Staying current with IT news, trends, and tips is a fundamental part of my job in the library. While I get this information from a variety of resources, there is one website that keeps surprising me with helpful information on a variety of subjects of interest to me and the patrons I assist. I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to MakeUseOf, a free online resource with timely articles, reviews, and help guides for all things tech. What really makes this resource shine is its ability to speak to both new and veteran users at the same time without confusing or boring either!
The home page at MakeUseOf displays headlines and teaser text for their most recent articles. I find this layout somewhat chaotic, so I prefer to sort the articles by category before browsing. Selecting “Topics” in the header menu will display the articles by category. The “Answers” section leads to a user forum where registered members can ask and answer questions from the MakeUseOf community. Check out the “Top List” section for “best of” lists for a variety of software and services on multiple platforms. For in-depth technology guides, have a look at their “E-books” area.
As a registered user of MakeUseOf, you can earn points for sharing their content on social media, as well as participating in the forum, polls, and other activities. Those points can be redeemed for rewards, such as entries in drawings for free hardware and software. My favorite benefit of membership has been receiving the newsletter. Each email has a few headlines with teaser text that can be easily scanned, with more information just a click away. I have happened upon lots of very useful information in these newsletters that I didn’t even know I needed! You can opt-in to the newsletter by selecting the social media icons at the top of any MakeUseOf page, and then selecting the blue “Email” button.
What do you think of MakeUseOf? If you have another tech info source you love, please share it in the comments.
If you have an iOS device, chances are good that you have already or will soon be upgrading to iOS 7. Unfortunately for OverDrive users, the upgrade caused a hiccup that kept users from accessing their books in the OverDrive Media Console app. The good news is, OverDrive released a simple fix almost immediately. They suggest uninstalling and reinstalling the OverDrive app and re-authorizing it with your Adobe ID. It is important to note that uninstalling will clear your bookshelf, settings and history. Any items checked out to you can be downloaded again by logging into your OverDrive account’s bookshelf. To login, open the app and select “Get Books.” Click on the account icon and enter you library card number:
If you recently purchased a new Windows computer or tablet, chances are it uses the Windows 8 operating system (OS) or Windows RT (a simplified version of Windows 8 for some tablets). The latest OS marks a major change in the appearance of Windows, which has thrown many users for a loop. Here is a collection of resources to help answer your questions:
For all of you folks who learn best by watching, you’re in luck! OverDrive, the service the library uses to provide downloadable e-books and audiobooks, has released a series of videos to help new users get started downloading library books to their devices.
We have linked to the new videos on the OverDrive Information portion of our website. Please click a link below to get information about how to use your device to download library books.
As always, feel free to call or stop by the Reference Desk (477-7476 option 5) with any questions you may have. You can also drop us an email using our contact form. Please be very specific when describing your question/issue.
I just learned about a wonderful troubleshooting feature included in all versions of Windows 7. I can’t believe Microsoft hasn’t made a bigger deal about this tool! It’s called Problem Steps Recorder. If you encounter an issue that you can reproduce, but can’t easily show or explain to someone, this tool can help.
For example, if I found that clicking a link crashes my internet browser, I can just let the webmaster know the page address and which link caused the problem. However, if I find that only a certain combination of clicks and other actions lead to a crash, that may be more difficult to explain accurately.
Enter Problem Steps Recorder. If I click the “Start” orb, type “psr” (without quotes) and hit enter. A control bar will appear. After I click “start recording”, it will record all of the steps I take, including a text description of where I clicked and a picture of the screen during each click. The text I’m typing will not be recorded. If this information is important to the troubleshooting process, I can use the “Add Comment” feature to annotate the steps. When I stop recording, the information can be saved to a zip file and emailed to support.
As a support professional, I can attest to how important it is to be able to see the screens people are talking about. With so many possible variables on any given machine, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.