Tech-Talk – A Digital Library Resource

Tech-Talk is a weekly, technology-focused e-newsletter for professional development for non-techies.  It introduces fresh ideas … ways to use technology … to work more productively and communicate very effectively.  With a focus on productivity software from Microsoft Office and interpersonal communications, Tech-Talk doesn’t just tell people how to do things, it tells them why … and shows them new ways to make technology work for them.

Tech-Talk arms you with the missing technology (and communications) skills you need to get good grades, better jobs and higher pay. It is digital learning with easy-to-read articles, videos, and other fun stuff with the tips and tricks you need to be competitive in today’s hi-tech world. Some of the topics covered in Tech-Talk include:

There are three ways to access Tech-Talk. The database, the app, and the newsletter. You can access the information in the database and app at any time. Newsletters arrive with a new tip weekly.

The Database and App

The Tech Talk database can be accessed in a browser: https://www.tech-talk.com or using a mobile app (Apple and Android). To get the app, go to https://www.tech-talk.com/get-app.

Select “Member Login” and enter free-learning as both the user name and the password. This password can be saved.

Articles

To search or browse the database, click on “articles” in the menu. You can then search by keyword or topic, enter a problem to solve, or ask a new question if you haven’t found an article to meet your need. You can scroll down to browse articles in date order (newest first).

Learning Activities

In addition to articles, Tech Talk has tool kits, scavenger hunts for training, one-sheet reference guides, targeted problem-solving, webinars, CE certificates, and so much more. To see an index of all of them, click “Learning Activities” in the menu. Alternatively, hover over it and see a categorized sub-menu.

Search

The search page has the same search options we saw on the articles page, and it also includes titles of the latest 10 articles in each of 21 different categories for quick browsing.

The Newsletter

You can opt-in to the e-newsletter to receive a short weekly email with a productivity tip and a communication tip. Videos and text are both provided. To sign up for the newsletter, go to https://www.tech-talk.com/free-learning-newsletter and fill in the short form. Be sure to mention us as the “sponsor institution.”

Got Questions?

Need help finding or using the database? Installing the app? Subscribing to the newsletter? Ask us in the comments, call the library at 518-477-7476, or email us at eglibraryinfo@eglibrary.org.

Pay Library Fines Online

A new feature has been added to the Upper Hudson Library System’s online catalog. Patrons now have the ability to pay for their library fines online with a credit card or PayPal account.

To begin, head over to the UHLS Online Catalog, Encore. There is also a link for “My Account” on the East Greenbush Community Library’s website under the Explore heading.

Once you have logged in with your library card number and PIN, click on the Fines/Fees link on the left. If you have fines, you will see the fine total in parenthesis next to Fines/Fees.

To continue, click on Fines/Fees. Please note that you need to have a minimum balance of $1.01 to pay your fines online.

Here you will see a display listing the details about each fine. Click on the gray Pay Online button to continue.


You can select which fines you would like to pay. By default, all fines are currently selected. Uncheck any fines you would like to pay later. Once you have selected the fines you would like to pay online, click continue. Clicking cancel will take you back to the previous screen.

From here you can enter your payment information. In the top right corner, there is an order summary that displays your the total you will be paying today. There are two ways to pay. If you click Pay with PayPal, you can login with your PayPal account and follow the steps from there. The second option is to enter your credit card information and billing address and click the Pay Now button. Once your payment has processed, you will get a confirmation message that your payment has gone through.

If you have any questions, please contact the library. Have you tried out the new pay online feature? Let us know in the comments!

Tagging the Library Catalog

tag

Our latest public catalog has some new features that we are excited to see patrons using. One of these features allows patrons to “tag” items in our catalog. The purpose of adding a tag would be to make an item easier to find. For example, if I ran a book club at the library, I might want to add the tag “EG Book Club” to every title we discuss. That way, any patron searching the catalog for “EG Book Club” would find all of those books grouped together in the results.

The Issue

Recently, we have discovered that there may be some confusion about the nature of tags in our catalog. Given some of the community tags we’ve seen, it appears that patrons believe them to be private. Consider the following example:
Tag example 1. If they get it in large print or the e-book version

Clearly, this is a patron’s note to self and not meant for public consumption. Unfortunately, there is no way we can let the patron who added it know that a more effective way to accomplish this privately would be to use the My List feature of the catalog, which we will outline in a moment.

Other patrons may think tagging an item is a way to communicate with library staff:

Tag example 2. Renew e-book

I assure you that no staff member will see this unless they find it by accident.  If you have created your own tags assuming they were private, please help us clean up the catalog and protect your privacy by deleting them.

My List

If you would like to make personal notes to yourself on items in the catalog, there is a more elegant way to do this. It involves an additional click or two, but there are many more options available to you when you use this method. For example, when you add items to a list, you can request them all at once or one at a time. You can also create multiple lists and organize them as you wish.

You can use “My Lists” to save lists of items that you wish to revisit for later use. The content in these lists is stored until you remove it. In “My Lists”, you can create folders to group your stored titles in ways that help you to organize your content. Titles stored in “My Lists” can be viewed and retrieved by logging into your My Account and using the “My Lists” link.  Login to My Account and the search for an item you wish to add to your list.  Click on the icon to “Add to cart.”

Add to cart icon

When you have gathered all of the items for your list in the cart, click on “My Cart” next to your name in the upper right of the screen.

My Cart link screenshot

Click “save to list” and either create a new list or save to a list already created and confirm.  To see your lists, return to your account details by clicking on your name when logged into the catalog. Select the “My Lists” link to view the lists created.  Click on a list name export it or request/delete items on the list.

My Lists link

How would you use the tagging feature in our catalog? Let us know in the comments.

Tech Tricks to Improve Your Technological Experience

checkthisout

There is a wealth of information available on the internet. Luckily, there are lots of neat technological tips and tricks that can help with how you use technology and its components.

Vine is an app people use to post very short (eight seconds or less) video clips that will automatically replay once the clip has finished. The clips are referred to as Vines. GCF LearnFree has posted a neat list of Vines that can help with some common tech-related problems such as how to organize and label various wires, how to protect power cords, and how to clean a keyboard with a sticky note.

If you are a Chrome user and have been frustrated with the slowness of your browser, makeuseof has written an article that has some suggestions on how you can improve the speed of your Chrome browsing experience.

If you are a user of Creative Commons (content that is free to legally use and share), makeuseof has put together a helpful post that gives tips on how to find Creative Commons content.

Have you ever accidentally installed bundled software without meaning to? When installing free software, often times there will be a message box that appears before the installation asking if you want to install another program, reset your browser homepage, or change your search settings. Luckily, there is a program called Unchecky. This application searches for commonly bundled unwanted applications and removes them. It also prevents unwanted applications from being installed in the future by automatically unchecking the unwanted offers box when a user is installing a new application, as well as warning the user if they try to accept a potentially unwanted offer.

These are just a few of the many neat tricks to help you improve how you use technology and its components. Do you have any neat tricks you’ve discovered? Share them in the comments.

Pop Away from Popups and Other Unwanted Ads

securitykey

It’s happened to most people:  you’re browsing the internet, and suddenly a window pops up informing you that you need to update your software or maybe that you have a virus or perhaps one saying you’ve won a free iPad. Even to advanced computer users, some of these popup advertisements can look legitimate. How can the average computer user avoid bothersome popups?

Luckily, makeuseof has written a helpful article with some helpful tips on how to avoid malicious popups and how to tell if they are legitimate.

The author advises computer users to always check the URL in the address bar. Most software websites have URLs that are pretty straightforward. For example, if you are attempting to download Adobe Reader, the URL will be www.adobe.com. Try to avoid websites with super long web addresses. If you want to view the URL for a website, move your mouse over the link before clicking on it and the full URL will be displayed in the status bar near the bottom of the screen. Google will display the full URL of the search result in green below the link name. In the example below, the mouse cursor is on the link for the East Greenbush Library’s Wikipedia entry. Note the highlighted area near the bottom of the screen that displays the full link.

linkhighlight

 

Try to avoid pages that are full of text and advertisements. If you are still unsure if a download link is safe, check out a site like File Hippo, which is an aggregate site that contains mirror downloads of many popular programs like Adobe Reader and Java. On a related note, try to avoid the Google-ad results, which are usually the first few results that appear in a Google search and are marked with a little yellow ad banner.

If you are mindful about looking at a link before you click on it, you may notice a common trend of link shortening, for example, tiny.url or bit.ly links. How are you supposed to know if those links are legit? There is a great tool called Unshorten.It. You can copy and paste the shortened link and the site will display the full link as well as a small screenshot of the site. There are also various other sites that preform a similar function.

Some other helpful tips mentioned in the article:

  • Install a good anti-virus program. Many have an internet security feature that will highlight suspicious links and block popups.
  • Avoid searching for things like free video games and free screensavers. These are a common source of malware and shady links.
  • There are various browser-specific tips, such as changing your homepage to one you recognize and blocking popups directly with your browser (these options are found in the browser settings).
  • If you are a more advanced computer user, you may want to use a browser extension such as AdBlock Plus that will block ads from appearing on a webpage.
  • The article gives you instructions on what do if you accidentally click on a popup or ad and seem to be stuck.

If you are still getting unwanted popups after trying the tips discussed in the article, you may have malware installed on your computer. If this happens, there are steps you can take to remove it. Check out makeuseof’s malware removal guide for more information.