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CNET & Amazon Report On Great Black Friday Tech Deals & The Rolling Stones Put Out An App

CNET & Amazon Report On Great Black Friday Tech Deals: Since Black Friday is well – Friday! I thought it might be helpful to relay an article or two that offer tips on where to get some solid Black Friday Tech deals.

CNET offers an article on their site titled Top 16 Black Friday Tech Deals and those deals, all of which require one to actual visit a brick and mortar store, include great ones on TVs, a wireless speakerphone, several cool smart phones that are either free or very cheap with a contract, the entry level Roku player for $39.99, a touch screen Windows 8 laptop for less than $600 and even a $39.99 Barnes & Noble Nook (being sold by Sears!). So if you’re planning on bravely venturing forth to shop for tech in the real world on Friday you might want to check out the interactive article.

Here’s the link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-34231_7-10014586.html

And you’ll notice that I referred to that last article as one that might be helpful if you’re shopping in the real world on Friday…

In contrast, here’s a link to the Upcoming Black Friday deals being offered by Amazon online – for those persons who like to do their Christmas shopping from the comfort of their favorite easy chair!

The Amazon page is titled Black Friday Deals Week and can be accessed via the following link:

http://goo.gl/eYZgM

The Rolling Stones Put Out An App: The Stones have just put out an official app. And according to the New York Times the app was “developed with the involvement of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood” so it ought to be quite good as the boys know a thing or two about rock n’ roll! As you would expect the app relays information and news about the band and also allows fans to see where the band is playing on its current tour – and to purchase tickets accordingly.

The brief article regarding the app is from the New York Times Media Decoder blog – here’s the link:

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/digital-notes-the-rolling-stones-app-and-sonys-streaming-music-discount/

Have a great Thanksgiving!

And remember the library will be open on Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM so if you are all turkeyed and shopped out – visit us to retrieve some great reading, viewing and listening material – we promise we’ll even have our Christmas collection of CDs out and ready to be checked out!

Linda R. 

Fun Pinterest Program Tonight! & Reminder Of Upcoming Library Closings

Fun Pinterest Program Tonight!

Did you know the library hosts several Pinterest programs each month?

We do!

And the next Pinterest program is tonight (11-20) from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.

Feel free to pop in for part of the program tonight; or indeed any time we are hosting a Pinterest event if you can’t quite make the 5:30 start time. Each Pinterest program features the creation of some type of delicious food and the creation of some cool item like homemade coasters or hot plates.

Tonight host Jenn Gaylor will be assisting attendees in creating Special Acorn Treats and DIY Stamped Tea Towels.

Here a link to Pinterest showing the delicious looking Acorn Treats:

http://pinterest.com/pin/149885493819647472/

And here is a link to Pinterest that shows the cool looking stamped tea towels which would make neat holiday gifts (of course, they look so cool I bet  you’ll want to keep them for yourself and later make a batch to give as holiday gifts!):

http://pinterest.com/pin/149885493818985388/

And we do ask that if possible you RSVP for any Pinterest event– simply so we know how many treats to plan on making and much in the way of supplies we need to create the special creation item being made!

So please RSVP via phone 607.684.0361 or email belab@stls.org – Thanks!

Reminder Of Upcoming Library Closings: This is of course not strictly a tech related item – except of course for the fact that you won’t be able to access any of our onsite tech resources on the days we are closed. However, if you have any Internet connection you can always access e-books, a-audio books, e-videos, e-music titles and databases via our website found at SSCLIBRARY.ORG!

The Library will be closed on Thursday, November 22 in observance of Thanksgiving. We will re-open at our usual opening time of 10 AM on Friday, November 23. We’ll also be open our regular hours of 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, November 25.

And then the library will be closed for a week from Sunday, November 25 through Sunday, December 2 so that all the ceiling tiles in the library can be replaced. No physical library materials will be due during the week that we are closed for ceiling tile repair. However, if you wish to return your materials during that week you can place them in the big green book drop located next to the Tioga Avenue entrance to the library.*

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*The exception to this return in the book drop rule includes all our circulating e-readers and laptops – please do not place those in the book drop – instead please either return those items prior to the week we are closed or after we re-open on December 3. Thanks!

Washington Post Interview with Futurist Ray Kurzweil & New XBOX Reportedly Coming With Kinect 2.0, Blu-Ray & Kinect Glasses

Washington Post Interview with Futurist Ray Kurzweil: Futurist Ray Kuzweil was recently interviewed by Vivek Wadha of the Washington Post. And I found the interview interesting because it highlights how the accelerated rate of technological change is going to change how we live and work at a much faster rate in this century than it did in the last century; and further that the fast paced technological change will transform the work force in two main ways: 1. By making life-long learning a necessity (gone will be the days when anyone can do the same job in the same way for decades) and 2. In the creative opportunities that will arise for people with a great idea, a hard-work ethic and determination (how the technology will have a democratizing effect allowing people to create more, different and better things with easily accessible technology like 3D printers).

The interview is titled Ray Kurzweil on the future workforce and may be accessed via the following link:

http://goo.gl/CkELE

And on a post script note for anyone who is interested in reading more on futuristic technology predictions – you might want to check out the book Physics of the Future by Micio Kaku.

And there are bunch of Ray Kuzweil video lectures on YouTube which are interesting as well.

New XBOX Reportedly Coming With Kinect 2.0, Blu-Ray & Kinect Glasses: CNET reports that XBOX World says Microsoft’s next XBOX – The XBOX 720 will come with Kinect 2.0 and Blu-ray capability. Kinect of course is the motion detector game controller for the XBOX that allows players to manipulate their characters and/or action within games by moving around in the physical world. And having a Blu-ray disc drive built into the XBOX would be great but I must admit I like the idea of the rumored XBOX Kinect Glasses that are also supposed to be coming and that when combined with the Kinect motion sensor are supposed to offer the game player an immersive gaming experience – that sounds good to me! We’ll have to wait and see if the speculation pans out – the next XBOX is rumored to be coming out in the first half of 2013.

Here’s a link to the CNET report titled Xbox 720 to offer Kinect 2.0 and Blu-ray drive, says Xbox World:

http://goo.gl/0u21k

And a link to the very brief CNET article, titled ‘Kinect Glasses’ coming from Microsoft? that relays the rumor about the Kinect Glasses:

http://goo.gl/VR68H

Have a great day!

Linda R.

Free Library E-Books, E-Audio Books, E-Videos, E-Music and Credible Databases

Did you know library offers patrons a multitude of free electronic resources consisting of e-books, e-audio books, e-videos, e-music titles and credible databases that you can access via the web 24/7/365?

We do!

All you need is a library card to access and/or check e-materials and log into e-databases.

And before I go any further let me just say that the cliff notes/basic bottom line of this posting is that you can access e-books, videos, audio books and music albums through the Digital Catalog found on the library’s website. And if you have any questions about how to access any of the content on our website and/or download it to any of your tech devices please feel free to visit the library and speak with a member of our tech team – or even make an appointment to sit down with a member of our tech team and go over any tech usage questions you have step-by-step– it is a free service we offer! Just call: 607-936-3713 ext. 502 – which is the Reference Desk extension – and ask to speak to Linda or Jenn to make an appointment.

And if you’d like an in-depth explanation of the e-formats the library offers and how you can access them – please read on!

The first thing you need to begin the process of checking out e-formats is a library card. And to obtain a library card you simply come to the library during our usual hours of operation and present a form of ID that features both your name and your current address. There is a very short form to fill out as well and presto! You’ll have a library card which will literally unlock worlds for you – worlds of imagination and worlds of information and just plain worlds of fun too!

So of course, once you have a library card, the next question is:

How do you check out free library e-books, e-audio books, e-videos, e-music titles and how do you access the free databases in the library’s online collection?

And before I answer that duo question I have to add an illuminating little tidbit of information regarding e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music titles. The e-book revolution and the move to accessing information and media content online has happened so quickly that it is causing major upheaval in the publishing and media world. And as a result of the major upheaval, publishers and media companies want to put what they call “friction*” in the process that patrons have to use to check out free library e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music  titles (albums).  And the publisher/media company requirement of “friction” is why there are so many different ways to download e-library content and why it is frequently a cumbersome process. And added to that fact is another huge fact – not all publishing companies and media companies will sell their e-content to public libraries – and that is why you don’t see some of the best-selling e-books, e-audio books, e-videos and e-music titles on the shelves of our virtual library.

And getting back to the question of how one checks out these e-formats – the answer to that questions can be more easily relayed if we look separately at each of the five categories our virtual library e-books, e-audio books, e-videos, e-music titles and the library collection of free credible databases.

And notably, all the category items, except the databases, can be accessed via the STLS Digital Catalog (aka Virtual Library) link found on the library’s homepage. The fifth category – the databases – can be accessed by clicking on the Research link found on the library’s home page (and then clicking on the Subscription Resources link that displays).

And without further ado on to the five categories:

E-Books: You can check out and read library e-books on a PC, Mac, e-ink e-reader (those are the ones that feature black text on a light gray screen), a reading tablet* (Kindle Fire, Nook Color, Nook Tablet or Nook HD) or a tablet (iPad, iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7/10, Galaxy Tab etc.)

And if you have questions about how to check out free library e-book – call or stop by the library and a member of our tech team will assist you!

E-Audio Books: There are two types of e-audio books found in the catalog – MP3 audio books and WMA audio books. The MP3 audio books can be checked out and listened to via PCs, Macs, and via apps downloaded to smartphones & tablets. And WMA files – well, the WMA stands for “Windows Media Player” and thus you have to download the WMA audios to a PC and then transfer them to supported portable device like an iPad, iPod or other MP3 player.

And if you have questions about how to check out free library e-audio books – call or stop by the library and a member of our tech team will be glad to answer any questions you have about the process and/or walk you through it!

E-Videos: E-videos are the easiest format in the Digital Catalog to discuss because, basically, you can download e-videos to a PC and that is all* You do have to download software first – it is called OverDrive Media Console and it can be accessed via the library’s website.

And you know I’m going to repeat myself here and say if you have questions about how to check out free library e-videos – please call or stop by the library and a member of our tech team will assist you!

You can even make an appointment with a member of our tech team and we’ll walk you through the process from beginning to end!

E-Music Titles: E-music titles can be checked out to a PC and a variety of MP3 players including players made by Sony, Samsung, ScanDisk, Colby and Creative Zen (but not any version of the iPhone, iPod or iPad…)

Ditto the cheerleader like refrain: if you have questions about how to check out free library e-music albums–please call or stop by the library and a member of our tech team will assist you!

And if you’d like to check and see if any of your devices can play any or all of the e-formats mentioned in this blog post check out Resources page on the OverDrive website.

Here’s the link:

http://www.overdrive.com/resources/drc/

Free (To Library Patrons) & Credible Databases: You can also access a number of free (to library patrons) databases through the library’s website. These databases include: Academic One File (for students of all ages doing research), The Business & Company Directory (a great db to use if you want to know where a company is located, who the CEO is and other general information regarding the business/company), The Chilton Library (for those that like to fix their own cars!), EBSCO Animals (for kids looking for information on animals), the Health Reference Center (to research health subjects), The Literature Resource Center (for researching authors, books and literary works in general), the New York State Newspapers database (to search for articles that have appeared in New York State Newspapers) and more! Check it out! Simply go to our website: SSCLIBRARY.ORG, click on the Research link at the top of the page and then click on the Subscription Services link that displays – the listing of our databases will display. And once you click on a database you’d like to try out – you’ll be prompted to log in with the number on the back of your library card.

And if you really read all that – you deserve a gold star!

Have a great weekend everyone!

And remember our free e-services will be accessible the last week of the month, November 25 – December 2, when the library itself will be closed so the interior ceiling tiles can be replaced.

Linda R.

*The term “Reading Tablet” as we use it refers to e-reading tablets that are not quite fully fledged tablets – the offer many of the same features as a full sized tablet but may or may not have a camera and they do not have access to all the apps in the Apple or Android app stores.

*Friction: The term “friction” in this case means that the publishers and media companies want to make the process of checking out e-formats from your public library more difficult because they think this will cut down on digital piracy.

*Digital Catalog: the Term “Digital Catalog” is fancy tech terminology that simply means the place you go to browse through the e-book titles, search for specific e-book titles and then check them out so you can read them!

*E-Videos: There are a few exceptions to the rule that e-videos can only be downloaded to a Windows PC but they are so few I’m not sure it is even worth mention them. OverDrive states on their Supported Devices page that if you own an MP3 player that supports DRM and WMA protected content (i.e. the anti-piracy software that publishers and media companies insist be built into e-books, e-audios and e-videos) than you can download e-videos to that device and take them with you. However, the list OverDrive has of portable devices that support DRM and WMA is very short and consists of several of the Creative Zen and Sony series of MP3 players…

Recommended Tech Holiday Gift Lists

I can’t believe it is just about the season to venture forth and purchase tech gifts for friends and family members. However, since Black Friday is a week from tomorrow it certainly must be!

Where has November gone? It does seem to be flying right by…

And I’m digressing! Back to the topic of finding the right tech gift!

Not only can the tech holiday gift guide links below assist you in finding the prefect tech gift – but the library staff can too! And as I mentioned yesterday tonight the library is hosting its first Try It Before You Buy It program of the seasons. The program will offer people the opportunity to come in and try out a variety of tablets, e-readers and a few other gadgets (including a Kodak Playsport, a fifth generation iPod Touch, a touchscreen, a Windows 8 laptop and a MacBook).

And with our Try It Before You Buy It program and the advent of the holiday shopping season in mind, pasted below are links to two tech sites who have put out their recommendations as to which tech items you might want to purchase as gifts.

And of course if you can’t make the Try It Before You Buy It program this evening you can shoot for the next one being held December 6th (at 6 PM) or simply call us and arraign a time that is convenient for you to come in and take a look at the e-readers, tablets and other tech items that we have in-house and correspondingly ask questions of our tech team who are here to help!

And on to the tech site holiday gift guide links!

The first link is to the CNET 2012 Holiday Gift Guide that includes recommendations in the both general and specific categories. The general categories are: Best Gifts For Less Than $100, Our Favorite Tech Gifts This Holiday, Tech Toys for Big Kids, Best TV’s for Overall Value and Top Camera Picks. And the specific category reviews include: Televisions, Cameras & Accessories, Home Theater, Tablets & E-Book Readers, Phones & Accessories, Desktops and Laptops, Audio & Headphones, Games & Gaming Systems and Cars and Car Tech.

Here’s the link:

http://reviews.cnet.com/holiday-gift-guide/

The second link is to the Tech Crunch gift guide for 2012 and it features specific device suggestions – recommendations include purchasing the iPad Mini, a TIME Led Watch Kit, a Libratone Zipp AirPlay speaker set and the Motorolla Razo i.

Here’s the link:

http://techcrunch.com/tag/gift-guide-2012/

And on a final note, here’s a link to a CNET article highlighting tech devices that will be on sale – on Black Friday:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-34231_7-57549903/black-friday-2012-laptops-desktops-and-tablets/

Have a great day everyone!

Linda R. 

Try The Gadgets Before You Buy Them @ The Library & Personal Wristband Health Monitor

Try The Gadgets Before You Buy Them @ The Library: Tomorrow evening (11-15) the library is hosting a pre-holiday Try It Before You Buy It program.

And you might well be thinking “That’s great! But what does it mean?”

And the answer is that we will have a selection of e-readers (Kindles, Nooks etc.), tablets (iPad, Galaxy Tab etc…) and even a Windows 8 touch screen laptop for patrons to come and try out as a precursor to patrons actually braving the holiday shopping storm and going out to buy a new e-reader, tablet or Windows 8 computer.

So if you’re thinking of purchasing a new e-reader, tablet or Windows 8 computer for yourself or someone else in the near future – here’s your chance to try out some of these neat gadgets (and see which ones you like best) before you buy them!

Library staff members will be on hand to assist patrons in trying out the devices!

The program starts at 6 PM and runs until 7ish (the “ish” simply means that members of the library’s tech staff will be on hand to answer all questions and if we run past 7 or 7:30 while we’re answering questions– that is fine! We’ll stay until the tech team has answered all questions)

Personal Wristband Health Monitor: The Jawbone company has updated its personal health monitor wristband – which is called the “Up.”  The Up monitor consists of a wristband monitor, in colorful, fashionable colors, that users wears and which monitors how many steps a user takes each day, how long, and how well, the user sleeps and even offers an alarm feature that goes off if the user has been sedentary for a long period of time. The Up features Bluetooth technology and must be used in conjunction with an app that talks to the monitor and sends reports to a person’s smartphone or tablet. Right now the device, which retails for $129.99, only works with Apple’s iOS but Android support is coming shortly*. So if you’re in the market for a personal health monitor either to use as a gift or for yourself (perhaps in conjunction with a resolution made at the new year!) than you might want to check out the Techland article on the Up.

The article is titled Jawbones Up Wristband Its Back (the title refers to the fact that the original monitor –which was briefly on the market more than a year ago had battery issues which the Jawbone company has now fixed); here’s the link:

http://techland.time.com/2012/11/13/jawbones-up-wristband-its-back/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*The fancy terminology means that you must currently own an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to download and use the Up monitor app and that in the near future Android devices like the Google Nexus series of tablets, the Galaxy Tab series of tablets and the Droid Razor smart phone will also get the app so you’ll be able to use the Up monitor with those devices too.

 

 

Creating Better, More Secure Passwords

We all know that it is a good idea to create strong, secure passwords for our online accounts and not use passwords like: password, apples, 1234, baseball or qwert; or passwords that include personal information like your date of birth or the date of birth of a family member. However, in our super busy world creating secure passwords that we can remember is a challenge. And today there is an article in the New York Times titled How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away that discusses the subject of creating safer, more secure passwords – and it does offer some helpful tips! The suggestions include never using the same password twice, never using proper words but instead using catch phrases (i.e. the first initial of each word in a phrase like TYwtws2013! For the catch phrase “The Yankees won the world series 2013!”

Here’s a link to the article for more in-depth information on how to create great passwords:

http://goo.gl/eBsy5

Have a great day!

Linda