Free Personal Technology Program Schedule May 2014

Hi everyone, here’s a link to a PDF that lists all the free personal technology programs being held at the library in May!

SSCL Digital Literacy Services Programs May 2014

Feel free to print off the list and/or forward the information to anyone you think might be interested.

And if you have any questions about the upcoming programs please free free to post them on this blog or send an email inquiry to: DIGLIT@STLS.ORG

And of course you can also call the library if you have questions —  our telephone number is: 607-936-3713

Have a great day!

Linda R.

New Titles Available In STLS Digital Catalog

Newly Added E-Books, E-Audios & Streaming Videos (available via the OverDrive app and seen in the STLS Digital Catalog found at the following link: http://stls.lib.overdrive.com/

Digital Audio Books:

Title:                                                                                                Author/Creator:

The Cairo Affair                                                                               Olen Steinhauer, Edoardo Ballerini

Proven Guilty: The Dresden Files Series, Book 8                      Jim Butcher, James Marster

The Ruby In the Smoke                                                                Philip Pullman, Anton Lesser

The Shadow In the North                                                             Philip Pullman, Anton Lesser

The Tiger In the Well                                                                    Philip Pullman, Anton Lesser

 

E-Books:

Title:                                                                                                Author/Creator:

Acts of God: Why Does God Allow So Much Pain? Bob Russell, Rob Suggs, Kyle Idleman

Awaken the Highland Warrior                                                    Anita Clenney

Awakening                                                                                      Elene Sallinger

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass                                         Meg Wiviott, Josée Bisaillon

Bitter Thistle, Sweet Rose                                                          Ruth Glover

A Bride for Noah: Seattle Brides Series, Book 1                      Lori Copeland, Virginia Smith

Cascade: The River of Time Series, Book 2                            Lisa T. Bergren

Changing Course: Women’s Inspiring Stories of                    Yitta Halberstam

Clammed Up: Maine Clambake Mystery Series, Book 1           Barbara Ross

Dating Games #1: The First Date                                                Melody Carlson

David Pogue’s Digital Photography: The Missing Manual        David Pogue

Dominican Republic & Haiti Travel Guide                                   Lonely Planet

The Dunwich Horror                                                                      H. P. Lovecraft

Eat to Defeat Menopause                                                              Karen Giblin

Embrace the Highland Warrior                                                   Anita Clenney

The Everything Guide to Algebra                                              Christopher Monahan

Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing                              Hod Lipson

Following Your Heart                                                                  Jerry S. Eicher

Forget Me Knot                                                                           Mary Marks

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest…                     Michio Kaku

Galileans: A Novel of Mary Magdalene                                    Frank G. Slaughter

Holy Brother: Inspiring Stories and Enchanted Tales about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Various authors

Hormones and Hot Flashes                                                       Barbara Kantrowitz

iBooks and ePeriodicals on the iPad: The Mini Missing Manual

J. D. Biersdorfer

Last Telegram                                                                            Liz Trenow

Menopause Sucks                                                                      Joanne Kimes

Missing Your Smile: Fields of Home Series, Book 1             Jerry S. Eicher

Never Too Late                                                                          Betty Neels

No One to Trust: A Novel                                                        Lynette Eason

The One-Way Bridge: A Novel                                               Cathie Pelletier

Outside Barry                                                                           Lopez, Barry

Pelican Point                                                                             Donna Kauffman

Placebo                                                                                       Steven James

The Pride of the Peacock                                                         Victoria Holt

Proven Guilty                                                                            Mia Watts

Return to Me                                                                             Lynn Austin

The Rich Are with You Always                                              Malcolm Macdonald

Shining Light                                                                            Ruth Glover

The Shivering Sands                                                                Victoria Holt

A Single Thread: Cobbled Court Series, Book 1                    Marie Bostwick

Singularity: Jevin Banks Series, Book 2                                   Steven James

Staying Sane When You’re Going Through Menopause        Pam Brodowsky

A Strange Period.: Insights into the Bizarre Experiences of Perimenopausal Women

Sheryl Gurrentz

The Talmud: A Biography                                                        Harry Freedman

Texas Blood Feud                                                                       Dusty Richards

This Ain’t No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook        Joshua Ploeg

Torrent: The River of Time Series, Book 3                             Lisa T. Bergren

Vanished: Private Justice Series, Book 1                                 Irene Hannon

View and Manage Your Photos on the iPad: The Mini Missing Manual

J. D. Biersdorfer

Waterfall: The River of Time Series, Book 1                           Lisa T. Bergren

Where Love Grows: Fields of Home Series, Book 3              Jerry S. Eicher

The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change

C. Northrup

World from Rough Stones                                                         Malcolm Macdonald

 

Streaming Videos:

Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock                                         Eric Kimmell

Anansi Goes Fishing                                                                    Eric Kimmel

At War with the Army                                                                Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis

Back to the Garden                                                                     Kevin Tomlinson, Kevin Tomlinson

Catch .44                                                                                       Aaron Harvey

The Ethics of Fracking                                                                Scott Cannon

Highlander, Season 1                                                                   Dennis Berry

Klunkerz: A Film about Mountain Bikes                                 Billy Savage

McLintock!                                                                                  John Wayne, M. O’Hara

One Man One Cow One Planet                                                  Tom Burstyn

The Red House                                                                           Delmer Davis

Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Season 1                                      Rick Jacobson

Trashed with Jeremy Irons                                                     Candida Brady

WWI, Prohibition, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, WWII & the Cold War: History

And as WordPress does challenging things with the formatting of text when copying and pasting — here’s a link to a PDF that features the same titles all lined up!

Newly Added STLS Digital Catalog Titles April 29, 2014

Have a great day!

Linda R.

The New Media Streaming Player — The Amazon Fire TV

Hi everyone, as anyone has read this blog over a long period of time knows I am a big fan of media streaming players.

And if you’re new to this blog and also new to the term media streaming player; let me briefly explain what that fancy personal tech speak means! It simply means a small device, about the size of a sandwich or smaller, that connects to your TV and the Internet service you have at home and allows you to easily send content from the Internet to your TV so you can watch Internet accessed videos on that big HDTV you have in your living room. The sending of video content from the Internet to a TV or a mobile device is called streaming hence the term media streaming player that collectively describes these small Internet connecting devices.

There have been three major types of media streaming players for a while and they are: The Apple TV (which despite the name isn’t a TV), Roku players and the relatively new Google Chromecast. In addition to these media streaming players you can also stream videos through many gaming consoles like the XBOX but as those are device more expensive and really are devices that are intended to be used by major league gaming fans I’m not going to go into detail about those right now!

So we’ve had three major streaming players for a while Apple TV which costs $99, Roku which offers several models that range in price from $49.99 to $99.99 and Google’s Chromecast which actually looks like a thumb drive and which you plug into an HDMI port on your TV.  The Chromecast costs $35 and now we’ve got a new entry – a fourth major streaming device has walked on stage – Amazon’s new Fire TV which like the Apple TV isn’t a TV at all but instead a small device about the size of a CD case.

And now I’m going to tell you why as an owner of three of these four media streaming players, The Apple TV, The Roku 3 (the high end Roku model that costs $99) and the new Amazon Fire TV – I’m really impressed by the Fire TV!

But first let’s just take a quick look at what all four media streaming players offer in the way of channels (aka apps) just so we can compare the similarities and occasionally differences between the media streamers.

And if you’d like to cut to the proverbial chase and skip all the detail about the Apple TV, Roku player and Chromecast please skip the next four paragraphs!

The Apple TV is a great device for those persons who dwell in the Apple/iTunes universe. With the Apple TV you can send iTunes purchased video and photos from your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to your TV, you can access any videos or songs/albums you’ve previously purchased from iTunes, you can buy more TV shows, movies and music from iTunes and you can access a number of apps/channels including: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, PBS, Bloomberg, YouTube, Crackle, HBO Go (HBO subscription required), The Weather Channel, Bloomberg, iTunes Radio and more.

The Roku streaming media players are also great devices for those who wish to stream TV shows, movies and music from the Internet to their TVs. Roku offers more channels than any of the three other media streaming players, over a thousand of them, including a number of niche channels and some major channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, PBS, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora Internet Radio, TuneIn Radio, Acorn TV (for those who love British TV shows like the ones shown on PBS!), Crackle, HBO Go, Vudu, Blockbuster on Demand, ESPN Now and more.

And on a unique note, the Roku player is the only media streaming player that currently has a universal search function and what that means is that you can search for movies or TV shows and you will be searching across all Roku channels so if you do a search for the TV show Mad Men or a specific actor like Jimmy Stewart you’ll get results that tell you all the Roku channels you can find the TV series Mad Men on or Jimmy Stewart movies on – so if Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu all have Jimmy Stewart movies you’ll see that in the search results which means if you have a Netflix subscription and the Jimmy Stewart movie you want to watch is available through Netflix then you will know that you don’t have to rent or buy access to it through Amazon Instant video or Vudu!

Google’s Chromecast’s streamer, which as you’ll have noted cost the least at $35, offers the fewest channels – 15 of them as of today and they include: Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle Rdio, Google Play Movies & TV (that’s Google’s store for video content), Google Play Music (Google’s music store), Songza, Red Bull TV, Plex, Post TV and Viki.

And now a fourth major entry in this category has arrived — Amazon’s brand new streaming player the Fire TV; the Fire TV like the Apple TV really isn’t a TV but instead a small streaming media player, this player is about the size of CD case and offers channels that will sound familiar to you if you’ve read this far because they are channels also offered by some of the other three media streamers. Fire TV channels currently include: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, HuffPost Live, Bloomberg TV, Crackle, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Watch ESPN and more.

And you might well be thinking at this point why is it that since the media steaming players are so similar in the content they offer… just why I am I so impressed with the Fire TV?

And I have a three part answer to that question which basically boils down to three new things that the Fire TV does that the other three media streaming players don’t do!

  1. Voice Searching: And this is a biggie! There have been other widely available voice activated options on mainstream personal tech devices, most notably on smartphones and tablets – personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, but this is the first time a main stream media streaming player has come with the capability for you to talk to the device, via a small microphone built into the remote and say John Wayne, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Stephen Spielberg, Jon Hamm or Kathryn Hepburn and lo and behold all the movies and/or TV shows that are available to watch that feature those actors pop and you can then easily select the movie or TV show you want to watch that features the actor or actress you are searching for without having to enter a search via the streaming player remote; and without having the use the previously tedious hunt and peck on the TV screen with the remote to search for titles. You can also vocally search for specific titles like: The Hobbit, Gravity, Inspector Lewis or The Vikings and those programs too will display.

So…no more searching by the cumbersome process of typing via a key-the-letters-in-one-at-a-time on the remote! Very cool! Granted, right now this voice searching only works with the Amazon Instant Video channel, or app if you prefer that term, but it is still cool as no other media streaming player has this feature; and it is expected that Amazon will expand this voice activated feature to work with other channels and apps as time goes on.

  1. Apps: And this too is a biggie! We tend to use the term “apps” and “channels” almost interchangeably today when talking about media streaming players; however, until the Fire TV was released the other major media streaming players really only featured, with a few minor excpetions, what we can think of as video and music access channels like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Pandora and Blockbuster – because the channels or apps were all about allowing you to access video and music content and thus the channels really weren’t apps in the sense that you can get a wide variety of apps in many categories for your smartphone or tablet from the Apple app store or the Google Playstore. And with the Fire TV this is changing! There are actually Android apps that have been available in the Amazon & Android App stores that you can now access through your Fire TV and they truly are apps – apps like Minecraft, Sev Zero, Solitaire, Badland, The Bard’s Tale, Tetris, Atlantis Sky Patrol, Prince of Persia, Cannabolt, Snyder Arcade, Mystery Castle and more! And again granted there are only a few dozen of these apps at the moment but that number is sure to grow and the fact that you can really access apps on your TV through the Fire TV streamer is cool because it offers you even more bang for your entertainment buck!
  1. Game Apps: And yet another biggie! And this third point is obviously linked to the availability of appson the Fire TV; because, all of the apps I mentioned in the last paragraph are game apps! And the game apps are like the same titled editions that you can get from your app store and are available at the same or a similar price. And the pricing is a big deal too becausefor the first time main stream consumers can easily access and play games via apps on the big TV in their living rooms without having to buy a pricey gaming console like the Xbox or PlayStation and the pricey gaming cartridges for that gaming console! The game apps are priced in the same range as the titles you can access in your app store and download to your smartphone or tablet; most of the Fire TV game apps are $1.99 to $2.99 and some are free – so this is a big deal! The availability of game appsis also a big deal for a second reason; because it is a step further down the path that will eventually allow us to access all apps on all our devices and pick up where we left off in reading an e-book, watching a movie or TV show, listening to an album, playing a game or indeed doing any activity via an app on another device. For example, say you’re standing in line at the grocery store waiting you turn to pay for your groceries, you’ll be able to bring up your favorite game app and start playing your favorite game and then stop playing the game when you pay for your groceries, leave the store and go home and later pick up playing that same game in the same place you left off on the large screen TV in your living room! And that is cool!

Now just as an FYI For anyone who doesn’t know this – you can do some of that pick up where you left off thing via mobile devices right now. If you’re watching a video through Netflix or Amazon Instant Video on your smartphone or tablet you can stop the video and later pick up where you left watching the video via the Netflix or Amazon Instant Video app on your media streaming player. However, we can’t yet pick up where we left off on all apps and with all formats on all our Internet connecting devices – but we’re getting closer to that point and the Fire TV is another few steps down that exciting path if Internet connecting devices integration.

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

 

References:

Amazon Fire TV review: Impressive debut, but room to grow. CNET. Online. Accessed April 19, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-fire-tv/

Amazon Fire TV Apps & Games. Amazon. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=7031433011

Best media streamers. (2014, March 4). CNET. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/topics/media-streamers/best-media-streamers/

Browse. Roku. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.roku.com/channels/#!browse/movies-and-tv/by-popular

Mossberg, Walt. (2014, April 15). Amazon’s Fire TV Lets You Search for Videos by Voice. Re/code. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014,http://recode.net/2014/04/15/amazons-fire-tv-lets-you-search-for-videos-by-voice/

Now Casting. Google. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/chrome/devices/chromecast/apps.html

What’s On. Apple. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, https://www.apple.com/appletv/whats-on/

 

Reminder April Senior Personal Tech Program Is Tomorrow!

Hi everyone, just a reminder that our monthly Senior Personal Technology program is being held tomorrow, Friday, April 18; start time is 11 a. m.

Senior Personal Tech April 18, 2014

And this month we’ll show you how to get music or audio books on your PC and transfer them to your portable music player, tablet or smartphone.

We’ll be using Apple’s iTunes software to do that and the software itself is free for anyone to download from Apple and use!

We’ll also discuss what you can do if you have a large CD collection to get those CDs onto your computer and then transfer the music on the CDs to your portable music player, smart phone or tablet.

Join us!

Linda R.

April Senior Personal Technology Program – This Friday, April 18!

Join us this Friday, April 18 at 11 a.m. for the next program in our monthly Senior Personal Technology series.

This month our topic is iTunes & Portable Music; and here’s a description of the program:

iTunes is Apple’s popular music library service. With iTunes you can import your own CDs into the music library on your computer and then transfer those songs to a portable music device like an iPod or smartphone. Join us and we’ll show you the basic iTunes & portable music ropes so you too can enjoy your music, audio books and podcasts on your portable music player wherever you go!

If you own your own laptop please bring it and we’ll assist you in setting up iTunes on your laptop. And if you don’t own a laptop you’ll be able to use one of the library’s laptops to learn more about iTunes and portable music. Program Date/Time: Friday, April 18, 2014, 11:00 a.m. to noon.

Digital Literarcy Services Logo

And remember in the 21st century public libraries are about more than books — we focus on assisting patrons in improving their digital literacy skills too!

And to translate that into American English — we can help you learn how to use your laptop, tablet, e-reader or that baffling new Microsoft software that is so different from the 2003 version you’re use to! You can attend one of our programs or make an appointment for a free One-On-One session with a member of the library’s Digital Literacy Services team. Just call the library at: 607-936-3713 x. 502.

The Joys of Word Processing Software & Spell Check & A Few Personal Tech News Articles of Interest

The Joys of Word Processing Software & Spell Check:

I have no idea at this point in time, how I ever managed to get through school, at least through grades K-12, without having access to both word processing software and spell check! And although there are a number of word processing software products out there I’m going to hereafter refer to word processing software by the name of what has traditionally been the most popular word processing software – Microsoft Word, or simply Word for short.

I’ve never been a great speller; all those i’s and e’s and other letters that appear in words but that don’t sound like they belong there!

It may have been the ITA system, or to give it is full and long name the Initial Teaching Alphabet system that the local school used to teach kids how to read in the early 1970s. I recall that the ITA system placed an emphasis on learning to read phonetically and learn to read I did and fast. And I’m sure hanging out in the library with my mother, who was always reading at home, didn’t hurt either as I loved to read and to read on my own from the time I was just a little tyke but spelling…Oh, what a nightmare!

I can recall reading a biography of Clara Barton with my mother as part of a elementary school project and for the life of me I could not get it in my head that Clara’s brother’s name was Stephen – I kept pronouncing it Stephanie! It sure looked like Stephanie to me…Maybe it would have helped if we had a Stephen or Stephanie in our family but we didn’t and we don’t! And then I thought I was saved from the dilemma of where the i’s and e’s went when they were near that sneaky letter c until I realized that that rule “i before e, except after c” had exceptions to it! Yikes!

As a grade school student I remember thinking good grief! This spelling thing sure is hard! Somehow though I got through school and even wrote all my school essays through the end of high school by hand in my semi-illegible scrawl.

Fast forward a few years into the mid-1990s when I got a late start to my college career and low and behold there was Word which featured spell check!

What a joy Word was and is!

I can type anything and everything I’d like to say and the text comes out shaped perfectly! And it doesn’t take me nearly half the time to type what I want to say as it would to hand write it. How wonderful! To this day I tend to type up notes and print them off for my co-workers instead of handwriting them because it is so, so, so much easier to type words than it is to write them! And my co-workers can read those notes too…

And Spell Check, wow, that is another great gift! I don’t know who invented spell check but he or she should have won a Noble Prize! I can run a Word spell check by simply hitting the F7 key on a PC or the Option + L key on a Mac and it is magic! My entire document will be checked for spelling errors and just plain old typos! I don’t know if I could ever have completed my graduate degree without having access to Word and spell check – that 40 page paper I wrote on the Holocaust alone would have done me in if I had had to write it all out by hand with a dictionary at my elbow. However, Word and spell check came to the rescue and continue to do so!

And Word & spell check are great examples of why I love technology as the great communications tool that it is!

Just think about it – you can type up a letter, an essay or even a book draft in Word and today you can then easily send it around the world in second via email, upload it to an instant publishing platform and have it published as an e-book in short order or even just type up a letter and print it off – no white out required! And you can do all of that in half the time it would take one to write out a similar document by hand and your document looks great and, if you’ve run a spell check, your document should have all those darned i’s and e’s just exactly where they ought to go especially when they crowd around that sneaky c!

Now granted, everyone should still proof read their documents if possible because, as we all know, the faster you type the more chance you have of getting an extra word or letter inserted where you don’t want it – and spell check is great as it does check for spelling and grammar errors; however, you can have a sentence that is spelled correctly that doesn’t have any grammatical errors in it but that still isn’t quite what you wanted to say and/or doesn’t quite make sense!

Like this one:

“However, you can have a sentence that is spelled correctly spelled correctly that does have any grammatical errors in it.”

Having said that though; I still sing the praises of Word and spell check because they make a great team and together they make it much, much easier than it used to be to create documents that can be easily read and sent across the globe in second and that is cool!

And as a post script, sometimes Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize a newer word in which case you should try Googling the word! That works quite well as Google will pop up a result that basically says we-don’t-have-a-word-listed-with-that -spelling –how-about -this -one – what and the new spelling then is liked by Word! For example, if you put the misspelled word “speling” into a Google search you’ll get a result that says “Showing results for spelling” and of course Google is right there are indeed to L’s in in the word spelling!

Few Personal Tech News Articles of Interest:

Suggested Reading Personal Tech Article 1) I came across a neat article over the weekend on the iDownloadBlog blog, titled The Best Apps For Learning Music, that features recommend iOS apps for the aspiring musician in three categories: Apps that are recommended if  you’re learning to play guitar or piano: GuitarBots, Piano Duster Buster and Chord! Apps that are recommended if you’re interested in learning to read or compose music: Ultimate Guitar Tabs, Chromatik and Musicnotes and Apps to add to your musician toolbox including: Cleartune, Tempo, Metronome & Tunable.

And as someone who learned to play a very basic guitar in the 1980s I concur with the blog author that apps like these do make it easier to learn. I even tune my guitar today with an app called Guitar Tuner and boy does it make it faster and easier to make sure my guitar is in perfect tune that simply trying to determine that by ear!

Here’s a link to the iDownloadBlog article if you’d like to check it out:

http://www.idownloadblog.com/2014/04/06/best-apps-for-learning-music/

Suggested Reading: Personal Tech Article 2) The MacTrast site offers a brief article with helpful hits as to how you can see just which apps on your iPhone access with your iPhone microphone – which will give you a better of idea of which apps are “listening” to you!

The article is titled How To Control Which Apps Listen In on What You Say on Your iPhone – here’s the link:

http://www.mactrast.com/2014/04/control-apps-listen-onwhat-say-iphone/

Suggested Reading: Personal Tech Article 3) And that last article is from the OSXDaily site and is titled How to Enable AirPlay Mirroring in iOS 7 to Stream an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch Display Wirelessly; and it offers a nice succinct how-to overview of how you stream content from your iPad to larger screens – here’s the link:

http://osxdaily.com/2014/04/06/how-to-use-airplay-mirroring-ios/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Gil, Lory. (2014, April 6). The Best Apps For Learning Music. iDownloadBlog.Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.idownloadblog.com/2014/04/06/best-apps-for-learning-music/

Hauk, Chris. (2014, April 6). How To Control Which Apps Listen In on What You Say on Your iPhone. MacTrast. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.mactrast.com/2014/04/control-apps-listen-onwhat-say-iphone/

How to Enable AirPlay Mirroring in iOS 7 to Stream an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch Display Wirelessly. (2014, April 6). OSXDaily. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://osxdaily.com/2014/04/06/how-to-use-airplay-mirroring-ios/