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Move those windows!

Most of the SCLS-supported PCs are now running Windows 7. Here's an easy way to make 2 windows sit side-by-side and split your screen real estate in Windows 7:

1st window
Dock the window to the left using Windows Key + Left Arrow
Docked left

2nd window
Dock the window to the right using  Windows Key + Right Arrow
Docked side-by-side

Have 2 monitors? Try these handy keyboard commands in Windows 7!

  • Move window to the left monitor = Windows Key + Shift + Left Arrow 
  • Move window to the right monitor = Windows Key + Shift + Right Arrow

Update: Tsk, tsk. I wrote this post from home, testing on my home PC. Apparently there is a Windows setting that must be enabled for this feature (called "Snap" by Microsoft) to work on SCLS-supported PCs. See this Microsoft page for instructions on how to make the change: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/how-do-i-turn-snap-on-or-off.  Many thanks to those folks who let me know it didn't work by default!

What to do with old worn-out batteries

Batteries_16x9When you're finished unwrapping your presents this year, and left in tears (of joy) that you finally got the Walk-man that plays both sides without ejecting you've been dreaming about, or if you're really lucky a Disc-man, you will soon be filing through you're junk draw looking for a fresh set of AA Ever-Ready's. By the end of the day they will be drained of their power, and as you stare at them in your hand once again you wonder should I recycle them or toss them in the...hey... a cookie!

Back in the real world, I have a large box of used alkaline batteries sitting in my office because I want to recycle them but our E-waste recycler doesn't want them since they don't have anyone that separates the metals and reuses them responsibly. They say to throw them in the trash. I thought what a shame, so after a little research it turns out they are right. Duracell has a very informative page on their site about this topic. They say these days alkaline batteries don't use the toxic metals they once did back before the 90's. So instead of throwing them in the trash and feeling bad, now you can throw them in the trash and feel a little less bad, but don't throw a lot at once away because that is bad.

By the way, even though NiCad batteries are more expensive and don't hold a charge as long as an alkaline they can be recycled after they have met their demise.

Photo credit: doyourpart.com

Easy way to clear a browser's cache

Do you want a quick and easy way to clear a browser's cache?  Well here it is:

  1. With the browser open, press Ctrl+Shift+Del
  2. Select what you want to delete (i.e. cookies, cache, etc.)
  3. Click the appropriate button at the bottom of the window to confirm the delete

Now isn't that easy.  The best part is that these steps work for IE, Firefox and Chrome.

Turning library reports into heat maps

At this time of year, two of the things that are often on my mind are annual reports and finding heat (can you believe how cold it's been lately?). Did you know it's easy to combine these things and find the hot spots within your reports?

Take the example of our report of circulation by time of day. You can fairly easily just study the numbers and figure out what your busiest day or time of day is. Using sorting can help somewhat with this task. But there's a lot of numbers on this report, which to many people is just a lot of noise.

If we simply add a bit of color to the numbers, all of that noise gets turned into signal and this makes patterns of interest really jump out. This is very easy to do. Here's how:

  1. Select the block of cells you want to map in color.

    In the example I'm using, I'm choosing only the columns "Mondays" through "Sundays". I'm leaving out the "Total" column because it will too heavily skew the results.

  2. Click the Conditional Formatting button on the Office ribbon.

  3. Choose Color Scales from the menu that opens.

  4. Choose a color scheme.

    For this report, I like the color scheme named "Red - Yellow - Green" (the second icon in the top row). This makes the highest numbers the reddest and the lowest numbers the greenest. Like this:


Performing this trick on the LINKcat (system wide) circulation by time report clearly shows that weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. is our busiest time slot overall, with Mondays and Fridays being busiest. But it also highlights Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Saturday in general as being a pretty busy day. To me, that wasn't obvious without the added colors.

Fun with Photos

Way back in 2009, Rose wrote a post about Finding and Using "Free" Clip Art and Stock Photos. I thought I'd add a couple of sites where you can easily find free stock photos to use in your next presentation, brochure, or blog post.

ChairsI first discovered MorgueFile when preparing for a presentation earlier this year. I was looking for images that conveyed a message like "Be Negative" and "Keep Your Distance" - not easy concepts to imagine. The site is really easy to use. Browse AngryKittenthrough the photos or try searching for a keyword or color. Then download the photo to your computer and use how you'd like. Beware, though, this site can be dangerous - you can spend hours and hours looking at photos! 

Another site I've heard of and explored briefly is Photo Pin. This site searches Flickr (they're not associated with Flickr) for creative commons photos that you can use for your blog or other creative uses. When you find a photo to download and click on it, you get all Poppiesthe size options as well as the HTML to use for attribution. I downloaded this pretty summery photo to help get you through this cold weather. 

What's your favorite spot to find free photos or images? Please share!

P.S. I apologize in advance for anyone who gets lost in MorgueFile - happy browsing!



photo credit: Vainsang via photopin cc

Voice Recognition Software Meets the Fax Machine

Voice recognition software is lightyears ahead of where it was just a few years ago.   It can be a great transciption tool when it transcribes accurately. 

But wait, what does voice recognition do when it receives a fax?










Click here for the unedited poem.



Pinterest Place Pins

Pinterest has a new feature that I think has potential for libraries--- Pinterest Place Pins allow a map to to be added to a Pinterest board and pins to be added to that map using integration with Foursquare and other partner sites.

PinterestBoardHere's a link to one of my regular Pinterest boards, "Library and book stuff." It contains lots of pins I found interesting-- but no related map. (Tip: if you're prompted to join Pinterest when viewing the board, you can dismiss that window by pressing Esc)

Now here's a link to a board I created of some of my favorite places... Place Pins: SCLS LibrariesSouth Central Library System libraries! To clarify, ALL the South Central Library System libraries are my favorites, of course, but for this example I only added Place Pins for those libraries that already had pictures on FourSquare. (Tip: Older versions of IE may not display the map.)

Now... it seems like there are some possibilities here! Users might pin your library as a place they like to visit, a good place to go with kids, etc.  For example, New York City Public Library gets a listing on this "Free and almost free in NYC" Pinterest board. Libraries might create boards with links to resources in the community or even just other places of interest. Check out this Today post with step-by-step instructions for using Place Pins and an example of Place Pins using sunsets submitted by viewers.

From a social media and marketing standpoint, this might be one more reason to claim your library's location on FourSquare -- a click-through from Pinterest has the potential to bring new visitors to your website or to your building with correct URL, address, phone, and hours information from FourSquare! A lot of sites are already pointing out the potential for businesses, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, and more. I think libraries could be in the mix-- what do you think?

Side note: One of my favorite parts about writing this post was seeing the variety of pictures and tips that FourSquare users added for the libraries. Fun!