Wisc-Online

Wisc-onlineAre your patrons looking for a free, self-guided, basic computer skills course?

Basic computer skills are just some of the offerings of Wisc-Online, a digital library of Web-based learning resources called "learning objects" developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The Basic Computer Skills course requires a sign-in (anyone may register for an account, or log in using their social media account), and covers these topics: 

  • using a mouse and keyboardWisc-online_word
  • navigating an operating system
  • creating documents using word processing software (Microsoft Word)
  • demonstrating basic email functions
  • performing basic file management techniques
  • using the internet
  • exploring social media
  • managing personal dataWisc-online_filebackup

Each learning activity ranges from about 10 to 30 minutes long and includes narrated video and interactive exercises.

Disable Sound in Browser Tabs


Browser tab sound
How many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting in front of your computer, starring at the internet with several tabs open on your browser and all of a sudden out of nowhere a really loud ad or video starts playing. If you’re lucky you know which tab is playing the offending ad and can close it. If you don’t know which tab it is, instead of hunting it down or reaching to turn down your speakers you can simply scan your open tabs for a speaker icon and click the icon to mute the ad or video in that tab. The speaker icon should only appear on the tabs that are currently playing some sort of audio. This works by default in Firefox. If you’re using Chrome, follow these instructions to turn this feature on.


    chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

  • Copy the line above into Chromes address bar and hit enter or select paste and go. Either way works.
  • Click enable below the “Tab audio muting UI control" flag.
  • Click the blue “Relaunch Now” button at the bottom of your screen to restart Chrome and that’s it, you can now disable sound on a tab by clicking the speaker icon.


Sadly, if you’re using IE you will have to hunt down that tab or turn down your speakers since it doesn’t have this awesome feature.

Browser tab no sound

 

Windows 10 Start Menu

We have recently started to deploy Windows 10 Professional on new staff computers.  One of the biggest changes from Windows 7 and Windows 8 is that we have eliminated the Classic Shell software that brought back the Start Menu style of older versions of Windows.  The Windows 10 PCs will be deployed with the default Start Menu.  This means the steps to accomplish some basic tasks will change.  I would like to share a few of those changes.

Changing your Default Printer

  1. In the Cortana “Ask me anything” window type Printers
    Cortana
  2. Beneath Best match, click Devices and Printers
    Best match
  3. Right-click a printer and select Set as Default

Access Recently-Opened Word Documents

  1. Click Start
    Start Button
  2. Scroll through list of programs until you see Word
  3. Right-click Word and you will see recent Word documents you can click to open
    Recent Word Docs

Note:  You can do the same with other programs like Excel

Sign out of Windows

  1. Right-click the Start button
  2. Click Shut down or sign out
  3. Click Sign out

Access the Run Menu

  1. Right-click Start
  2. Click Run

See a List of Most used Programs

  1. Click Start
  2. Scroll to the top and you'll see a list of the programs you use the most
    Most Used

 More TechBits articles concerning Windows 10 will be posted soon.

Zoom In! How to Increase Text Size in your Browser

I am re-posting this Wicked Cool blog from 2008 because I find that, as I age, I need assistance with reading the "fine print".  You can test the instructions while reading the post.  Happy New Year. Heidi O.

Tired of squinting at websites with too-small text?  Use one of these easy techniques to make the text BIGGER, smaller or re-set the page to "normal size".  Works on most websites:

Ctrl and Mouse Scroll-Wheel

If you have a scroll-wheel mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and spin the mouse-wheel.

  • Works in both Firefox and Chrome.
  • Also works in Adobe Reader and the Adobe Reader browser plug-in.
  • Different browsers may vary in which direction you have to scroll for larger or smaller text.

Ctrl and +, Ctrl and -, Ctrl and 0

Hold down the Ctrl key and hit the + key at the same time.  More than once makes it bigger.  Use Ctrl and - for smaller text, or Ctrl and 0 to return to normal size.

  • Works in Firefox and Chrome.

 

If you don't want to use these options, there are per browser settings you can modify.

  • In the Firefox toolbar, select View then Zoom to see and set your options.
  • In Chrome, go to the upper right corner and click on the "hamburger" or the "three dots". The Zoom option is in this menu and you can set the percentage or choose Full Screen from here.

 

Where's Santa?

Radar

image © 2014 Nelson L., Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Just for fun I thought I'd try to find a TechBits topic that was in the holiday spirit.

After a bit of creative searching, I was surprised to find that we can track Santa Claus using radar, heat-seekers and high definition spy plane cameras. Starting on Christmas Eve, we can even monitor these trackers in real time using a web browser.

Have fun at www.noradsanta.org/. The navigation controls are not those of a typical website, but they're simple enough; use the left hand menu buttons and look for the Next, Previous and Close buttons presented as icons.

2017 Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

Looking for a great January conference you can attend from your warm office while drinking hot chocolate and watching the cold winds blow?

The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is a state-wide virtual conference developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System and supported by 15 other library systems in Wisconsin. Several 60-minute web presentations focusing on public libraries will be given over three blustery days in January. This year it is being held January 24-26. Some of the "tech-y" topics include web trends, free online tools, coding, and makerspaces. Wisconsin in January... brrrr!

Anyone, in any library, of any size, is welcome to participate!

You can find more information about the sessions here. Sessions will be recorded for those who can't attend online.

The A,B,Cs of It

Image001 (3)Like everyone, I struggle with staying on top of tasks and projects. I recently attended a seminar on managing multiple projects. The most useful concept I garnered from the workshop was the concept of "A,B,C" tasks. It goes like this:

"A" tasks are due today
"B" tasks are due in 30 days
"C" tasks are due in 90 days

If you are doing an "A" level activity when you should be doing a "B" level activity, you are doing the wrong thing. 

After the workshop, I asked myself how can I use technology to help with this? I have been using Remember the milk for years to manage my "to do" lists. This is a great free tool that works on PCs as well as mobile devices. I looked a little closer and discovered that you can assign one of 3 color-code priorities. 

I don't follow the "A,B,C" system exactly. I use Priority 1 (red) to flag projects or tasks on their due date. This is nice, because each week I can scan for those items to see what major deadlines I have coming up (like write my Tech Bits post). I use 2 (dark blue) for things I should get done that day--these are my true priority 1 tasks (like creating agendas). I use 3 (light blue) to flag more routine tasks that effect mostly me (checking my "waiting" email). So, on a given day I had better not be working on priority "light blue" items if I have "dark blue" items to do. If I miss a "red" item, I am really in trouble. 

What task management systems and techniques do you use?

By the way, the minute I started writing this blog, the song "Teach me tonight" was playing on AccuRadio. It includes in the lyrics the phrase "the A,B,C of it." 

 

Kahoot!

At the All Directors Meeting last month, Tessa Michaelson Schmidt from DPI used a cool game to end the Annual Report: Before, During, and After workshop. It was a really fun way to wrap up the presentation and reinforce some of the main takeaways it. As I watched, all the participants were really engaged in the game, laughing, and working together to figure out the answers. What an awesome tool to use for workshops - for your patrons or for your staff.

KahootIt's called Kahoot and it's free to use! Simply create an account to get started. Then play the intro quiz to get familiar with the game and then create one of your own.

I created a test Kahoot survey about TechBits. Try it out here! You'll need either two windows open on your computer or a computer and a mobile device. In this example, you're playing both the teacher and the student.

After you open the link, choose the Play button and then Start Now. Choose Classic  or Team mode (I used classic in my testing). If you are using a mobile device, there's a free Kahoot app you can use or go to Kahoot.it on the web browser. When the game PIN appears, enter that on your device or web browser to join. You'll play the game on one screen/device and you'll use the other screen/device to advance the questions - you get to see both sides of Kahoot this way.

Let me know if you create or use Kahoot in any of your workshops or training sessions. Have fun!

Image on my computer:                                                                             

KahootPIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image on my phone:

 KahootPhone

 

ProProfs Quiz Maker

We'll have a new hire starting soon, and that had me thinking about all the delivery codes used by the system and wondering whether there was a tool out there to easily put together a quiz to help in learning all of these.

ProProfsQuestionTypesI took ProProfs quiz maker for a spin. They have a free option with no limits on how many questions I could include in my quiz. The interface was easy to use and offered many different question types and quiz settings. With the free account, all quizzes are public, security is removed, ads are added to the quiz, and any results are deleted. Paid accounts are a little on the pricey side, but might be well worth the money if you find yourself using lots of quizzes for training purposes and would like more options and flexibility.

Want to see the end result of my experiment?
Here's a link to my LINKcat Library Delivery Codes quiz. I'm sure you'll all score 58 out of 58*!

ProProfsNumberOfQuestions*There's a setting that lets users decide how many questions they want to answer. I've enabled this, so you can actually opt for a subset of the full 58. Just click on the little gear to select the number of questions before you begin!

What tools have you found for helping to train new hires? Please share them in the comments.

Watch out for spam traffic in Google Analytics

Library folks who are responsible for the library's web presence: let's talk about spam traffic in Google Analytics reports. If you've looked at a Google Analytics report lately, you've probably seen it: fake visits generated by a web bot or spammer.

You may have raised an eyebrow at a surprising number of visitors coming to your U.S.-based website from a far-away country in an Audience report. (Those are spam visits.)

Watch for suspicious audience demographics in the Audience Overview report

You may have wondered why so many strange websites are linking to your website and generating referral traffic, in the Referrals report. (Those are spam referrals, and they're not really linking to your site.)

Watch for suspicious websites in the Acquisition, All Traffic, Referrals report

"But I thought Google Analytics only captured real traffic. You have to be a real visitor to trigger the tracking code JavaScript." That's what I thought! But spammers constantly adapt technology, and can use randomly-generated tracking code ID numbers to send data directly to Google Analytics (aka "ghost" traffic") without ever visiting the websites that use those tracking codes. Or send web bots to crawl a site without following the rules that prohibit this. What can we do?

DO: If you use Google Analytics reports, take a closer look at what's in them. Higher-than-normal traffic may be fake. Keep your common sense hat on.

DON'T: Visit the weird URLs you see in your reports. The purpose of Google Analytics spam traffic (if there is a point, besides wasting our time) is the same as email or blog comment spam: to cheat our curiosity, to get us to click or visit a site, and then lure us into buying something, or trick us into giving up personal information or passwords. Don't fall for it!

DO: Set up some filters in Google Analytics. For all the websites I help maintain, I'll be doing this to help ensure that the data we're collecting is real and useful.

DON'T: Worry about seeing your website traffic numbers go down over time after those filters are in place. 8 visits from people who care about the local library matter WAY more than 97 from a spammer on the other side of the world!

Further reading: