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Default Programs with Windows 8.1

If your SCLS-supported PC has Windows 8.1, you may have noticed that the default programs you selected reset every time the PC is restarted.  We preconfigured the default programs P1090827 (1)so that new users wouldn't have to decide how each type of file should open.  If you prefer to set your own defaults and keep them, you will need to delete a file.  Navigate to C:\Installers\Setup and delete the defaults.xml file.  Now you can reboot your PC without your defaults resetting.

Mobile Computer Labs are getting a face lift

Pelican 1640 case with laptop insertRecently SCLS implemented a new case for Mobile Computer Lab #1. We went from 5 bins down to 1 case.  The new case has a hard shell; it moves around on wheels and has an extendable handle, much like modern day luggage. The nice thing about this case is everything fits in one case, so packing and unpacking will go much faster.

Mobile computer labs 2 and 3 have been rearranged so instead of 4 bins each they are now in 3. This won’t change set-up and tear down time, but they are a lot easier to move around.

How to have a new printer install as easy as a piece of cake

01122So you just got a new printer and you want to hook it up and try it out.  You think - "Is there anything that I should do before I do this?"  The answer is yes!

Whenever you get a new printer, whether it is a printer that sits on your desk or a copier that all staff and patrons will use, you should always call the SCLS Help Desk first.  The reason is that the printers need special software, called a driver, installed on the PC in order for them to work correctly and this software can only be installed by the SCLS Help Desk.  If you are getting a copier that will be on your network it will be better if you call the Help Desk before it arrives so that related network tasks can be done on our end.  Also for copiers, it is a good idea to call the Help Desk and schedule a time for us to assist the copier technician with any setting questions and to install the printer driver software on the PCs that you want to use that copier.  This install process requires exclusive use of the PC as we need to log in with our administrative login.  For patron PCs this process takes a little longer as we need to turn off the disk-locking software before installing the software.  So if you are changing out a printer that patrons use please take this fact into account to make the patron disruption as minimal as possible.

Instant Excel Charts

Bps-chart-sliceIt's annual reports season again, and I know you're all as pumped as I am about sifting through all those numbers.

But how do we extract real meaning from these data? Charts can help us visualize the key similarities and differences between data points, but can also be tedious. Here are a few tips for greasing the wheels in Excel.

First, know your shortcuts. Pressing F11 will instantly insert a new tab containing Excel's best guess for what you might want a chart of, based on what cells are currently selected. Sometimes it guesses wrong, but mostly it does pretty well. For most SCLS report products, if you have cell A1 selected then Excel will typically do the right thing when you press F11. Pressing Alt-F1 has a similar effect except that Excel will embed the new chart alongside (or more likely, on top of) your source data, instead of in a new tab.

Second, know that you can change Excel's behavior for both of those keyboard shortcuts. In either case, Excel will be inserting the "default chart type". The default default is a simple column bar chart. If that's not what you want, you can easily change the default type to a line, pie or other chart type. To do that:

  1. Select any spreadsheet cell.
  2. Click the Insert tab of the Office Ribbon.
  3. Click the Other Charts button (near the middle of the Ribbon).
  4. Choose All Chart Types... at the bottom of the menu that appears.
  5. Click on the chart type that you want to be the default type.
  6. Click the Set as Default Chart button.
  7. Click Cancel (so as to not actually insert a chart).

You may find that none of the built-in Excel chart types are perfect. If you go to the trouble of manually tweaking their colors, fonts, layout, etc., you can then save that work as a Template, then make that template the default chart type. After doing that, F11 means "insert your perfect chart".

Trending Library Tech

ThIt is the week after the American Library Association Midwinter conference and I am sure you are all wondering what was covered in the LITA Top Tech Panel--the hottest session at ALA. Well, fortunately you don't have to rely on me for a summary because Library Journal covered it! Hot topics are: open source, location-based information services and other things that are over my head.

Now that you are sad that you missed the panel at ALA, I am pleased to tell you that there is a free webinar series called Emerging Tech Trends in Libraries offered by Infopeople. The first session is over, but you can still watch it in the archives. The second session is coming up on February 2 and is by David Lee King who is mentioned frequently in TechBits.


Customer Service via Social Media

Providing excellent service to our member libraries is integral to staff at SCLS. Being of service is one of my core values and almost every workshop I present includes some mention of providing awesome service to your patrons.

So, when I came across this article, 14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From them) from buffersocial either in my Twitter feed or a blog in Feedly, I immediately saved it into Evernote to share with you. I know many of you have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Here's a way to use them, especially your Twitter account, to have a little fun and provide awesome service to your patrons.

_78300969_waterstones_tweetI especially like number 6 on the list - where a man was accidentally locked in a London bookstore (although, I might have stayed inside overnight if I had something good to eat and drink and a comfy place to read!). In all seriousness, though, there are some great examples of companies going above and beyond and having a little fun along the way. How can we use and adapt these awesome service examples to provide excellent service to our patrons?

Seeing the unseen

Ever find yourself fighting with formatting in Microsoft Word and wishing you could see what's going on behind the scenes? Enter "Show formatting."

Recently, I had a question from a library about why their Acceptable Use Policy was formatted so funny when it displayed in MyPC. It turns out there were some characters in their .rtf document that they couldn't see in Microsoft Word, but which were causing some trouble when the MyPC software tried to interpret the document.

Here's how we fixed it:

  1. We opened the .rtf document in Microsoft Word
  2. We followed these instructions to "Show/hide formatting marks"

    Formatting characters
  3. We could then see that there were some extra line breaks and paragraph marks that shouldn't have been there, and we manually deleted them.