PC and laptop order form update

The SCLS PC order form has been updated to include a current Dell PC and laptop.


We are offering the Optiplex 3040 for staff and patron PCs with a starting price of $499.00. The biggest difference between the new 3040 model and the previous models is that it has 8 USB ports, 4 in the front and four in the back. The previous model had 6 USB ports in the back.The new laptop is the Dell Latitude E3570. This is a 15 inch laptop that includes the number pad on the keyboard.


The biggest difference between the old models and the new models is we are starting to offer solid state drives for and extra charge. These drives are much faster than the standard hard drives we are all used too.


Dell is in the process of moving away from the docking stations they’ve supported for the last 10 years to a new USB docking station. The price is comparable to previous docking stations at $103.00.

Ergo-what now?

The TechBits blog has had a good number of articles on ergonomic work spaces and accessories over the years, not to mention many tricks for work flow reduction. It's important tech, and often generates a lot of buzz when the subject comes up.

Here's a mind-bending wrist-twister that I don't think we've covered. Keyboards that split, tilt, fold or stand up, or even all of the above.

KeyboardsI got my first tilting, split keyboard along with my first vertical mouse, and I have to admit that I really kind of hated it to begin with. Just as my brother said when he first saw it, my initial sense was "Dude, that's just... wrong.". Well, chalk up one more thing that I initially didn't much like, yet now seems indispensable.


What could be more right than a tool that doesn't hurt to use?

Unfortunately, my first ergo-board is starting to show its age, and while shopping for potential replacements I have found that (unlike vertical mice, where competition exists and low cost options are available), there are really few major vendors in the adjustable keyboard field. As a result, while there are many product options they are generally not cheap; about $80 at the low end, and up to $300 with all the optional bells and whistles.

Maybe I'll just push my aging one a bit further, unless anyone has suggestions?

Pronounce Wisconsin


If you're not from around Wisconsin, you might find Wisconsin place names like these to be quite a mouthful:

  • Waukesha PronounceWisconsin
  • Menomonee Falls
  • Ashwaubenon
  • Mukwonago
  • Butte des Morts
  • Weyauwega

(Miwaukee Journal Sentinel video: Texans trying to pronounce WI city names)

Even if you are from around Wisconsin, you might not be able to guess a place's pronunciation based on spelling alone... you might need to hear it once or twice first to get it right. Take these, for example:

  • Muscoda
  • Barre Mills
  • Gratiot
  • Nanaweyah Ominihekan
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Luckily, the website Pronounce Wisconsin can help. A collaborative effort between the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office and MissPronouncer.comPronounce Wisconsin is an online pronouncing gazetteer of Wisconsin placenames.  Simply mouse over the map and select the county, city, village, or unincorporated community you'd like to have pronounced for you! If you have someplace specific in mind, you can type it in the search bar in the top and the site will navigate to the place on the map as well as pronounce it. 

Annotating Screen Shots with Word "Shapes"

This week I had the need to annotate some screen shots. I haven't had much success with previous tools I tried.  My husband told me about the Shapes feature in Microsoft Office Word. From Word, access Shapes from the Insert tab. I used one of the Callouts which provided me with a text box where I could include as much text as I liked. The shape I selected (Line Callout 2) had a line that I could move around to any point in the screenshot--you can even make it longer or shorter. Finally, you are able to pick the thickness and color of the shape outline and you can even shade the box. From now on I will be a screen-shot editing pro!

Shapes (2)

 

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!