Office365 HTML Format

I noticed the other day that I couldn’t insert a link in a message while replying to an email in Office365? I found that frustrating; why would someone want to do this to me? This happens when someone sends you a message in the plain text format. If you would like to change this so you can be more like me and add links or make text bold click reply to the message and then select the three dots in the menu bar above the address bar. This will give you more options and one of those options is to switch to HTML. By selecting HTML you are now able to reply to your message and insert a link or make some other changes that you may not have had the ability to do before.

O365_This isn't a cheeseburger

Browsing with confidence

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image © 2006 Tinou Bao, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Scams! Phishing! Adware! Malware! There's a lot of garbage out there, and its purveyors are continually becoming more sophisticated in creating illusions, trying to get us to "click on the wrong thing".

How can we tell if what we seem to see is what we're actually looking at? Is there a magic wand to dispel the illusions?

A good dose of skepticism and some healthy critical thinking can guide us, but there are also some cool tools that can help us out here.  One of them is the Web of Trust (WOT) browser extension. The WOT tool uses crowd-sourced user experience feedback to assign an overall rating of trustworthiness to a website. Separately, it can assign a rating of child-friendliness.

I cannot summarize WOT's appearance and functionality better than they do on their own website (https://www.mywot.com/), so I won't try except to say that it's free, it's fast, it works with all major browsers, and it's "always on" whether you're browsing or searching.

Crowd-sourced information isn't terribly precise; sometimes it's even completely wrong. But in many contexts it tends to be a pretty decent estimator. In the case of website trust, WOT provides a very convenient signpost, indicating whether you should plow ahead or stop and think twice about what you're seeing.

Google Carboard what?

Google what? I was recently looking at the LITA Blog and saw a post about Google Cardboard and thought Google what? Is this real? According to the Google Play Apps page, Google Cardboard let's you "Experience virtual reality on your phone..."

Virtual reality? That sounds cool. How do I get it? The Google Cardboard page tells you that you you need to get a viewer (pretty cheap) for your smartphone and get some apps (some are free). 

But what can this do for libraries? Luckily for us, someone at LITA has already thought up some awesome library programming ideas. You can read all about it here.

Pixlr - easy photo editing

Pixlr
I asked my 11 year old daughter what she was learning in her technology class. She is on the year book club and has been very interested in taking and editing photos. She told me about Pixlr, which is a free app you can use on your PC or device. You can add layers, effects, borders, make adjustments and add many other features to your photos with ease. There are so many options and we enjoy editing our family photos with this app.

https://pixlr.com/

Another Office 365 pin

World, I'm on top of the worldOffice 365 has the ability to “pin” messages to the top of any mailbox. If you find yourself searching for a particular message on a regular basis, you may want to try “pinning” it. I find myself doing this for almost all the emails I get that I have to respond to, that way they don’t get lost in my mailbox.

Pinning a message is super easy; all you have to do is click the little black pushpin on the right side of the message and it will move that message to the top of your mailbox. To unpin a message click the red pin on the right side of the message and it will go back to its original spot in your mailbox.

See, I told you it was easy but you wouldn’t believe me would you?

Spotted in a library: Just the right amount of tech

I noticed a gadget advertising upcoming programs and fun facts at Poynette Public Library after a recent visit. Is that a tablet? Is it hard to manage? What apps did they use to make that slideshow?

Photo-frame-front

Nope and nope and none. That is an inexpensive photo frame with a USB drive loaded with images, made in Microsoft Paint, plugged into the back. Quick and easy for the staff to manage.

Photo-frame-back

I love trendy, cutting edge devices just as much as the next person, but it sure makes me smile to see all kinds of technology adapted to meet libraries' needs!

Thanks to Lindsey at Poynette for letting me snap pics!

Too Much Information!! ARSL Program Highlight

In my ARSL Highlights Know More post a couple of weeks ago, I promised to share some of the tips that Crystal Schimpf talked about in her workshop on Too Much Information!! Managing Digital Overload.

TimerOne productivity tip that Crystal mentioned that I also recommend is the Pomodoro technique*. It's a simple and effective tool that helps me focus. We all have those days when it seems like we have a zillion things to do in a short amount of time and don't know where to begin. When that happens, I set the timer on my phone for 20 or 25 minutes, pick one task from my to-do list, and focus on it. If a thought or idea distracts me, I write it down and go back to the task at hand.

Crystal also reminded me (and now I'm reminding you) that we need to learn our Tech Tools better. I'll use email as an example here but this applies to lots of other tools, too. Whether you use Office 365, Gmail, Outlook or some other email program, there are lots of features that you probably don't use. Here are a few things to investigate and implement to help manage your email. Setting up filters or rules can help manage your newsletter or listserv subscriptions. Using flags or color coding can indicate the priority of a message or inclusion in a project - you can set the rules for what flags or colors mean for you.

Here are a few websites that Crystal recommended - I haven't tried all of these out yet:

Let me know if you try any of these tools that Crystal recommends. I'm curious to hear about your experiences.

*I'm using it as I write this TechBits post!

 

Soofas for Your Library?

SoofaNo, that's not a typo - honest! A friend from Columbia, Missouri (where I lived and went to Library School) sent me an article recently about a Soofa in front of their city hall. It was very intriguing and I had to share it with you.

Soofa is a solar-powered charging bench. The company was started out of MIT in 2014 and is based in Boston. Their mission "is to update the urban context for the mobile generation." When I read the article, my first thought was how libraries could use something like this in their outdoor spaces. Many libraries have gardens, wi-fi gardens, or patrons using their parking lots to access wi-fi. How cool would it be to not only offer wi-fi but a place to charge their device at the same time?

Soofa was unveiled at last year's White House Maker Faire (see this article for a picture of President Obama using one) and since then has been installed in cities across the nation. According to this Boston Globe article, 11 benches were installed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and 100 more have been sent around the country. I'll be watching for one to show up in Wisconsin and at a public library.

Guest post: Website traffic infographic from Visually

This guest post is from Abby Ward, a UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies student who completed a practicum with SCLS.

Unsure how to navigate Google Analytics to find useful information about your website traffic? Don’t have time to check your data every week? A free service from Visually can create an appealing infographic using your Google Analytics data to give you a quick snapshot of how your website is doing. The service sends an infographic to your email inbox every week.

To get started, go to https://create.visual.ly/graphic/google-analytics/ and sign in with the Google account you use to access Google Analytics.

Sample Google Analytics infographic from Visually

Free PDF Tool

Pdf-155498_640The other day I needed to find a way to merge two PDF files together.  I don't have Adobe Acrobat on my PC so I thought I would look to see if there was anything on the Internet that was free and easy to use.  After some searching I found a website called smallpdf.com.  I was amazed at what you could do with PDFs on their website and it was all free.  They have the normal conversions that zamzar.com offers which are JPG to PDF, PDF to Word, PDF to Excel (though I don't know why you would want to do this), PDF to PPT (convert a PDF into Powerpoint sounds really useful), and then the reverse of these.  Then there were some options that I thought were really cool.  They are Compress PDF, Merge PDF (yes!, exactly what I was looking for), Split PDF and Unlock PDF (this unlocks password-protected files; not sure of the legality of this).  I tried the Merge PDFs option and it was very simple.  The merged file I got back looked great and I was very happy with it.  I would highly recommend this website if you ever need to manipulate PDF file(s).