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Space Cases

One of the things I like about the beginning of the year is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  A lot of the tech coverage for that week is either of the show itself or other items introduced by companies not at the show.  I enjoy seeing all of the gadgets and new technology, even for the things that won’t be available for some time yet.  (And, to be honest, the inadvertent amusement of the demos that go wrong.)

This year one of the items that caught my attention wasn’t actually a gadget per se.  It was a case for a gadget.  Normally cases are, well, kind of boring.  Sure, they might be pretty along with providing some protection but that’s about it for most of them.  Not so for this case.  To show how effective the case was, they put an iPad in their case and had it fall from the edge of space.  While I doubt any of us really have to worry about quite such a drop for our gadgets, I do admit it did make it one of the more memorable demonstrations I’ve ever seen. 

Wonder how well it'd hold up versus patrons...



Printing PDF Files


My Magic Wand

See, Dosesn't It Look Like A Toblerone I wanted to let you know about a cool gadget I have. I was looking for a portable document scanner for my wife to use when she and her father go on long genealogy trips. I wanted one that would be easy to use and still have a good quality scan. I came across the VuPoint Magic Wand, and after reading some pretty good reviews I decided to purchase it. It exceeded my expectations in scan quality and I found it very easy to use. It’s kind of like holding a Toblerone chocolate bar, as far as the size. I purchased an 8GB MicroSD card to use with it since it doesn’t come with one.  The card can store hundreds of images before having to transfer them to a PC. It includes the USB cable to transfer the images to a PC. All total it costs around $100.00 and some change. It’s great if you’re on the road and can’t put the images on your PC right away.

Another thing I like about this Magic Wand is that it (in my opinion) does a better job of scanning a page in a book than a regular flat bed scanner because the spine of the book prevents you from getting the page completely flat on the scanning surface. With the Magic Wand you don’t have that problem; however, I found it does have some issues with paperback books, especially the smaller ones.

My wife was scanning fabric with it so she could get a better look at the patterns it was making. I thought that was weird…so I tried it. Here are some sample materials I’ve done with the Magic Wand.

Magice Wand Samples

Everyone's (P)interested!

Everywhere I look lately I see Pinterest...  on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the blogs I follow. Seems like Pinterest is going to be BIG. Even the U.S. Army is on Pinterest now!

Rose already introduced you to Pinterest in an earlier TechBits post. Still wondering what Pinterest is? The New York Times has a pretty good article about it. My 3-word summary?  --- visual, social, sharing.

Here are some more links to get you started if you're considering Pinterest for your library:

(and here's a quick shout out to SCLS libraries already on Pinterest - Mount Horeb, Sauk City, and Verona!)

Lebanese MeatbalsOn a personal note, I signed up last week and have totally fallen in love with the Food & Drink category. What a delightful way to visually browse recipes and find some kitchen (p)inspiration! Now to find a personal chef who works for cheap and will make me some of these....

Log off?…Lock Desktop?…Reboot PCs?

I hope all of you were able to read Jon Mark’s blog posting from February 15, 2012 entitled “Help SCLS with software updates by keeping your PCs on all the time” where he talked about new procedures with your PCs to help us give you updates faster.  In his blog he referenced our new page entitled “SCLS Network PCs - On, Off, or Locked?” where we talk about best practices for your PCs.  I have received numerous questions about some items and wanted to clarify what we mean and exactly how to do it.

Staff PCs should be logged off of Windows at night (Video)
When you see your desktop with all of your shortcuts that means that you are logged on to Windows.  In order to log off of Windows at night you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Close all open applications
  2. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  3. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  4. Click the Log Off… button
  5. You will then see a window that says: “Are you sure you want to logoff?”
  6. Click the Log Off button
  7. Your PC will then begin the log off process
  8. When it is done you will see a window that says: “Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to begin”
  9. You are now logged off of Windows

In the morning, when you want to log onto Windows, you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open whose header says “Log On to Windows” 
  3. Your User name should already be filled in
  4. The cursor should be in the Password field
  5. Enter your Windows password
  6. Click the OK button
  7. Your PC will then begin the log on process
  8. Once you see your desktop you are now logged on to Windows

Please note that LINK patron PCs can NOT be logged off of Windows as they are set up to auto log in.  It is okay to leave LINK patron PCs logged on to Windows.

Don't "lock the desktop” AT NIGHT
Locking your desktop, sometimes called locking your workstation or locking your computer, prevents anyone from using your PC but your programs will remain running for quick access when you return to your computer.  If you have a staff PC that is in an area where there are patrons nearby it might be a good idea to do this to prevent tampering if you need to walk away from the PC.  To lock the desktop here are the steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  3. Click the Lock Computer button
  4. You will then see a window that says: “This computer is in use and has been locked.”
  5. Your PC is now locked

When you return to your PC and want to unlock it use the following steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open whose header says “Unlock Computer” 
  3. Your User name should already be filled in
  4. The cursor should be in the Password field
  5. Enter your Windows password
  6. Click the OK button
  7. You will then be at your desktop in the state it was when you locked it

Staff PCs should be rebooted weekly to help prevent issues (Video)
Since you will be leaving all LINK staff PCs on all the time now it helps the PC if you reboot it once a week.  Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Close all open applications
  2. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  3. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  4. Click the Shut Down… button
  5. You will then see a window that says: “What do you want the computer to do?”
  6. If the rectangular box says Restart then click the OK button
  7. If you don’t see Restart then click in the rectangular box 
  8. You then see a list of options
  9. Choose Restart
  10. Click the OK button
  11. Your PC will then begin the restart process
  12. When it is done you will see a window that says: “Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to begin”

If you have questions or concerns about anything in this post please feel free to call the Tech Help Desk at 242-4710.

Notice Printing and Firefox Profiles

I'm sure you all saw the January 31st News item on the ILS Support Home Page about libraries printing their own notices beginning on Monday, February 27th, 2012.  You may have also read Joanna's LINK 2.0 Koha Blog posting about this same topic and read that she had created instructions that outlined how to print your own notices.  In those instructions in step 7b under section 2 says: "Call the Tech Help Desk at 608-242-4710 if you'd like help setting up another profile."  I'd like to use this blog post to explain to you what this really entails and suggest a different solution.

Background for our use of Firefox profiles
When Koha became our ILS we needed an easy way for all of you to print receipts and spine labels.  So the ILS and Tech staff came up with the use of Firefox profiles to make these printing tasks much easier for you.  In order to make this work you first all needed to use the same spine label printer and the same few receipt printers.  Then we developed and installed the Firefox profiles and after that you no longer had to choose where you wanted a receipt printed or a where you wanted a spine label printed.  Firefox just knew and printed it.  This saves you precious seconds and allows you to work more efficiently.  But again this only works because you all are using the same few printers.

Notice printing and Firefox profiles
Profiles work well when there are a limited number of printers involved, but when you try to do the same with a multitude of different printers it becomes a lot more difficult and time-consuming.  Not all libraries have the same laser or ink jet printers, so essentially we would have to design a different Firefox profile for each library for each printer that they want to print notices on.  Woe to the library whose notice printer breaks down because now you can't print notices.  Not good!  So the best solution, albeit a manual one, is to turn off and on the headers and footers each time you print notices.  The online instructions for printing notices has already been updated to reflect this change.

To assist you in this manual process of turning off and on the headers and footers each time, please take a look at the pictures below.

After turning off the headers and footers it will look like this:After_Settings

After turning the headers and footers back on it will look like this:

I hope I have explained this step of the notice printing so that you have a good understanding of it.  Happy notice printing!

New OverDrive Help website

OverDrive HelpOverDrive has rolled out a new, searchable OverDrive Help website to make it easier for you to assist patrons with downloadable ebooks & audiobooks. The site contains hundreds of newly-written help articles covering how to use Digital Download Center eBooks, audiobooks, music and video on different devices and platforms.

Articles contain screenshots, software download links and links to related articles. Each article can be printed, emailed or shared via Facebook, Twitter and other sites using the 'Share this page' button available at the top of most pages. (I've already shared the guide for "Getting Started with a Nook" with a patron—finally, a tidy landing page with clear steps and links to more information!)

You can find the OverDrive Help website by clicking the "Help" link in the upper right corner of the Digital Download Center.

Love those screenshots

IPodTouch screenshotI just learned how to take a screenshot on an iPod touch the other day (I know, I know--- better late than never, right?) On the off-chance that there are others like me out there who didn't have this handy information, here's the "411" on how to take screenshots from some common devices.

How to Grab Screenshots on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Simultaneously hold down the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons, then release them together. You'll find the resulting image in the Photos app --in the Camera Roll album on iPhone and in Saved Photos on iPad and iPod touch.

Take a Screenshot on your Android Device
Press the back button and press the center home button. The captured image will be saved in your gallery.

How to Take a Screenshot From Your Nook Color
Press the Vol- (Volume Down) button for a very short time, while also holding the Nook (Home) button. The screenshots will be available under the Gallery.

How to Take a Screenshot on Your PC
To make a copy of the active window, press ALT+PRINT SCREEN.
To copy the entire screen as it appears on your monitor, press PRINT SCREEN.
Then paste the screenshot into your preferred program that handles images (MS Paint, Word, etc).

Have other screenshot tips? Leave them in the comments!

Upsetting changes for Penguin titles in OverDrive collections

The friendly little bird in the Penguin Group Penguin Group logologo is not so friendly to public library users today. Penguin will no longer supply ebooks and audiobooks for lending through OverDrive, and the lending process for already-purchased Penguin ebooks in OverDrive collections has become more restrictive for Kindle users. From an email from OverDrive posted at InfoDocket:

Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.

We are continuing to talk to Penguin about their future plans for eBook and digital audiobook availability for library lending.

Source: Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive

Wondering how other librarians are planning to break the news to patrons? The Librarian in Black and Librarian by Day blogs have some suggestions.


New features in OverDrive mobile app

Screen shot of OMC app for AndroidThis week OverDrive blogged that the latest version of OverDrive Media Console (v2.4) for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone includes new features for returning audiobooks as well as eBooks and finding definitions while reading using dictionary lookup. (Maybe having dictionary lookup at my fingertips will help me finish the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo faster?)

Patrons with OverDrive Media Console already installed will get a notification that an update is available. OMC v2.4 for iOS —iPhone, iPad, iPod touch—will have early audiobook returns and dictionary lookup for iOS v4.0 (or newer) available soon.

Some other ebook-related items caught my eye this week:

  • Free webinar Feb. 28 11am-noon: "Lending eReaders: What Libraries Need to Know" - Panelists will discuss best practices in loaning eReaders to library customers, provided by Idaho Commission for Libraries and Washington State Library. (One of many interesting programs recommended in Winnefox Library System's Library Sparks blog.)
  • Ebook Talks: The Details - A summary of the recent meetings an ALA delegation held with members of the publishing industry. My jaw hit the floor at the mention of publishers' misconceptions about library lending. (Thanks to Sara Gold for mentioning this via the WPLC email list.)
  • Freading Ebook Library from Library Ideas, LLC - "Swiss Army Librarian" Brian Herzog reports on his library's consideration of the Freading ebook service and how its library lending model works. (Short answer—very differently from OverDrive's!)