10 tips to help manage your online privacy and security

I read the blog post "Ten Tips to Manage Your Digital Footprint" last year and it is still relevant, especially during the holiday shopping season.  Not every element of this Internet Society blog post may be pertinent to your own needs but it can be very useful information to share with your patrons.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!

Bookshelf = Checked Out

BookshelfBA small wording change in Wisconsin's Digital Library today is making me very happy. The word Bookshelf was changed to Checked Out. Why, you ask, does this make my day?

When you're using the OverDrive app, the word Bookshelf was used in two places. First, when a patron logs into their account on Wisconsin's Digital Library, anything they have checked out would appear on this Bookshelf. Next, a patron would BookshelfAwant to read their book and go to their Bookshelf in the OverDrive app to access the books they've downloaded. Confusing, right?

Making sure that library staff and, in turn, library patrons understood the difference and how to get to each of these was something I would clarify when conducting training sessions on Wisconsin's Digital Library and the OverDrive app. When I was at Digipalooza this past summer, it was one of the things that lots of us told OverDrive staff about and they listened!

As of this morning (December 15, 2015), patrons will now see the words Checked Out when they log into their account on Wisconsin's Digital Library - through the OverDrive app or the website. Sometimes, it's the littlest things that make me the happiest. 

Happy Reading! Checkouts

Some assorted tips

So... I had a couple of fun little Excel tips that I thought could be illustrated quickly with a short video, but then I had a dilemma --- where should I save my video so I could easily share it in TechBits?

Enter Google Drive. Did you know you can save videos to Google Drive? and share them? and get embed code to embed them in a webpage? (Me either! But a bit of internet searching gave me these instructions. Thanks, Alice Keeler!)

Here's the embedded 14 second video...

and a link directly to the video in case you'd like to see it full-size.

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?

SCLS Status Wiki

The SCLS Status Wiki has been the topic of a couple previous posts.  The most recent appeared last April.  I know this is not an interesting topic, but I would like to make one quick point about accessing the wiki.

During a recent service outage, several callers stated that they would not have called if they could access the Status Wiki.  They were using a smartphone or PC connected to an alternate network and couldn't access it.  The Status Wiki is not hosted by SCLS, so it should have been accessible.  What we found out was the callers were trying to access the SCLS homepage (which was down) first so that they could click our link to the wiki.

During an SCLS network outage, you can access the SCLS Status Wiki from an alternate network by browsing directly to http://sclsstatus.pbworks.com

Cranky, kinky cables, oh no!

Kinky-cableAt one time or another, most of us have had to deal with a cable like the one pictured here; snarled, twisted, knotted, kinky.

A cable so messed up that it actually fights back when you try to untangle it. Let's look at why this happens, and how to stop it.

This happens when a cable is wound up tightly around an object, whether a device it connects to, one's hand, or for longer cables one's hand and elbow. We've all done this at one time or another, because it's fast, effective and intuitive. But also... wrong. Don't do that.

What happens is that we grip the cable while turning our winding hand around and around, like turning a crank. Every time this crank goes around, a twist is imparted to the cable.

This might be fine if the twist were undone when unwinding it. But the copper in a wire can hold onto the twist, imprinted like a traumatic memory. One might as well try to uncrumple a sheet of foil after it's been balled up. It can be smoothed out, but those wrinkles persist.

Instead of winding tightly with a cranking motion, try gently coiling. For this method, hold one hand with the palm up, to use as a tray, and put one loose end of the cable under your thumb. With the other hand, scoop the dangling cable, lifting it up and over the tray hand and dropping it under the tray thumb to form a loop. Repeat, repeat, repeat, trying to make each loop the same size.

The key here is dropping the cable. After each new loop is trayed, the scooping hand lets go before the next scoop. Because you're not holding the cable, wrist rotation is not transferred to it. Overall, instead of a circular cranking motion, the scoop hand moves more like an orchestra conductor, gently waving back and forth, up and down.

When finishing up, do not tie up the cable coil using its own loose end, again because you'll tend to impart a twist to it. Seal your tidy coil with a nice Velcro strip or a separate wire twist tie.

There is also an alternate alternate method. Like the coiling method, use one hand as a tray, but instead of scoop/drop, scoop/drop, move the gathering hand back and forth over the tray, imparting a U-turn to the cable every time you reverse direction.

The cable takes on a "ZZZ" shape overall, like an accordion or snake in motion. Tie it off in the middle to make a bow tie shape. This method has the advantage of being pretty fast, but the cable bow may be somewhat unwieldly. Also, you should be careful not to pack it up in any way which might crease the folds.

No more kinky cables, no more cranky users.

How to save as a PDF on patron PCs

Do patrons ever come to you and say that they want to save something as a PDF, but they don't know how?  Well, let me tell you about a couple of ways that they can do this.  If they have a webpage or web-based email that they want to save as a PDF you can have them use the Chrome browser.  Once you have the item up in a Chrome browser press Ctrl+P to open the Print dialog.  Then click the "Change..." button found to the right of "Destination".  Then under the "Local Destinations" section choose the "Save as PDF" option. Then back in the Print dialog click the "Save" button.

If they have a picture they can paste it into a Word document.  Then click File and then Save As.  Then click the drop down box to the right of "Save as Type" and select the PDF option.  Then click the "Save" button.

These two methods should handle almost all requests to save something as a PDF file.

Growing Wisconsin Readers

Toy sleepoverAt the recent Wisconsin Library Association Conference, I attended a session on using tablets in children's programs. I was so impressed, by some of the ideas that I wanted to find out more about it. It turns out this is a DPI program called "Growing Wisconsin Readers" and you can find out all about the program in their blog: http://blog.growingwisconsinreaders.org/

One of my favorite ideas was a toy sleepover that was recorded with a tablet (pictured here). The slide presentation from the WLA program is posted online. You can scan through it and see all of the creative uses of tablets in children's programming. Participants included several libraries in the South Central Library System. 

Picture credit: Elizabeth Timmins / Muehl public Library


Excel Find Options

Recently I was looking through a spreadsheet to find the numbers that were in red text.  Now, while that was rather visible, the spreadsheet was huge and there was a large number of rows between each red entry.  While an earlier TechBits article showed how to sort by text color, that wasn't an option in this case since there were subtotals that would have been messed up by resorting the page. 

Because I knew you could sort by color, I figured I could probably search by color too and I was right.  There are a lot of extra Find options actually, you just don't see a number of them because they hide behind the Options button. 


If you open the Find window in Excel and click on the Options button on the right hand side just above the Close button, you'll see a number of the Find options.  The ones I've used most often have been:

  • Match Case checkbox:  Check this box and Find will only pick those entries that are entered in the same case as what you are searching.  Normally searching for "Monroe" would get you "Monroe", "monroe" and "MONROE".  If you check this box it will only get you "Monroe".
  • Match entire cell contents checkbox:  If you want just those entries that match what you're searching for and not match when what you're searching for is part of a larger entry.  For example, if you're searching a list of titles to find the ones with a status of "Lost", a normal search would also match the titles like "The Lost Treasure" or "Lost in Space".  Checking this box would only get items where "Lost" was the entire contents of the cell. 

This time though I needed to search for a specific format.  When you click on the Options button, the "Find what" box gets a couple of additions.  The first is a format box.  By default it will have "No Format Set".  If you want it to search for a specific format, you need to use the Format button at the end of that line.  There are two ways to choose a format to search. 

  1. If you just click on the "Format" button it takes you to what looks like the regular format window.  From here you can choose the format from the various tabs.
  2. There's an easier way if you already have a cell with the format you want to search for handy.  Instead of having to find and select the format from the various tabs, you can click on the "Choose Format From Cell" button if you use the drop down arrow at the right of the "Format" button. This will change your cursor to a big plus sign with an eyedropper.  Click on the cell with the format you wish to search for and that format gets automatically copied into the format box.

After that, just click Find All or Find Next to start your search.

Ultraviolet & VUDU

DVDwithBlueTwo words, one I thought I knew and one new to me. Can you guess which is which? And, how they go together?

First, did you know that ultraviolet is more than light and that it has to do with DVDs? I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Swiss Army Librarian, and came across this post: Circulating a Roku for Streaming Videos*. In it, I learned that "ultraviolet" referred to a digital copy of a DVD and that many DVDs come with a code for the ultraviolet version. As you can tell, it's been a while since I've ordered any DVDs.

I continued reading, and came across the phrase "Vudu library." Hmm...while this sounds like voodoo, it isn't, honest! From the Terms of Service documentation, VUDU is "an Internet-based home entertainment service that provides access to a library of movies, images, television shows, artwork and/or other episodic content through your computer or mobile device..."

So, how do ultraviolet and VUDU come together? Swiss Army Librarian's library (and others) are using Rokus to circulate the ultraviolet movies they have licenses to and they use VUDU to connect them. Cool, huh? I thought so. Read the blog for all the details - and be sure to check out the comments as they were quite entertaining.

*I wrote about Checking out Wi-Fi and Roku on TechBits last year.