Gratitude for Technology

PresentIf you've attended a workshop* with me presenting, you'll hear me ask you to put your device away and be present. In fact, this is one of my favorite images to use when talking about being present. This doesn't mean that I'm anti-technology, though. I think it's just the opposite. I use technology all the time and am working to be more mindful of how I use it.

With Thanksgiving next week, I want to take a few minutes to tell you about some of the technology that I'm grateful for this year.

  • My new iPhone 7 (we upgraded from an iPhone 5s that we've had for over 4 years). It has lots more space for photos, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Speaking of podcasts, I truly appreciate the Note to Self podcast with Manoush Zomorodi. This podcast reminds me to utilize technology as a tool. And Manoush recently came out with a book, Bored and Brilliant, based on a Note to Self project. It's a great read and I highly recommend it!
  • Speaking of books, I'm grateful for digital access to advance copies from Edelweiss and NetGalley. You can have access, too. 
  • Also speaking of books, I'm grateful for Wisconsin's Digital Library, Libby, and the OverDrive App to keep me supplied with audiobooks and my husband with ebooks.
  • Google Docs makes it easy to share spreadsheets, documents, forms, etc. with my personal book club, my work groups, colleagues, etc. I use it everyday and can't imagine doing without it. There are other Google products that I use regularly - Keep, Maps, email, etc. too.
  • I discovered two new cooking/food related sites that I'm still learning about and wanted to share with you:
    • Copy Me That is a recipe manager, shopping list, and meal planner. You can also create a custom cookbook from here (I'll let you know how that goes).
    • Eat Your Books is a place where you can make better use of your personal collection of cookbooks. I heard about this one from Julia Collin Davison from America's Test Kitchen at ALA this past summer. I'm still learning about it and will keep you posted.

What technology are you grateful for this year? I'd love to  hear!

*The exception to this is when I'm training on using various tablets, phones, and devices to  use Wisconsin's Digital Library. Then, using a device is mandatory!

Exploring Chrome Extensions, Week 2: Grammarly

I have to admit. My grammar is not the best. Luckily there is the Chrome extension Grammarly. In continuing with the Exploring Chrome Extensions series, we are going to check out a very useful one for those of us who are grammar-impaired.

Grammarly is a multi-featured Chrome extension that checks any inputted text in Chrome automatically as you type or finish typing. Not only does the extension check for grammatical errors but it also features a contextual spelling checker.

The application itself is fairly downplayed visually, adding squiggly error lines and context menus for corrections. You will notice when Grammarly is active when you see what looks to be an upside-down Refresh symbol that is bright teal in the lower right-hand corner of the field. I have found that it does not always catch the errors, especially in certain fields. Despite this, I have found this to be a pretty respectable tool in the Chrome extension arsenal.

You can get Grammarly here!

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.

“Cortana, please forget what information you’ve collected”

Cortana is the digital assistant that can respond to voice or text in Windows 10, a Windows phone or Cortana for iPhone or Android. So responsive is ‘she’ that she may store your requests/search history for future reference both locally and in the cloud. How do you get her to forget what you’ve told her? Here’s how, in pictures, for Windows 10.




























2 privacy
















3 speech














4 stop








"Clear what's in the cloud"

Here's where the instructions may deviate slightly for you relative to what data has or has not been collected and your default browser.

5 bing




















In addition to "Browsing History", you will also have the option to remove data saved for "Search History", "Location activity", "Voice activity", "Cortana's Notebook" and "Health activity". 

Happy forgetting!

KRACK Vulnerability Update

On October 19th Andrew wrote about the KRACK vulnerability that impacts most modern Wi-Fi devices.  Since then the SCLS Technology Team has been working to patch our supported Wi-Fi 6a00d8341d32e053ef01bb09cedf56970d
devices and system.  Patching a device is straight forward, however patching our Enterprise Wireless system took a fair amount of preparation and planning to implement.  I am happy to report that as of 10/31/17 the SCLS Enterprise Wireless system has been patched.  With the exception of a couple devices, our entire infrastructure is now invulnerable to KRACK!

Please remember that you still need to be diligent about your home devices.  Make sure to run any updates for all Wi-Fi capable devices!


How bad is the Opioid epidemic in my county?


    WISH - Opioid Module

The Opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency. As a parent, I wanted to find data on how serious the Opioid epidemic is in Green County where we live. It turns out that the Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH) recently published a new Opioid Module on Wisconsin drug overdose mortality and morbidity that includes county data.

Developed by the Wisconsin Office of Health Informatics and the Injury Prevention program, the Opioid Module includes two query options:

For each module, you first select the type of data you are interested in including:

  • Type and characteristics of measure (e.g., number of deaths involving prescription opioids)
  • Geographic area (NOTE: multiple counties can be selected)
  • Time period (years, quarters)
  • Age, sex, race, and ethnicity.

You then define the row and column output you want to see. Here is a Jing video of a sample query I ran for Opioid-Related Hospital Encounters in Green County:  When the values are less than 5, they show up as an “X” to comply with Wisconsin vital records data privacy guidelines. Unfortunately, there is not a direct export to excel but copy/paste works with some reformatting.

Be sure to check out the other WISH modules on births, deaths, cancer, FoodShare usage, and more:

Low-cost internet

Last week I saw an article in the Wisconsin State Journal that I thought was worth sharing. It's about Charter's low-cost Spectrum Internet Assist program, which is available for $14.99 per month to families in all of its service regions who qualify for the National School Lunch Program or its Community Eligibility Provision and seniors over age 65 with Supplemental Security Income. Internet

Here's a link to the article on  East Madison Community Center partners with Charter to promote low-cost internet package

Sounds like a nice option for folks who have Charter service in their area and might not ordinarily be able to afford the regular high-speed internet packages!

Tip: To find the info on the Charter site, I did a search for "assist."

Hey, can you stop what you're doing and proofread this for me?

GrammarlyAbout two months ago or so an ad popped up while I was watching a YouTube video about Grammarly. The ad indicated it can check your spelling and grammar for free! I feel like I’m always asking someone (way smarter than me)to check my work for mistakes, and when I saw this ad I thought I would give it a try to see how well it worked. This article is going to be all me and Grammarly, so be kind in the comments if you find any mistakes, please.

You can download Grammarly from there website for free. They have a version for Microsoft Office and for web browsers. I downloaded both options just to try out. If you happen to write a lot more than I do and would like a more robust version, they do offer a subscription version.

I wrote this in Word with Grammarly turned off until this point. I intentionally misspelled a couple words, which I fixed that both Microsoft Office Spell Checker and Grammarly caught. I also left out a comma (not intentional) between mistakes and please at the end of the first paragraph that Grammarly said should be there.

I’m also getting an alert from Grammarly that it see’s five more mistakes that the Premium version will fix. Not today it won’t! Those are for you to find!

KRACK Vulnerability

A major vulnerability to WPA2 encryption was discovered recently by security expert Mathy Vanhoef.

The vulnerability, known as "Key Reinstallation Attack" or “KRACK,” could make your wireless network traffic from WPA2-protected devices susceptible to attack.  A recent PC World story says Evil-Computer-300px hackers can read your network traffic, allowing them to steal financial information, passwords, private conversations and other sensitive data.  They could also inject dangerous ransomware or malware into HTTP content that you are accessing.

Most modern Wi-Fi-enabled devices do utilize WPA2 to encrypt network traffic.  SCLS is actively patching the equipment it supports for libraries.  Libraries should be concerned about patching the devices we do not support.  Everyone should update their devices at home as well.  If you have Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or Windows 10 installed on your device and have automatic updates enabled, you are probably safe.  Microsoft issued security patches for its supported operating systems on October 10th.  Other technology such as Google, Android and Apple devices, streaming content players, routers, mobile phones and security cameras may require patches as well.  The links below may help you find the status of some of the devices you support.

Ordering PCs in 2017

If you still need to order PCs, barcode scanners, or printers in 2017, please pay close attention to these dates:

Friday, November 10 - 2017 bill to you by December 2017.
Order by this date to guarantee you'll have a bill in your hands from SCLS by the end of 2017.

Friday, December 8 - 2017 bill to you by January 2018.
Order by this date if you need a bill dated 2017 but can accommodate the bill being delivered to you in January 2018.  

To help libraries plan for PC replacements, SCLS regularly updates libraries' Workstation Status Reports. If you have any questions about ordering, please contact Craig.