Author Archive

Wikipedia and You

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

WikipediaHave questions about Wikipedia and didn’t know who to ask?  Are you an expert in a certain topic, or simply a know-it-all?  Enjoy photography? Do you already edit a page on Wikipedia?

Plan to attend our Wikipedia Editors Meet-Up and Informational Gatherings taking place at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 29 and Saturday, April 19 the East Grand Rapids Branch.

  • Topic for March 29: Local History and Genealogy
  • Topic for April 19: Photos, Research, Editing Tips and Tricks, Gardening

Join Bettina Cousineau, a Wikipedia educator and editor who is currently developing an online course for new Wikipedia editors, and other editors to help create the encyclopedia for everyone. Please bring your own laptop, or indicate at registration if you require borrowing one of ours.

Registration for this program is requested. To register, call 616-784-2007 or visit your local KDL branch. Please provide your library card number at time of registration.

This program is for teens and adults. We hope to see you there!

 

 


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Interview with Local Author Gary Schmidt

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Gary Schmidt loves being a professor of English at Calvin College here in Grand Rapids. He’s been asked to give up his “day job” to write full-time, but refuses as he enjoys interacting with students too much. Having twice received a prestigious Newbery Honor Award from the American Library Association is quite an accomplishment for an author, but Professor Schmidt takes it all in stride. We discovered this information about Professor Schmidt during an interview conducted by two of our librarians here at Kent District Library, Morgan Doane and Vanessa Walstra.

The interview was conducted for a new program here at KDL, the Teen Writing Workshop. The first meeting of this wonderful opportunity for local teens to be mentored and inspired by West Michigan authors happens this Saturday, January 25, 3:00 PM at the East Grand Rapids branch.

Please watch the interview below and be inspired… you might be the next Newbery Award winner.

 


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IPod/IPhone Alert – Saving MP3 Lectures and Audiobook Files as Podcasts

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

“Why would it matter?” you ask.  Well, if mp3 files are saved as podcasts instead of music in ITunes,  you receive special navigation controls, including bookmarking (or remembering a playback position), jumping back 30 seconds, and varying the speed.  Cool huh?

Thanks to the January 2010 of Mac/Life magazine… here’s the instructions:

“Find the mp3 file(s) in your ITunes Music list, click it to select it, and then press Command-I to see the Get Info window. Click the Options tab and look for a dropdown menu labeled Media Kind–it’ll currently read Music. Now just change it to Podcast, and click the OK button.

That’s all there is to it.

Poof, that track instantly vanishes from your Music list and appears in your Podcasts list. The artist name will be used for the podcast name, and the track’s name becomes the episode title.

Now just sync it to your iPod touch or IPhone.”

The East Grand Rapids branch of Kent District Library subscribes to Mac/Life magazine as of February 2010.


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iTunes University

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010


iTunes U screenshot

In addition to the songs, movies, and apps available through the iTunes store, did you know many universities, museums, public broadcasting stations, and state education organizations have free educational lessons, lectures, audiobooks, language lessons, and programs available through iTunes U?

A recent morning search through the U allowed me to tour the Museum of Modern Art, begin learning Japanese, and watch an interview with In Defense of Food author Michael Pollan, all from the comfort of my cozy armchair in my pjs and fuzzy bunny slippers.

Downloadable media can be played on your Mac or PC computer or easily accessed from iPods and iPhones… here’s how.

Check out this video to find out all about this exciting new student of life learning experience: An Introduction to iTunes U, and drop us a comment on your favorite learning opportunities…


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Printing Only What You Want

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

Here’s a tip to help you be sustainable and save some money.  Use less paper by printing out only the sections of documents or emails that you truly need.

For Windows Operating System

  1. Highlight the area of text or pictures that you wish to print.
  2. Click the print command to bring up the print dialog box.
  3. Look for the area that says “Selection” and click the button in front of it.
  4. Click OK. Only the section you selected should print.

Print box Windows

For Mac Operating System

It’s a little more tricky for a Mac.

For printing a selection of something off the internet….

  1. Highlight the area of text or pictures that you wish to print.
  2. Click the print command in your browser (ie Firefox, Safari, etc.) to bring up the print dialog box.
  3. Click the “Copies & Pages” drop down area, select the name of your browser near the bottom of the list.
  4. In new box, click the check box under Options section – “Print selection only.”
  5. Click Print. Only the section you selected should print.

    print-selection-1.gif         print_selection.jpg

     

To print selections from anything other than the internet using Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard, you need to download a Print Selection Service freeware program.  I use the one from this website… http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/51675


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Unmasking Files

Monday, August 31st, 2009

johnny_automatic_black_mask.jpgOperating systems such as Mac OS X or Windows determine the format of a file based on its filename extension — the section of its name following the final period. For example, HTML documents are identified by names that end with .html (or .htm), and JPEG images by .jpg (or .jpeg).

Windows and Mac hide these file extensions by default.  The creators of these systems were worried people might unwittingly change the extension and lose access to the file.  Unfortunately, hidden file extensions open up your computer to security risks and increase the risk of accidentally deleting the wrong file.

For example, hiding the extension makes it possible to have what appears to be two or more identical filenames in the same folder. This is especially true when image files are needed in more than one format for different applications. For example, a company logo may be needed both in .tif format (for publishing) and .gif format (for web sites). With the extensions visible, these would appear as the unique filenames “CompanyLogo.tif” and “CompanyLogo.gif“. With the extensions hidden, these would both appear to have the identical filename “CompanyLogo“, making it more difficult to determine which to select for a particular application or which to delete when cleaning up a folder.

A further downside is that hiding such information can become a security risk. By having file extensions hidden, a malicious user can create an executable program with an innocent name such as “Holiday photo.jpg.exe“. In this case the “.exe” will be hidden and a user will see this file as “Holiday photo.jpg“, which appears to be a JPEG image, and unable to harm the machine save for bugs in the application used to view it. However, the operating system will still see the “.exe” extension and thus will run the program, which is then able to cause harm and presents a security issue. — from http://wapedia.mobi/en/File_type 

To unmask your file extensions in Mac OS:

  • Select Finder
  • Select Preferences
  • Click on Advanced cog icon
  • Check box next to “Show all file extensions” and close window.

To unmask your file extensions in Windows XP:

Open any folder (for example “My Documents”).  Next…

  • Select Tools
  • Select Folder Options
  • Select the View Tab
  • “Hide file extensions for known file types” entry should NOT be checked.
  • Click on the Apply To All Folders button and close the window.

To unmask file extensions in Vista:

Open any folder (for example “Documents”).  Next…

  • Click on the Organize button
  • Select Folder and Search Options
  • Select the View Tab
  • Scroll down the list to the Hide extensions for known file types item… make sure it is unchecked

For further information on identifying a file and discovering what it’s doing on your computer, read this excellent article from PC Today.


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Mac Geek Monday – Creating a PDF

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Want a “picture” of a document or file that you can send to someone without the formatting changing?  Rather than using Adobe Acrobat software, nearly every Mac OS X program with a Print command lets you save your document as a PDF file.

Just click and hold the PDF button found in all Print dialogs and choose “Save As PDF”.

images.apple.com/…/mac/images/mail_pdf.jpg
Picture from images.apple.com/…/mac/images/mail_pdf.jpg


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Mac Geek Monday – Say What?

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Did you know your Mac can read to you? 

Yep!  If you are running Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard, simply…

  1. Open System Preferences under the apple icon (the  shape) in the very top left corner of the screen.
  2. Click on Speech.
  3. Select Text to Speech tab.
  4. Check the option “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.”
  5. speak-selected-text-1.jpg

  6. Click the Set Key option.
  7. Choose one modifier key — Command, Control, Option, or Shift — plus one other key of your choice, then click OK. [For instance, I use CTRL M for my keystroke combination on my Mac]
  8. Now each time you type this key combination, your Mac will read aloud any text you have selected (i.e. highlighted).
  9. To stop the speech, type the same key combination again.

This will work with most selected (i.e. highlighted) text in text-based files — including web pages, email messages, spreadsheets, calendar entries, PDFs, text documents, Finder windows, and even iTunes.

Don’t like the default voice your Mac uses?  You can choose your favorite voice from the 24 human-sounding and novelty voices in Leopard and slightly less number in Tiger. (In Leopard, to see the complete list, click the “Show More Voices” option at the bottom of the pull-down System Voice menu.) Click the Play button to get a sample of each voice. You can also ask your Mac to speak more slowly or quickly by adjusting the Speaking Rate slider.  If you don’t care for any of the free voices that come with your Mac, or want one that speaks something besides English, you might also checkout one of these system voices.

So now sit back, rest your eyes, and let your computer read you the next KDL Computer Tips blog post or your latest email message.


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Mac Geek Monday – Magazines for All Things Mac

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

comp1220a.gif

If you don’t tend to go to different KDL branch libraries, you might not know that several subscribe to MacWorld Magazine.  If you’ve had to let your subscription lapse, or want to see what the print version of MacWorld contains, head to the Cascade Twp., Kentwood, or Wyoming branch libraries.  All issues, except the most recent (newest) issue, can be checked out for 1 week.  The KDL library system also subscribes to the Gale Computer Database with millions of articles from journals, popular computer magazines, and trade magazines, including MacUser, MacWeek and MacWorld.  This database is available in the library at public computers or from home with a KDL library card.

Are there any other Mac/Apple magazines (in print or online) that you read regularly?  I’m also a fan of MacLife!


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Mac Geek Monday – Keyboard Shortcuts

Monday, June 15th, 2009

A few years back, in the interest of trying to save time while working on computer projects, I began to take a serious look at time-saving keyboard shortcuts. These two or three keystroke combinations managed to greatly reduce the time I spent mousing up to the menu and icon bars, and right clicking for shortcut menus.

 

no mouse

To utilize keyboard shortcuts, you need to press and hold down the first key on the keyboard, then press down the second (or third) key. You release the keys at the same time. For instance, to save an open Mac document, you would:

  1. Hold down the Command key (the one with the Apple on it)
  2. Press S
  3. Release both keys

Because I spend quite a bit of time using both Windows and Mac platforms, one of the first things I noticed is most shortcuts are the same for both PC and Mac users; except instead of using the Control key (Windows platform), Mac uses the Command key (the one with the Apple on it).  For example, Control-S for saving an open document becomes Command-S.  [BTW: I don’t mean to leave out Linux users in this article, but I don’t have any experience with that platform.]

There are so many time-saving Mac keyboard shortcuts and the best site I found that condenses them into a user-friendly format comes from our friends down under at CNET Australia who put together “The ultimate guide to Mac keyboard shortcuts.” Check it out and discover the joy of giving your mouse a little less exercise.

Edit 6/29/09 – Just found this useful list of shortcuts for use in Firefox web browser. Remember the CMD 0r COMMAND key looks like this:

  423987178_b68a2c4ac6.jpg

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/locklin/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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