Friday, October 14, 2016

Audiobooks are the bees knees!


Ok, so I was not alive yet when "the bee's knees"was popular terminology for the bestest of the best, but that doesn't mean I can't sling it around, right?

I love audiobooks. I listen to them while commuting and while driving to libraries for consulting/IT support. I listen to "my stories" while doing chores around the house to working in the garden. I can get so caught up in an audiobook that I will sit in the car when I get home just as I reach a good part. A few years back I was naive and actually PAID for audiobooks! Can you believe it? I had a standing subscription with Audible and had excellent selection of new releases and best sellers. And all I had to do was pay $15 a month. I finally got wise a realized my library could get me these books, on CD or online, at no cost. You would have thought I would have figured that out long know as a working librarian and all. DUH!
So, Have you tried OneClickDigital? If you are a resident of Kansas, you can get a Kansas Library card and access their digital collection: OneClickDigital from State Library of Kansas.

The State Library of Kansas also offers many options for eBooks, if that's your thing: Digital Library

If you are a resident of the Central Kansas Library System, your local library card will give you access to Sunflower eLibrary, an Overdrive eLibrary. There are eBooks, Audiobooks, and a small but growing collection of Videos.

Your local library also has books on CD! And if your library doesn't have it, ask at the desk and a staff member can get it from another library through InterLibrary Loan.

This week I am listening to Poldark: Demelza 1788-1790 by Winston Graham.

I am also listening to Fragments by Dan Wells.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Passwords--are yours tough enough?

It seems like every time I see a news feature another company's account have been hacked and it's time to change passwords AGAIN.

It happened recently with Dropbox.

While changing my passwords, I noticed something that is common practice for my library colleagues. Using a name or simple word as a password and using it for everything FOR THE END OF TIME.

There are 3 things that make this a very weak and vulnerable set up for your accounts.
1) Passwords should not be names, places or things that are easily linked to you.
2) None of your passwords should be the same.
3) You should periodically change your passwords.

So, how to make a unique non-word password that is easy to remember?

Follow these guidelines:
1) Use uppercase and lowercase letters
2) Use numbers (but not your birthday, or your cat's birthday)
3) Use symbols like ! @ # $ %
4) Make the password at least 8 characters long

There are many different styles. Perhaps you see patterns everywhere so you make a pattern on the keyboard.


Perhaps you are good at anagrams so you change up a word. Perhaps you like acronyms and take the first letter from each word in a common phrase.

I like to take a word like the name of a candybar and switch out the vowels with symbols.
Snickers becomes Sn1ck3rs
I make sure there are Capital and lowercase letters.
I add a symbol on the beginning and then end. !Sn1ck3rs?
Then I make it unique for each account. So for Yahoo!, my password (that is totally fake so don't even try it, hackers) is !Sn1ck3rs?Y!
But for Dropbox it is !Sn1ck3rs?DB

Then in 6 months, I pick a new candybar and change all my passwords again.

And if you need to keep track of passwords, I suggest using an encrypted password keeper like:
Dashlane or LastPass. These sites can sync with your mobile devices and computers. And, they can help you come up with passwords too. They just aren't as fun.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why We Weed: Hilariously Outdated Fiction

Now I love books that make me laugh. A good comedy is a brilliant thing.

But then there are those books that are unintentionally amusing.

Like this charmer...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Back It Up! Then Backup the Back Up!

Last week I had the joy [sarcasm] of restoring not 1, not 2, but 3 staff computers to factory default settings. That means a complete wipe of the hard drive and a clean install of Windows Operating System.

Library the First: had an automatic back up to an external hard drive set up, yay! But something went wrong with the program and it hadn't backed up since February 2016. Yikes! This computer had the financials for the library on it! I spent most of my time trying to find a current backup of the financial files as Quickbooks wouldn't open to make a backup.
LESSON: Even with Automatic Backups setup, periodically check your backup to make sure it is working.

Library the Second: got a keystroker trojan that captured all the passwords (by recording keystrokes) and had hijacked her email. The Hacker had put a forwarder on the library email so nothing came to the inbox. To remove the virus, I had to make a clean install. Virus prevention post to come...
Before I could do anything, I had to backup the library files. There was no backup setup.
LESSON: Hope for the best, plan for the worst...back up your files!

Library the Third: This was a staff member at the home office! A coworker's laptop would not boot. Luckily she had noticed the computer was acting funky and had backed up her files the week before onto her external hard drive. I was able to push a new clean Windows 10 onto her laptop and get her set up in 2 hours.
LESSON: Pay attention to your computer. If he's acting funny, BACKUP!

So, here's the quick and dirty back up plan.
Get a DropBox account. Get on Google Drive. Save your files there.
Get a 64GB flash drive or a 1TB external HardDrive. Save your files there.
Save your files Twice. Once in My Documents on your computer and Once in a secondary location.

Look into these backup programs: GoodSync, SyncBack or Oops!Backup.

Carbonite will automatically backup your files to the cloud...for a fee.

File management and Backup is the computer user's responsibility. Please don't place this burden on your friendly IT. You need to know where your files are.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Why We Weed: Computer Books

So I was going through our professional collection today and I came across these jewels:
This is all but one of our computer books in the collection. They are all published in 2008 or earlier. And they are all woefully out of date.

Let's break them down:
FileMaker Pro 9: Database creator. Most databases are online and are created and stored there. If you need a database creator, most likely you will purchase a newer version of FileMaker pro than this 8+ year old version. I doubt this is even compatible for Windows 10.

Web Design from 1998-2000: Please, please, please don't design your new website to look like a 1998 website. We have come so far in 18 years!

MS Office XP: I know several libraries that still use there licenses for MS Office XP. However, for our professional collection, I think online tutorials would serve us better., for example has tutorials for MS Office 2003-to 365.

Computers and other IT (Information Technology) change so quickly, that printed, published materials have trouble keeping up. Nothing OLDER that 3 years should be kept on public shelves or in a professional collection. I recommend using online resources instead.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why We Weed: Outrageous Lies!

Sometimes you come across a book that just rubs you the wrong way and you know that it must go!

"Too Many Kittens"?! What a load of crap!

In all seriousness, books like the above that are fraying around the edges, smell like an actual litter box and haven't checked out since 2009 can probably go.

So say farewell to this one from Helen Hoke along with many, many, many others.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why We Weed: Computers edition

Libraries are excellent about doing more with less. We know how to be frugal and reuse, recycle, reduce! And thank goodness for donations from the community.

However, not all donations are appropriate to add to the library's collection. Medical books from 1980 for example, should be placed directly in the recycle bin.

The same can be said for outdated technology.

When weeding a book, it's easy to determine the condition. You just flip through the pages and look for tears, missing pages, water damage, smell.

Evaluating a computer or printer is not as easy. You have to plug it in and turn it on. And use it.

Is the computer used only as a last resort? Is it slow? Does it crash often? Can you have more than 1 program running at a time? How old is it?

I am giving you permission to discard your donated Windows98 machines.

Go ahead and say thanks but no thanks for dot matrix printers.

"But," I've had Librarians say, "this can be used for a children's computer. It has games like Magic School Bus." Played on CD-ROM or (gasp) possibly even floppy discs.
My answer:  If the computer is three times as old as the little kiddo you think will play on it, you're going to be disappointed. Sure it was cool to play on the first word processor typewriters, but I'm not going to seek one out today. Kids won't want to play the pixelated, slow, and dated games that play on WindowsME or 98. There are lots of great online sites and games that will hold their attention and suit their needs better.

So, here is a list of computers to weed:
Windows XP, WindowsME, Windows98 or older
Computer  that takes 10 to boot and another 10 to load
Dot Matrix Printers
Printers that constantly Jam.

And remember, having more computers isn't always better, if no one wants to use them. It is better to have 3 or 4 Windows 7 or Windows 10 computers that 8 outdated computers that site unused.