Save money printing

I’ve been asked about printing options more lately than in the past. One theme that has come up is “how can I save money printing?” and the easy answer to that is to switch from desktop printers to a copier.


I know what you’re thinking --- a copier is really expensive compared to a printer, and you’re right, it is. That is until you look at the bigger picture. The chances are good that you already have a copier in your library so you could use that, and the only other investment perhaps would be a data connection to the copier so you can print to it over the network. A typical low-end color laser printer’s average cost per page is around 8 to 15 cents per page; compare that to a copier which can achieve costs of about a quarter to half a cent per page and you can see where you would quickly begin to save money.


You may also want to consider having a service agreement for your copier, I know it may seem like a lot of money, but they typically include routine maintenance, toner, repairs, and trip charges. Knowing what you’re going to pay upfront every year for printing makes budgeting easier.


Not only is a copier a money saver it’s also a space saver, because remember, I’m assuming you already have one and by removing your desktop printers you can reclaim that space.


If you have made the change to printing from a copier and would like to share your thoughts, please leave a comment.

You want me to unplug what?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the advances made in certain technologies over the last several years.  It makes my life so much easier (Cut and Paste!!!) and the work lives of library staff much much easier and more efficient.  However, with ease and efficiency also comes the demand for more productivity, right?  

The last time I went camping in Canada I took advantage of the situation and did NOT get international cell phone coverage.  I took along my Kindle for reading (of course) and was able to use the WiFi at the ranger station to check emails (for emergencies) but I was mostly unplugged.

Image result for mary louise lake sleeping giant images

It was hard the first few days ... but then I realized how much I needed a break from the beck and call of technology.  Run to grab the phone, answer the emails asap, read this info bit, schedule this appointment.  By the time my vacation was over I almost dreaded crossing the border and having to reconnect.

Research indicates that we need to unplug/disconnect in order to maintain a healthy balance in our lives.  And as more and more technology becomes readily available, we tend to spend more time than ever on screens: phone, tablet, laptop, PC, television, etc.

There are many articles and websites out there that can provide you with a wealth of information on the benefits of unplugging (and isn't that ironic?) so I'll let you do your own research <grin>.  But this article written for the 2018 Screen-Free Week was one of my favorites.  Here are Five Reasons to take a Break from Screens:

  1. Present-moment awareness
  2. Improved sleep
  3. Deepened connections
  4. Productivity and learning
  5. Breaking habit

And my own, personal reason is to get in more paddling time!

 

Important information about Firefox updates

When we moved to Koha SCLS developed what are called "profiles" in Firefox in order to make printing quicker and easier for libraries. So, for this reason, we always test Firefox updates because we know that having Firefox work correctly is very important for the libraries.  A few years ago when Mozilla, the developers of Firefox, moved to update Firefox every 6 - 8 weeks our ILS staff started testing the new version, before the libraries got it, to make sure that Koha functionality wasn't broken.  We even recruited a few libraries to also test the new Firefox version because the more testers there are the better.  When a version of Firefox is approved we then send it out to all the libraries, but before this update is sent out we always send out emails to keep libraries in the know.  When we send out these emails we always have an email subject that starts with "ALL STAFF - Firefox Upgrade".  It is in your library's best interest to read these emails carefully and not delete them.  Because if there are problems, that slip past all of our testers, these emails will contain information on how to fix the problem.  In the past, and even with the last update, we had problems with Koha that were caused by the Firefox update.  So these emails will keep you up-to-date on when a Firefox update is happening, if the update caused any problems with Koha and how to fix the problem.  If you do accidentally delete those emails you can also find information about Firefox updates on our SCLS Network PC Updates webpage.

Tech Days 2019

ChrisWilley_0Chris Willey, Director of the Immersive Media Lab at UW Milwaukee, is the keynote speaker for this year's Tech Days East workshops. The title of his presentation is Extending the Third Place. You can read more about Chris and watch a TEDxUWMilwaukee talk with him on the UWM Research page. Here's the description of his presentation:

Join Chris Willey as he shares ideas on these questions, and moderates a lively discussion that includes your perspective on the future of technology. The purpose of this presentation is about "sharing focus" on our future, together. Additionally, Willey will share the mission, methods, and recent outcomes of the Immersive Media Lab at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee so that you may adopt any/all for your own libraries and communities. He will share what it means to be antidisciplinary, the role of creativity in a "3rd Space" learning environment, and why this is important for our shared technological trajectory.

After lunch, you can choose from a wide variety of breakout sessions including coding & drones, digital archiving, virtual reality, cutting the cable cord, tech classes for adults and seniors and more. The breakout sessions vary depending on location and are presented by your colleagues, including several from SCLS. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

Tech Days East will be held at the Franklin Public Library in Franklin on September 10, Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton on September 11, and Monona Public Library in Monona on September 12. More information on Tech Days is on our Tech Days Wisconsin website.

Can't make it to the September dates? If you're willing to travel a little, Tech Days West will be held in Rice Lake on November 5, Wausau on November 6, and Sparta on November 7.

ColouriseSG

Want to give your old black and white scanned photos a little bit of a "pop"? Try ColouriseSG!

I saw it mentioned in the "Time Traveling With Timelines: Web Apps for Storytelling in Libraries" article in the July/August 2019 issue of Computers in Libraries and had to take it for a spin. Here are some of the results --- can you tell what the theme of the photos is?

Toddler eating ice cream

Soda Shop

2 women eating ice cream in the park

The ColouriseSG project is brought to you by the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division, GovTech Singapore. From the information about the site:

"While it is impossible to replicate the exact conditions in which the original photo was taken, it is possible to add colour to the photo to help us imagine what the photographer could have seen in that instant. It is incredible — almost magical — how a little bit of colour can bring us that much closer to that specific moment in time."

Although the site is designed for Singaporean historical photos, it is available to anyone and is super-easy to use!

Photos taken from this Library of Congress collection: https://www.loc.gov/free-to-use/ice-cream

What's this button called? Part 2

A few years ago I reported on a website and app interface doodad called the hamburger. Recently, I heard an equally droll name for another, similar thing that we now click or tap in our hunt for links to navigate around websites and apps: those 3 dots stacked up, have a name.

They are "The Kebab."

Cheese-olive-and-vegetable-kebab-1318103-640x960

Source: Luke Wroblewski, and thanks to WiLSWorld's keynote speaker, Rebecca Stavick, for mentioning this in her address: "Don’t Ask Permission." If you want to be more serious, you could also call it a vertical ellipsis or overflow menu.

Hungry for more, shall we say, substantive tech knowledge? I do recommend looking at the WiLSWorld 2019 Slides, as they are updated, for inspiring ideas from a great conference.

Using Google My Maps to plan trips

Rural road
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Recently I took an out of state road trip, and during the trip I used Google Maps to look up routes and restaurants on the fly (which can be very useful), but at times it would have been better if I had saved some routes, restaurants, and other points of interest ahead of time. I started wondering about available options to create and save maps with locations for restaurants, hotels, tourist destinations, etc. so when I got home I started looking into how to save maps in Google for later use.

Google has a companion product called My Maps that allows you to create a custom map with various routes and points of interest and save them to your Google Drive. To use My Maps, first open Google Drive, and go to New>More>Google My Maps. Googlemymaps My Maps will open in a new tab, with a new map ready to go. Then click Untitled Map to add a Title and Description for your map. 

My Maps uses "layers" for different elements on the map, such as driving directions, walking directions, restaurants, etc. The first layer is created by default and is called Untitled layer - to change the layer name, click Untitled layer and then add the name of your layer. You can then add your routes, restaurants, campsites, hotels, tourist destinations, etc. to different "layers" and put them all together to view on one map. 

Canoe

There are travel bloggers out there who are using Google Maps and My Maps to plan trips, so you can find more information and step-by-step instructions on how you can use Google My Maps for travel. Here are a few that I found:

If you have an Android phone, you can open your saved maps on your phone by using the Google My Maps app (this is a separate app from the Google Maps app). For both Android and iPhone, you can open your saved maps in the Google Maps app (go to Your places>Maps).

The Trouble with DVDs

Will my computer be able to play my DVDs? This question is not as easy to answer as it used to be. With the advent of multiple dvd technologies, there are several options to choose from. 

It is generally understood that a standard dvd player, such as those found in most public library computers, can not play Blu-Ray dvds. The question becomes murkier when it comes to HD DVDs. It is possible for the makers of HD DVD to offer both standard and high definition formats on one disc, in which case it will work on a standard player. Unfortunately few HD DVD's actually come with both formats on one disc. 

This begs the question, how can you tell the difference between a standard and HD dvd? 

An HD DVD has a shiny ring around the center, as shown around the dark center below.

Hddvd
HD DVD

Whereas a standard definition dvd does not have the same visual designator.

DVD-Video_bottom-side
Standard DVD

So while there is the possibility of an HD DVD working on a standard public use computer, the odds are very much against it. 

More on voice assistants

Here are some of the interesting tidbits I've run across lately related to voice assistants in general, and Amazon's Alexa in particular:

American Libraries Magazine - "Your Library Needs to Speak to You: Getting ahead of the voice assistant hype." Read about how some libraries are using voice assistants.
https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/06/03/voice-assistants-your-library-needs-to-speak-to-you/

Amazon made the news recently related to its practices for keeping users' data. Did you know that Alexa-enabled devices store user transcripts until customers delete them (and even after that in some circumstances)?
https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/amazon-alexa-privacy

AmazonEchoDotIn May, Amazon made it easier to delete some of the things you ask Alexa - “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” or “Alexa, delete what I just said.”  Other deleting options involve using the Alexa app or visiting Amazon's Device page.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/05/how-to-delete-amazon-alexa-history.html

Amazon's Alexa AI unit is experimenting with AI to detect emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger. "Applications of the tech range from gauging reaction to video game design, marketing material like commercials, power car safety systems looking for road rage or fatigue, or even to help students using computer-aided learning..." (and hopefully won't be used to target you to buy things when you're feeling low and in need of a pick-me-up!)
https://venturebeat.com/2019/07/08/amazons-alexa-may-soon-know-if-youre-happy-or-sad/

And finally, if you'd like to take the plunge into the voice assistant world, Amazon is selling the 3rd-gen Echo Dot right now for 50% off ahead of Prime Day. You can fill your house (or library) with Echo Dots!
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3406510/amazon-is-selling-the-3rd-gen-echo-dot-for-50-off-ahead-of-prime-day.html

Disable Startup Programs

In the past few weeks I have been asked how to disable an annoying program that was starting up after logon.  A few programs that commonly startup by default are Skype and GoToMeeting.  If you have Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, this is the easiest way to prevent most programs from starting up after you log into Windows.

  1. Right-click the Taskbar
  2. Select Task Manager
  3. At the bottom, click More details (This may have already been done)
  4. Click the Startup tab
    Startup tab

  5. Right-click the program you would like to disable and select Disable
    G2M

Please make sure not to disable any programs that are critical to the normal operation of your PC.  If you accidentally disable a program, you can use the same process to enable the program again.  You can also call the Help Desk if you are having trouble with a program starting up at logon.