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Tech Programs of the Week & How To Work At A Computer All Day And Reap The Benefits Of Not Sitting All Day!

Tech Program of the Week: Hi everyone, we have three tech programs scheduled for this week: Dream & Create with Pinterest which is tonight, an iPad basics workshop tomorrow and a tech Try It Before You Buy It on Thursday.

Here are the descriptions for the programs:

Dream & Create with Pinterest! (Tuesday, December 4; Time: 5:30 – 7:30 PM): Tonight hostess Jenn Gaylor will be assisting all attendees in creating tomato cage Christmas Trees and making avocado salsa puffs. It should be fun and delicious! Join us!

Wednesday One Hour Tech: iPad Basics (Wednesday, December 5; Time 2:00 – 3:00 PM): Our next iPad workshop will be held this Wednesday, December 5 from 2:00 – 3:00 PMish. The “ish” simply means that the official program is from 2 to 3 and that if anyone has an extra question or two members of our tech staff will be on hand past that time to answer any additional questions. So if you just bought an iPad or an iPad Mini – Join us!

Try It Before You Buy It! (Thursday, December 6; Time: 6:00 – 7:30ish): This is more of a question and answer session than an official sit-down-and-go-over-how-to use-a tech-device program. We’ll have tablets, e-readers, a Windows 8 touchscreen laptop and a MacBook Pro set out on tablets for attendees to come in and try out as a precursor to purchasing a new tablet, e-reader or other tech device during the holiday shopping season. So if you interested in purchasing a new tablet or e-reader feel free to stop in and check out our devices before you buy one!

How To Work At A Computer All Day And Reap The Benefits Of Not Sitting All Day! I found an interesting article on the New York Times site titled Taking A Stand For Office Ergonomics. The article discusses the growing scientific evidence that indicates that people shouldn’t sit for long periods of time and that, of course, this is a big issue today because so many people spend their working lives sitting in front of a computer for hours at a stretch. Basic suggested for improved heath, i.e. reaping the benefits of not sitting all day, include the obvious getting up and moving periodically and utilizing adjustable work stations that allow workers to stand up while working or even to walk on a treadmill while working. It is a cool article that makes the valid point that we shouldn’t simply sit in front of a computer for hours on end we should stand up and move at least periodically!

Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/business/stand-up-desks-gaining-favor-in-the-workplace.html?_r=0

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Lohr, S. (2012, December 1). Taking A Stand For Office Ergonomics. The New York Times.

Video Streaming: Netflix, Vs. Hulu Plus & Amazon Instant Video Available for Wii U

Video Streaming: Netflix Vs. Hulu Plus: The Geek website offers an article today that is a basic introduction to the differences between the Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming video services.

Both services cost $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and both services are available via laptops, Macs, PCs, smart phones, most smart TVs, some gaming consoles and traditional (aka non-smart) TVs via inexpensive media streaming players (Roku, Apple TV etc). Netflix offers a more extensive catalog of movies and TV shows but Hulu Plus offers more currently-on-the-air shows.

So just FYI if you’re thinking of buying a new tablet, smart TV or media streaming player this season!

And I will also put in a good word in for this cord cutter’s favorite streaming video service – Amazon Instant Video (and Pandora via Roku) which actually offers most television shows for streaming the day after they air – and I find Amazon Instant Video offers a more extensive catalog of newer movies and TV shows than Netflix or Hulu Plus so it is another service to consider. And you can try out any of these video streaming services on your computer if like. You can rent or buy movies and TV shows from Amazon without subscribing to a service.

Netflix and offers a 30 day trial version of their service and Hulu Plus offers a free one week trial.

Also of note, in addition to their Instant Video service, Amazon offers a “Prime” streaming service that you can try for free for 30 days. It costs $79 per year and allows movie and TV fans unlimited streaming access to any of the videos in the prime library.

And here’s the link to the Geek article which discusses the differences between the Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming subscriptions:

http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/netflix-vs-hulu-plus-video-streaming-2012123/

Amazon Instant Video Available For New Wii U: And here’s a second link that discusses the fact that Amazon Instant Video is available for the new Wii U so if you are one of the thousands of people nationwide that have purchased the new Wii U – or if you receive one during the holiday season — you can check out Amazon’s Instant Video store – when you’ve completed the current level of whatever game you’re playing that is!

Here’s a link to the aptly titled Slashgear article, Amazon Instant Video For Wii U Released, on the subject:

http://www.slashgear.com/amazon-instant-video-for-wii-u-released-22258024/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

Internet Privacy Bill Going Before Congress In The New Year

As a complement to the November 26th library tech blog posting titled Tweaked Senate Bill Would Allow Government To Read E0Mails Without Warrant– here is essentially an update!

In essence, a new bill, which will go before congress in the next year, focuses on Internet privacy and would require law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant from a judge before they could access someone’s personal emails. So this bill is just the opposite of the dropped bill and would do much more to protect the right of individuals to keep the contents of their personal e-mail correspondence private.

The New York Times offers an article on this new bill titled Panel Approves a Bill to Safeguard E-Mail (Written by Savage, C. 11-29-12)

Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/technology/senate-committee-approves-stricter-privacy-for-e-mail.html?ref=technology&_r=0

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

iTunes 11 & The Freedom Of The Internet & A New U.N. Regulatory Communications Treaty

iTunes 11 Debuts: Apple’s iTunes has been upgraded to version 11. iTunes is of course, the Apple music/media store where you can purchase music, movies, audio books and/or television shows from your computer or mobile Apple devices. This new version of iTunes seems to offers a major redesign. Art-work is featured front and center in this new version and it all reminds me more of the look of the apps on a tablet that the way iTunes looked on a PC or Mac in version 10. In addition to the re-design iTunes 11 is supposed to have a number of new features – mostly related to iCloud integration.

Here’s a link to a Tech Crunch article, simply titled iTunes 11, that offers more in-depth information on the new version of iTunes:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/29/itunes-11/

The Freedom Of The Internet & A New U.N. Regulatory Communications Treaty: The Internet since its inception has been an open forum for the free expression of ideas. And as it has evolved the ability it offers us to communicate with almost anyone almost anywhere in the world at anytime has transformed the world. I’m sure you all know all of that – however, what you may not know in relation, is that the International Telecommunications Union, which is a part of the United Nations, is hosting a conference in Dubai in December to revise the International Telecommunications Regulation Treaty. Now the ITR Treaty was put in place in the mid nineteen eighties before the evolution of the Internet; and of course, a number of lobby groups are interested in gaining the power to regulate the Internet in their countries so this is something we proponents of free speech and freedom of thought should be aware of!

Here are links to two articles that offer more information on this subject.

The first article is written by Ross LaJeunesse, Google’s Global Head of Free Expression and International Relations, and is titled Who Should Control The Internet? The People Who Use It and is from the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-lajeunesse/who-should-control-the-in_b_2217940.html

And the second article is from the site Tech Crunch is written Ingrid Lunden and is titled If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It: EU Adds Its Voice To The Chorus Opposing More Internet Regulation Ahead of Key ITU Dubai Meeting:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/30/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it-eu-adds-its-voice-to-the-chorus-opposing-more-internet-regulation-ahead-of-key-itu-dubai-meeting/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

More On Which E-Book Or Tablet You Should Buy & Upcoming Library Tablet & E-Reader Programs

More On Which E-Book Or Tablet You Should Buy: The tech site Mac Observer has started a nice series of articles regarding which e-reader or tablet you should purchase; depending of course upon what you want to do with an e-reader or tablet – that is what you intend to use it for – just reading – or reading and doing a variety of other things with it like read email, surf the web and watch videos.

I think the article nicely complements the David Pogue New York Times article I mentioned yesterday – the one where Mr. Pogue attended an NPR Tech question and answer session, having thoroughly boned up on what to say about which tech devices people should buy in advance, and found that the only questions he was asked – and there were many of them – regarded which e-reader or tablet a person should buy or should buy for someone else as a gift.

The Mac Observer article, titled Everything About Ebooks, Ereaders, Part I: An Introduction, goes into a bit of detail about what the author John Martellaro deems the “Consumer tablet” ecosystems and what I usually refer to as the Reading Tablet ecosystems.

Reading/consumer tablets are those tablets that are a step above entry-level e-ink e-readers and feature color displays and yet are several steps below fully-fledged tablets like the iPad or Google Nexus series in terms of what you can do with them. And that side of the equation – the ecosystems of reading (consumer) tablets is an important one to look at if you want to purchase an e-reading device that you can also watch movies and TV shows on and listen to music and/or audio books through; because the word “ecosystem” in this sense really means which store do you wish to purchase all your tablet content from? Amazon or Barnes & Noble…

And if you wonder why I keep mentioning e-readers and tablets* and what you can do with them; it is because I think they are transforming how people read and I think we, meaning the members of western society collectively, are quickly moving towards the tipping point as far the adoption of e-reading devices goes. And that is rather the long way around the barn of saying that I believe in the near future most people will read most e-books and access most Internet based information on tablets and wall displays and not via desktops or laptops.

So without further adieu here’s the link to the Mac Observer article:

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/everything-about-ebooks-ereaders-pt-1-introduction

Upcoming Library Tablet & E-Reader FYI Programs: The library will be hosting two e-reader/tablet related programs in the next week and they are:

Saturday, December 1: From 10 – Noon: How To Download Library E-Books To A Nook @ Barnes & Noble (in Horseheads): If you have questions about how to use your Nook, or a Nook you are buying as a gift – stop by and ask us we’ll be on hand at Barnes & Noble this Saturday morning to answer any and all e-book/e-reader related questions!

Thursday, December 6: 6:00 – 7:00 PM-ish: Try it Before You Buy It!  This one is a low-key hands-on program that you do not have to sign up for – just come to the library! We’ll have e-readers, tablets a MacBook Pro and a Windows 8 laptop with a touch screen that you’ll be able to look, play with and ask questions about as a precursor to actually buying a tablet, e-reader or laptop during the holiday season.

Sparkle Note: And if you’re at Sparkle this Saturday evening you can even stop by the Southeast Steuben County Library booth and ask us e-reader and tablet questions; like the most popular one we get “Does the library have free e-books?” (Hint – the answer starts with a Y!). The library booth will be in the block between Wall and Cedar and we hope to see you there!

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

*Other than the fact that I work in a public library and am a librarian – so of course that being the case I do tend to focus just a little bit on books…(insert subtle humor here…)

An Archaic System For Video Releases, NYT Tech Guru David Pogue On The Best Tablets To Give As Gifts & FYI Roots Rock Radio!

An Archaic System For Video Releases: There was an article in the The Guardian yesterday that brings up another way that the advancing technology is changing how people watch television shows and movies. The point the article makes is that the current model that the media companies use to make movies and television shows available for purchase is archaic and needs to be changed. The current model is from the 1980’s and translates into a standard time period of four months passing before movies or television shows are issued on DVD.*

The writer of the article, Frederic Filloux, also makes the specific point that television shows should be made available for purchase the day after they air on television and that he thinks that movies should be released for home video based not upon a standard four months after a movie stops showing in theaters period; but instead based upon how well they do in theaters. So if a movie is doing poorly in theaters it should ends its cinema run early and go directly to the video market place so that people can rent it or buy it and the production company can recoup some of the money it put out to have the film made.

And I’d like to add a point to this too – I also think that all movies and television shows should be made available for viewers at the same. And what I mean by that is simply that a show like Downton Abbey would be shown and available to watch via video streaming at the same time across the globe.

For clarification purposes, consider season 3 of Downton Abbey which has already been shown in the U.K. And which we have to wait to watch in the U.S. until January – despite the fact that if you’re a rabid Downton Abbey fan like me – you might check out the reviews of each episode the day after they aired in the U.K. via the online reviews in British news sites – so you’d already know what happens in season 3 and still you have to wait! And that is honestly a little pet peeve of mine! That in a world that allows us almost instant access to news and information and the ability to communicate with almost anyone almost anywhere in the world at the click of mouse or tap of app…in other words in our connected 24/7/365 world – it doesn’t make sense to have a new season of a TV show shown in one country and not made available for everyone else across the globe at that same time.

The Guardian article is titled Different release times of films and TV shows boost global piracy and may be accessed via the following link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/nov/26/films-tvs-global-piracy

NYT Tech Guru David Pogue On The Best Tablets To Give As Gifts: The main tech guru at the New York Times – David Pogue – offers a basic overview of which type of tablet you should buy this holiday season in his latest blog posting. Which tablet you will purchase does, of course, depend upon what you are going to use it for – and his article is a nice one to peruse should you be curious about that point!

And of course, you can always pop in to the library and try out a tablet or e-reader before you buy one – or just ask a member of our tech team a question or two!

Pogue’s blog article is titled The Hot Gift Is a Tablet, but Which to Buy? And can be accessed via the following link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/technology/personaltech/tablets-are-hot-holiday-gifts-but-which-one-to-buy-review.html?ref=technology

FYI Roots Rock Radio!  If you’re not familiar with Roots Rock Radio is great! It is actually one of my favorite podcasts right up there with NPR’s Books & Tech podcasts! And the full title of the podcast is Richard Taylor’s Roots Rock Radio.

If you like roots rock, that is to say – rock n’ roll played on traditional instruments – guitar, bass, drums, piano/organ and sometimes a variety of horns – you should check this out – you can subscribe to the podcast for free and have it download to your iPod or other tablet or you can simply stream it to your computer by going to the Roots Rock Radio website which is found at:

http://www.rrradio.com/

And again, I’ll reiterate, you like roots rock – you will enjoy these weekly podcasts! And they should be putting out a roots rock radio Christmas special shortly too – and listening to those is always fun!

 Have a great afternoon!

Linda  R.

 

 

* Granted, with television shows you can usually purchase a license to watch the shows that are currently airing the day after each episode airs if you don’t mind streaming the videos to a mobile device or to your TV via a media streaming player like Roku or Apple TV.

 

Tweaked Senate Bill Would Allow Government to Read E-Mails Without Warrant & Said Bill Has Been Pulled From Consideration

As I researched this subject – just basically went hunting for articles and information regarding the re-write of the email surveillance bill and how, if passed, it would allow government officials to read anyone and everyone’s email without having to first obtain a warrant from a judge – I discovered the bill has been pulled by Senator Leahy. The first article I read on the subject, which included the point that if passed government officials wouldn’t need a warrant to obtain people’s personal emails, was dated November 20 and the bill was pulled on November 21. So in essence, in the hustle and bustle of the week of Thanksgiving I missed the original story and the follow up articles relaying the fact that the bill has been pulled from consideration.

However, even though the bill has been dropped I still think this is an important subject — protecting our rights, especially our right to being safe and secure in our persons and property and today also in our personal digital information.  In this case the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the one that guarantees that all citizens should be safe and secure in their persons and properties and personal information (the exact wording is that we are supposed to be safe in our “papers” and today that word can be seen as synonymous with our personal e-information.

Specifically the fourth amendment states:

 “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”*

And I think our right to be secure in our persons and possession (including e-documents and e-stored personal information) is under a bit of a threat in this high tech age we are living in. And I say that because although I am a huge fan and proponent of the fact that individuals now have more information easily available at their fingertips, via the web at the tap of app or by the click of mouse, than at any previous time in human history – the downside to the equation is that other people can access electronic information too including our personal e-information. Thus in theory, the government could pass legislation that would allow government officials to electronically access your personal e-information including any documents on your computer, smartphone or tablet, tracking what sites you visit online and what apps you use and basically just allowing government officials to access any of your personal e-information from your medical records, to your bank records to what you said about a government official on your Facebook page.

So that is the long way around barn of saying that even in a democracy like the U.S.; today we need to be vigilant and keep up on what legislation is coming up before congress that might infringe on our rights. This has always been an important issue for citizens of a democracy; however, today it is more important than ever because the double-edged sword of quick and easy access to information that the web and digital formats allows combined with the easy way our personal information can be digitally saved & stored and then accessed later means that more of our personal information can be accessed by others as well as ourselves — instantly at the click of a mouse or via the tap of an app.

So this posting in the end is a plea just to be vigilant and be aware of what your rights are, as set down in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and what legislation is up before congress that might infringe on those rights. Fortunately, keeping track of information is easier now than ever before! You can use a news aggregator and simply set it to search for articles on legislation and digital formats – perhaps “legislation (or bill, or congress) and Internet” or “legislation (or bill, or congress) and  email” or even “legislation (or bill, or congress) and e-books” and any new news articles found online will be gathered and placed before you for your perusal!

If you don’t currently use a news aggregator – there are apps for that including Google News/Reader, Flipboard, Zite and Pulse – here’s are two links to articles that highlight news aggregator apps:

The first articles if from PaidContent and is titled Comparing the New Aggregators and it is from last year; however, it still highlights the most popular aggregators and is an accessible read:

http://paidcontent.org/2011/11/30/comparing-the-new-aggregators-november-2011

And the second article is from Simplyzety.com, titled The 11 Best News Aggregator Apps for Those on the Go, and offers their take on the eleven best news aggregators as of this fall:

http://www.simplyzesty.com/mobile/the-11-best-news-aggregator-apps-for-those-on-the-go/#

And here is the info on the two articles that started me out on this posting journey of discussing our rights and how they can more easily be infringed upon in our current high tech age.

The first article, titled Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your email without warrants, is from November 20, 2012. It discusses how the email surveillance bill had been tweaked and, if passed, would have allow government officials to obtain access to people’s emails without obtaining a warrant:

Here’s the link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552225-38/senate-bill-rewrite-lets-feds-read-your-e-mail-without-warrants/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=title

And the second article, titled Leahy scuttles his warrantless email surveillance bill, is from November 21, 2012 and relays the fact that this particular bill has been dropped from consideration:

Here’s the link:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552687-38/leahy-scuttles-his-warrantless-e-mail-surveillance-bill/

Have a great Monday afternoon everyone!

Linda R.

*You can access an official version of the Bill of Rights via the following link, which will take you to the National Archives site:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html