThe Westport Library has robots! Library patrons will be able to use the programming language Python to program the robots to all kinds of things and may even have robot poetry slams in the future. This excellent 3-minute audio clip tells more about the robots and includes clips of interviews with the library staff.

Read more about the robots and watch videos of them in action here:

SCLS has plans for our own robots in the form of the LEGO Mindstorms kits that will debut in 2015. The LEGO Mindstorms kits arrived a couple of weeks ago, and so far staff have sorted out all the many, many pieces (there were a ton!) and spent a little time becoming familiar with the kits. They've built some simple robots and experimented with programming them to do tasks using their light, touch, gyro, and other sensors.

The kits will be part of a new traveling “makerspace kit” for SCLS member libraries to borrow and were purchased using funds contributed by the SCLS Foundation. Read more about the Foundation and LEGO Mindstorms kits in the Fall 2014 SCLS Foundation newsletter.

Duplicating Browser Tabs

Have you ever needed to duplicate a tab while browsing in your favorite browser?  I know I have and in the past what I would do is copy the web address, open a new tab and then paste the web address into the new tab.  This always seemed SO cumbersome and I thought: "There must be an easy, quicker, better way to do this!" So I went searching and found that there IS an easy way to duplicate a browser tab and it works the same in IE, Firefox and Chrome.  Here are the steps:

  1. Press Alt+D to move the focus to the location bar.
  2. While still holding down the Alt key press the Enter key.
  3. The current tab has now been duplicated.

That's it.  Easy as could be.

All About the Books

If you've heard Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass" (I seem to hear it everywhere now!), you may appreciate the Nashville Public Library team's video celebrating library cards, "All About the Books, No Trouble."

Can Your Password Change Your Life?

PadlocksLast week, the Swiss Army Librarian posted about a recent password article that he'd read. It's called Choosing Secure Passwords and worth a read. The word "Choosing" in the title reminded me of another article that I'd like to share with you.

What if you could use your password like a superpower or a mantra to help you change something in your life? One man did just that and I think it's a pretty neat story. In his particular environment, passwords needed to be changed every 30 days. He was going through some challenges in his personal life and used his password to help him through it. Here's an example he used: Quit@smoking4ever (quit smoking forever) - which he did. Typing this password in many times a day really motivated him and helped him achieve his goals.

While I don't have to change my passwords that often, I have started thinking of using them in a more positive way. Here's what my password for this month would be: IwR+H3mOct26 which means I will run the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon October 26. What would yours be?

* Password, password, who all has your password?, November 15, 2013. Cindy helpfully includes links to several TechBits articles on passwords.

* Hackable or Uncrackable, May 9, 2014

Image from MorgueFile

 

How to clean your Dymo LabelWriter


Dymo LabelWriterThis is a repeat of a post from a couple years ago with some updated links. A few questions and comments have come in to the helpdesk lately about Dymo LabelWriter printers getting gummed up. If you have experienced labels getting wrapped around the roller, follow these easy steps to clearing and cleaning the printer.


Every LabelWriter comes with a cleaning card. If you kept all of your paper work you should still have it. Remove the labels from the LabelWriter and tear open the package the cleaning card is in. Run the card through the printer like you would the labels. When I spoke with the Dymo tech staff they recommended running it through about a dozen times. Dymo suggests doing this once a month to maintain a clean feed mechanism. By keeping the print head clean you can improve your print quality and extend the life of the printer.

If you don’t have your cleaning card you can find them at just about any office supply store or on Amazon. They cost between $8.00 and $17.00 for a pack of 10 cards depending on where you get them.

MS Office - document authors

John Hancock

If you've ever collaborated with others using the Track Changes feature of Microsoft Word or Excel, then you know that edits, comments and other parts of documents can end up tagged with your name or initials. What can you do if these signatures are coming out wrong?

When SCLS deploys software, especially on new computers, it typically comes to your desk with our favorite default settings. For MS Office, this includes setting the username to "SCLS". If you inherited a computer from a previous user, it may have their name instead. Either way, this is easy to change if you need to.

  1. Open MS Word.
  2. Select the File tab of the Office Ribbon
  3. Choose Options, then General.
  4. Set your User name and Initials.
  5. Click OK.

Changing these values in Word will also change them in other MS Office components installed on the computer (Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

Cease and desist

HaltHas your library ever received a "cease and desist" letter threatening you with fines because a patron used the library's internet connection to download something illegally? How did you respond?

Before you do anything, take a look at the ALA Washington Office's Digital Dispatch post, "My conversation with a copyright troller."

Many thanks to Cheryl Becker and her post, "Illegal Downloads and Libraries–This is Important!" (an excellent short summary of this topic which steered me to the Digital Dispatch post).

Archiving old Thunderbird email to an external drive

USB drive"I need to look up an old email message from 2010!"

If you migrated from Thunderbird and @scls.lib.wi.us email to Office 365, you may want to make a copy of your old Thunderbird email for archival purposes. 

SCLS will guarantee access to your Thunderbird email accounts on your PCs until January 2015. Starting in January 2015, SCLS PC Technicians will no longer copy Thunderbird email to new PCs. This means you will be responsible for archiving your Thunderbird email if you want to ensure access after January 2015.

Follow these instructions to back up your Thunderbird email to a USB drive: http://www.scls.info/technology/O365/ArchiveTBtoExternalStorage.pdf

The NEW Apple Stuff

It's been a big week for Apple.  They released the iPhone 6 AND iOS 8.  They are also going to release a watch in 2015.  If you're an Apple fan then I'm sure you were in line waiting to get the newest gear.  If you haven't been following all things Apple here are some reviews:

Is it worth the update?  That is up to you!

OverDrive integration with Bing search engine

Raise your hand if you have ever used Bing as a search engine (instead of Google). Anyone? I hadn't used it either, but I recently tried it when I heard that OverDrive was now integrated with Bing.

If you search a book title in Bing, and the book is available through OverDrive, you'll see a link to an excerpt from OverDrive and a link to Wisconsin's Digital Library (if you are located in Wisconsin). Check it out sometime!

Bing