Website tip: Remove old email addresses

Bye-scls-emailIf your email address has changed recently... for example, if your @scls.lib.wi.us email has been retired (hint, hint), take some time today to make sure the old address is not present on your library's website.

Start with this checklist to confirm your old address is no longer in use:

  • Within the text on pages that are common on library websites*: About Us, Contact Us, Ask Us a Question, Staff
  • Linked or in text in the banner/sidebars/footer of all pages*
  • Receiving response emails from forms patrons may use for communicating with the library: Ask Us a Question, Reserve a Meeting Room, etc.
    • If you maintain web forms with your own FormAssembly account, Google Apps/Drive, or Drupal modules, check for email addresses on the form, thank-you/confirmation screen, or notification email recipient.
    • If SCLS maintains these web forms for you in FormAssembly, the recipient address of email notifications has already been updated; however, if your forms have a visible email address on the form, please notify us to update it.
  • Drupal users, please follow up with our checklist of extra Drupal-y places where an old email address may need to be updated.
  • Any web service you may use to send newsletters to patrons (BookLetters, Dear Reader, FeedBurner, MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.)

* Publishing/linking email addresses on your website will attract spam and is not recommended. Using web contact forms allows the public to contact you without publishing your email address in a way that spammers can easily find it.

Windows has a Built-in Unit Converter

Recently, I discovered that the Calculator program that ships with Microsoft Windows has its own built-in unit converter. I usually just use Google if I need to find how many ounces are in a liter, or convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. However, if I'm on a laptop without internet access, like stuck in the desert with a broke-down car and some stranger says the nearest shop is 4 leagues away, and I don't know how far a league is...I feel comforted to know that I could find that out.

To access the unit converter we first need to open Calculator. We can do this by either typing "calculator" into the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu, or navigating to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Calculator. Calculator generally looks like this:

Calculator

To open the unit converter, click on the View menu, then select "Unit conversion" near the bottom. We can also get to it by pressing the hot-key sequence of Ctrl+U. That brings up this handy pane that looks like this:

Converter

From here we select what type of unit we want to convert, then the 2 metrics we want to convert between, type in our starting value, and voila! Isn't that just awesome?

 

Joining cells in Excel

Back in July Kerri showed you how to split the information in an Excel entry into separate columns.  Now I'm going to show you how to combine them. 

If you've got information that's currently in two separate cells in Excel, it's possible to combine them into one.  You can even put spaces and punctuation inbetween the pieces.  For example, if you need to take the First and Last name columns from a report and combine them into one cell, you can do so and have the result be FirstName LastName or even LastName, FirstName.

To combine the cells using the FirstName LastName example:

  1. Make sure there's a blank column where you want to have the combined name.  It doesn't have to be immediately after the separate First and Last name columns.
  2. In the blank cell, type =(  It's not a frowny face, that's how formulas in Excel start. 
  3. Click on the cell that contains the information you want to display first.  In this case, it would be the FirstName cell.
  4. The name of the cell will be entered into the forumula.  After the name of the cell, enter &" "&.  The ampersand is the character used to let Excel know you're adding something after the contents of the cell.  The " " (a space between quotes) is to have a space entered between the First and Last names, otherwise they'd be run together.  The second ampersand it to let Excel know you're going to add something else.
  5. Click on the cell you want to combine with the first one.  In this case, it's the LastName cell. The name of the cell will be added to the formula. 
  6. Since that was all we wanted to combine, enter ) to end the formula.  The formula should now look like =(A1&" "&B1)
  7. When you press Enter, you'll see the combined information in the cell. 
  8. You aren't limited to joining just two cells.  If you wanted to continue, just add another & after the second cell name instead of the end parenthesis.
  9. You also aren't limited to just adding a space between the cells.  Anything you put in the quotes will be entered.  For example, if you wanted LastName, FirstName, instead of doing " " between the &'s, you would enter ", " (quote, comma, space, quote).  That would put a comma and a space between each section.

Google Forms Tips from Free Technology for Teachers

One of the blogs I follow, and check often, is called "Free Technology for Teachers" written by Richard Byrne. One of Richard's areas of expertise is in Google Apps and I've learned lots from him. Over the past couple of weeks, he's posted several Google Forms tips and I thought I'd share them with you.

GoogleForms

First, How to be Notified When Someone Completes Your Google Form. I've been using Google Forms more recently as part of the OverDrive Support Course and for other short surveys. If I don't set up a reminder, I often forget to go in and check for new submissions. Now I get a daily email with that information. Great timesaver for me!

Second, Now You Can Customize Background Images and Themes in Google Forms - Here's How. Google Forms comes with some standard themes and I've cycled through all of them (at least those I like). Now I can use my own photos as backgrounds. Watch for that in upcoming forms!

Last, but not least, How to Convert Google Spreadsheet Cells into a Google Document. One of our recent surveys asked for an open-ended response and the results were hard to read in the regular spreadsheet format. Had I already installed this add-on (Save as Doc), it would have made the results easier to read. I'll be trying this feature with my next survey!

I highly recommend following Free Technology for Teachers. It's full of great resources and tips for educators - and librarians. Enjoy!

 

 

TeamViewer

My parents and in-laws ask for my help with their computers often, but they live over 100 miles away. MP900430487  It's difficult to troubleshoot over the phone.  It's much easier when I can just remote into their PCs and fix the problems myself.  The product I use is called TeamViewer.

TeamViewer is remote control software free for private use and it's pretty simple to use.  I do recommend using it for home use if you are the go-to person in your family when it comes to computer support.

Watching for email to your old address

Looking

 

Did your library migrate to Office 365?

September... October... November... December... JANUARY!

We've started the countdown to the retirement of the @scls.lib.wi.us email addresses.

Five months may seem like a lot of time, but January will be here before you know it.

Watch for email sent to your @scls.lib.wi.us address
If you've configured your Office 365 account according to the instructions provided by SCLS, email to your old address will automatically be put in your "@scls.lib.wi.us" folder.

Take action on email sent to your old @scls.lib.wi.us address
Notify the sender of your new address, update your blog or email list subscriptions so they are sent to your new address, or remove yourself from mailing lists you no longer want to receive. Be sure to also update your email address with vendors so you don't miss any important bills or subscription renewals.

By January, all of your non-spam email should be going to your new address. At the end of January, the SCLS email server (and all of the @scls.lib.wi.us addresses) will be retired.

Two heads are better...

Recently, I was working with a colleague on a problem when I happened to notice that they had some rather unique Windows PC desktop wallpaper. Each of their two monitors had a different image associated with it. Even more interesting, the images were two halves of a larger image, thus forming a wide panoramic view across the pair of monitors. I'd had no idea that was an option, at least not an obvious one.

Brian credited Michael with showing him how this can easily be done by choosing a Panoramic theme for Windows (thanks, guys!), then he showed me how too:

  1. Right click the Desktop.
  2. Choose Personalize....
  3. Choose Get more themes online (this link is near the center right hand side of the window).
  4. Choose Panoramic (dual monitor).
  5. Pick from a wide variety of panoramic themes.

Awesome sauce! Yet at the same time, not quite good enough. Where's the ability to pick one's own images for this feature? After a little more snooping around on the Interwebs and I found my new favorite toy: the Dual Wallpaper tool, part of the open source Dual Monitor Tools package.

These tools do not require installation, so anyone may use them (no help desk call required). Just unzip the package and double click. Once you've got the Dual Wallpaper app running, then:

  1. Select one or both monitors.
  2. Click Browse... to select an image.
  3. Choose a Fit method.
  4. Click Add Image to apply the adapted image.
  5. Repeat as needed for the other monitor.
  6. Click Set Wallpaper.

You can set up either one large panoramic image that spans both monitors, or choose two completely separate images, setting one on each monitor.

Address bar command

I figured out something really cool all by myself (accidently) a few weeks ago.  If you hit Ctrl + Enter on the keyboard after typing the name of a website in the address bar of your browser it will automatically enter www and .com for you.

Virtual Reality for Everyone

We all know that Google is always coming out with cool new technology, like Google Glasses.  Well, they have done it again and came out with a virtual reality visor that you can make yourself.  All you need is some cardboard, two lenses, a magnet, velcro, a rubberband and a smart phone.  MacGyver has nothing on the folks that came up with this idea.  You can read the CBS article entitled Google Cardboard puts virtual reality in everyone's reach to find out more about it.  If you're interested in how it works then take a look at the below YouTube video that is found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxAj2lyX4oU.

 

If you want to build it yourself you can download the plans from this website.  If you need help building it then take a look at the below YouTube video, found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPHVjHxEqAo, that walks you through the making of your own Google Cardboard.

 

I think that this would make an awesome MakerSpace project.

Your library is a portal

Ingress_LogoYour library is very likely a portal. Resistance and Enlightened team members are hacking it, deploying resonators and mods, and linking it to other portals to create fields. And they're doing it from inside or just outside of your building using an app and their GPS-enabled device.

Intrigued? The game is Ingress, an "augmented reality massively multiplayer online GPS-dependent game" from Niantic Labs, a startup within Google. Whew! That's a mouthful. 

People all around the world are participating one giant game using their mobile devices. They download an app, create an account, pick a team, and join the fun. There's a back story for the game that gets quite complicated, but it all boils down to some basic tasks: capture and control portals, link them up to make fields and control territory, earn points and badges, and increase your level and score both individually and for your team. Players can also submit new portals as long as they meet the criteria. As stated in this article, Ingress "is like a combination of geocaching and capture the flag," and it's incredibly addictive.

Baraboo Public Library in IngressWhere does your library come in?

You're probably a portal. From Wikipedia: "Portals are typically associated with buildings and landmarks of historic and/or architectural significance such as sculptures and other public art, libraries, post offices, memorials, places of worship, public transit hubs, parks and other recreational or tourist spaces."

You may see some unusual traffic. You may see cars outside your building at odd hours with the drivers' faces lit up by their cell phone screens or see people with their cellphones furiously hitting a "fire" button to blow up the other team's resonators so they can take over the library for their team. In any case, there are folks who may be non-library users who are now very aware of where the library is.

There may be some programming possibilities. I found one library that even held an Ingress-themed program for Teen Tech Week.

Personally, I've found Ingress to be a great way to easily find points of interest when I venture to a new town. Public libraries, historic landmarks, interesting public art, and sometimes even unique local businesses --- it's great to hack and explore at the same time! (and a very clever way for Google to get the low-down on all of the cultural points of interest in a city!)