Where did those icons go?

Got your seatbelt on? Firefox 10 is being rolled out Monday and Tuesday nights to staff PCs on the SCLS network.

Upgrades = changes. Here are just a few changes you'll see between versions 3.6 and 10.0.2:


(click on the image to see it full-size)

Version 10 was released by Mozilla January 31st, and it took us some research, development, and documentation to get it rolled out. Now that the groundwork has been laid, Firefox versions after this one should be rolled out to SCLS patron and staff PCs a little more quickly after they're released by Mozilla.

The Firefox upgrade includes a "cleanup script."  If you haven't already read about it (and/or watched the video), you can do so here: http://www.scls.info/technology/updates/ffoxstaff.html

----- late addition -----

Back button historyWhat happened to the "little down arrow that took you mutliple steps at once backwards thru a search and were necessary for some kinds of backwards movements"?

The arrow is gone, but the functionality is still there. Just right-click the "Back" button or click it and pull down to get the list.

(thanks to Liz for pointing this out!)


Log off?…Lock Desktop?…Reboot PCs?

I hope all of you were able to read Jon Mark’s blog posting from February 15, 2012 entitled “Help SCLS with software updates by keeping your PCs on all the time” where he talked about new procedures with your PCs to help us give you updates faster.  In his blog he referenced our new page entitled “SCLS Network PCs - On, Off, or Locked?” where we talk about best practices for your PCs.  I have received numerous questions about some items and wanted to clarify what we mean and exactly how to do it.

Staff PCs should be logged off of Windows at night (Video)
When you see your desktop with all of your shortcuts that means that you are logged on to Windows.  In order to log off of Windows at night you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Close all open applications
  2. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  3. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  4. Click the Log Off… button
  5. You will then see a window that says: “Are you sure you want to logoff?”
  6. Click the Log Off button
  7. Your PC will then begin the log off process
  8. When it is done you will see a window that says: “Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to begin”
  9. You are now logged off of Windows

In the morning, when you want to log onto Windows, you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open whose header says “Log On to Windows” 
  3. Your User name should already be filled in
  4. The cursor should be in the Password field
  5. Enter your Windows password
  6. Click the OK button
  7. Your PC will then begin the log on process
  8. Once you see your desktop you are now logged on to Windows

Please note that LINK patron PCs can NOT be logged off of Windows as they are set up to auto log in.  It is okay to leave LINK patron PCs logged on to Windows.

Don't "lock the desktop” AT NIGHT
Locking your desktop, sometimes called locking your workstation or locking your computer, prevents anyone from using your PC but your programs will remain running for quick access when you return to your computer.  If you have a staff PC that is in an area where there are patrons nearby it might be a good idea to do this to prevent tampering if you need to walk away from the PC.  To lock the desktop here are the steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  3. Click the Lock Computer button
  4. You will then see a window that says: “This computer is in use and has been locked.”
  5. Your PC is now locked

When you return to your PC and want to unlock it use the following steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  2. A window will open whose header says “Unlock Computer” 
  3. Your User name should already be filled in
  4. The cursor should be in the Password field
  5. Enter your Windows password
  6. Click the OK button
  7. You will then be at your desktop in the state it was when you locked it

Staff PCs should be rebooted weekly to help prevent issues (Video)
Since you will be leaving all LINK staff PCs on all the time now it helps the PC if you reboot it once a week.  Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Close all open applications
  2. Press the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys (NOTE: All three keys must be pressed together.)
  3. A window will open that has six buttons on it 
  4. Click the Shut Down… button
  5. You will then see a window that says: “What do you want the computer to do?”
  6. If the rectangular box says Restart then click the OK button
  7. If you don’t see Restart then click in the rectangular box 
  8. You then see a list of options
  9. Choose Restart
  10. Click the OK button
  11. Your PC will then begin the restart process
  12. When it is done you will see a window that says: “Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to begin”

If you have questions or concerns about anything in this post please feel free to call the Tech Help Desk at 242-4710.

PC Status Reports

The PC Status Reports have been updated.  The reports are usually updated a couple times each year, but you can call the Help Desk at anytime to have an updated copy sent to you.  If some computers were replaced at your library recently, there may be some discrepancies. 790.jpg

It is recommended that you replace about 20% of your PCs each year so that none are older than five years.  The SCLS Hardware Support Policy, the PC Status Reports and the PC Ordering form can be accessed from the SCLS Technology page.

Keyloggers at the Library: A Cautionary Tale

Though this article detailing the detection of several hardware keyloggers in a UK library is a couple of months old, the threat of modifications to library-owned PCs remains a relevant issue.  Just like card skimmers installed on ATM machines, gas station fuel pumps and other devices, hardware keyloggers are hard to detect, and can pose a threat to PC users at any library.  Moreover, they're very easy to obtain, and not that expensive.

As a precaution, take a good look at your public PCs on a regular basis, noting any anomalies.  If you notice something fishy, contact SCLS.

Dell OptiPlex 790

The new Dell OptiPlex 790 has been added to the PC order form.  The pricing is very similar to its predecessor, the OptiPlex 780, but there are some differences in its architecture.    

  • The base system does not include a parallel port.  You will need to order the optional parallel port adapter if you wish to continue using a printer or document scanner that requires a parallel connection.
  • The front side of the PC now has four USB ports.OptiPlex 790
  • PS/2 ports are included in the base system again.  This is a bit of a surprise, because PS/2 ports haven't been standard since the OptiPlex GX280 arrived in 2005.  The need for PS/2 ports has decreased greatly over the years as the majority of keyboards and mice utilize a USB connection.
  • An optional USB 3.0 controller is available.  This could be useful if you purchase a USB 3.0 external hard drive or thumb drive.  Data transfer between a PC and a USB 3.0 device is much faster.  How much faster?  You can read more about some speed comparisons at Y! Tech.  One problem with the USB 3.0 controller is that it is located at the rear of the system, so access isn't very easy.

As always, you should call the Help Desk if you have any questions about filling out the PC order form.

Upcoming Software Updates

I am at the tail end of updating all staff and patron PCs with a new version of Java.  I have two more big updates coming for all PCs in the near future.  They are updates to Firefox and to Flash.  For Firefox we aren't doing that big of an update as we're going from version 3.6.13 to version 3.6.18.  We can't go much higher, yet, as newer versions of Firefox, like 4 and 5, don't work well with Koha.  So if you're tempted to update your Firefox, please don't, as it will just cause problems for you and me.  Besides, software should only be installed by SCLS staff on any LINK staff or patron PC anyway.  Plus, before we send out any updates we test them to make sure that they work well with business critical software.  When you install your own software you're opening yourself up to a wide variety of problems.

I've discovered a few things while doing the Java update.  One of them is that not all patron PCs are left on at night.  This prevents these patrons PCs from getting anti-virus updates and any software updates that we may be sending out that night.  So, please, please, leave all patron PCs powered on at night.  To help save on electricity you can shut off the monitors as these are the biggest power consumers anyway.  Another thing I discovered is that libraries vary as to whether or not they leave their staff PCs powered on at night.  This is just fine, because the staff PCs don't get anti-virus updates at night anyway.  They are actively updated many times during the day.  If your staff PC is off the night that I send out an update no big deal.  You'll either get the update when you turn on the PC or I'll call you to have you power it on.

Retiring Station Numbers

In Dynix, every PC was assigned at least one 4-digit station number.  In Koha, there are no station numbers!

Ahhh---- My PC's name is MADSLAL24! What does this mean?

  • If you accidentally "X-out" of your Koha session, you don't need to call the HelpDesk.  Hip-hip-HOORAY!  Just open your browser and log back in.
  • If you do call the HelpDesk, we'll ask for your PC Name.  Not the station number.

If you have stickers listing the PCs' station numbers (ex.  "station # 4442"), you can get rid of them.  The identifiers we'll focus on from here on out are the PC names.  The PC name is normally on the PC's case on a white sticker and begins with your library's 3-letter agency code.  (Ex.  MADSLAL24)

Receipt Printer and DYMO LabelWriter Installations

As many of you might already know, Craig and I have been installing the offline circulation software that will be used with Koha.  If we haven't contacted your library to install the software, we will soon. 

We have also been installing EPSON receipt printer drivers for the TM-U200 model.  We will not be installing drivers for the EPSON TM-U220 printers until after Dynix has been taken down.  This is because installation of the EPSON TM-U220 driver interferes with the Generic/Text Only driver that is required for Dynix.

For those libraries that have purchased the new Star TSP100 receipt printers, you can call the Help DeskMH900438370  or PC Technicians at any time to have them installed.  Before calling, please connect the receipt printer to your PC with the USB cable provided.  You can also plug the power cable into the printer ahead of time, but please do not plug the power cable into the power outlet.  There is a software installation CD in the box that you can have ready.

Most libraries have also purchased DYMO LabelWriters.  You can call to have these installed at any time.  Like with the receipt printers, please have the DYMO connected to the PC with the USB cable that is provided.  Also have the power cable plugged into the printer and have the software CD ready. 

Just in case you're wondering, the Star receipt printers will not work with Dynix.  This means you will have two receipt printers connected to the PC until Dynix has been retired. 

Please call to have the Star printers and DYMO LabelWriters installed at least a week before the new Koha Go Live date of February 14th.  Your cooperation is appreciated and will decrease the amount of time you're on the phone during the installs.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Send it to me in email

Subscribe If you've been following the Link 2.0 Koha blog, you probably already know that things are really hoppin' with Koha just around the corner.  One way to follow the blog is by using a feed reader.  Another is just to bookmark it and pop by periodically.  But did you know you can also subscribe to it by email?

At the bottom of the right column, you'll find 2 links:  one to subscribe via email and one for RSS.

Email subscriptions are also available for some of the other SCLS blogs, including:

  • TechBits  (my personal favorite  ;)   )
  • Get in the Van - News and items of interest for the Wisconsin Libraries' Delivery Service Network members
  • Know More - Current info on continuing education and learning opportunities from SCLS and other sources
  • Past Program Information & Handouts - Recordings and handouts from continuing education programs. 

Feeling overwhelmed by email?  You might want to try creating some Thunderbird filters.  For example, I have one filter so that the "SCLS Top 5" emails get filtered into their very own folder, and another that puts emails with monthly database statiscs in another folder.

More Information About Receipt Printing and Koha

A few weeks ago I posted a TechBits about a thermal receipt printer we were testing for use with Koha.  This week, I’d like to give you some more details.  There will be two options for printing receipts in Koha.  The first SCLS-supported option will be to continue using your Epson impact (dot matrix) receipt printers with some adjustments to its configuration.  There is one exception to this and you can read about it in the next paragraph.  The second SCLS-supported option will be to order new, Star TSP100 futurePRINT thermal receipt printers.

For the Epson receipt printers to continue working with Koha, SCLS staff will need to install an Epson print driver.  This will be coordinated so that the installs are done prior to switching to Koha.  Epson programmed Windows drivers for the TM-U200pd and TM-U220pd models.  We have been able to print Koha receipts with these two models.  We still have a few TM-300pd printers at some libraries.  Most of these printers are over ten years old.  Epson did not program Windows drivers for these printers.  Although they work fine in Dynix with a Generic/Text Only driver, our testing shows that is not the case with Koha.  These printers will need to be replaced.  MR900056755  

It is also recommended that you purchase black receipt printer ribbons.  Combination red and black receipt printer ribbons were purchased in past coordinated orders.   These ribbons will work; however, the receipts look a little nicer with just the black ribbon.  The next SCLS coordinated order should have these ribbons included.

The second supported option will be the Star TSP100 futurePRINT thermal receipt printer.  The Star printer can be ordered with an auto cutter or a tear bar.  If you have an ITG Self Check that prints receipts, you are probably already familiar with the Star printer with auto cutter.  The last time I asked for pricing on the TSP100, I was quoted a price of $212 +shipping for the tear bar and $246 +shipping for the auto cutter.  Both come with a 3-year limited manufacturer warranty.  The thermal receipt paper will also be included in the next coordinated order.

On Friday, I sent out an email requesting information about the current receipt printers at libraries.  If you respond that you still do have the Epson TM-U300pd printer(s), I will contact you about replacing them.  Next week, the peripherals order form will be updated to include the new Star thermal printers.  Please let me know if you have any questions.