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Gmail's new tabbed inbox

This week Google released a new inbox for Gmail to help you organize your email.  They’ve Gmailadded categories that appear as tabs at the top of your inbox.  There are a total of 5 tabs available and you can choose which ones, if any, you would like to use.  The tabs are: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums.

The new inbox is being rolled out gradually.  If you don’t have it on your account yet and would like to try it, you can see if “Configure inbox” shows on the Gear menu. 

For more information on the new inbox and a video explaining the new tabs, see the Official Gmail Blog entry: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-new-inbox-that-puts-you-back-in.html

Skitch - Easily Annotate Anything! (From the makers of Evernote)

Skitch - Get your point across with fewer words using annotation, shapes and sketches, so that your ideas become reality faster.

For more info about Skitch: Click Here



Easy Excel Formatting Tips

I was sent this article the other day and thought it contained some interesting Excel formatting tips, and so I thought it would be a good idea to share them with you. I plan on spending my whole extended weekend playing with these gems.

23 mobile things for libraries

SmartphoneMissing your Project Play experience and looking for more exposure to new technology? Check out 23 mobile things!

From the "About" page:

"Welcome to 23 mobile things for libraries!
When Helene Blowers and the team at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County launched the first 23 things program in 2006 they took the library world by storm. A self paced course that offers library workers the chance to build their awareness, knowledge and skills at their own pace is a fun professional development tool. This program builds on their concept and seeks to explore the added potential of mobile devices."

Why mobile this time around?

"We are interested in exploring ways that libraries and library staff can use mobile technologies to deliver library services, to engage with their communities and for their own professional development. Research from PEW Internet  explores how rapidly communities are moving to accessing their library services and websites via their own mobile device. The user experience in your library (or museum) through the lense of a mobile device may be quite different, Ditte Laursen shares some insights in this video."

They'll be covering lots of great topics -- social reading, augmented reality, curating, Adobe ID, productivity tools, file sharing, music, digital storytelling, and many others!

For each "Thing" you'll find background, a list of activities to try to become more familiar with the topic/tool/site, and some "thinking points."  The FAQ covers how the program works, how much time it will take, and what you'll need to get started. It sounds like a great way to explore mobile technologies!

I also ran across some Australians and New Zealanders doing the 23 mobile things. They just began their program at the end of April -- timetable is here

OverDrive Media Console mobile app update coming

OverDrive will release an updated version of the OverDrive Media Console (OMC) mobile app for iOS and Android (v2.6.5) on Tuesday, May 29. You can find a summary of the release details in this WPLC blog post —please review and distribute in advance to ensure your support staff are prepared for the changes!

Firefox Add-ons

Firefox add-ons are small pieces of software that let you add new features and change the way your browser works.  You can install these add-ons yourself without the need for a call to the Help Desk. 
There is a very large community of developers that create these add-ons, so the chances of finding one that does what you want is pretty good.

An important security note about add-ons is that you need to be VERY careful about where you get them from because they may harm your computer or violate your privacy.  Unless clearly marked otherwise, add-ons available from Firefox's Add-on gallery have been checked and approved by Mozilla's team of editors and are safe to install. I recommend that you only install the approved add-ons and never install any of the add-ons marked as Experimental because they have not been reviewed.  Never ever install an add-on from an unknown source!

Once they are installed most people just forget about them.  But, as I discovered recently this is not a good idea.  I got a call from a library with an unusual problem with Firefox.  When they right-clicked within their Firefox browser they got a menu that was longer than their screen was tall.  After much research I discovered that this problem was caused by an out-of-date add-on.  Since the add-on was no longer needed is was disabled and then the problem was resolved.

If you're having a problem with Firefox one way to tell if it is being caused by an out-of-date add-on is to start Firefox in Safe Mode.  The easiest way to do this is from within Firefox.  You go to the Help menu and choose "Restart with Add-ons disabled...".  Then a window called "Firefox Safe Mode" with some troubleshooting options appears. Here you would click the "Start in Safe Mode" button.  Never ever click the "Reset Firefox" button as this will reset Firefox to a default state by creating a new profile, migrating only essential data and then moving all of the old Firefox data to a folder on your desktop. Warning! This change cannot be reversed.  Once in Safe Mode see if your problem persists.  If the problem is gone then it's a pretty good bet that it is an out-of-date add-on causing the problem.  So now you know you need to update your add-ons.  When you are done testing and want to get out of Safe Mode, just close Firefox and wait a few seconds before opening Firefox for normal use again.

So now you're asking, how do I keep my add-ons up-to-date?  It's really easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Go to the Add-ons Manager by clicking "Add-ons" in the Firefox (or Tools) menu
  3. Click on the Extensions tab on the left
  4. You will now see a list of all of the add-ons that you have installed
  5. In the upper right corner you will see a gear
  6. Click on it and a menu like the one below will appear
  7. Add-on-Update
  8. If the "Update Add-ons Automatically" option is checked you're done
  9. If it is not checked click on it to check it then you never have to worry about old add-ons again
  10. If you want to update them now just click the "Check for Updates" option
  11. Firefox will then update all add-ons that have a newer version
  12. Once all the updates are done you may need to restart Firefox

My two favorite add-ons are Print Edit, which gives you print preview with edit capability, and Print pages to PDF, which gives you the ability to print the content of one or more browser tabs into a PDF document.  Please leave a comment and let me know some of your favorite add-ons.

More on Digital Literacy




There's a new tool for your Digital Literacy toolbox - DigitalLearn.org. This recently launched site is "devoted to helping everyone to effectively use digital technologies through simple online training modules." There are three courses available right now: Intro to Email; Using a PC (Windows 7); and Basic Search with three more coming soon. They are: Getting Started on the Computer; Introduction to the Internet; and Using a Mac (OS X).

Coming in June, they'll be adding a section for library staff and others who help people with digital literacy (this definitely includes us!) 

DigitalLearn.org is a project of the Public Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Looking for more Digital Literacy information? Last June, I wrote a post about Digital Literacy and introduced you to the Northstar Digital Literacy Project in Minnesota as well as several other projects. If you know of others sites like this, let us know!

Making Stuff on your Screen Bigger While Keeping the Dots Small.

What's so great about a new monitor that makes everything small and harder to read? Nothing, that's what!  But what's so great about a new monitor that's set to the same resolution and qualtiy as the old one?  Thankfully, I can show you how you can use the full monitor quality AND have the readibility.

(Note: This procedure applies to Windows 7 only.)

First, right-click on the desktop and select "Screen resolution".  We won't be adjusting the resolution itself at all; only to set or confirm that the resolution is as high as it goes.

So, while in the Screen Resolution window, click on the blue text that states "Make text and other items larger or smaller", located here:

Resolution screen

This transports you to a window called "Display" that looks like this:

Display has 3 preset sizes: "Smaller", "Medium", and "Larger".  The text sizes of each choice correspond to what the actual text size will be.  Just a heads-up, however, that applying another size will require you to log off and log back in again to take effect.

If none of these presets suit you, there is also the option to set a custom size percentage from the "Set custom text size (DPI)" option in the left margin. This launches a rather straight-forward option window where you can enter a custom percentage and you can see how much of an effect it has on an on-screen ruler and some text.  After hitting OK, it will create a 4th "Custom" option, under "Larger", with the percentage you specified.

That's all there is to it!  It may take a little longer than just selecting a different resolution, but the results are WAY better.

DPLA = Digital Public Library of America

There's a new acronym in LibraryLand. DPLA stands for Digital Public Library of America and it is really cool!

The site launched on April 18 and includes millions of "photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States." (from the FAQ)

As I was driving back from the 2013 WAPL Conference in Lake Geneva with Stef Morrill, Director of WiLS, we got to talking about DPLA and how Wisconsin materials can and will be included in the collection. Here's what she told me.

"Data for the DPLA will come from two kinds of hubs - service and content hubs. Content hubs are institutions that can provide more than 250,000 unique objects to the collection. All of the other items in the collection will come from service hubs. These include state or regional digital libraries that pull together information from libraries and other cultural institutions in the area. The Minnesota Digital Library has been designated as the service hub for the midwestern states, including Wisconsin.

A group of Wisconsin organizations involved with digitization, including the Wisconsin Historical Society, UW-Madison, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning, and Recollection Wisconsin/WiLS, have begun conversations about how Wisconsin libraries and cultural institutions can best participate in the DPLA. More information will be coming soon!"

As I learn more, I'll be sure to share it with you. Have you checked out the DPLA site yet? Share what you think of this new resource.