Windows 8 File History

Windows 8 File History is a simple and unobtrusive tool used for backing up files.  The program is limited to backing up user libraries plus IE Favorites and the Desktop.  Your libraries include Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos.  You may add other folders to the backup by adding them to one of the default libraries or by creating a new custom library.

Getting Started

  1. Plug in a USB hard drive or a large USB flash drive.
  2. Double-click File History in the Windows Control Panel.
  3. Click Turn on.
  4. You can exclude some libraries from the backup by clicking Exclude folders at the left.
  5. Through the Advanced settings menu, you can set the frequency of backups, the size of the offline cache and how long File History keeps each backed up version.  The offline cache is the part of your PCs hard drive that will be available for temporary backup when your USB drive is unplugged.

Restoring Previous Versions of Files or Deleted Files

  1. Go to Control Panel > double-click File History > select Restore personal files.
  2. You'll be presented with a timeline of backups you can navigate.  Use the left and right arrows to select the correct backup time.
  3. Select the file or folder you'd like to restore.
  4. Click the Green restore button to restore to its original location.

Add a Folder to Your File History Backup

  1. Right-click the folder you want to backup > select Include in Library > click Create new library.
  2. This folder will then be backed up at the next backup interval.

Tech Lifehack Vines


Goodwill Community Foundation made a number of Vine videos showing some quick and handy tricks to help get a grasp on some technological woes, like managing cables and cleaning keyboards.

Check out the rest of them here.

OverDrive App with Dyslexic Font Option

OverDrive recently introduced a couple of new font options for readers with dyslexia: OpenDyslexic and OpenDyxlesic Bold. I took a couple of screenshots from a book I'm currently reading in my OverDrive app on my iPad mini so you can see the difference. The first one is in Palatino font:









The second image is in OpenDyslexic font:









It's good to see that the e-reading experience is becoming more accessible for everyone.

Bonus image from Tech Day:

IMG_4359I recently got a standing desk from Varidesk and shared some of it photos at Tech Day. Here's an photo of how I use it every day. Next time you're in the SCLS offices, stop by and I'll show you how it works.


Documentary Heaven

DocumentaryHeavenLike documentaries?
Try Documentary Heaven.

They don't host the documentaries, but they do curate and embed free titles from other sites. You can search, or you can browse in many ways, including by category, complete list by category, and top 100. 

Documentary Heaven FAQ 
Lifehacker review of Documentary Heaven

What's my PC's name?

ID-100100046If you've ever called the Help Desk needing help on an SCLS-supported PC then you've been asked for the PC's name.  This can usually found on a white sticker with black letters that is placed on the PC.  If you can't find the sticker or the PC is in a place that makes it hard to see it then I have an easy solution for you.  Unfortunately, though these steps will only work on staff PCs.  The steps are as follows:

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click on Run...
  3. Type in cmd
  4. Type in hostname
  5. Hit Enter
  6. Your PC's name will be displayed

Now wasn't that simple!  Of course if your PC won't turn on then you're going to need to find the sticker.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at

E-Waste Recycling Reminder

EarthIn honor of Earth Day I am going to recycle a Techbits article from a few years ago. As a reminder, one of the services SCLS offers its members is the opportunity to easily recycle your old electronic devices which you can no longer use. We continue to use File13 for our e-waste disposal. If you live or work in the Dane Co. area you may want to consider dropping off your old devices there since they have a large number of items that they don't charge for if you drop them off, including computers, printers and cables.

Socket to me!

With the rise of portable devices, everyone's looking for power outlets. A portable device is only helpful if it has a charge, after all. Along with friendly and helpful staff, good wireless, and comfortable furniture, available power can make or break a patron's library experience.

The @LibraryOutlets Twitter account recently came to my attention. Check out all those tweets from people across the country about... you guessed it... power outlets in libraries! And look at the replies from libraries that are working on improving their power situation.

How does your library fare when it comes to available outlets? Are your patrons able to find a place to plug in?

Hopefully this need for outlets won't last too long. Charging via countertops or furniture is on the horizon!

More about libraries and outlets:

StoryCorps App

I wrote about TED talks and listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast back in September of 2013. The 2015 TED Conference was recently held in Vancouver, Canada. As part of the conference, TED awards the TED Prize to "an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change."

This year's winner is Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, and his Prize wish was to take StoryCorps global with a free StoryCorps app.

Storycorps_logo_10_yearsYou've probably heard of StoryCorps as it's been around since 2003. There's even a national program for StoryCorps to partner with libraries for patrons to share their stories. Having this program in your library required professional recording equipment and training for staff and volunteers. A great program but not feasible for all libraries.

The new StoryCorps app changes all that! Now, recording and sharing stories of your patrons, your family, and your friends is as easy as your smart phone or tablet. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. StoryCorps even has questions to get the storytelling started.

How can you use this in your library? If your library has iOS or Android tablets available for either staff or patron use, download the app to them. Then, it would be easy to host an event for patrons to record and share their stories. Or, if you loan out tablets to your patrons, they could record stories of those who may not be able to come to the library. What a great way to collect local history and share it with the world.

Tiny computers: on a stick or implantable

Mr. Andes, my high school math teacher, drove a Camino and introduced me to computers.  Ages ago, he chaperoned a field trip to an Alcoa plant where a giant room housed a giant, room-sized computer.  Since then, computers have progressively become both more powerful and smaller.

In that vein, I’d like to introduce two cutting edge devices.  One’s just about to hit the consumer market (computer on a stick) and the other one is in various phases of R&D (including implantable computers).

At least two ‘computer on a stick’ products will be released this year: the Intel Compute Stick and the Asus Chrome Bit.  Each of these wireless devices is about this size of a ‘good-sized’ thumb drive and plugs into an HDMI port on a monitor. Peripherals connect via a USB port.


If ‘computer on a stick’ is too big for you, the world’s smallest computer is now about one millimeter cubed.  Built by engineers at the University of Michigan, the Michigan Micro Mote (aka M3) has input, output and processing capabilities.  It can be powered by ambient light, body heat and other options are in the works.

“Michigan has been inundated with requests to use these devices in applications from monitoring concrete and oil wells to researching the behavior of snails.”  Other projected uses include the Internet of Things (IoT) and pressure tracking for brain trauma and glaucoma.


The potential uses for the M3 computer are just as exciting and unimaginable now as the giant computer that Mr. Andes introduced.

Library Beacons

Here's a scenario:

  • You install a special app on your mobile device
  • The next time you're in range of library beacons, you automatically receive targeted information right to your smartphone. For example -- when you walk in the front doors, you might get updates about your account; in the Children's Room, you receive notifications about upcoming children's programs; or when you near the library cafe, you get information about daily specials.
  • You can save the information, or forward it to a friend.

PhoneBeacons are devices that interact with a customer's smartphone and are designed to enhance the shopping experience. Some libraries are experimenting with the devices to bring new services to their patrons. Here are a few articles that tell more about their endeavors:

Some related videos:

I can definitely see the possibilities for museums, airports, and stores. What do you think about this new technology for libraries?