Scheduling Emails & Posts

ScheduleSendA couple of weeks ago, I was finishing up the last week of the OverDrive Support Course. While online, the course relies on me sending an email to the students on Mondays and Wednesdays each week. This particular week, I was up at the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library helping out with interviews on Monday and didn't have time to work on my email.

I had noticed this new feature, Schedule Send, in my email earlier this year and now was a great time to investigate and test it. On Friday, I wrote up the email for Monday's lesson. There's an arrow next to the Send button and when you select that, you'll get a pop-up window with some suggested times. You can ScheduleSend2also pick your own date and time. I scheduled it to send the email on Monday morning and then waited to see what would happen.

And, it worked perfectly. I will definitely be using this feature more often (as long a I'm prepared ahead of time!)

And, this post is being written on Friday, November 22. My week for posting in TechBits is next week when I'm on vacation. I'm using the Publish On feature of TypePad to schedule this post to publish on Tuesday, November 26.

It makes me wonder where else I can add this efficiency into my daily work. Ideas?

And, Happy Thanksgiving!

 

(Firefox) Private Browsing and Disappearing Extensions

 The Firefox browser can be used in an almost unlimited number of ways, through the implementation of extensions. Extensions are add-ons that can  be attached to the Firefox browser to enable specific tasks, such as formatting a page, or adding new features. Extensions play an important role in modern browser usage.

In Firefox you can see your active extension icons in the upper right corner of the webpage. Sometimes though, those extension icons disappear, and this is especially so if you are using Private Browsing Mode. Private browsing is a feature that is used to disable browsing history, cache, and website tracking measures such as cookies. This can help keep user data private, and increase security. 

When Private browsing is active, some extensions will require special permission to be used. There are several ways to grant permission. 

The easiest way to grant permission is when first installing the extension. A popup will appear asking you to grant permission to use during Private browsing. A single click of the button, and you are on your way.

The other option is to modify permissions on the Extensions page itself. To get to the extensions page you can either press Ctrl+Shift+A, or click on the dropdown in the upper right corner of the webpage. From there select Add-Ons. 

FfCapture

This will bring you to your Manage your extensions page. Here you will see a list of Currently enabled, disabled, and recommended extensions. For this example, I will be using the Breez ClickOnce extension. Click on the three dots icon on the right side of the extension, this will bring up a selection of options. Select Options or Manage to access the extension's settings.

Ffxext

From this page you will be able to manage various settings, including permissions, updates, and the Private windows option. In the Run in Private Windows area, select Allow.

Ffxext1

When this final step is competed, a purple icon, with glasses, will appear next to the extensions name. This lets you know that even when Private browsing is enabled, you will still have full functionality of your favorite extension.

Discovery Wall

On vacation, I had the opportunity to visit a BEAUTIFUL library -- the Tūranga library in Christchurch. Christchurch's Central Library in Gloucester Street closed after the earthquake on 22 February 2011, and the Christchurch City Libraries operated a couple of temporary town libraries from 2011 to 2018. The Tūranga library in Christchurch opened Friday 12 October 2018, and is home to some very impressive technology and spaces.

In addition to 4 stories of your usual library goodness combined with absolutely beautiful design, the library has:

and... my favorite feature: the Discovery Wall.

The Discovery Wall has 3 huge touch-screen panels and displays images and stories of the people and places of Christchurch. It "showcases images and videos curated from the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage collection and appropriate material from other institutions." Just walk up to one of the screens and swipe to move the images on the screen around and tap on an image to select it and pull up more information. Choose from the resulting menus to see more detail or explore other images in the collection.

Here is a link to an album of my photos of the library (...which really don't do it justice! We stopped in on a very overcast and rainy day around 7pm). At the end of the album are a few videos showing the Discovery Wall in action.

What an absolutely wonderful way to bring a collection of digitized images to life!!

More about Tūranga and the Discovery Wall:

Interested in how the Discovery Wall was planned and built? This 25-min video has the details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR1AW24Sa1E

Wondering how to pronounce the Māori names of building spaces, features, and artworks at Tūranga? https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/turanga/turanga-artworks-and-cultural-narrative/turanga-maori-name-sound-files/

It's not lazy to hit the snooze button (on email)

Snooze
The snooze buttons in O365 and Gmail

Ever use the snooze button in O365 or Gmail? It may seem lazy—it's a SNOOZE button, after all—but it's becoming a helpful habit for me. If you've never snoozed email before, it lets you hide an email from your inbox until a future time that you choose. When it's time, the email reappears in your inbox, nudging Future You to process it in a timely fashion.

I'm definitely no email productivity guru, and what works for me might not work for you. But I've tried using categories (and labels, stars, folders, and color coding) to flag important messages for follow up, and sorting through the backlog later is so overwhelming. Snoozing an email lets me get it out of sight, out of mind, with a built-in reminder to attend to it soon. This is how the snooze button fits into my system:

  1. Delete or archive automated notifications or listserv announcements that don't require attention.
  2. Read anything that looks urgent and respond immediately, or add to the to-do list outside of email.
  3. Read, reply to, and archive anything that can be dealt with quickly.
  4. Snooze messages that aren't urgent, but need more than a sentence or two reply, and set them to reappear soon (like after lunch or tomorrow morning). This lets me focus on the immediate to-do list tasks, rather than getting distracted by time-consuming, but lower priority, issues and projects. (And my rule is to only snooze once!)
  5. Stop looking at email, and concentrate on the to-do list.

With luck, by the time a snoozed message reappears in my inbox, I'm ready to focus on it. I'm more likely to stick to the priorities in my to-do list, and get more done overall. Good thing too, because the emails just keep coming. Happy snoozing!

Digital Bytes: Free Stock Photos, Print Friendly

Jamie and Anne at the Wisconsin Valley Library Service have a couple of new videos! They're short and they highlight some services I hadn't run across before and which I will be adding to my collection of helpful tools. Negative-space-summer-dandelion-macro

Free Stock Photos
Time: 5:32
Jamie talks about three tools to find quality, and free stock photos for your library marketing. 
Watch

 

Print Friendly
Time: 2:55
Tired of printing articles on websites with ads, sidebars, and things you don’t want or need? In this Digital Byte, Anne talks about a great tool called “Print Friendly.
Watch

2020 Census | Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM)

The US Census Bureau has created the Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM), an application to view the Low Response Score (LRS), a percentage of households in a census tract predicted to NOT respond to the Decennial Census. It also provides easy access to valuable housing, demographic, and socioeconomic data. 

Using Dane County, Wisconsin as an example, here are 10 steps to help libraries get started using ROAM.

ROAM-7

1. OPEN THE APPLICATION - ROAM Application

2. VIEW YOUR COUNTY- Use the dropdown to select Search by County or zoom-in to your County.

3. ADD STREETS – Select the Basecamp Gallery icon and then select Streets.

4. ADD LIBRARIES – Select the Add Data icon, enter Wisconsin, and ADD Libraries and Branches, Wisconsin 2019, Feature Service by Wisconsin_DPI. Explore other layers.

5. VIEW LEGEND- Select the Legend icon to understand how color is being assigned to the Low Response Score (LRS).

6. CHANGE LAYER DISPLAY – Select the Layer List icon and select select the 3 dots next to Low Response Score by 2017 Census Tract to change the transparency (brightness). Layers can also be turned on or off.

7. SELECT A CENSUS TRACT – Select a census tract on the map to view the Low Response Score (LRS), ACS estimates, and FCC High-Speed Connection rates.

8. SHOW ATTRIBUTE TABLE – Select the down arrow to view the attribute table. Adjust map view so all areas of interest are displayed. Attributes are defined in the ROAM Data Dictionary.

9. SORT/FILTER/EXPORT ATTRIBUTE DATA – Any column can be sorted by clicking on the column label. The data can also be filtered and exported to a csv for further analysis. Here is an example of how to filter data for multiple counties. Be sure geometry for the filtered data is displayed on the map or turn off “Filter by Map Extent”.

        ROAM-1
10. LEARN MORE - ROAM has numerous resources including a Quick Tips Guide and a Recorded Webinar: census.gov/roam. You can also select the Information icon.

Happy ROAMING!

How fast is my internet, Really?!

Recently it has become a common occurrence for Internet Service Providers(ISPs) to over promise and under deliver on their internet speeds. This can be particularly frustrating because of the many facets of daily life that require a stable, relatively fast connection.  

This begs the question,"Am I getting what I pay for?" This is especially important for businesses and public services, such as libraries and schools, that depend on fast, reliable internet. In the past it may have been a little complicated to find the answer to this question, but in recent years many sites have appeared that give a clear, easy answer to the question, How fast is my internet.

The most popular, free, website is Speedtest.net. On arrival at the site, you are welcomed with a button that simply says GO. One little click starts your speed test.

Speedtestgo

The results will give you a clear understanding of you upload and download speeds, in an easy to read manner.

Speedtestresult

There is another method, that is possibly the easiest method out there. That is to simply search Google for "Speed Test". This will bring you to Google's own speed test, and does not require you to go to another website. All you do is search "Speed Test" and click on the button that says Run Speed Test.

Googlespeed

 

With these easy options you will always be able to answer the question, " How fast is my interent."

 

Firefox Monitor

Firefox Monitor is a free and easy way to find out if your email address has been exposed to an online data breach since 2007.  You can search for your email address from the web site at any time, or configure Firefox Monitor to send you alerts when your email is discovered to be part of a data breach.  You will need a Firefox account to set up alerts.

According to the FAQs, Firefox uses Have I Been Pwned as the source database provider for their service.  Their database is not totally comprehensive as it takes some time for some breaches to be discovered and they are not always given all the details of some breaches.  If you don't want your email address to be searchable on Have I Been Pwned, they do provide an opt-out link.

Clear cookies for a specific site in Chrome

Getting rid of a cookie
My preferred method for eliminating cookies

I use Chrome for most of my browsing needs. Occasionally I have an issue with one particular site that requires a login --- when I enter my username and password and hit "login", it responds like nothing happened. I know from experience that clearing my cookies resolves the issue for this particular site, but I hate clearing ALL my cookies and having to log in fresh to all the sites I visit frequently.

This happened again today and got me to wondering how I could clear a single cookie or all the cookies for a particular site. Is it possible to do without too much pain and hoop jumping? It is!!

I found this helpful Chrome support page, "Clear, enable, and manage cookies in Chrome": https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95647 and I performed these steps:

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More More and then Settings.
  3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
  4. Under "Privacy and security," click Site settings.
  5. Click Cookies and then See all cookies and site data.
  6. At the top right, search for the website's name.
  7. To the right of the site, click Remove Remove.

The Chrome support page also has detailed instructions for clearing all cookies and deleting cookies for a period of time, and includes instructions for PC, Android, and iPhone & iPad.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Microsoft Photos for Editing

High waterI wanted to make a quick edit to a photo recently and found that Microsoft Photos has upped their game. Maybe it’s been like this for a while and I just didn’t notice, but I'm pretty happy with the options they offer now.


If you open a photo in Microsoft Photos, it’s the default photo viewer on my Windows 10 PC, and click the “Edit & Create” tab you are given several options including cropping, straightening (for some reason my photos are always a little crooked), flipping and rotating. You can add filters and make some basic adjustments to the color, light, clarity (sharpening), and it has some other features like Red Eye Removal and Spot Fixing.


You can also go a little farther and add 3D effects or animated text to your images.


The photo in this post was cropped and slightly straightened using Microsoft Photos editing tools. I applied the “Sunscreen” filter to it too because it was cloudy when I wrote this and I thought what the heck, why not.


I still plan on using my go-to photo editor for as long as I can, but the new features (new to me anyway) in Microsoft Photos will definitely get more use from me for fast fixes that I want to do rather than going through my normal routine.