SHARKK Mouse Review

Vertical mice reduce the stress felt in the forearm because they allow you to maintain a natural hand and arm position.  A co-worker has already discussed the Evoluent product and its benefits in a previous TechBit.  Evoluent is appropriately regarded as the leading manufacturer of ergonomically-friendly, vertical mice.  They have the reviews to back it up. DSCN1592

There are a few more economical options on the market.  I ended up buying the SHARKK® product on Amazon.com for $18.99.

The first thing you notice when using this mouse is that it isn’t completely vertical like the Evoluent mouse.  Still, my arm and hand placement feels natural, as if I am reaching out to shake someone’s hand.  It's easy to setup as well.  Just plug in the USB receiver, install the included batteries, turn it on and you’re ready to go.  I found the mouse to have great tracking and scrolling ability.  The forward and backwards buttons are helpful in a web browser when I remember to use them.

I am not recommending the SHARKK® mouse over the Evoluent, but it is a nice mouse for home use if you want to save a little money.  I am glad took a chance on it.

The image above shows (from L-to-R) a standard Dell mouse, a SHARKK® mouse and the Evoluent.

Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference 2015

The third annual WWWWC was held last Wednesday and Thursday, January 21 and 22. I hope you had a chance to attend one or more of the excellent sessions that were offered. If you missed a session or want to revisit the content, you're in luck. All the recordings, slides, and handouts are available here. To get the full experience, check out the Twitter feeds for #wwwc15. Several librarians (including me, @pandalibrarian) from around the state live-tweeted each session.  WWWC15

While I attended all of the sessions and learned something from each one, I want to draw your attention to the tech related ones (this is Tech Bits after all!) First up was Tablet Slinging Librarians: Using Tablets to Improve Customer Service with Leah Kulikowski. My favorite idea was using the tablet along with Google forms to take program registration on the road.

Next up was Roy Tennant talking about What You Need to Know About Library Technology. This was an enlightening talk about possibilities of future technologies - and what we need to do keep up. I especially liked the photos of "old" technology. (I put old in quotations because I remember most of them and I don't feel old!)

Last, but not least, was Crystal Schimpf teaching us Six Essential Skills for One-on-One Tech Instruction. Crystal offered great reminders and encouragement for those of us who teach patrons (or library staff) technology. My biggest take-away from this session was the reminder to give up control and let the learner "drive" the session.

Bonus - I highly recommend watching the Trigger Talks. Our very own Ben Miller was crowned the Trigger Talk Champion. It was so much fun being a part of this awesome program. Enjoy!

Pin items in Office 365

PinItIf you're in Office 365 and you want to always see your full folder list in the left-hand pane (instead of the partial folders list + People + Groups), you can PIN it!

  1. At the bottom of the list of folders, click on More to get to the full folder list
  2. Click on the pinPinicon

 Thanks to Cindy W. for this tip!

 

Firefox Changes Default Search Provider

Last month in the evening of December 16 SCLS sent out version 34.0.5 of Firefox to all SCLS-supported staff PCs and afterwards you may have noticed a change.  Mozilla announced that with this version they were ending a 10-year partnership with Google as Firefox's default search provider. They instead switched to use Yahoo, which from what I read was based on "money because the bulk of Mozilla's revenue comes from the search deals it negotiates -- while others said that ideology also played a part."

Some more information I read about it said that "only users who had left Firefox's default search engine untouched were to be switched to Yahoo. Those who had already ditched Google for another provider, Bing or DuckDuckGo, for instance, would continue to see that engine as the default."  Unfortunately for me and possibly for you too, I did not change the default search provider as I liked Google.  So now you're asking: "Is there anything I can do to change it back?"  Well, I'm glad you asked as there is something that you can do.  But, instead of me telling you how to do it I am going to refer you to the Wisconsin State Law Library's January 2015 newsletter where Heidi Yelk wrote an awesome "Tech Tip in Brief" about how to do that.

Updated PC order form

The SCLS PC order form has been updated to include two current Dell PC models and two laptops models at a reduced price.

We are offering and recommending the Optiplex 7020 for staff PCs with a starting price of $633.00. This is about $85.00 less than the previous model. We are also offering and recommending the Optiplex 3020 for patron PCs with a starting price of $569.00. The biggest difference between the two models is that the Optiplex 7020 has 10 USB ports and the Optiplex 3020 has 8 USB ports. The Optiplex 7020 also has some legacy ports that the Optiplex 3020 doesn’t have.

We are also offering a 14 inch and 15 inch laptop. Both models cost $791.00. The 15 inch laptop offers the number pad on the keyboard whereas the 14 inch doesn’t.

If you are planning on ordering a laptop for staff use you may want to consider asking me about purchasing a wireless mouse, carrying case or a docking station if you want one. I intentionally left them off the order form because there are so many options available.

The end is near! (for @scls.lib.wi.us accounts)

The end is near!

@scls.lib.wi.us email will be retired at the end of January.  Make sure you're ready!

OverDrive by the Numbers

In preparation for the Annual Report, we've been gathering lots of numbers to pre-populate the report for you. I'm most interested in the Wisconsin's Digital Library (OverDrive) collection and circulation numbers and wanted to share them with you.

Collection Size - Statewide (excluding Advantage titles) 

  • 122,613 ebooks 
  • 28,375 digital audio books  
  • 1,403 videos PieChart

Circulation - SCLS (includes our Advantage Titles)               

  • Total = 591,575
  • Ebooks = 427,846
  • Audio = 161,484
  • Video = 2,245

Circulation - Statewide

  • 2,942,039

Wow - those are some big numbers! If I figured it out correctly, SCLS's circulation is 20% of the statewide total. Awesome - I love that our patrons are using Wisconsin's Digital Library! OverDrive even made mention of Wisconsin achieving the Million Checkout milestone in a recent blog post.

You can see your library's circulation in this spreadsheet updated January 8, 2015 (thanks, Kerri!) The pie chart above was created from that spreadsheet. Isn't it colorful?

All this use may mean that your library patrons are asking you lots of questions. Here's a link to "OverDrive's 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions." Want to know more? I'll be running a 5-week OverDrive Support Course starting on February 9 and you can register here.

Happy Reading, Listening, & Watching!

New gadgets & reading portable books: high tech to low tech

Do you have patrons coming into the library with their new devices wanting to download e-books? Well never fear--Santa decided to give SCLS new additions to our E-reader kits.  Santa's elves, Jean and Craig, purchased the following devices which will be available for loan soon: iPad Mini, Dell Venue 8" display, Samsung Galaxy 7" display, Kindle Fire HD 7" display, and Kindle PaperWhite. Thank you, Santa.

We are now used to having a portable way to read books. But this is not a new need. Recently I heard a story on NPR about pocket-sized editions of books for soldiers overseas during World War II.  Initially, librarians encouraged people to donate used books for soldiers, but the donated materials weren’t quite right. The focus then turned to publishers making books that were “…about the size of a smartphone, and they were tucked into the pockets of uniforms."  These books were very popular—you can read about it here.  Hmmm. Were these the precursors to e-books on smartphones?

Embed those images!

I confess. I don't like to think sometimes. And one of the things I loved about Microsoft's clip art was that I didn't have to think about whether I could use it in my TechBits posts (I could!).

Now that MS clip art is gone (gasp!), I'm a little panicked. What fantastic picture can I find to go with this post? How many times will you tolerate pictures of my cats? After hunting around a little, I think I've got 3 good possibilities for worry-free blog pictures.

Embed a Getty image
Jean wrote about embedding Getty images back in May, but it's so simple to do that I think it's worth another shout-out.

Publish to a blog or website

    1. Start at http://www.gettyimages.com/embed
    2. Enter a search term in the search box above.
    3. Place pointer over an image and click the </> icon.
    4. Copy and paste the code into your website or blog.

It's free to embed, as long as it's for non-commercial purposes! See the FAQ for more details. The limitations are that you are only allowed to use the image with the code that Getty provides (that's part of the FAQ!), so there's no resizing to custom sizes or wrapping text around the image.

Flickr attributions
In addition to not liking to think, I'm also terrible with HTML. I love the idea of using Flickr photos with Creative Commons licenses, but I haven't the foggiest idea how to easily, quickly, and appropriately attribute them to their creators.

Enter Flickr cc attribution helper, a handy little bookmarklet that helps properly attribute Flickr photos. Just do a Flickr advanced search for images with a Creative Commons license, pick an image, and click on the bookmarklet. It generates the code and helps navigate the Creative Commons seas! (see how I worked in the picture I found?) The downside? The only option for sizing happens when the bookmarklet is first created, and it doesn't help with alignment or making the text flow around the image. 


creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by opensourceway

Imagecodr
Imagecodr can also be used to properly attribute Flickr images. Use the Imagecodr search page to easily search Flickr for appropriate images. Then paste the URL for the image you select into their "Get Code" page to generate the appropriate HTML. Select your size, and copy the code. In addition to generating the code, it also checks the Flickr license to make sure it's okay to use the picture.

The result? Something very similar to the Flickr cc attribution bookmarklet. Again, no help with alignment or text wrap.

On the road again....... by cvanstane, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  cvanstane 
 
What are your favorite sources for images now that MS clip art is gone?

Bye-bye Office clip art — hello fine print

Have you heard? Office.com Clip Art and image library is gone. You may still find clip art on your computer bundled with a legacy version of Microsoft Office, but photos now appear courtesy of Bing Image Search. Great? Hmmm...

Ho, ho, hold on. Let's read the fine print.

The truth is, when you select Insert > Clip Art in Word or Power Point and search including Office.com content, the results match a Bing.com search for images that are "Free to share and use commercially." Many are from websites with blanket Creative Commons (CC) licenses, which (in practice) may include copyrighted images that are not covered by the CC license at all. Bing supplies the images based on the assumption that everyone on the Internet understands and complies with copyright law. (Ho, ho, ho! Let's all have a hearty laugh about that.)

Now, wipe away those tears. There are still plenty of ways to find clip art and photos (including Bing, if you like) if you do your due diligence. Look for a license and follow what it says (including attribution if required). When in doubt, make an educated judgment, request permission, or simply find a different image. Merry image searching to all, and to all a good night!