Help patrons avoid account lockouts

Photo of some locks that are not digital

It's rough to get locked out of a Google, Yahoo, or other web mail account. Help your patrons avoid the hassle by encouraging them to set account recovery options for any web mail accounts they create and keep them up to date.

While logged into email, look under account settings for options like contact information, password-reset information, or security information. Once you find the right settings, there may be options to add mobile phone numbers and alternate email addresses (to receive a text/email message with a password reset code) or security questions (to answer if all else fails).

Remind patrons to check up on these settings from time to time. People change phone numbers, email addresses, and sometimes even security question answers.

Two-step verification is an additional login security option that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo recommend. Turning it on for an account does strengthen security, but it can also cause difficulties if the patron does not have consistent access to a mobile phone or alternate email address. Be extra careful to add backup options for two-step verification and keep them up to date too.

Public service staff: how do you help patrons recover from account lockouts at your library?

Thanks to staff at Oregon Public Library for suggesting this topic!

RFID or not to RFID? - that is the question.

I don't think I've ever blogged (bragged) about the SCLS mobile RFID tagging kits.  Years ago (!) SCLS used grant monies to purchase equipment, carts and bins in order to provide a shared resource that libraries could "check-out" when they decided to implement RFID.  Providing these kits has meant that libraries using Bibliotheca software were not required to a) purchase their own mobile tagging kits or b) rent taggging stations. 

We have 4 mobile tagging kits; each kit contains an antenna (aka pad), FEIG reader with power cord, a laptop with both flavors of Bibliotheca tagging software, power cord, mouse, barcode scanner and a surge protector delivered to your library in a stylish grey delivery bin. We also have 3 carts that you can also borrow, if you do not have a cart in-library that you can use. The carts do not include a battery so you will need to use an extension cord to provide power to the equipment.  At your request, we will provide hands-on training in the use of the software and equipment.

If you are an SCLS LINKcat library, you can submit a reservation for use, with estimated dates, on the online Koha Support form.  Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

PowToon for presentations

The folks over at the SPLAT (Special Projects Library Action Team) blog recently published a nifty post about PowToon. PowToon's mission is to provide "minimalist, user friendly and intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional 'look and feel' animated presentations."

What can you do with it?
Use their templates and styles to design engaging animations and videos to convey your message. Jazz up a presentation. Present your statistics in an infographic video format. Scroll down their "About Us" page to see PowToon's current styles.

Here's a quickie TechBits promo video created using one of the PowToon templates:

How much does it cost?
The basic plan is free and will give you standard definition videos with PowToon branding uploaded to YouTube or hosted on PowToon. Upgraded plans will give you HD, download, and other options. There are also pay-per-export options.

How easy is it to use?
I spent a couple of hours playing around with it initially. Without watching any of the tutorials, I was still able to figure out how to get things moving. I imagine after watching some videos, I could do even more amazing things!

Examples
Check out the SPLAT example, PowToon examples, or my first attempt at an infographic-type video using @FakeLibStats' fake library statistics to see more about PowToon.  

 

(Don't follow SPLAT or @FakeLibStats yet? You should!)

 

Have you found a good tool for creating animated presentations? Share it in the comments!

 

Late Night After Hours Event Tip

If your public stations are supported by SCLS and you want to make them available late at night for an event, there are a few things you need to do.  MP900385582

The public computers that we support have disk protection software on them.  This type of software keeps the PC clean of malware, personal information and any other changes made by the patron.  After each session, a simple reboot will set the PC back to its original state giving each subsequent user a consistent experience.

At 9:15PM every night, the PCs reboot and the disk protection is disabled.  This allows us to send important software updates and antivirus updates to the PC.  During this maintenance period, the keyboard and mouse on the PC are disabled.  At 7:30 the next morning, the PCs reboot and the disk protection is enabled and ready for public use.

This means if you are planning on having a late night event and want to make the public stations available, you need to contact the Help Desk ahead of time.  We can disable the maintenance period for the nights of your event.

The second point to consider is LibraryOnline.  If you are using LibraryOnline reservation system at your library, you may need to make some changes to make the PCs available for use.  There is documentation posted on how to accomplish this.

OverDrive Updates - Fall 2014 Edition

There has been lots of announcements and activity surrounding OverDrive and Wisconsin's Digital Library recently. I thought I'd collect the information in one place for you.

The Big Library Read featuring Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes is going on through next Tuesday, October 28.

The Teen and Kids Reading Rooms are now live and can be found here:  

KidsReadingRoom TeensReadingRoom

Back in January, I wrote about some audiobook changes that were expected this year. After November 1, 2014, WMA format for most audiobooks and all music will no longer be available for WPLC to purchase. Also after November 1, only MP3 formats for audiobooks and music will be shown in Wisconsin's Digital Library (with the exception of a small number of titles only available in WMA format). This move will simplify the downloading process for patrons.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Super secret Excel shortcut - "copy visible"

If you do a lot of work in Excel, you may hide the columns you aren't working with or filter the data to see only certain information.

What happens if you copy something that spans that hidden data? The hidden data is copied (and pasted) too... UNLESS you first use

alt + ; 

and then do your copy. This will copy only the visible cells.

 

Video example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3-9x_3hoTg  (2:08)

 

For those folks who prefer Excel menus, the full steps to copy visible cells using the Excel menus can be found here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/excel-help/copy-visible-cells-only-HA010342322.aspx

Robots at the library

RobotThe Westport Library has robots! Library patrons will be able to use the programming language Python to program the robots to all kinds of things and may even have robot poetry slams in the future. This excellent 3-minute audio clip tells more about the robots and includes clips of interviews with the library staff.

Read more about the robots and watch videos of them in action here:

SCLS has plans for our own robots in the form of the LEGO Mindstorms kits that will debut in 2015. The LEGO Mindstorms kits arrived a couple of weeks ago, and so far staff have sorted out all the many, many pieces (there were a ton!) and spent a little time becoming familiar with the kits. They've built some simple robots and experimented with programming them to do tasks using their light, touch, gyro, and other sensors.

The kits will be part of a new traveling “makerspace kit” for SCLS member libraries to borrow and were purchased using funds contributed by the SCLS Foundation. Read more about the Foundation and LEGO Mindstorms kits in the Fall 2014 SCLS Foundation newsletter.

Duplicating Browser Tabs

Have you ever needed to duplicate a tab while browsing in your favorite browser?  I know I have and in the past what I would do is copy the web address, open a new tab and then paste the web address into the new tab.  This always seemed SO cumbersome and I thought: "There must be an easy, quicker, better way to do this!" So I went searching and found that there IS an easy way to duplicate a browser tab and it works the same in IE, Firefox and Chrome.  Here are the steps:

  1. Press Alt+D to move the focus to the location bar.
  2. While still holding down the Alt key press the Enter key.
  3. The current tab has now been duplicated.

That's it.  Easy as could be.

All About the Books

If you've heard Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass" (I seem to hear it everywhere now!), you may appreciate the Nashville Public Library team's video celebrating library cards, "All About the Books, No Trouble."

Can Your Password Change Your Life?

PadlocksLast week, the Swiss Army Librarian posted about a recent password article that he'd read. It's called Choosing Secure Passwords and worth a read. The word "Choosing" in the title reminded me of another article that I'd like to share with you.

What if you could use your password like a superpower or a mantra to help you change something in your life? One man did just that and I think it's a pretty neat story. In his particular environment, passwords needed to be changed every 30 days. He was going through some challenges in his personal life and used his password to help him through it. Here's an example he used: Quit@smoking4ever (quit smoking forever) - which he did. Typing this password in many times a day really motivated him and helped him achieve his goals.

While I don't have to change my passwords that often, I have started thinking of using them in a more positive way. Here's what my password for this month would be: IwR+H3mOct26 which means I will run the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon October 26. What would yours be?

* Password, password, who all has your password?, November 15, 2013. Cindy helpfully includes links to several TechBits articles on passwords.

* Hackable or Uncrackable, May 9, 2014

Image from MorgueFile