Search Individual Sites Using Google

SearchHave you ever tried to search an enormous site that either didn’t have a site search or the site search wasn’t worth using?  Thankfully, Google can rescue us from that quagmire!

While searching for information on the NYS Department of Health site (I don’t mean to pick on them, but this is a true example), I couldn’t seem to find what I needed after about 10 minutes of searching.  So, I went to Google and typed the following:

health.state.ny.us:spanish language materials

The “health.state.ny.us” portion is the address of the website I was searching.  The colon in the middle (without spaces on either side) tells Google where the site name ends and the actual keywords begin.  This simple tweak in my search magically brought up a manageable list of relevant results!

I hope this helps next time you stumble across an unwieldy website that you know has information you need.  Until next time…

Finding Lost Electronics

Have you ever lost your camera?  How about your cell phone?  Thankfully, if you have access to the internet, there are some tools to help you locate your lost items.

Cameras:
Stolen Camera Finder – This site uses the camera’s serial number to search for photos on the web taken by the your camera.  If someone else is using your camera, it will help you track it down.  The site works best in Firefox or Chrome.

CameraFound.com -Worldwide “lost and found” for cameras.

IFoundYourCamera.net – Another “lost and found.”

Cell Phones:
If you don’t already have an app installed to assist in finding your phone, try one of these sites:

Icantfindmyphone.com – Enter your phone number and click the “Hello” button to make your phone ring.

Where’s My Cellphone? – Similar to the site above, with the added feature of a delay in call time.

Laptops are more difficult to recover unless you have installed software to protect against loss, such as LoJack for Laptops or Hidden (for Mac).  If you would like to read an amusing computer recovery story involving Hidden, one Mac owner kept a blog about the theft, complete with embarrasing pictures of the thief!

Happy Computing!

VuFind Enhanced Catalog Search

In July, the Upper Hudson Library System replaced their former enhanced catalog search engine with the open source VuFind search.  Developed by librarians for library catalogs, this tool is constantly being developed and improved in the hopes of providing you, the library user, with an accurate, intuitive, and easily refined search experience.  If you haven’t tried it yet, head over to the enhanced search page and give it a whirl!

A note to mobile device users – http://vufind.uhls.org/vufind/ will detect mobile devices and send them to a mobile-friendly interface.  This area is still under construction, so you may want to click the link on the mobile site to view the full page until it is up and running.

Want to let us know what you think of the new search?  Please send us an email with your comments.

OverDrive App Update

OverDrive LogoIf you use the OverDrive App to download library content to your Apple, Android, Blackberry, or Windows (phone) device, you may be interested in downloading the latest update.  The app now has the capacity to remember your user ID for 90 days, so you won’t need to keep typing it in.  Just check the “Remember me on this device” box next time you check out an item and you’re set!  If your library requires a PIN in addition to the user ID, this will need entered at each login.

Data Backup and Recovery

Frustrated Computer UserWe are all familiar with the nightmare scenario – a Blue Screen of Death or some other indication that your computer irrevocably damaged.  While many people have precious documents, pictures, videos, etc. saved on their home computers, few have committed to a backup plan.

The good news is, backing up doesn’t have to be a huge chore.  This is especially true if you have Windows 7.  There are tools built in to Microsoft’s newest operating system that can allow even a novice user to create reliable backups.  For a fantastic, step-by-step article on how to back up a Windows 7 machine, head to the Windows Secrets article, “Build a complete Windows 7 Safety Net.”

Windows Vista also has some built-in backup capabilities.  Again, someone else has already written a great article, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.

Backing up data on Windows XP can be trickier, since the native tools aren’t as comprehensive.  One of these tools is System Restore.  When enabled, this tool creates “restore points” by essentially taking note of your settings and installed software at a particular point in time.  If data becomes corrupted, sometimes System Restore can help.  However, System Restore can also create a hideout for viruses to reassert themselves after you think you have uninstalled them.  There is a backup utility included in Windows XP, but automated system recovery is not supported.

When dealing with XP, there are some very good third-party backup tools.  For instance, if you plan to backup your data to an external hard drive, many brands pre-load software precisely for this purpose.  I have use the Seagate software at home, and have enjoyed years of successful backups.

If you are willing to pay for reliable backup software, Acronis True Image is one product about which I often read stellar reviews.  It allows for full backups, incremental backups (shorter sessions that only note changes since the last backup), and disk imaging.  Disk imaging not only saves all of your folders and files, it takes a full snapshot of your computer, including the operating system, programs, and settings.  Restoring from an image can save lots of time and headaches.

No matter how you go about it, backing up your data is a crucial element of smooth computing.  Bizarre, unexpected things could happen to your computer at any time.  Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that your precious photos and videos were residing safely elsewhere, should your computer take a turn for the worse?  In fact, I would suggest keeping backups in multiple locations.  External storage has really come down in price, and it could be worth the investment to keep one external drive for regular backups at home and another in a safe deposit box that gets backed up less often.  This way, your data is protected even if you encounter a situation more catastrophic than computer failure.

That reminds me, I think it’s time to backup my work files…

Happy Computing!