Easily combine text or csv files

I am totally nerding out. I admit it. I had a folder full of text files, and I wanted to dump them all into a single Excel worksheet. It turns out there is a super-easy way to do this, provided you're willing to open up a command line and type in a few DOS commands!!

Here's where I found the instructions:  https://www.rondebruin.nl/win/s3/win021.htm

In my case...

  1. I put the .log files (which are all really text files with a fancy extension) in a folder named "logs" on my desktop
  2. I clicked on the Windows Start button and typed cmd to open a command prompt
  3. My path showed that I was already in my user account. 
  4. I typed cd desktop/logs to navigate to the "logs" folder on my desktop
  5. I typed copy *.log all.txt  to copy ALL the .log files into a single text file titled "all.txt"
    Copy
  6. Then I opened Excel, chose File->Open and navigated to the all.txt file

I am ridiculously excited about this trick!

Printing a PDF form on your receipt printer

Let's say that you have a PDF form that you want to print out on your receipt printer. If you print using the settings we use as defaults the form doesn't print out well. If you change the default settings then you have to remember to change them back BEFORE you print a patron's receipt or it won't look good. There's got to be an easier way you say! Well, let me tell you the simple solution that requires no changing of default printer settings on your receipt printer.

The steps are as follows:
1. Open the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
2. Select your receipt printer in the drop down printer list found in the upper left-hand corner

Step_02

3. Click the Page Setup... button found in the lower left-hand corner

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4. Click the drop down next to Size

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5. Choose 72mm x 200mm

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6. Click OK
7. The preview area of the screen should now show a better view of the PDF form

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8. Click the Print button found in the lower right-hand corner

I think this is a lot easier than changing the default printer settings of your receipt printer. At least that's what LAV and PDS said when they wanted to print a PDF form that they got from Sue Ann at REE. Thanks Sue Ann!

Instagram for libraries

InstagramInstagram is a popular smartphone app for sharing photos and videos. LifeWire describes it as being "like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram."

Want to learn more about how to use it? Take a peek at the GCFlearnfree.org tutorial.

Considering Instagram for your library? Already on Instagram but curious what other libraries are doing? Here are some links to get you thinking!

More on coding

Code-geek-2680204_640Back in July 2016, I wrote a TechBits post about the kickoff of DPI's "Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries." Since then they've added lots of great information and resources to the Coding Initiative website that are worth a look, including a coding quiz, concrete guides for 8 coding topics, and large searchable list of coding resources!

And, in case you missed it (like I did!), the Wisconsin Libraries for Everyone blog has moved! (old location, new location)  Topics covered include Administration & Data, Resource Sharing, School Libraries, Services & Programs, and Technology, and there's an option to sign up to receive updates via email.

'Tis the season - clean your keyboards and mice.

I'm reprising a post of Cindy's from Sept 2009; a timely post as we work our way into the next cold and flu season.  Plus my keyboard needs a good cleaning.  Heidi O.

Keyboard Ickyness

Dirty Keyboard

Did you know that a study from the University of Arizona found more germs per inch on a keyboard or a mouse than on a toilet seat?  And not just a few more but many times more.  Yuck! 

 

Unfortunately most keyboards just don’t react well to a bath.  Nor do they really react well to bleaching.  And washing your hands after each and every time you touch your keyboard or mouse just isn’t practical.  So what can you do?  One recommendation is to wipe down your keyboard and mouse with commercial anti-bacterial computer spray or wipes.  Instead of a commercial cleaner, you could even use something as simple as isopropyl alcohol or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  (That’s a major part of what’s in a lot of the commercial cleaners anyway and it’s cheaper.)

Tips for wiping down your keyboard or mouse:

  1. It easier to wipe down the keyboard and mouse while the computer is turned off so you don’t have random keystrokes and mouse clicks doing strange things to your PC. 
  2. Make sure that whatever you’re using isn’t too wet since both keyboards and mice don’t like when liquid gets down into their insides . 
  3. If you’re using a spray, make sure to spray the cloth and not spray the keyboard or mouse directly. 
  4. Don't use any anti-bacterial computer wipes or sprays on LCD monitors unless it specifically says it’s safe. 

So how often should you wipe down your keyboard and mouse?  I looked online and opinions on that differ.  Most recommendations were for around once a week, though some recommended daily if there was a nasty illness going around the office.  Just make sure you're not doing this so often you wipe the letters off of your keyboard.

Printing in Landscape Mode

    It's not often that I need to print a webpage in landscape mode. I found the other day that I needed to however because the site had a lot of information that became squished and hard to read in standard portrait mode.  I wasn't sure if users knew this was possible within web pages and not just reserved for Microsoft Office Documents.  Each browser is capable of this and the steps slightly vary between them.

Google Chrome:   Printing in Chrome

    At the print preview screen:  

        Select the drop down box next to Layout and select Landscape.

FireFox:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select Landscape within the top menu bar.

Internet Explorer:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select the icon with the sideways paper for Landscape.

Microsoft Edge:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select the drop down box next to Orientation and select Landscape.

O365 inbox rules

Recently we made some changes which resulted in my receiving dozens of emails every day about the status of daily scheduled tasks. It's great to be able to see the results contained in these messages if something goes wrong, but most of the time I don't need to look at them and wish they weren't cluttering up my inbox.

The solution?  Office 365 inbox rules.
Inbox Rules
You can create inbox rules in O365 to automatically perform specific actions (move, copy, delete, pin, mark, forward, redirect, send...) on messages as they arrive, based on criteria you determine. In my case, I created inbox rules to automatically dump these automated task emails into a specific folders where I could reference them if I needed.

Create a rule from a messageThere are 2 ways to create inbox rules--

  • through the Settings>Mail>Inbox and sweep rules menu where you can build inbox rules from the ground up
  • by creating a rule directly from a message

You may have to do some minor tweaking to get the rules set up exactly as you'd like, but they can be well worth the time you'll save managing your many messages.

Upcoming Tech Continuing Education

LauraSolomon-captionLaura Solomon, the Library Services Manager for the Ohio Public Library Information Network, is the morning speaker for this year's Tech Days. The workshop will be held on September 12 from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Fitchburg Public Library and registration is now open. Choose from six different breakout sessions for the afternoon including STEM Programming with No Budget, #Hashtag: Promoting Your Library through Social Media, and our own Craig Ellefson and Tamara Ramski talking about the Digitization Kits.

If you're not attending the Wisconsin Library Association Conference, check out this opportunity. On October 18, Library Journal and School Library Journal are hosting their 8th annual FREE TechKnowledge (formerly the Digital Shift) Virtual Conference. This year's theme is Creating Equity Through Technology. Among this year's presenters are Jim Neal, the President of the American Library Association.

If you are attending the Wisconsin Library Association Conference* (and I really hope you do!), we are pleased to have some great technology programs for you including a keynote from Linda Liukas, a Finnish computer programmer and children's author, and Jessamyn West, library technologist, will be the WLTF luncheon speaker on Thursday. Registration will be open soon!

Also in October, the iSchool at UW Madison has a new course called 25 Free Tools for Librarians* that sounds awesome. Among the tools that will be covered are Wunderlist, Todo, Notability, Dragon, Convertible, Instapaper, and Kahoot. If I weren't otherwise occupied in October, I'd be signing up for this one!

Happy Learning!

** SCLS Member public libraries may use CE Grant funds to attend.

 

Windows 10 Feature Updates

SCLS schedules Windows updates so that they run in the middle of the night when the computers are not in use.  For that reason, you probably don't even notice updates are being installed.  Microsoft has introduced a new classification of updates, called "Feature Updates" for Windows 10.  These feature updates are different than simple security patches.  The feature updates have the potential of making changes you will notice.  The latest feature update is called the 1703 Creator Update and we are in the process of deploying it to Windows 10 computers.  SCLS supports approximately 1,400 PCs and a little more than 100 of those have Windows 10 installed.  That number will increase as older PCs are replaced.

This Creator Update does result in a few changes.  We use centralized Group Policy and deploy scripts that make most of these changes invisible to users.  The one change you may see is that the Creator Update pins a Mail app shortcut to the taskbar.  The shortcut can stay there, but just keep in mind that SCLS is not recommending or supporting its use.  Office 365 web access is still our supported email solution.  If you would like to remove the Mail app shortcut, just right-click it and select "Unpin from taskbar."

Mail

Create strong passwords with a roll of the dice

From the American Libraries Magazine; 5/1/2017.
Meredith Powers, young adult librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL) teaches workshops on digital literacy and data privacy as part of the Data Privacy Project, which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Knight Foundation’s Prototype Fund. Password security is always a hot topic.
She says that Diceware is an easy way to teach patrons how to create better passwords for their library, service, and email accounts. By rolling an ordinary die, users create a five-digit number that dicecorresponds to a word in a Diceware word list. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) maintains multiple Diceware word lists.
“Even though the list of words is publicly available, the security of a Diceware password comes from the number of words selected and the number of available words on a Diceware list,” Powers says. “By rolling dice to create several words in a sequence, you can create a strong, memorable passphrase. The creator of Diceware, Arnold Reinhold, currently recommends a six-word sequence to protect against a brute-force hack attempt.”