The Big Sweep

Gothic CraigMy favorite job in high school was working at a fast-food restaurant one town over from where I lived. During my first week on the job, the manager handed me a broom and told me to sweep the lobby, which he considered to be everything in front of the counter. I really didn’t want to sweep up the whole restaurant so I handed the broom back to my manager and explained that I hadn’t been trained to sweep yet, which is not at all true, but it worked, I got out of sweeping the floor…once.


I noticed Office 365 now has a sweep feature and I wondered what it might be used for, here's what I found out. The sweep feature is part of a suite of tools Outlook implemented to help organize your inbox, which I could really use some help with so I tried it and thought this is the kind of sweeping I could get behind.


Sweeping your inbox is really easy too. Highlight a message in your inbox and click the sweep tab above in the toolbar. A window will appear giving you several options of what to do with the message. I’ve been mostly using the first option of “Move all messages from the Inbox folder”, this moves all the messages only from that particular sender, then choose where you want that message and all previous messages from that sender put. You can also choose to have all future messages from that sender put in a folder automatically.

 

Update: These days I enjoy sweeping my floors. As a matter of fact, I have a different broom for almost every room in my house and two just for the garage.

Mobile workstation now available for loan

Ergotron Workfit-CSCLS has a new item to loan out to our libraries. We’ve acquired an Ergotron Workfit-C mobile workstation. The Ergotron Workfit-C is a height-adjustable desk on wheels that allows you to sit or stand while using it.

If you would like to try it out for a couple of weeks to see if this is something that would make your life a little easier or if your library is going through a remodeling project and you could use a portable workstation, fill out the request form and we will send it out to you.

If you’re interested in purchasing your own, feel free to reach out to me by leaving a comment or emailing me, and I can put you in touch with the vendor I worked with to acquire this workstation.

Digital Bytes: Free Stock Photos, Print Friendly

Jamie and Anne at the Wisconsin Valley Library Service have a couple of new videos! They're short and they highlight some services I hadn't run across before and which I will be adding to my collection of helpful tools. Negative-space-summer-dandelion-macro

Free Stock Photos
Time: 5:32
Jamie talks about three tools to find quality, and free stock photos for your library marketing. 
Watch

 

Print Friendly
Time: 2:55
Tired of printing articles on websites with ads, sidebars, and things you don’t want or need? In this Digital Byte, Anne talks about a great tool called “Print Friendly.
Watch

Microsoft Photos for Editing

High waterI wanted to make a quick edit to a photo recently and found that Microsoft Photos has upped their game. Maybe it’s been like this for a while and I just didn’t notice, but I'm pretty happy with the options they offer now.


If you open a photo in Microsoft Photos, it’s the default photo viewer on my Windows 10 PC, and click the “Edit & Create” tab you are given several options including cropping, straightening (for some reason my photos are always a little crooked), flipping and rotating. You can add filters and make some basic adjustments to the color, light, clarity (sharpening), and it has some other features like Red Eye Removal and Spot Fixing.


You can also go a little farther and add 3D effects or animated text to your images.


The photo in this post was cropped and slightly straightened using Microsoft Photos editing tools. I applied the “Sunscreen” filter to it too because it was cloudy when I wrote this and I thought what the heck, why not.


I still plan on using my go-to photo editor for as long as I can, but the new features (new to me anyway) in Microsoft Photos will definitely get more use from me for fast fixes that I want to do rather than going through my normal routine.

ColouriseSG

Want to give your old black and white scanned photos a little bit of a "pop"? Try ColouriseSG!

I saw it mentioned in the "Time Traveling With Timelines: Web Apps for Storytelling in Libraries" article in the July/August 2019 issue of Computers in Libraries and had to take it for a spin. Here are some of the results --- can you tell what the theme of the photos is?

Toddler eating ice cream

Soda Shop

2 women eating ice cream in the park

The ColouriseSG project is brought to you by the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division, GovTech Singapore. From the information about the site:

"While it is impossible to replicate the exact conditions in which the original photo was taken, it is possible to add colour to the photo to help us imagine what the photographer could have seen in that instant. It is incredible — almost magical — how a little bit of colour can bring us that much closer to that specific moment in time."

Although the site is designed for Singaporean historical photos, it is available to anyone and is super-easy to use!

Photos taken from this Library of Congress collection: https://www.loc.gov/free-to-use/ice-cream

Using Google My Maps to plan trips

Rural road
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Recently I took an out of state road trip, and during the trip I used Google Maps to look up routes and restaurants on the fly (which can be very useful), but at times it would have been better if I had saved some routes, restaurants, and other points of interest ahead of time. I started wondering about available options to create and save maps with locations for restaurants, hotels, tourist destinations, etc. so when I got home I started looking into how to save maps in Google for later use.

Google has a companion product called My Maps that allows you to create a custom map with various routes and points of interest and save them to your Google Drive. To use My Maps, first open Google Drive, and go to New>More>Google My Maps. Googlemymaps My Maps will open in a new tab, with a new map ready to go. Then click Untitled Map to add a Title and Description for your map. 

My Maps uses "layers" for different elements on the map, such as driving directions, walking directions, restaurants, etc. The first layer is created by default and is called Untitled layer - to change the layer name, click Untitled layer and then add the name of your layer. You can then add your routes, restaurants, campsites, hotels, tourist destinations, etc. to different "layers" and put them all together to view on one map. 

Canoe

There are travel bloggers out there who are using Google Maps and My Maps to plan trips, so you can find more information and step-by-step instructions on how you can use Google My Maps for travel. Here are a few that I found:

If you have an Android phone, you can open your saved maps on your phone by using the Google My Maps app (this is a separate app from the Google Maps app). For both Android and iPhone, you can open your saved maps in the Google Maps app (go to Your places>Maps).

More on voice assistants

Here are some of the interesting tidbits I've run across lately related to voice assistants in general, and Amazon's Alexa in particular:

American Libraries Magazine - "Your Library Needs to Speak to You: Getting ahead of the voice assistant hype." Read about how some libraries are using voice assistants.
https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/06/03/voice-assistants-your-library-needs-to-speak-to-you/

Amazon made the news recently related to its practices for keeping users' data. Did you know that Alexa-enabled devices store user transcripts until customers delete them (and even after that in some circumstances)?
https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/amazon-alexa-privacy

AmazonEchoDotIn May, Amazon made it easier to delete some of the things you ask Alexa - “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” or “Alexa, delete what I just said.”  Other deleting options involve using the Alexa app or visiting Amazon's Device page.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/05/how-to-delete-amazon-alexa-history.html

Amazon's Alexa AI unit is experimenting with AI to detect emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger. "Applications of the tech range from gauging reaction to video game design, marketing material like commercials, power car safety systems looking for road rage or fatigue, or even to help students using computer-aided learning..." (and hopefully won't be used to target you to buy things when you're feeling low and in need of a pick-me-up!)
https://venturebeat.com/2019/07/08/amazons-alexa-may-soon-know-if-youre-happy-or-sad/

And finally, if you'd like to take the plunge into the voice assistant world, Amazon is selling the 3rd-gen Echo Dot right now for 50% off ahead of Prime Day. You can fill your house (or library) with Echo Dots!
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3406510/amazon-is-selling-the-3rd-gen-echo-dot-for-50-off-ahead-of-prime-day.html

Photography in Libraries

Taking A Picture
Thinking about taking some pictures of all your fun Summer Library Program events? Perhaps you have a building project coming up. How do you use photos when you tell your story or market your services?

Wisconsin Valley Library Service had 2 photography-themed posts recently. Check out Anne's Digital Lite Blog post, "Photography in Libraries" and Jamie's Digital Byte video, "Photo Editing Apps" for some helpful tips and apps!

Image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay

Easily Picking Colors with Pixie

I often find myself trying to select hex codes for colors to put on webpages, spreadsheets, etc. I do have an extension installed on Chrome that will help me select colors, but only those that appear on an existing site. I found another lightweight program that will help you select colors that appear anywhere on a screen with Pixie. Its interface is pretty dated, but it is very simple to use. Upon opening, this is what pops up:

Pixie1

It lists the three commands that can be used with it. When hovering over a part of your screen that is colored, it will change to this:

 

Pixie2

Now that the cursor is placed over a color, ctrl+alt+c will copy its HTML code (#B1005D).

If you want to zoom in on a part of your screen to narrow in on a more specific color, ctrl+alt+z will bring up the magnifier. From there, you can hover over the popup that comes up to choose a color.

Pixie3

The third command is ctrl+alt+x which just brings up the typical color chooser window.

Pixie4

Pixie can be downloaded for free here.

Library Planet

Sundsvall2smallRaise your hand if you visit libraries when you're on vacation. Consider my hand raised high and see the proof in the photo! Turns out, we're not alone. I read an article in Library Journal recently that proves it. Michael Stephens talked with Denmark librarians Christian Lauersen and Marie Engberg Eiriksson about their new crowdsourced travel blog, Library Planet, and how it came to life.

Library Planet started with a tweet from Lauersen to his followers about needing a Lonely Planet for libraries. Their followers were positive and the site was created and launched on November 17, 2018. It has entries from around the world and includes all types of libraries and is growing fast. I didn't see any entries from Wisconsin yet, though. I hope to see some there soon! Here's the information on how to contribute an entry.

SundsvallSmallThe first thing I thought of when I read this article was that I need to write up a couple of the libraries I visited in Sweden and Finland last year and submit them. What a great way to share my love of libraries to others who love libraries. I'll let you know when/if my entry on the Sundsvall Stadsbibliotek is on the site!