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!)


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.

The importance of logging out

funny pictures of cats with captions

As our Lolcat has reminded us in the photo, you probably don't want to leave your accounts open to access by others.  If you use a PC that is accessible by other people (especially a public PC), it is good practice to log yourself out of any services you are using and close the browser when you are done.

On SCLS-supported public PCs, patrons can also reboot the PC to erase their private information (a reboot restores the PC to its original configuration).  See "Public Computers and Patron Privacy" for more information.

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.

Public Computers and Patron Privacy

privacyphoto © 2009 Alan Cleaver | more info (via: Wylio)

Public access computers are essential tools. For library patrons with limited income, these stations may be their only access to online information. But are these shared computers safe? The answer depends on how the stations are configured as well as how they are used.

Configuration issues are many; too many to discuss in detail in a blog post. For SCLS Network computers, we take care to redress problem areas that are built in to the system and popular programs, then we layer on additional security software, Windows domain policy controls, and some clean-up scripting. These measures do help protect a user's privacy, but really they are more about protecting the computer.

The protection that any patron has for their personal information is most strongly related to their own behaviors and habits when using a shared computer. For example, some patrons have noticed with our new Koha catalog that the web browser's Back button can reveal some information about them after they have "logged off" from the catalog. Patrons are right to be concerned about this exposure. However, they are mistaken if they think Koha (or the library) is to blame. Many websites have comparable issues to varying degrees, and the truth is that logging off from a website is simply not enough if you are concerned about privacy protection.

For better protection, users should log off the website (whether it's the library catalog or their online bank) and then close all open web browser windows. For even better protection, they should log off from Windows itself (or log off from LibraryOnline, which then logs off of Windows for you). When Windows or LibraryOnline is logged off, additional clean-up scripting comes into play.

For the ultimate protection, the entire computer should be restarted. Restarting the system invokes our hard disk locking system. Disk locking software automatically returns the PC to the same state that it had when official SCLS maintenance was last completed, leaving no trace at all of what patrons were doing before the reboot.

Office Cheat Sheets

Office2003icon Next time you’re struggling with figuring out how to do something with a Word document or Excel spreadsheet, try one of these convenient cheat sheets from customguide. A while back Kerri wrote a post about some of their other cheat sheets, but now we have quick access to some of the more popular Microsoft Office cheat sheets on our updated technology page in the documentation and troubleshooting section.

These cheat sheets include quick tips, keyboard shortcuts, basic functionality, and formatting guides. You may find it handy to print these sheets out for your staff and patrons.

Learn the basics for OverDrive ebooks

Library patrons have lots of questions about using the ebooks in the Digital Download Center (aka OverDrive). Public services staff, here are answers to some of those questions!

How do the ebooks work?

We've captured the whole process on video:


If you prefer words and screen shots, read up on downloading an ebook and transferring an ebook to an ebook reader.

Do I need an ebook reader or special software to use ebooks?

The ebooks in the Digital Download Center can be used on a PC or Mac with Adobe Digital Editions, even if you do not plan to transfer them to an ebook reader. Adobe Digital Editions is a free program, separate from Adobe Reader or Acrobat, and it should be installed on your computer before you download your first ebook from the Digital Download Center. If you decide to use an ebook reader, you will also need to authorize Adobe Digital Editions with a free Adobe ID and activate the ebook reader with it too.

If I get an ebook reader, which ones work with the library's ebooks?

OverDrive maintains a list of which formats work with which ebook readers at the Device Resource Center. There is also a handy, printable cheat sheet (pdf) that shows some of the more popular supported ebook readers. Unfortunately, the Amazon Kindle is not compatible with the formats in our collection.

Can I try it on a computer at the library?

We're sorry, but currently ebooks cannot be downloaded to library patron computers.

That's a lot to remember. Can you write it all down in case I forget?

Here's another printable handout with all the steps (pdf). It has an ebook how-to guide on one side, and mobile device steps on the other in case you want to try EPUB ebooks on your Android or Apple device. It may also be helpful to write down the URL of the Digital Download Center on the handout: http://dbooks.wplc.info/.

It would be so convenient to download stuff directly to my phone. How does that work?

The OverDrive Media Console apps for Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch can download EPUB ebooks and MP3 audiobooks directly to the device. You can get them from the iPhone App Store, Android Market, or online from OverDrive. Unfortunately, WMA audiobooks and PDF ebooks can't be downloaded directly with these apps. Apps are also available for Blackberry and Windows Mobile, but these don't support ebooks (see the entire list of platforms and format restrictions).

Here's a video of what the app looks like (demonstrated using an iPad):


What if I need help?

For self-help, try the Help section of the Digital Download Center or our OverDrive FAQ wiki.

For support, contact your local library, or submit an online support request.

Free Online Video Editing

I have been searching for a viable alternative to Windows Movie Maker for editing videos when I am not at my computer. I found Jaycut, a free and simple online video editor. It looks and works a lot like Windows Movie Maker. I wanted something to quickly add music and titles to my videos and Jaycut does both plus much more, all for free. You are not required to sign up for an account however, it can't save your session once you close the browser. I signed up for an account, this allows me to save videos and go back to revise them at a later time. This is my first video I made using Jaycut.


10 things about Library Online

  1. Reserve_a_Computer Library Online is software used to manage time/bookings on public access computers.
  2. Library Online is programmed by Active Network.  The support for Library Online is based in Burnaby, British Columbia (which is why past upgrades have been scheduled for Memorial Day-- it's a holiday for us, but the Canadians are hard at work that day!)
  3. 36 SCLS libraries currently participate in Library Online.
  4. Most SCLS libraries allow advance reservations, but a few use it only for walk-up bookings.
  5. In addition to making reservations, Library Online can also be used to run reports and get usage counts... some of which can be used for a library's Annual Report.
  6. There are a few system-wide settings that are the same for all libraries, but MOST settings can be customized by each library to fit the library's needs.  ALL libraries choose their own workstation types, descriptions, and time limits (and many other settings).
  7. There is a Library Online email list for communication specific to Library Online. Any staff person at an SCLS library using Library Online is welcome to subscribe!
  8. Kerri  ♥loves♥ to answer your Library Online questions.
  9. There is Library Online documentation on the SCLS website, including:
  10. As non-LINK Library Online PCs come onto the SCLS network in 2011, we'll be able to take advantage of Library Online features that were unavailable to us in the past, like extending in-use bookings.  (Yay!)

Alternatives to Drop.io

Drop.io logo

Goodbye, drop.io!

Online file storage and sharing is handy for library computer users who don't have access to a USB drive, blank CD, or floppy drive (or for those who forget to bring those items along to the library). If drop.io is your standard go-to for online file storage, now is the time to find a good alternative -- drop.io is ending its free service this week and shutting down altogether on December 15.

Here are 3 services that Lifehacker recommends as drop.io alternatives:

TechBits readers:  do you have any others to recommend?

(Thanks to Jean for the tip!)