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Microsoft says bye, bye to IE

Rumor has it that Windows 10 may be released as early as this summer. As is true with any new version of an operating system, there will be many changes. One of the more radical changes is that Micosoft will be deprecating Internet Explorer (some stub of which will remain for software compatibility) and instituting "Project Spartan".

"Project Spartan" is the code name for the new (unnamed) browser. Here's a small list of features slated to be included in "Spartan":

  • PDF support integrated within the browser
  • Webpage 'snapshots' can be taken and marked up ~ Skitch
  • Cortana integration: think Siri on steroids. (She'll 'help' you navigate the web as well as your PC/mobile device.)

Here's a brief video tour. The 12 min. video covers many things about Windows 10. The video clip here will start when the Spartan tour begins (~ the 3 min mark). The Spartan tour ends ~ 7.5 min mark.



Helping patrons with email

Do your patrons need help with email? GCFLearnFree.org and DigitalLearn.org are 2 great resources for helping patrons learn about technology. 

For more than a decade, the GCFLearnFree.org program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, GCFLearnFree.org offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free. 


The Public Library Association's new site, DigitalLearn.org, is an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded project to create an online hub for digital literacy support and training. Included in DigitalLearn.org is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.

Gmail Help
If your patrons are Gmail users, Gmail Help also has an extensive collection of help pages.

Previous TechBits posts about GCFLearnFree.org and DigitalLearn.org:

Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!

New Digital content web page available

You have a volunteer willing to digitize your library's historical photos. A patron donates a treasure trove of historical materials to the library and you would like to preserve these materials and make them available through digitization. But where do you put the digitized files? How do you make them available to the public? 

To help libraries answer these questions, SCLS has created a Digital Content resources web page that includes brief overviews of affordable hosting options such as OverDrive Local Content and Recollection Wisconsin. We'll continue to update the page as new resources become available.

The Nest "smart" Thermostat

I'm not the kind of person who has a "smart home" but when I ran across the Nest Thermostat I had to give it a try!

The Nest thermostat installs in a snap, connects to your WiFi, and saves you money.  It learns all about your heating and cooling preferences and programs itself based on those preferences.  You also get a cool energy report emailed to you each month.  It shows your usage and some tips to be more efficient.  There is an App for your phone or tablet that has a lot of cool features.  Things like controlling the temp remotely and a whole lot more.  Here is a quick summary video:


F12 for website developer tools & device modes

Modern versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer each come with powerful tools for website development. In your browser of choice, hit F12 on your keyboard to toggle them on and off.

Screen shot of a website with Chrome DevTools & Device Emulation

Each browser offers variations on these tools, but these common utilities are my favorites:

A code inspector for viewing the page's HTML and CSS code and making on-the-fly edits to what you see onscreen. Edits made from the code inspector aren't saved anywhere—they only last until you refresh the page. Use it for: debugging tricky formatting, experimenting with new text or styling before actually making live edits.

A network tab reporting how quickly every component of the page loads, including total load speed and weight. Use it for: figuring out exactly which files may be slowing down the page.

Device modes for seeing how a web page looks on screens of varying sizes (with resolution presets for common devices). Use it for: checking how pages behave on small screens when you don't have access to the latest phones and tablets.

If you hit F11 by mistake, something scary happens—all your toolbars disappear! Your browser has gone full-screen. Take a deep breath, and hit F11 again to toggle full-screen mode off.

More about developer tools:

Friday Fun: Parody songs by librarians

Like the librarian parodies and other library-related videos we've posted in the past? This post on BookRiot (and comment section at the bottom) has a whole lot more. Fun stuff!

One that hadn't made the list when I looked if over: "Check It Out." The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library made this parody of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" in homage to Taylor Swift and her outspoken support of public libraries and literacy and in celebration of National Library Week. See the answer key to reveal all the Taylor Swift references in the video: http://tscpl.org/checkitout

Have I hit 500 yet?

Perhaps you have students who come to the library to write papers, and perhaps their papers have to be a certain number of words long.

How can you find the word count for something that's written in Microsoft Word?

Word count

In MS Word 2007, 2010 or 2013: TB - word count results

  1. Click on the Review tab
  2. Click on the Word Count button
  3. View the results!

Windows 8 File History

Windows 8 File History is a simple and unobtrusive tool used for backing up files.  The program is limited to backing up user libraries plus IE Favorites and the Desktop.  Your libraries include Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos.  You may add other folders to the backup by adding them to one of the default libraries or by creating a new custom library.

Getting Started

  1. Plug in a USB hard drive or a large USB flash drive.
  2. Double-click File History in the Windows Control Panel.
  3. Click Turn on.
  4. You can exclude some libraries from the backup by clicking Exclude folders at the left.
  5. Through the Advanced settings menu, you can set the frequency of backups, the size of the offline cache and how long File History keeps each backed up version.  The offline cache is the part of your PCs hard drive that will be available for temporary backup when your USB drive is unplugged.

Restoring Previous Versions of Files or Deleted Files

  1. Go to Control Panel > double-click File History > select Restore personal files.
  2. You'll be presented with a timeline of backups you can navigate.  Use the left and right arrows to select the correct backup time.
  3. Select the file or folder you'd like to restore.
  4. Click the Green restore button to restore to its original location.

Add a Folder to Your File History Backup

  1. Right-click the folder you want to backup > select Include in Library > click Create new library.
  2. This folder will then be backed up at the next backup interval.

Tech Lifehack Vines


Goodwill Community Foundation made a number of Vine videos showing some quick and handy tricks to help get a grasp on some technological woes, like managing cables and cleaning keyboards.

Check out the rest of them here.