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February OverDrive Training

Feeling queasy about helping patrons with downloadable media from OverDrive? OverDrive is offering online training on Patron Assistance in February. Each session requires both an internet connection and a phone connection.  (Note that these two sessions are open to all OverDrive customers in the country, not just Wisconsin.)

Course Description for Patron Assistance Training:
We'll help take your understanding of OverDrive download media to the next level so you can share your knowledge through support and training. We'll review frequently asked questions, support tips, and online help resources.

Session #1: Wednesday, February 10th at 10:00 AM Central Time

Register here

Session #2: Thursday, February 18th at 2:00 PM Central Time

Register here

So many passwords...so little time

A few years ago I tried to logon to an old email account that I hadn't used for a long time. Guess what?  I forgot the password. So I tried every password I could remember. After about 10 tries I got locked out of the account. I hate the feeling of helpless and knowing it's totally my fault. It was time for a password manager. A password manager organizes all your passwords but it also can logon to anything with one mouse click. No more typing usernames and passwords!!! 

Password managers can be web based or installed on your pc. The web based option is great if you use multiple pc's but I am still cautious about storing all that info on the web. The password manager that gets installed on your pc is great if you only use one pc. The downside is that it doesn't follow you to other pc's (unless you purchase multiple copies of the software)

If you want to give the web based option a try, I recommend Passpack it's free but also has paid options. For the one that gets installed on your pc you have to use Roboform. This is free for up to 10 passwords and after that you can purchase the full version. This is what I use and I'll never go back.

Guest Post: Gadget Girl

This guest post is by Jean Anderson (aka "PandaLibrarian"), Continuing Education Coordinator for SCLS and gadget enthusiast!

By chance, I’ve become the “Gadget Girl” at SCLS. I really enjoy learning about all these new devices, thinking about them in conjunction with providing library services, and then transferring that knowledge to you at events like Gadget Training or Tech Day.  You may think that I have a house full of gadgets at home, but you’d be wrong.  While I do have a Palm, I use it mostly for work and its calendar function. I do have a cell phone – but it’s just that - a phone! I don’t have a smart phone and I’m not good at texting (Stef will confirm that).

One gadget that I have invested in is a good mp3 player. As you may recall from my email signature line, I’m always listening to books – CDs and on my player. When downloadable audiobooks became available at SCLS back in 2005 or 2006, I purchased a Creative Muvo player with 256 mb of memory. It held one book, was operated by one AAA battery, and had a direct USB connection to download audiobooks. A good start – then I added another Creative player – this one with 1 GB of memory. Now I could have more than one book on my player – but navigating through them wasn’t easy.

Panda&ZuneThen, SCLS purchased a Zune for the gadget packages and I was immediately hooked!  Why? While I enjoyed playing with the iPod, the iPod Nano, and the iPod Touch as part of learning the gadgets, I wasn’t as impressed with them because they didn’t work with OverDrive (at the time). Now, while Apple products work better with some OverDrive titles, it’s not the whole collection.  The Zune I chose to purchase was a 4G player, is fairly small (fits easily in my pocket), is much easier to navigate than my early Creative players, and it was on sale!  The Zune does have other features – it holds pictures, music, and can play games – but the one most important to me was the ability to download and listen to books from the library through OverDrive.

OverDrive has a really long list of Supported Portable Devices and I highly recommend browsing this list before you purchase a device. Think about how you plan on using the device – listening to music or books, downloading photos, playing games, accessing the Internet, watching movies, etc. – and then choose the device that fits your needs.

Easy data recovery

You might think "What does this have to do with anything?" It's a picture I took and purposefully deleted from my flash drive and restored with Data Recovery 2.3.1. Have you ever mistakenly deleted photos from your camera or files from your USB flash drive and thought, “Shucks, I shouldn’t have done that, now they are gone forever!”  This is not necessarily true. Data Recovery 2.3.1 might be the answer for you. This small downloadable application can run from your computer without installing software on your PC. 

I don’t normally delete files from my camera without making a back-up first, but in the instance that I do I wanted to have something on hand that could recover the pictures for me.  I tested Data Recovery 2.3.1 to see what files it would recover. I was able to get pictures and videos deleted from my camera and mp3s from my flash drive.

Data Recovery is free and easy to use, click on the drive you want to scan for lost data and it scans it for you and presents you with a list of files, select the ones you want back, click recover and browse to where you want to put the file.

The button jar

When I was a kid, I loved the button jar my mom had. It was filleButtonsd with stray buttons, so you never knew what you were going to find.  My post today is like that -- just a few random, little things:

--For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking an Ed2Go class called  What's New in Microsoft Office 2007.   I’ve been using Office 2007 since....well...2007, but I’ve still learned a lot of tips and tricks,  and I think it’s a worthwhile time investment if you want to do more with Office.  Ed2Go classes are eligible for SCLS continuing education grants, which may make the class even more appealing!

--I’ve been playing around with Wordnik recently.  It’s an interesting place for those of us who love words.  It compiles definitions, examples of how words are used on various websites, recent tweets with the word, and more.  One word of caution:  if a word has been misspelled somewhere out there on the web, it’ll still appear in Wordnik, though it won’t have any definitions from an official dictionary.  Check out mazipan for an example.

--This will be my last official post for TechBits.  Jon Mark Bolthouse, our new Technology Projects Manager, will be taking my place as a regular contributor…but I’m sure I’ll be making an occasional guest post.  Meanwhile, when I come across interesting articles and tidbits, I’ll be putting them on my Twitter feed.   I promise that it will average no more than one post per day (and probably much less!).  Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my posts!!

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirandaceleste/3808519662/)

Reboot is your best friend

Every PC needs a little help now and then, especially if it's on all the time. This is caused by the fact that as we open and close applications, sometimes they don't shut down completely or release the system resources they were using when they were running. So what you'll see is Anzio won't start up when you try to start it or it'll give you a Run Time error.  Other problems that can come up are your printer doesn't print correctly, your PC is running slow, your USB device won't load or the worst of all is that you get the dreaded "BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH." Check out the Top Ten Blue Screen of Death In Public Places.

So now the question is how do you fix these problems.  Well, the best thing to try is to reboot your PC.  A cautionary note though, is that you need to reboot your PC the correct way; otherwise, you could cause some serious problems.  First though let me explain the two types of reboots:

1) Soft reboot - this is done through the Start Menu's Shutdown option where you choose "Restart".

2) Hard reboot - this is done through the PC's power button that you hold in until your monitor turns off (usually in 5-10 seconds).

Now on to the steps to properly rebooting your PC:

1) Save all of your work and close all open programs.

2) Do a soft reboot.

3) If that doesn't work, do a hard reboot.  You should let the hard drive and fans cool down for at least a minute before you turn the computer back on.

Hopefully, after rebooting your problem will be solved.  I found on the Internet where it said that rebooting a PC fixes 80% of all your PC problems.  If you're in that unlucky 20% area and still have a problem, then feel free to call me.

Customer Forums, Crowdsourcing, and Complaining

GetSatisfaction buttons Online customer forums aren't a new idea, but in the past week I've joined two of them (a record number, for me): I've signed up at GetSatisfaction and UserVoice to report complaints and suggestions for two products I use frequently, TypePad and FormAssembly.

What sets these communities apart from traditional customer forums? What made me sign up so readily? In a traditional customer forum, you just post new messages and other folks comment on them (or not). That's handy—but what drew me into GetSatisfaction and UserVoice were the one-click-to-lend support buttons. In GetSatisfaction each idea has a button to say "I like this idea too!" In UserVoice it's a "Vote" button to cast a vote in favor of a particular feature request. Both sites make it easy to see how much support there is for an idea within the community. Real, live crowdsourcing.

What's the take-away for libraries? When complaints need to be made, a company's official customer service website/phone number is the place to start, but don't forget to look for any customer forums that may exist. Or on the other hand, maybe libraries could use customer forums to gather feedback on their own services.

Coincidentally, Seth Godin just posted another variation on the "use honey, not vinegar" strategy for making effective complaints. Happy complaining, everybody!

Upcoming Database Training: BadgerLunch Webinars

BadgerLunchEver wish you knew more about the various online subscriptions offered through BadgerLink? Well... you're in luck! BadgerLink will be offering a series of training webinars again this spring covering some of the many products they offer.

All sessions are online webinars, will take place on Thursdays at noon and last 30-45 minutes, and are available to all Wisconsin residents. Registration ahead of time is strongly encouraged.

You can find information about this spring's offerings, details on registration, and other information about the sessions here: http://www.badgerlink.net/BadgerLink%20Webinar%20Series%20Announcement_Spring%202010.pdf.

Recordings of past BadgerLink webinars are also available on the BadgerLink site for viewing any time: http://www.badgerlink.net/training.html.

What version is it?

WinSTARTOften when you are troubleshooting a problem, it is helpful to know what version of something you are running. Where can you find this information?

What version of Windows?

  • Click on the Start button in the lower left. The menu that pops up should list the version of Windows up the side.
  • OR... Right-click My Computer and choose Properties. The version of Windows should be listed under System
  • OR... Click on Start->Run. Type "winver" in the box. The box that pops up should display the version.

What browser and version?

  • Your browser name is often displayed in the bar at the top of the window.


  • Browser version information is often found in the Help menu under "About..."

What version of other programs?

  • Many programs list version information in the Help menu under "About..."

What version of Flash and Shockwave?

Information overload

InfoOverload I received an email this week about a webinar (open to SCLS libraries' staff) that I thought might be of particular interest to our TechBits readers. Here are the details:

Staying Current and Dealing with Information Overload (Webinar)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010; 1 -2:30 pm
Presented by: Sarah Houghton-Jan, San Jose Public Library (CA)

Sarah is one of the movers and shakers when it comes to libraries and technology!  She gave an excellent presentation last year on web tools, and this webinar should not disappoint!
She will share her methods for staying current with technology while not becoming overwhelmed. This is one you won't want to miss!
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

(Sponsored by the Nicolet Federated Library System and the Wisconsin Valley Library Service)