« November 2011 | Main | January 2012 »

Is Your Home PC Sick?

I'm sure a lot of you have a PC at home and that you use it in part to send and receive email and to surf the Internet.  This means that your PC can be exposed to any number of viruses, trojans, malware or root kits.  Hopefully you have some antivirus software installed on your PC to catch these "baddies" before they get installed.  If you're unlucky enough to have been infected you know what problems and hassles they can cause.  If you're one of these people then let me offer some advice that may solve your problem.

If you're infected, your antivirus software may be turned off or disabled and you need some other way to disinfect your home PC.  Here are some products that will assist you in disinfecting your home PC:

  1. Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
  2. Bitdefender's QuickScan is an online scanner that uses in-the-cloud scanning to detect malware running on a PC, usually in less than 60 seconds.
  3. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.
  4. If you get a root kit then an excellent tool to use is Kaspersky's TDSSKiller. This program is portable and can be run from a flash drive.  A rootkit is a program (or set of programs), that hides its presence or the presence of another program(virus, spyware, etc.) on a PC thus making them almost undetectable by common spyware blockers, antivirus and anti-malware software.  A rootkit can get to a computer using various ways. The most common way is through some trojan horse or some suspicious e-mail attachment. Also surfing the web may result in installation of a rootkit, for example when "special" plugin (pretending to be legitimate) is needed to correctly view some webpage.
  5. Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool will check for infections and remove then if found.  This tool comes with the other Windows updates, so hopefully your PC is up-to-date on its Windows updates.  Please note though that the version of the tool delivered by Microsoft Update and is run by Windows Update in the background will report if any malware infections are found. To run this tool more than once a month, you will need to use the version that is found here.

Hopefully these tools will be enough to combat any "baddie" that finds their way onto your home PC.

For your LINK staff PC we run a product called Sophos Endpoint Security and Control.  This product is updated many times a day for LINK staff PCs and during the overnight processing for your LINK patron PCs.  Even with this software I still receive a few calls about an infected PC.  I've seen this a happen some when staff are surfing the web and they get a popup that says that they are infected.  They click on it and then get infected.  To read more about these fake virus alerts check out this article.  If you see one of these fake virus alerts or you think your PC is infected please give me a call at the Help Desk.

5 last minute gifts for the Tech Geek on your list


Last year, I posted 5 gifts for the Techie on your list.  This year, I have 5 more cool stocking stuffers that will be sure to raise your favorite Technology lover's happiness quotient from 100101010101001 to 11011011011011010.

1) Atari Arcade Duo Joystick for iPad

Retro gamers rejoiced when Atari's Greatest Hits was released for the iPad, bringing  a ton of great Atari 2600 and arcade classics to a new platform.  However, what was really lacking was a proper way of playing all the great games.  With the Atari iPad joystick, the gamer geek in your life can relive past glories on all the classics including Missile Command, Centipede, and Tempest.


2) IcoSoku Puzzle


What do you get when you combine Sudoku with an icosahedron (20 sided 3D shape)?  A maddeningly fun puzzle that can challenge even the best math whiz out there. 

3) Mini Espresso Maker


The perfect gift for the combination rugged outdoors-type / caffeine junky in your life.  Just don't plan on making enough for the whole camping gang; you'll be waiting until Wednesday of next week for that Cappuccino.

4) Wireless Luggage Finder


If you're like me, you own a ubiquitous black carry-on, virtually indistinguishable from every other bag on every other flight out there.  With the Wireless Luggage Finder, you'll never lose your bag again!  The key chain flashes and vibrates when your suitcase is within 65 feet of your location.  


5)Magnetic Thinking Putty


I have no idea why I want this Silly Putty infused with magnetic particles but I do. 


If you like that magnetic Silly Putty, check out the Ferrite Interactive Liquid Sculpture:


It's pretty pricey but I can guarantee you'd be the only one on the block with such a cool tool on your desktop come the New Year.


Did you find something similarly awesome this holiday season?  If so, please share it below in the comments!


Day 12 - Authentication, stats, and "Home Library"

It sometimes takes an overnight
When users want to check out items from OverDrive, they must log in with their card number.  This card number is compared against Santa's list our custom patron database, and if we find their card in good status they are logged in by OverDrive. While you're sleeping, little elves...

How do we get this custom patron database?  Little elves scripts build the database early each morning using yesterday's patron data. For LINKcat libraries, this means that if a patron just got a new card, renewed a card, or replaced a card, it will take an overnight before their card information is available to OverDrive. For non-LINKcat libraries, the amount to time may vary from "overnight" to "a week or more", depending on the library's schedule for updating Santa's patron records.

OverDrive Statistics
OverDrive statistics for 2011 can be found here and include stats for the system as a whole (in the table) as well as spreadsheets showing checkouts by library (linked just below the table). This year in January, I'm also planning to run additional reports for each library which show each library's OverDrive checkouts over time.

The switch to Ho-Ho-Home Library
Right now, OverDrive usage stats are based on a patron's PSTAT (statistical code based on their residential address). If they live in a municipality with a library, their OverDrive use is attributed to their municipality's library. If they live outside of a municipality with a library, that use is attributed to the county in which they reside.

Beginning in January 2012, stats will be based on "Home Library" instead of PSTAT. By making this switch:

  • every use of OverDrive will be attributed to a SCLS library (much nicer!)
  • usage stats for all of the SCLS Online Resources (EBSCO, Heritage Quest, etc) will be determined the same way --- by the user's "Home Library"

Santa's Ho-Ho-Home LibraryBecause OverDrive is available to all SCLS residents, the switch to Home Library will not change access, only how the usage is counted. For more information about "Home Library" in LINKcat, please see the "What is Home Library?" page.

A(n) (e)Book parody: "Goodnight iPad"

Ann Droyd recently published "Goodnight iPad".  It's also available on YouTube. 

Day 11: Troubleshoot like a champ

ChampHere are some tips to help you become an OverDrive troubleshooting champion:

  1. Ask the patron to sum up the big picture of what they want to do, and then get more specific.
  2. Ask for a step-by-step account of what they see on-screen, what they're doing, and what happens at each step.
  3. Get the specific details:
    • Library card number
    • Title(s) of problem download(s)
    • Steps to reproduce the problem
    • Exact text of any error messages
    • URLs of any error pages
    • Applicable software
    • Operating system (Mac® OS 10.6.5, Windows® 7, iOS v4.2, etc.)
    • Internet browser (Internet Explorer® 8, Firefox® 3.6, Safari 5.0, etc.)
    • If applicable, device type (Android™, BlackBerry®, iPhone®, iPad®, etc.)
  4. If you have time to research the question, check OverDrive's Help pages or the WPLC OverDrive FAQ Wiki.
  5. Turn to the WPLC Support form for assistance via email. If you start at the Digital Download Center homepage, click the "help" link in the upper-right corner and follow the links near the bottom of the help pages to get to the form.

Some other common device-specific problems you might encounter:

  • Kindle: If your Kindle is Wi-Fi capable and you are in range of a Wi-Fi network, you may need to enter your Wi-Fi network password to allow your Kindle to connect to Wi-Fi and download Kindle Books. See Amazon Help: Connecting with Wi-Fi or try transferring the book via USB.
  • iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad devices may have problems receiving WMA audiobooks transferred from a PC after upgrading to iOS5. See the solution.
  • Ereader devices (NOOK, Sony Reader, etc.): Confirm that the patron:
    • has Adobe Digital Editions installed (opening it is a good way to test),
    • has activated Adobe Digital Editions and their device with an Adobe ID,
    • can see their device as a bookshelf in the left panel of Adobe Digital Editions, and
    • is using Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to the reader (NOT doing the drag-and-drop process in Windows Explorer).
    If not, it may help to show the process with screen shots or a video.
  • Devices with the OverDrive Media Console app: If the book won't download directly to the app, make sure the app is authorized with an Adobe ID, try powering the device off and then back on, and try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

Day 10 - OverDrive and the Gutenberg collection

This guest post is by Jane Richard, Wisconsin Library Services -- one of the managers for WPLC   (Thanks, Jane!)
----------------------------------Project Gutenberg Collection

Gutenberg Collection in WPLC OverDrive Collection
Have you found the Gutenberg collection tucked into the WPLC OverDrive collection site? These titles are not integrated into the regular search, but are a standalone collection under the link marked “Always Available” way near the bottom of the left hand column. Patrons can discover and download (rather than checkout) thousands of DRM-free EPUB eBooks without holds, waiting lists, or authentication. No library card/account is needed for these downloads, either. Since these titles are in the public domain, they never expire, and, while these titles will not count against a specific patron’s checkout limit, they will count toward WPLC's circulation.*

The 34,000+ out-of-copyright titles can be used for distribution, recreation and adaptation, so teachers can print and distribute excerpts for their classes, artists can perform the works in front of an audience, and titles can be transferred to audio or other formats. Some of the pluses and minuses include:

  • no preview available: whole download or nothing
  • many languages are represented, though no way to filter by language
  • EPUBs font can be changed-- instant large print!
  • selections include popular pre-1923 authors, such as Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, and Arthur Conan Doyle; and titles A Christmas Carol, The Count of Monte Cristo, and David Copperfield
  • Few Wisconsin libraries have MARC records for Gutenberg titles in their catalogs, but the Colorado Libraries in E-Discovering the Classics project (http://www.clicweb.org/e-discover-home) offers free MARC record downloads for nearly 500 classics

*The Wisconsin Digital Download Center's Gutenberg title activity for January-mid-December 2011:
(click to enlarge)

Because patrons are not required to log in to download Gutenberg titles, the public domain checkouts cannot be tracked by specific library. 

Information drawn from:


25 most popular downloads: http://overdriveblogs.com/library/2011/08/29/top-25-project-gutenberg-ebook-titles-us-edition/

Facebook’s New Timeline Format

Remember last summer when Facebook rolled out “Top Stories” and you had to reorient how to interact with Facebook?  Facebook now has something new up its sleeve as far as displaying your profile’s contents: Facebook Timeline.  Gone is the emphasis on the here and now with Timeline.  Instead, FB will autogenerate a tweakable scrapbook of what you’ve posted over the years.



There are 3 ways that your profile will display in Timeline format:

  • Active it now (not suggested until you read the rest of this post ;-) )
  • Wait for FB to tell you that it’s available and you activate it
  • FB will eventually activate it for you

There are two big things that you should know right away:

  1. Once it’s activated, there is no “undo” (so far).
  2. You’ll have 7 days to edit FB’s autogenerated scrapbook before it’s autopublished

Below is a list of (re)sources that may be of use to you as you consider the ramifications of this:

Timeline’s look and feel

Preparing for Timeline

Additional Privacy tweaks

Discussion by analysts, professors and users

Want Timeline immediately?  Click on the "Get Timeline" button.

What do you think about Timeline, either in the abstract or after adopting it?


Day 9 - Searching

As we learned in Day 5, our OverDrive collection now includes 13,959 titles! That’s a lot of titles to browse through. How can you find the one, two or 169 (the number of titles on my To Be Read list) titles that you really want? Let’s find out, shall we?

My first stop is LINKcat. Did you know that you can search for the word “downloadable” in the title search? That search will bring back 10,436 titles including both audio and ebooks. That’s still a lot of titles so how can we narrow that down? Try adding the title or author you’re looking for. For example, searching for “downloadable McCall Smith” in the Library Catalog search brings back nine items - all of which are part of the OverDrive collection. Much better! Click on the title for the full record, then look for Online Resources and the link to access the title in OverDrive.

Here’s a tip for you if you’re in need of something to read right now. From OverDrive's Digital Download Center, to see which of the New eBook Additions are available click on View All, then check the box for Only Show Titles with Copies Available and hit submit. This takes your results list from 200 down to 44. This tip works with all of the highlighted collections on the front page.

AdvancedSearch (click to enlarge)Need even more options? OverDrive has an Advanced Search feature. There are three fields on this page that I think are extremely useful. First is format. For example, if you’re only interested in Kindle books or MP3 titles, use the drop down menu to make your selection. Second is Date added to site. Use the drop down menu here to choose from titles added within the last 7 days to the last 365 days. Last, but not least, is the checkbox to Only Show Titles with Copies Available. You can add an author, title, subject or other information to further refine your search.

My best advice, though, is to take advantage of the Wish List feature in My Account. As you’re browsing or searching through the OverDrive collection, add titles to your wish list as you come across them. As far as I know, there isn’t a limit to the number of titles you can have in your list or the length of time they can stay there. You can place items on hold or check them out from your Wish List and titles can be removed anytime.

Do you have a favorite way to find titles in OverDrive? I’d love to hear about them so please share in the comments!
Guest post by Jean Anderson.

Day 8: Finding free ebooks

Are you an adventurous reader? Is "Frugal" your middle name? Is your appetite for ebooks so great that you always have the maximum number of titles checked out from OverDrive and still want more? We've collected together some sources for free ebooks for you. Did we miss a good one? Let us know in the comments!

Classics: Most classic (public domain) ebooks are stored by Project Gutenberg and a few other sources, but many other sites make the same titles available. They may offer enhanced browsing/searching interfaces or add value with summaries, excerpts, and reader reviews.

Small/Independent Publishers and Self-Published Authors: You won't find current bestsellers here, but there's a chance you might stumble on something new and wonderful. (Your mileage may vary!)

Free titles from Ebook Vendors: An account, device, or specific app may be required to use these titles.

Day 7 - "There's an app for that!"

No ereader (yet)? No problem! You can still enjoy ebooks on your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Here’s how:

On your computer or laptop, download Adobe Digital Editions, a free software program that manages the digital rights of ebooks checked out through OverDrive. Activate the software by creating an Adobe ID (also free) if you plan on getting an ereader or using another device to read ebooks.  Check out an ebook from OverDrive. Once downloaded to your computer, Adobe Digital Editions will open and you can enjoy your book.

OverDrive appEnjoy the reading experience on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch (2nd Generation or newer), many tablets, and smart phones with the OverDrive app from iTunes or OverDrive app for Android.  Check out the app marketplace for your device and search for OverDrive. Once installed and activated with an Adobe ID, you can search for, checkout, download, and read an ebook without connecting your device to a computer. 

Already have a Kindle app on your computer, phone, or tablet? You can use that to enjoy many ebooks in our collection. When searching for an ebook, be sure to select the Kindle Book and check it out. To get the book to your Kindle app, log into your Amazon account when prompted. There will be an option to deliver the ebook to the registered device(s) of your choice. 

To see if your device is compatible with OverDrive, checkout the Supported Portable Devices list. Also handy to check that the device you’re eyeing as a gift for someone special will work with OverDrive.
Guest post by Jean