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: http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/cgi-bin/auth.cgi?connectto=EHFLP.

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.

Flipsterpeople

Right-clicking on the "Click here to access online" link and copying the URL gives me this: http://www.scls.lib.wi.us/cgi-bin/auth.cgi?connectto=TIEHFLP&bquery=HJ%20PEO.  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.
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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


When are your internet computers the busiest?

If you use MyPC for time management (as many of our libraries do), there is an easy way to see when the PCs are busiest... and exactly how busy they are. 

  1. Log into MyPC with your staff credentials.
  2. Reports > MyPC Reports > Utilisation Reports > Peak Usage Report.
  3. Click Modify.
  4. Unselect the _default site. Select your library (all locations). Update.
  5. Select your desired Time Period.
  6. View Report.

MCM Peak Usage Report

 

Bonus tip Heat map - all steps

 

In no time at all, you can easily pull the report data into Excel and use Greg's previous TechBits tip to color code the data to see the busiest times at a glance.

 

Click on the image to see the steps.

Pixlr - easy photo editing

Pixlr
I asked my 11 year old daughter what she was learning in her technology class. She is on the year book club and has been very interested in taking and editing photos. She told me about Pixlr, which is a free app you can use on your PC or device. You can add layers, effects, borders, make adjustments and add many other features to your photos with ease. There are so many options and we enjoy editing our family photos with this app.

https://pixlr.com/

More incrementing in Excel

In a previous post, we showed you how to "be a lazy incrementer in Excel" by clicking and dragging the fill handle.

In addition to incrementing numbers, you can also easily increment dates or repeat a list. Here are some examples:

Dates
In this case, I entered dates for two weeks. When I select those two cells, Excel looks at them, determines the pattern, and when I click and drag the fill handle (that little black box), increments to fill in the rest!
Weeklydates 

A repeating list
Let's say you have a repeating schedule for taking out the trash...
Beatles

Sometimes Excel guesses at the pattern but doesn't quite get it right...
Every2days

In this case, it guessed that Monday, Wednesday, Friday meant that we were incrementing by two days, but really I'd like to keep repeating the three days. To do this, I have two options:

  1. Hold the Ctrl key down while I click and drag. Excel then repeats the pattern instead of incrementing by two days.

    -OR-

  2. Enter Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday to make the pattern clear. Then click and drag.
    MonWedFriMon

 

 

OverDrive Updates

ODReadIconsLate last week, OverDrive implemented changes to OverDrive Read, OverDrive Listen, and the OverDrive App

OverDrive Read and OverDrive Listen both have updated and more visible menu and bookmark icons to make them easier to find and use. Another update renamed the "Assistive" font to "OpenDyslexic." If you haven't seen OpenDyxlexic font, check it out. It makes the reading experience much better for those with dyslexia. I wrote about it last year when OverDrive added it to the OverDrive App.

Speaking of the App, I was prompted to update my OverDrive App today and the changes are visually appealing. The new version (v 3.5) will be faster and fix many issues that patrons have reported experiencing. You can read more about these updates on the WPLC site.

Default Programs with Windows 8.1

If your SCLS-supported PC has Windows 8.1, you may have noticed that the default programs you selected reset every time the PC is restarted.  We preconfigured the default programs P1090827 (1)so that new users wouldn't have to decide how each type of file should open.  If you prefer to set your own defaults and keep them, you will need to delete a file.  Navigate to C:\Installers\Setup and delete the defaults.xml file.  Now you can reboot your PC without your defaults resetting.

Mobile Computer Labs are getting a face lift

Pelican 1640 case with laptop insertRecently SCLS implemented a new case for Mobile Computer Lab #1. We went from 5 bins down to 1 case.  The new case has a hard shell; it moves around on wheels and has an extendable handle, much like modern day luggage. The nice thing about this case is everything fits in one case, so packing and unpacking will go much faster.


Mobile computer labs 2 and 3 have been rearranged so instead of 4 bins each they are now in 3. This won’t change set-up and tear down time, but they are a lot easier to move around.

How to have a new printer install as easy as a piece of cake

01122So you just got a new printer and you want to hook it up and try it out.  You think - "Is there anything that I should do before I do this?"  The answer is yes!

Whenever you get a new printer, whether it is a printer that sits on your desk or a copier that all staff and patrons will use, you should always call the SCLS Help Desk first.  The reason is that the printers need special software, called a driver, installed on the PC in order for them to work correctly and this software can only be installed by the SCLS Help Desk.  If you are getting a copier that will be on your network it will be better if you call the Help Desk before it arrives so that related network tasks can be done on our end.  Also for copiers, it is a good idea to call the Help Desk and schedule a time for us to assist the copier technician with any setting questions and to install the printer driver software on the PCs that you want to use that copier.  This install process requires exclusive use of the PC as we need to log in with our administrative login.  For patron PCs this process takes a little longer as we need to turn off the disk-locking software before installing the software.  So if you are changing out a printer that patrons use please take this fact into account to make the patron disruption as minimal as possible.