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USB 3.0 Option Now Available.

Okay, so this isn't the best picture I've ever taken, but you get the pointYou can now order PCs through SCLS that have a USB 3.0 card installed in the PC.

What is USB 3.0?
It’s the latest evolution in the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard of computer connectivity.  It’s referred to as Super Speed or SS which means it has to transfer data at 5 GB per second.

What is it good for?
If you use an external hard drive or transfer a lot of pictures or videos to your PC you will see a big improvement in the time it takes to transfer these files. I know for me personally when I’m transferring a video from my camera to my PC it takes 5 minutes (forever) to transfer most videos. Now if I had a USB 3.0 camera and port on my PC that would only take about 30 seconds to transfer.

How do I get USB 3.0 on my new PC?
On the PC order form select the radio button for USB 3 Controller Card to add it to your order. It will add two USB 3.0 ports to your PC, which already has 10 USB 2.0 ports.

Is USB 3.0 backward-compatible with USB 2.0?
Yes, your USB 3.0 devices will work in USB 2.0 ports (they just won’t be as fast as if you had USB 3.0 ports, too!).

How will you know what ports are USB 3.0?
So far all of the USB 3.0 devices and ports I’ve see are color-coded with blue, like in the picture above. I have been using that as an easy give away. You will also notice fine print that indicates it’s USB 3.0. See what I mean, the connector is blue

Is your library ready for Facebook's Timeline?

Fitchburg Public Library on FacebookFrom what I've been reading, Facebook Timeline is coming to all brand pages (whether you're ready or not) on March 30. Is your library ready?

Here are some links to posts that talk about Timeline for pages.

Prefer videos?  Try Facebook - New Pages:  Customizing Your Page , which covers cover photos, profile pictures, the "about" section, links to other parts of page (photos, likes, etc), pinning posts to the top of your page, and creating milestones.

Have you already transitioned your library's Facebook page to Timeline? What do you think of the new layout and features?

Help Desk Tidbits

Dynix Workstation Numbers?

Do you still have your Dynix workstation number posted somewhere by your PC?  If you do would you please remove it as we are no longer using that to identify a PC.  If asked for a PC name please give the name that starts with your library's three-letter agency code.  This identifier is found on the PC itself on a white sticker with black letters.

Post-Firefox Update Printing Issues?

Now that all staff PCs have Firefox 10 on them we would like you to verify that all Firefox desktop icons work when you print.  We had some problems that were identified so we want to make sure that all staff PCs that print to any kind of printer print correctly.  So test out all of your staff PCs, even the one that never gets used, to make sure they print okay.  Once you've tested them all and made a list of all those that don't work then give me a call at the Help Desk and I will fix them for you.

Edit photos with MS Office Picture Manager

Microsoft Office Picture ManagerDid you know that you may have photo editing software hidden away on your PC? I'm not talking about Microsoft Paint. I mean Microsoft Office Picture Manager!

Where can you find it? MS Office Picture Manager has been bundled with the Microsoft Office suite since Office 2003. On most* PCs with MS Office, you can find it by going to Start > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Tools > Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

You can also start using it by clicking on your image in Windows Explorer and then selecting File > Open With > Microsoft Office Picture Manager, like so:

Screen shot of File > Open With > Microsoft Office Picture Manager

What is it used for? Basic changes and corrections to photos, like:

  • Brightness and contrast
  • Color
  • Crop
  • Rotate and flip
  • Red-eye removal
  • Resize

Why would you choose MS Office Picture Manager instead of MS Paint? MS Paint doesn't have options specifically for correcting photos (like red-eye removal), and on Windows XP its crop/resize capabilities don't make it easy to get photos sized to pixel-precise dimensions. MS Office Picture Manager does better with these tasks.

Where can you get help using MS Office Picture Manager? Support for MS Office Picture Manager.

When will you know you need a higher-powered tool for editing images?

  • You want more control over colors and corrections.
  • You want to combine your photos with text, color, and other images and edit each component as a separate "layer."
  • You want to be able to save your work and come back later to edit the "layers" of photo, text, color, and other images.

* On SCLS-supported patron PCs that have MS Office, MS Office Picture Manager is not in the Start menu and you will need to use the "Open With" technique to start using it.

Everybody Let's Jump (For Your Library)

Ran across this great example of a library using social media for fundraising and advocacy! Too cute not to post (and share, and talk about, and donate), right? Nicely done!

Watch the video on YouTube

Espresso Book Machine arrives at the Brooklyn Public Library


Self publishing-in the most literal sense of the word-is now available to public library users in Brooklyn, NY.

On Demand Books' Espresso Book Machine was installed earlier last week at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The EBM machine allows patrons to choose from nearly 7 million titles, producing a bound and printed book in a matter of minutes.  Moreover, aspiring novelists can bring in electronic versions of their own works and can have the EBM print those as well.

Unlike the typical EBM installation at a bookstore or University library, Brooklyn's machine is owned and operated by On Demand Books, meaning no $150,000 investment by the library!

Does the Espresso represent the future of physical books?  Do you think in the future libraries will be installing EBMs and printing off all their print acquisitions, as opposed to going through the traditional publisher and distribution channels?  Leave your comments and perspectives below.

Guest Post: Penguin Group Kindle books from OverDrive don't work with the Kindle app

This guest post is from Sarah Carlson, Reference Librarian at Stoughton Public Library.

PenguinI have had a few interactions with patrons over the last couple days regarding OverDrive and the Kindle app. In a nutshell, if you have an iPad, or other device on which you are running the Kindle app, and you don't own a Kindle device, you will run into problems downloading books published by Penguin Group. Penguin has now made it so in order to transfer their books via OverDrive you need to connect your Kindle to a PC and transfer via USB cable. When you are taken to the Amazon page, where usually you just hit "Get library book," it now gives you a message something to this effect.

You can tell when you are browsing the books who the publishing company is, but the publisher is not mentioned in your list of "checked out" items. It is also hard to look the books up in Amazon to find the publisher because it gives specific imprints and might not say "Penguin Group." So, it is best to either steer clear of these while browsing for your books in OverDrive if you are using a tablet or PC that has the Kindle app -or- download the free OverDrive app and then choose the EPUB or PDF version and read with the OverDrive app. FYI there is no way for SCLS or OverDrive to change a Kindle copy to a EPUB/PDF once a patron has it checked out. OverDrive Support recommends returning the title and placing a new hold on the EPUB/PDF format.

Where did those icons go?

Got your seatbelt on? Firefox 10 is being rolled out Monday and Tuesday nights to staff PCs on the SCLS network.

Upgrades = changes. Here are just a few changes you'll see between versions 3.6 and 10.0.2:


(click on the image to see it full-size)

Version 10 was released by Mozilla January 31st, and it took us some research, development, and documentation to get it rolled out. Now that the groundwork has been laid, Firefox versions after this one should be rolled out to SCLS patron and staff PCs a little more quickly after they're released by Mozilla.

The Firefox upgrade includes a "cleanup script."  If you haven't already read about it (and/or watched the video), you can do so here: http://www.scls.info/technology/updates/ffoxstaff.html

----- late addition -----

Back button historyWhat happened to the "little down arrow that took you mutliple steps at once backwards thru a search and were necessary for some kinds of backwards movements"?

The arrow is gone, but the functionality is still there. Just right-click the "Back" button or click it and pull down to get the list.

(thanks to Liz for pointing this out!)


Stopping Stealth Tracking of Your Browsing Habits

Back when I was a kid, I'd play follow-the-leader with my cat, Klutz.  To make it more interesting, I'd go into 'stealth mode': avoid breaking twigs, dodge the crunchy leaves….Shhh....    As our Internet browsing experiences have become more commoditized and privacy policies are a moving target, I’m finding myself wanting to revisit stealth. TB

Earlier in the week, I discovered a Firefox Add-on that may be just the ticket: Do Not Track Plus It is supposed to block various tracking technologies as you browse. 

The look and feel:  A sphere will appear in the far right of Firefox’s tool bar after Add-on installation.  As you browse, you’ll start to see numbers appear in the sphere.  If you want more information about what it’s blocking, just click on the sphere.  It will expand and relay what’s being blocked at a particular website.  Blocking is broken down into 3 categories: social buttons, ad network tracking and companies tracking.

Results: Some time ago, I quit going to CNN’s web site after it relayed to me some of the articles that some of my Facebook friends had read on their website.  Creepy!  Wanting to test “Do Not Track Plus”, I headed off to CNN’s website.  And the answer: 13 tracking technologies were blocked.  Wow!















What do you think about this tracking/going stealth world we now live in?


Q & A about communications

I saw this request in one of the Library Visit reports:  "We would like to see a Communications tab or icon that links to everything - blogs, wikis, etc." Blogs, Wikis & More

We have this!

On the main http://www.scls.info webpage, up near the top, there is a link to "Blogs, Wikis & More".


Blogs, Wikis & More (detail)What will you find there? A list of links and descriptions for SCLS blogs and wikis, as well as links to Continuing Education recordings, the SCLS and LINKcat Facebook accounts, photo albums, and more!