Robots, AI, VR, IoT, and more!

Jason2Earlier this week, SCLS along with 10 other library systems,co-sponsored our annual Tech Days workshops in Fitchburg, Appleton, and Franklin. Financial support was also provided by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Public Library Development Team with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Jason Griffey was the keynote speaker for this year's event and he spoke on Preparing for the Future: Technology to Watch. We learned about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how ubiquitous some of these products have become. For example, you can get "smart" light bulbs, thermostats, outlets, door locks, security cameras, and even stickers! Jason also talked about all of the "voice assistants" like Google Home, Amazon's Alexa, and others. You can now get Alexa for your car with Amazon's Echo Auto and also for your microwave - who knew? Jason talked about the application of these technologies for libraries and some of the problems they present.

Jason shared lots of ideas and information about Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and robots. There are some really cool VR applications (and we have a VR kit that SCLS libraries can borrow). Jason explained the blockchain and talked about cryptocurrency. I understand it a little better but am still learning about the implications of this emerging technology.

The AI and machine learning part of the presentation was probably the most interesting and the most scary to contemplate.For example, you've all heard about the driver-less cars and trucks that are coming soon. There are also robots that are providing security services, helper robots in the hospitality industry, and even a robot barista in San Francisco.

There were afternoon breakout sessions at each workshop and you can find the handouts and slides for all the presentations here. Hope to see you at Tech Days next year!

Contact Lists in Office 365

Have you ever wanted to send the same email out to a specific group of people? If it's a small group of people you can just enter all of their email addresses in your email. But if it is a large group of people entering all those email addresses is a chore. If you have to email these people more than once then it is a really big chore. You're thinking there must be an easier way to do this with today's modern technology. Well I'm going to tell you a way to do it using Outlook in Office 365.

In Outlook in Office 365 there are two ways to do this. One is to use a Group, which is a "powerful and productive platform that brings together conversations and calendar from Outlook, files from SharePoint, tasks from Planner, and a shared OneNote notebook into a single collaboration space." If you just want to send an email then using a Group is a little overkill. Don't get me wrong, it can be used to just send out emails. The second way, and much simpler I think, is to use a Contact List, which is just "a collection of email addresses."

So let me take you through the steps to create your very own contact list:

A. Log into your Outlook account
B. Go to the People page by either
     1. Click on the Office 365 app launcher icon, sometimes called the 'waffle' icon, in the upper left corner of the page

                       App_Launcher_Icon

     2. Click the "All apps" link
     3. Click the People icon

                   People_App_Icon
    or
     1. Click People button at the lower left corner of the page

                      People_Icon

C. Click on the down arrow next to "New"

New_Contact_List

D. Click on "Contact List"
E. Enter a name for your list
F. Start adding the email addresses of the people you want in your list
G. When you are done adding email addresses, click the Save button at the upper left corner of the page

That's it, easy right? Now the next time you want to email these people all you have to do is type the name of your list in the To field.

Wikipedia and Libraries

Image-1I love Wikipedia and probably use it daily to find answers to questions like "How many seasons of the show the Librarians are there?" Yet, as a librarian I feel like I can't fully trust it. Well, guess what? OCLC developed a training program that helps librarians learn to use Wikipedia more effectively and, better yet, trains them to edit Wikipedia entries. The materials were originally developed for a nine-week WebJunction course, and now they are available for all libraries to use.

https://www.webjunction.org/explore-topics/wikipedia-libraries/training-curriculum.html

Wikipedia + Librarians, because librarians ROCK!

 

 

Office 2016 Reference Cards

We will be upgrading the version of Microsoft Office on all SCLS-supported staff computers to 2016 Professional Plus during the week of August 6th.  The interface for Office 2016 is fairly similar toDesk-glasses-laptop-3061 the 2013 version, but the upcoming upgrade is a good reason to re-post information from a previous TechBits articleCustomGuide's Quick Reference Cards are nice tools to learn the best way to accomplish common tasks in Microsoft Office.  The 2016 reference cards are linked from the SCLS Technology page.

Browsers and Insecure Websites

You've no doubt read all of our recent blog postings lately about HTTPS, like SCLS and https and More on HTTPS, where we've talked about the big push on the Internet to make ALL websites secure. So we worked to secure our website along with all of your websites as well (thanks, Rose!).

This big push to make all websites secure was coming from the browser companies who were starting to display messages saying if a site was secure or not.

Like Firefox that pops up a message box telling you if a site is insecure when you log in.

Firefox_Message

Chrome is also going to be displaying a message starting with version 68 which comes out July 24, 2018.

Chrome_Message
I think these browser messages may over time become more of a warning than a recommendation because Internet security is becoming so important to users, especially with all the data breaches that have been happening. If you have any vendor websites that you log into that are not secure ask them how soon they will be secure. Be safe when surfing!

Digital Literacy Confidence

LogoDo you remember Project Play? It's still one of my favorite projects that I've worked on here at SCLS. While the Project Play website and information no longer exists, the concept of 23 Things is still very much alive. Let me explain.

I recently read an interview in Library Hotline called "Champion of Confidence" between Michael Stephens and Sally Pewhairangi, a librarian from New Zealand. In the interview, Sally talks about confidence being a big part of Digital Literacy. If you think about it, this makes sense. There's a great deal of self-doubt and fear about trying new things - especially for library staff or patrons who didn't grow up in the digital era.

This interview led me to Sally's website called The Library Boss*. I explored around, read some of the blog posts, and took the quiz to find out my Digital Super-Power. According to Sally, there are six Digital Super-Powers: adaptability, critical thinking, curiosity, empathy, patience, and problem solving. Guess which one I am?** Which one are you?

And, being the CE Consultant, I wondered if Sally would be a good speaker and if there were any archived webinars that she's presented. And, there is! I watched it and found the accompanying Padlet site which includes questions and answers by attendees of the webinar and others in the Australia and New Zealand library community. One of the comments referenced a project called 11 1/2 Things for Digital Literacy (a play on the 23 Things project). It turns out there have been a number of 23 Things projects focusing on Digital Literacy recently. Here are a few that I found:

In addition to topics like blogging, RSS feeds, and photos that were in the original 23 Things projects, the Digital Literacy 23 Things topics include digital security, accessibility, diversity, fake news and filter bubbles, gamification, augmented and virtual reality, digital curation, altmetrics, mindmapping, infographics, and more. All of these sites are open for anyone to participate. Check out some of the topics that interest you and play - it's the best way to learn!

*It also led me to figure out the time difference between Madison and New Zealand. Hmmm..what time to schedule a webinar...

**Not surprisingly, my Digital Super-Power is empathy!

Digital Bytes

WVLS-DigitalBytesWisconsin Valley Library System (WVLS) has launched a new training series called Digital Bytes, whose purpose is to provide short, consistent training in a recorded, digital format. Topics will include some tech topics topics like email etiquette, social media highlights, what's new in Facebook, and more.

The first episode launched last week -- "Customer Service, the Role of Positive Language" and can be found on the Digital Bytes page of the WVLS website.

If you like short video trainings, keep an eye out for these!

Sharing videos via email

Gabriel-petry-249921

Have you ever wanted to share a video via email and was told that you can't because the file was too big? Kristine from LDI had this same problem and she even tried zipping the video to make it smaller, but it was still too big. She ended up finding a solution in the Office 365 application called Stream. Using Stream she was able to upload her video and then get an online link which she used in the body of her email. She said that it worked perfectly.

To find this application you would need to be logged into your Office 365 Outlook SCLS email account. Then in the upper left-hand corner you would click on the button that has nine little squares in it. You should then see a list of applications, one of which is called Stream. Click on Stream and you will be taken to the Stream website where you can "Securely upload" your video. You will then be given a link to your video. You can then use that link in an email to send to whomever you want.

Photo by Gabriel Petry on Unsplash

2018 Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

Wisconsin-2018-01_3Mark your calendar for the Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference, January 23-25, but draw a big red circle around January 24, because that's when the Tech Trends Track programs are scheduled! The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is a state-wide virtual conference developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System and supported by 15 other library systems in Wisconsin. The program lineup includes practical and inspiring web-only sessions that you can attend whether it's 40 degrees or 40 below. This year we're looking forward to these technology-oriented programs (30 minutes each):

  • Best of the Web 2018 (register)
  • Sharpening the Bleeding Edge: Four Technologies that Librarians Should Watch (register)
  • Tech Notes from the Field (featuring TechBits author Craig, so don't miss this one) (register)

To attend, simply register for as many programs as you want. There are no registration fees and anyone is welcome to participate. Sessions will be recorded for those who can't attend online.

Printing a PDF form on your receipt printer

Let's say that you have a PDF form that you want to print out on your receipt printer. If you print using the settings we use as defaults the form doesn't print out well. If you change the default settings then you have to remember to change them back BEFORE you print a patron's receipt or it won't look good. There's got to be an easier way you say! Well, let me tell you the simple solution that requires no changing of default printer settings on your receipt printer.

The steps are as follows:
1. Open the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
2. Select your receipt printer in the drop down printer list found in the upper left-hand corner

Step_02

3. Click the Page Setup... button found in the lower left-hand corner

Step_03

4. Click the drop down next to Size

Step_04

5. Choose 72mm x 200mm

Step_05

6. Click OK
7. The preview area of the screen should now show a better view of the PDF form

Step_07

8. Click the Print button found in the lower right-hand corner

I think this is a lot easier than changing the default printer settings of your receipt printer. At least that's what LAV and PDS said when they wanted to print a PDF form that they got from Sue Ann at REE. Thanks Sue Ann!