Wisconsin e-file Help

The Wisconsin e-file became available on Monday, January 13 on the Dept. of Revenue website.  The PDF that they give you may have some issues depending upon the browser that is used.  Here's what we've seen with each browser:

Internet Explorer - The PDF form opens with no problems.

Firefox - When you try to open the PDF form you get a message that starts with  "Please wait...", so to access the PDF form you will need to:

  1. Check the upper right-hand corner of the screen
  2. Click the button entitled "Open With Different Viewer"Firefox Open in Different Viewer
  3. On the popup that opens select "Open with Adobe Reader"Open with Adobe Reader

  4. On the Security Warning popup click the Allow buttonSecurity_Warning
  5. PDF form will then open just fine

Note - If you want to save the form instead of opening it, then in step 3 you will need to choose "Save File"

Save in Firefox

Chrome - When you try to open the PDF form you get a message that starts with  "Please wait...", so to access the PDF form you will need to:

  1. Check the upper right-hand corner of the screen
  2. Click the PDF icon that is found next to the starOpen in Chrome
  3. A popup will open that says: "Parts of this PDF document could not be displayed."
  4. Click the "Open in Adobe Reader" link
  5. PDF form will then open just fine

Note - If you want to save the form instead of opening it, please do the following steps:

  1. Place the mouse in the lower right-hand corner of the browser window
  2. A menu bar will popup, then choose the option that looks like a floppy disk     
      Save in Chrome

Please pass this information on to all staff who assist patrons as it will probably come up as a question now that tax season is fast approaching.

Thanks to Liz A. at MAD for bringing this issue to our attention.

 

Google Analytics training opportunity

View-lessons-from-expertsGoogle Analytics is a tool for tracking website statistics, like how many people visit your website, which pages they access, which browser/device they use, and much more. To help you squeeze meaning out of all that data, Google is offering Digital Analytics Fundamentals, a free online course that begins October 8, 2013. During this 3-week course, you'll:

  • view lessons from experts at your own pace
  • test your knowledge
  • engage with experts and other participants to ask questions and enhance your learning

After completing the course you'll understand:

  • why analytics is important for growing your business (As a TechBits reader, think of this in terms of circulation, program attendance, or other library "business"... I realize you are not selling widgets!)
  • definitions of key concepts and terminology
  • how to plan ahead to capture the insights you need
  • how to navigate common Google Analytics reports
Interested in participating? Register now or see the course FAQs for more details.

Installing Chrome?

Chrome-logo-large_270x216There were two emails that went out to Link-Announce this year right after a Firefox upgrade.  They talked about different options for printing Koha reports and Chrome was suggested as one alternative.  In the past, when staff PCs had Windows XP on them, for some reason staff were able to install Chrome without any help from the Help Desk.  Now I've discovered, that with Windows 7 that ability is gone.  I've gotten calls from numerous libraries saying that they couldn't install Chrome without Administrator rights.  I don't know what changed in Windows 7 to prevent staff from installing it themselves, but I would be glad to install it for you if you need it.  Just call the Help Desk!

OverDrive: Next Generation Basics

 

There have been lots of changes to Wisconsin's Digital Library over the last few months - including the recently updated OverDrive app.

DigitalLibrary

OverDrive is hosting several FREE live webinars during the month of September. Here's the schedule:

All the sessions are 60 minutes long and will be recorded. More information on the sessions can be found here.  The recorded sessions and other resources can be found on OverDrive's Learning Center.               

Happy Learning!

Do You Know...?

I would like to address in this article a few things that everyone at all libraries should know.

1. All Login Information

All library staff, whether full-time, part-time or once in a great while fill-in staff should know, or know where to get, all login information for all things that they need to do their job.  So for instance everyone should know their library's Windows login information, which includes the user id and password.  The same goes for Koha and Getit.  If a staff person forgets this information there should be some staff-only accessible area where they can look it up.  The Help Desk will not give out this information and will recommend that other staff at your library be consulted for this information.

2. Windows XP End of Life

Effective April 8, 2014 Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows XP Service Pack 3.  On this date if any library has any SCLS-supported PCs still running Windows XP the library will be responsible for supporting these PCs themselves as SCLS will no longer support them.  This lack of SCLS support for obsolete software is talked about in our SCLS Hardware and Software Support Policy. So it is in your best interest to get all staff and patron PCs upgraded to either Windows Vista or Windows 7 before this date which is only about 8 months away.

3. One Help Desk

There is now one Help Desk for both Koha and Technology issues.  The phone number is 608-242-4710 or toll-free at 855-583-2435.  These phone numbers are only to be used by SCLS library staff.  You can find out more information about this on the Technology News Blog article entitled "One Help Desk (for Koha and Technology services)".

If you have ways that work at your library to disseminate information like what is talked about above, please leave a comment so that others can learn from your experience.

MOOCs

CowReally, I do mean MOOC, not Moo. And, yes, it's another acronym for you to learn. According to Wikipedia, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is "an online course aimed at large-scale interacive participation and open access via the web."

I've been hearing more and more about MOOCs lately. In fact, the New York Times called 2012 "The Year of the MOOC." Many MOOCs are associated with universities like Yale, Stanford, and MIT, just to name a few. Google even joined in the MOOC world with their "Power Searching with Google" course last July.

MOOCs, while an interesting way to learn, weren't for me - or so I thought. Turns out, I was waiting for the right course. A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for and started my first MOOC - Syracuse University's New Librarianship Master Class taught by R. David Lankes. The course is free (unless you want credit for it), taught by one of the top professors in the library world, and is all available online - and will continue to be even after the first, moderated version of the course is over.

The course is a combination of readings from The Atlas of New Librarianship, recorded lectures from R. David Lankes, discussion forums, and tests. I've been impressed with the quality of the recorded lectures - Lankes is very inspiring - and the readings. While I've been keeping up with the lectures and readings (and passed the tests), I haven't participated in the discussion portion of the course.

Have you tried a MOOC yet? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

P.S. The Cow picture is from MorgueFile, Free Photo Archive - check it out!

Interesting tidbits

  • "How to Make Library eBooks More Visible"* (GoodEReader) - Simple suggestions for promoting your ebook collection.
  • "Mousercise!"*  (IFLS) - A link to Mousercise, an online exercise to increase familiarity with using a computer mouse, and an excerpt from an interview about technology training with Mousercise founder, Chris Rippel.
  • "Use Bing to find Public Domain Images"*  (Free Technology for Teachers) - Need pictures? It's easy to find public domain images using Bing. When did you last use one of these?
  • "Reference Question of the Week - 7/14/2013" (Swiss Army Librarian)  How do you answer the reference question, "Where can I find a pay phone in town?" Crowdsource it using social media!

*Thanks to IFLS and Sites and Soundbytes for pointing out these great resources!

Learning how Computers Work by Making One

If you've got any motivated, technology/maker-minded teens milling about your library, have I found the project for them.  2 professors from MIT have put together a course that involves building an actual working (virtual) computer system from scratch.  Best yet, all the tools, projects, and first half of the textbook is available for free online (found here).  The textbook itself can be found on Amazon or MIT Press for less than $30. Check it out; share it out.

Firefox Add-ons

Firefox add-ons are small pieces of software that let you add new features and change the way your browser works.  You can install these add-ons yourself without the need for a call to the Help Desk. 
There is a very large community of developers that create these add-ons, so the chances of finding one that does what you want is pretty good.

An important security note about add-ons is that you need to be VERY careful about where you get them from because they may harm your computer or violate your privacy.  Unless clearly marked otherwise, add-ons available from Firefox's Add-on gallery have been checked and approved by Mozilla's team of editors and are safe to install. I recommend that you only install the approved add-ons and never install any of the add-ons marked as Experimental because they have not been reviewed.  Never ever install an add-on from an unknown source!

Once they are installed most people just forget about them.  But, as I discovered recently this is not a good idea.  I got a call from a library with an unusual problem with Firefox.  When they right-clicked within their Firefox browser they got a menu that was longer than their screen was tall.  After much research I discovered that this problem was caused by an out-of-date add-on.  Since the add-on was no longer needed is was disabled and then the problem was resolved.

If you're having a problem with Firefox one way to tell if it is being caused by an out-of-date add-on is to start Firefox in Safe Mode.  The easiest way to do this is from within Firefox.  You go to the Help menu and choose "Restart with Add-ons disabled...".  Then a window called "Firefox Safe Mode" with some troubleshooting options appears. Here you would click the "Start in Safe Mode" button.  Never ever click the "Reset Firefox" button as this will reset Firefox to a default state by creating a new profile, migrating only essential data and then moving all of the old Firefox data to a folder on your desktop. Warning! This change cannot be reversed.  Once in Safe Mode see if your problem persists.  If the problem is gone then it's a pretty good bet that it is an out-of-date add-on causing the problem.  So now you know you need to update your add-ons.  When you are done testing and want to get out of Safe Mode, just close Firefox and wait a few seconds before opening Firefox for normal use again.

So now you're asking, how do I keep my add-ons up-to-date?  It's really easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Go to the Add-ons Manager by clicking "Add-ons" in the Firefox (or Tools) menu
  3. Click on the Extensions tab on the left
  4. You will now see a list of all of the add-ons that you have installed
  5. In the upper right corner you will see a gear
  6. Click on it and a menu like the one below will appear
  7. Add-on-Update
  8. If the "Update Add-ons Automatically" option is checked you're done
  9. If it is not checked click on it to check it then you never have to worry about old add-ons again
  10. If you want to update them now just click the "Check for Updates" option
  11. Firefox will then update all add-ons that have a newer version
  12. Once all the updates are done you may need to restart Firefox

My two favorite add-ons are Print Edit, which gives you print preview with edit capability, and Print pages to PDF, which gives you the ability to print the content of one or more browser tabs into a PDF document.  Please leave a comment and let me know some of your favorite add-ons.

More on Digital Literacy

DigitalLearn

 

 

There's a new tool for your Digital Literacy toolbox - DigitalLearn.org. This recently launched site is "devoted to helping everyone to effectively use digital technologies through simple online training modules." There are three courses available right now: Intro to Email; Using a PC (Windows 7); and Basic Search with three more coming soon. They are: Getting Started on the Computer; Introduction to the Internet; and Using a Mac (OS X).

Coming in June, they'll be adding a section for library staff and others who help people with digital literacy (this definitely includes us!) 

DigitalLearn.org is a project of the Public Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Looking for more Digital Literacy information? Last June, I wrote a post about Digital Literacy and introduced you to the Northstar Digital Literacy Project in Minnesota as well as several other projects. If you know of others sites like this, let us know!