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:

Need for a second, ‘throw away’, phone number

Back when e-mail was new, I learned that a second, ‘throw away’ email account might be of some value. Share your ‘real’ email address with friends and family. Share your ‘throw away’ email address with businesses that may become ‘spamy’.

Trash can with lid_md

In a similar vein, a recent article in the New York Times, “A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number”, has prompted me to consider getting a ‘throw away’ phone number for security/privacy reasons. The article notes that two sets of digits may well be with you for life: your Social Security number and your cellphone number. “The cellphone number is more than just a bunch of digits. It is increasingly used as a link to private information maintained by all sorts of companies, including money lenders and social networks. It can be used to monitor and predict what you buy, look for online or even watch on television.”

With that in mind, I went snooping around the Internet for a free/cheap app that could provide a second phone number. AppCrawlr has a robust selection of apps, as well as ratings, for both Android and Apple phones. Neat! So, now it might just be time to get a ‘throw away’ number.

Have you used a second phone number app? If so, what did you select and what’s been your experience?

Credit Card Skimmers

Last weekend my bank called to say that they detected some fraudulent charges on my debit card.  The most frustrating part about this is that it's impossible to know how the crooks got a hold of my card number. 

Today I read an article on channel3000.com about credit card skimmers and it got me thinking that maybe this could be the method used to get my card information.  I've heard about skimmers but never really looked into them until today. I just assumed that a skimmer is something that someone puts inside a gas pump....I was wrong. It turns out that skimmers could be anywhere and we need to be vigilant before swiping our cards.  Skimmers have been found on gas pumps, self-checkout lanes at Walmart, many ATM's (in many forms), and even ATM enclosed vestibules that require a card swipe at the door.  Most skimmers use Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transmit the data to the thieves.  Here is a great article that will make you think twice before you swipe: https://krebsonsecurity.com/all-about-skimmers/

Here is an example of a skimmer that was placed over the ATM to look like it was part of the device.

Skm
On the left you'll see the skimmer in place and on the right you see the skimmer removed.

Image cred: https://www.engadget.com/2014/07/28/credit-card-skimming-explainer/

Downloading your Facebook account data

Note: Pat first wrote about this topic in 2010. Some things have changed since then, so I'm writing an updated post. 


I'm thinking about cleaning up some of my Facebook data (remove old photos, posts, etc.). Although I'm pretty sure that any photos I have posted on Facebook are also backed up somewhere else, I want to be sure that I don't lose anything. After some Googling, I discovered that you can download the data from your Facebook account.

To get started, click on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and choose Settings.

Fb-bluebar

From your General Account Settings page, click General on the left side of the screen.

Fb-generalaccount

At the bottom of the General Account Settings, click on the Download a copy of your Facebook data link.

Fb-download

A new screen will appear. Click the green Start my Archive button. You will get a pop-up noting that it will take a little while to gather the archive data. Follow the prompts to continue - clicking another Start my Archive button and entering your password. You will get a confirmation message pop-up when this is complete.

Fb-startarchive

Check the email account for the email address associated with your Facebook account. You will receive an email from Facebook stating that a download has been requested. You will get a second email when the download is ready. For me, the second email came one minute after the first email, but my Facebook account is not that large (not that many photos and no videos).

To download the data, click on the link from the second email stating that your download is ready. (Note that you can also go back into your account and click the Download a copy of your Facebook data link.) A new screen will appear. Click the green Download Archive button. You will get a pop-up asking you to re-enter your password. 

Fb-downloadarchive

After you have re-entered your password, the archive will download as a .zip file. Save the file on your computer and unzip the file to access the contents. Keep in mind that your Facebook data is private information. For more information on what information is included in your Facebook archive, see the Accessing your Facebook data help page

You will be able to download your archive for a few days after you receive the email with the archive link. I was able to download my archive three days later but Facebook does not state exactly how long it keeps the archive available. If your download link has expired, you can start the process over to generate a new archive.

The downloaded archive can be challenging to navigate. The index.htm file is a good place to start (you can open this file with a web browser). For some additional information on navigating the archive files, see http://www.idownloadblog.com/2016/01/18/how-to-download-facebook-archive/

Note to Self

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to listen to the final keynote session of The Digital Shift 2016 online conference* which featured Manoush Zomorodi. I hadn't heard of her or her podcast, Note to Self, and after her presentation, I immediately signed up and started listening.

What I found fascinating about her talk and her podcast is the focus on the human side of technology. A quote early in her talk captured my interest: "If we understand more about how we use our technology, we can understand ourselves better..." I like the focus on us as humans and how we can utilize technology to live better lives and not letting technology rule our lives.

BoredBrilliantAs part of her podcast, Manoush has done two projects - Bored & Brilliant and Infomagical - about the effect technology is having on our brains and our lives. For each project, she enlisted the help of her listeners and they really helped! 20,000 for Bored and Brilliant and 30,000 for Infomagical. Next fall, a book titled Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out will be released.

When I talk about building relationships as part of leadership or customer service, I often share an example of how we use our phone. Many of us use our phone as a watch and have it in our pocket or in our hands all the time. However, the perception of others when we get out our phone is that we're not engaged or present in the conversation. Listening to this keynote and reading about Manoush's book and projects reinforced this idea. It's a good reminder that our technology is a tool to help us and it's up to us to be purposeful in the use of it.

I love my phone and use it a lot and it's scary to think about changing how I use it on a daily basis. I'll be trying out the Infomagical challenges to see if I can get a handle on my information overload. Join me!

*If you missed the live broadcast of the 2016 Digital Shift conference, you can view the archives by selecting View Archive and registering. There's no cost to register and you can watch the archives at your convenience.

Snapchat

SnapchatHave you used Snapchat? Pictures, short videos, captions, and filters for fun/silly pictures make it great for keeping in touch with friends and family.  It's especially helpful for keeping up with a teenager I know who isn't so keen on TALKING, but who is very willing to send me quick snaps of her pets and recent activities. 

As a slightly-older-than-teenager adult, Snapchat was not intuitive to me. I had to have a lesson from the silent teenager's older sister, but how glad am I that I did -- it's a fun little program!

In August, I told you about TechBoomers.com, a free educational website that teaches people how to use popular websites and apps. This recent TechSoup for Libraries post discusses using TechBoomers as resource for library staff and patrons to quickly learn how to use things like Snapchat, Vine*, Pinterest, and Instagram. The full list of TechBoomers' social media courses can be found here. All of the TechBoomers content is Creative Commons licensed, and you are free to reuse it in your own technology training for patrons or staff.
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*Did you hear the news? Twitter has announced it will be shutting down Vine in upcoming months.

Build a Font Using Your Own Handwriting

I stumbled upon a fun website last week.  It is called MyScriptFont.com.  The site allows you to build a font using your own handwriting.  It is pretty simple and quick.

  1. Go to MyScriptFont.com using your favorite web browser.
  2. Print off the pdf or png template.
  3. Use a medium-thick, black marker to fill out the template
  4. Scan the template.  You can save it as a jpg, png, pdf, jpeg or tiff file, but make sure the scan is less than 6,500 x 6,500 pixels.
  5. Upload the file.
  6. Name the font.
  7. Select TTF for the output format.
  8. Click Start.
  9. After the font is generated, click it and you will be able to save it to your PC.
  10. Install the font by double-clicking the font you just downloaded then click Install (Note: On SCLS PCs, you would need to call the Help Desk to have the font installed.)
  11. The next time you open Word or other supported product, you should see your font in the fonts drop-down box.

Here is how my font turned out.  Click to enlarge.

Andrew Font

 

 

 

 

 

 

My former co-worker, Michael, also created a font.

Michael Font

 

 

 

What is USB type C?

USB-C_Reversible_ picture came from BelkinA small 24-pin connector called USB type C will soon be replacing most if not all the connectors on your personal devices and laptops. Apple has already made the switch to USB C, they call it the lightning plug (remember the uproar recently when they got rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Don’t worry; you can purchase an adapter for your headphones if I caught you by surprise there.)  What I like about this new cable is that it’s reversible and both ends are the same, so no more guessing which end goes where and which end is up.  The USB C port will be able to transfer audio, video, data and power.


This is just a quick post to let you know this is coming. I will have more information on it and how it will affect us coming up in January or February 2017.

Office 365 Contact Lists and Groups Explained

Within Office 365 there are two items found within the People section that I'd like to explain as they are a little confusing. The two items I'm talking about are "Contact lists" and "Groups".  The part that I've found confusing is knowing which one to use when you want to send an email out to a lot of people.  Both of these differ from a patron email list in the fact that an email from it shows that it came from the name of the patron email list and only the list administrators can send out emails to the list.  Whereas email from a "Contact list" or "Group" shows that it came from your personal email address and anyone can send out emails to the list by using Reply All.  So when you're emailing patrons it is best to use an email list.

So what is a "Contact list?"  
A "Contact list" (formerly called a distribution list) allows you to send an email message to all the email addresses in the list at once.  That way you don't need to enter every email address every time you need to send an email to the same group of people. The really important thing about a contact list is that it allows you to send emails to people that are not within your organization's Office 365.

So what is a "Group?"
A "Group" has the same features as a "Contact list" but the key difference is that it only allows you to send emails to people that are within your organization's Office 365.  The reason for this is that it was designed by Microsoft to be used for team collaboration within an organization.

I hope this clears up any confusion, but if not you can feel free to give me a call at the Help Desk.