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

Is this website safe?

File56ec29640e9f7Photo credit: CrimsonSoul

With all the nasty things floating around the Internet these days, this is a question that we should ask ourselves whenever we're on the Internet.  This is even more important if we are going to a website and downloading something.  Nowadays nasty stuff can hide in the ads on websites, Word documents (like "Locky" ransomware), and PDF files.

So you need to be very careful about the websites you visit, but how can you know if a website is safe or not?  I had this question asked of me recently and I did some research to answer this question.  I found a web page entitled "How to Tell If A Website Is Dangerous" that goes over this topic very well.  It gives you numerous links to some good sites that can check a site to see if it has been blacklisted, if it has malicious content and what the reputation of the site is (for more about this see Greg's TechBits article).  I also found that Google has a site for this as well and it is called Google Transparency Report.  So with this information you can now make good choices as to the websites that you visit.

Browsing with confidence


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 (, 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.

Books, Books & More Books!

This is the title of a workshop that I've presented a few times around the system. I recently updated it for a workshop with the Verona Public Library staff - thanks for having me out! There are a couple of new resources that I want to share with you.

RAforAllFirst is Becky Spratford's blog, RA for All. SCLS, along with several other systems, recently held the first in a three-part webinar series focusing on Readers Advisory (RA). You can find the recording for the first one, RA for All, here. I first heard Becky when she presented as part of a Public Library Association webinar last fall and was impressed by her vast book and RA knowledge - and her enthusiasm for sharing that knowledge. You can find her slides and links here. The recording is only available to PLA members. I'm really looking forward to her upcoming sessions on April 5 (Demystifying Genre) and May 19 (RA: Bridging the Physical & Virtual Divide). I've been following her blog for a couple of months and am learning lots from her content.

Sweet-anticipation-logoSecond is Madison Public Library's New Releases list called Sweet Anticipation - isn't that an awesome title? It'll be announced monthly on MADreads and the PDF includes links to LINKcat (when available). It's also good to highlight MADreads. Sweet Anticipation is another reason to follow this excellent blog created by our colleagues at Madison Public Library

In case you're looking for more book-related TechBits posts, I wrote about Edelweiss back in January of 2013 and Book Podcasts in June of 2015.

My slides from the presentation can be found here. Please note that the slides will continue to change as I keep adding new resources.

Old viruses never die

ArchivelogoThe Internet Archive has long been known to librarians as a place to look for websites that have disappeared.  As time has gone on, they've continued to add to the archive from things like old radio programs to ebooks.

Now they've added The Malware Museum where you can go and look at some of the viruses from the 1980's and 90's.  Don't worry, the actual harmful part of the virus has been removed but they left the visual portions of the virus which runs in an emulator in your browser window. 

If looking at old viruses is a little too geeky for you, the Malware Museum is just a part of their larger software collection.   From ET to VisiCalc, they even have the games that came with Windows 3.1.  Like the viruses, these also play in an emulator in your browser window.  (My advice, skip ET and play SkiFree instead.)

Flipster support for patrons & library staff

EBSCO offers support options for Flipster digital magazines, by clicking the Help link on the Flipster website:


Since these options are available on the same screens that all users see, they are reachable by library staff and patrons alike—though the contact form does helpfully advise, "The librarian or administrator at your institution can best handle your inquiry."

Reading Rolling Stone (and other titles) on your device

RollingStoneDo you read magazines? Do you wish you could read popular magazines on your computer, tablet or phone?
Flipster is a digital magazine service provided courtesy of the SCLS libraries. Flipster can be accessed online using a computer or mobile device. Offline viewing is available via the Flipster app for iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire tablets.

Help using Flipster can be found in EBSCO's Flipster User Guide or, if you prefer videos, in these EBSCO videos on YouTube. SCLS Director Martha VanPelt also shared information about Flipster in this 5-min spot on CW57's "Talk of the Town."

Promoting Flipster
You can find Flipster promotional materials on the SCLS website. You can also link to Flipster using this URL which goes through SCLS authentication:

If there are certain titles you'd like to promote, you can link to those too.  The key is to be sure to use the URL that goes through SCLS authentication.  Here's how to find it:

  1. Search for the Flipster title in LINKcat (searching for "Flipster" should bring up all Flipster titles)
  2. Click on the desired title
  3. On the details page, right-click the "Click here to access" link and copy the URL/link/shortcut (different browsers use different terminology) 
  4. Paste the link you copied into your tweet, Facebook status update, email, etc.

An example
I'd like to promote People magazine in Flipster. I did a LINKcat search for "people flipster" which took me right to the record.


Right-clicking on the "Click here to access online" link and copying the URL gives me this:  Because the URL is going through the SCLS authentication script, patrons inside the library will go straight into Flipster, and patrons outside the library will be prompted for their barcode to access the subscription.
Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) is currently conducting a survey for the public about digital magazines to help in guiding the development of Wisconsin's Digital Library. Please continue on with the survey regardless of whether you have or have not used digital magazines, as you still have valuable information to share. The survey will take less than 10 min. to complete and is available through March 9th.

Microsoft Office 365 Mobile Apps

When we first moved to Office3 365 a few years ago the mobile apps for your phone and tablet were not that great and the documentation was not very good. Microsoft has worked really hard to fix this and they have done a great job. It is now easier than ever to get your email on your phone using the Outlook app. Email isn't the only app avaliable.  There are 7 other apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. Due to the current licensing level of SCLS the previously mentioned apps are read-only (you can't edit documents but you can open them). This may change in the future.

Tech Support Scams, Fake BSODs, Scareware

As this is my first TechBits contribution I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Will Allington and I work for South Central Library System on the Help Desk team. I have been employed here for a little over a year and a half. I enjoy helping library staff with their various technology issues!

For this article I would like to talk about a growing trend at SCLS: tech support scams aka Scareware. These tech support scams are a form of internet fraud that are meant to fool the user into thinking there is a security threat to their system, privacy, or data. These scams are primarily encountered while a user is using an internet browser, like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc. A user will be browsing when, all of a sudden, they receive a pop-up alerting of potential security risks or a fake error screen alluding to system damage (see pictures for examples).

If you are interested in learning more about scareware and how they work, here are several good resources:

How does this relate to the library system? The number of calls that I receive about users (both staff and patrons) who encounter scareware has steadily increased over the last several months. I would now like to go over what can be done if you or patrons come across instances of scareware.

  1. Stay calm: The main way scareware accomplishes its malicious objective is to scare or fluster you into making rash decisions. You should never call the number provided in the advertisement or download any sort of software.
  2. Close the browser: It will be more than likely that you will have to close the entire browser that you are using as scareware typically ‘hijacks’ the browser, not allowing you to close the window/tab in question.
    1. Using Task Manager to close the browser: This is the best way to force close the browser but it will require the ability to right-click (patrons will not be able to use this technique).
      1. Open Task Manager by right-clicking the Task Bar > Navigate to the Applications/Processes tab > Find the browser that has encountered the scareware > Right-click the browser in question and select End Task > This should force the application to close
    2. When Patrons encounter scareware: Since patron stations do not have the ability to access the right-click context menus they will have to employ a different strategy but the effect remains the same and that is to close the browser. Also note that when a user is confronted with these various forms of scareware their browser is essentially hijacked and most likely will not respond to input the way it normally does. Any attempts to close the afflicted browser windows will likely be met with an identical window. The best thing that the patron/staff can do is to just restart the PC. Please note that we employ software that effectively dismisses the changes to the hard drive between reboots so there is no need to worry about viruses or malware affecting the PC after the reboot.

*Here are several examples of what to look out for.

Fakewarning BrowserBSOD Tech-support-scam-popup