Can Your Password Change Your Life?

PadlocksLast week, the Swiss Army Librarian posted about a recent password article that he'd read. It's called Choosing Secure Passwords and worth a read. The word "Choosing" in the title reminded me of another article that I'd like to share with you.

What if you could use your password like a superpower or a mantra to help you change something in your life? One man did just that and I think it's a pretty neat story. In his particular environment, passwords needed to be changed every 30 days. He was going through some challenges in his personal life and used his password to help him through it. Here's an example he used: Quit@smoking4ever (quit smoking forever) - which he did. Typing this password in many times a day really motivated him and helped him achieve his goals.

While I don't have to change my passwords that often, I have started thinking of using them in a more positive way. Here's what my password for this month would be: IwR+H3mOct26 which means I will run the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon October 26. What would yours be?

* Password, password, who all has your password?, November 15, 2013. Cindy helpfully includes links to several TechBits articles on passwords.

* Hackable or Uncrackable, May 9, 2014

Image from MorgueFile


How to clean your Dymo LabelWriter

Dymo LabelWriterThis is a repeat of a post from a couple years ago with some updated links. A few questions and comments have come in to the helpdesk lately about Dymo LabelWriter printers getting gummed up. If you have experienced labels getting wrapped around the roller, follow these easy steps to clearing and cleaning the printer.

Every LabelWriter comes with a cleaning card. If you kept all of your paper work you should still have it. Remove the labels from the LabelWriter and tear open the package the cleaning card is in. Run the card through the printer like you would the labels. When I spoke with the Dymo tech staff they recommended running it through about a dozen times. Dymo suggests doing this once a month to maintain a clean feed mechanism. By keeping the print head clean you can improve your print quality and extend the life of the printer.

If you don’t have your cleaning card you can find them at just about any office supply store or on Amazon. They cost between $8.00 and $17.00 for a pack of 10 cards depending on where you get them.

MS Office - document authors

John Hancock

If you've ever collaborated with others using the Track Changes feature of Microsoft Word or Excel, then you know that edits, comments and other parts of documents can end up tagged with your name or initials. What can you do if these signatures are coming out wrong?

When SCLS deploys software, especially on new computers, it typically comes to your desk with our favorite default settings. For MS Office, this includes setting the username to "SCLS". If you inherited a computer from a previous user, it may have their name instead. Either way, this is easy to change if you need to.

  1. Open MS Word.
  2. Select the File tab of the Office Ribbon
  3. Choose Options, then General.
  4. Set your User name and Initials.
  5. Click OK.

Changing these values in Word will also change them in other MS Office components installed on the computer (Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

Cease and desist

HaltHas your library ever received a "cease and desist" letter threatening you with fines because a patron used the library's internet connection to download something illegally? How did you respond?

Before you do anything, take a look at the ALA Washington Office's Digital Dispatch post, "My conversation with a copyright troller."

Many thanks to Cheryl Becker and her post, "Illegal Downloads and Libraries–This is Important!" (an excellent short summary of this topic which steered me to the Digital Dispatch post).

Archiving old Thunderbird email to an external drive

USB drive"I need to look up an old email message from 2010!"

If you migrated from Thunderbird and email to Office 365, you may want to make a copy of your old Thunderbird email for archival purposes. 

SCLS will guarantee access to your Thunderbird email accounts on your PCs until January 2015. Starting in January 2015, SCLS PC Technicians will no longer copy Thunderbird email to new PCs. This means you will be responsible for archiving your Thunderbird email if you want to ensure access after January 2015.

Follow these instructions to back up your Thunderbird email to a USB drive:

The NEW Apple Stuff

It's been a big week for Apple.  They released the iPhone 6 AND iOS 8.  They are also going to release a watch in 2015.  If you're an Apple fan then I'm sure you were in line waiting to get the newest gear.  If you haven't been following all things Apple here are some reviews:

Is it worth the update?  That is up to you!

OverDrive integration with Bing search engine

Raise your hand if you have ever used Bing as a search engine (instead of Google). Anyone? I hadn't used it either, but I recently tried it when I heard that OverDrive was now integrated with Bing.

If you search a book title in Bing, and the book is available through OverDrive, you'll see a link to an excerpt from OverDrive and a link to Wisconsin's Digital Library (if you are located in Wisconsin). Check it out sometime!


Website tip: Remove old email addresses

Bye-scls-emailIf your email address has changed recently... for example, if your 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:


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:


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.