Author Archive

Do You Like “Downton Abbey”?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Historical drama “Downton Abbey” is back for a fourth season, airing Sunday nights on PBS. If you’d like to see previous seasons, KDL has the show on DVD.

Here is a list of book suggestions by KDL staff for those who can’t get enough of “Downton Abbey”!

 


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Khaled Hosseini’s Upcoming Novel is Announced!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

After a six-year wait, the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns is announcing his follow-up novel, And the Mountains Echoed. According to his website, this title will be released on May 21, 2013. KDL cardholders can begin placing holds now.

“Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.”  –Penguin Group

 

 


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Downloading Free Computer Programs

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Some software – such as Microsoft Word or Photoshop – can cost a lot of money.  However, there are a lot of free programs (“freeware”) available for download. 

The site I like to use is Download.com.  It is a component of CNET.com, the computer news and information site.  Download.com is known for being “Spyware Free,” which is quite a feat in the downloading world.

Towards the bottom of the site, the different categories of programs can be found, such as “Word Processing” or “CD burners.”  You can also search by keyword for a certain type of software, and read helpful user reviews.  Personally, I have downloaded a free program for an on-screen drum machine, and programs to make DVD photo slide shows. 


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Emoticons for beginners – :)

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

How are you feeling today?  Hopefully more like :) and not like :(. 

If you don’t understand that, you need to tilt the top of your head to the left, and look at these “Emoticons” (emotional icons, in the form of punctuation) sideways:

:)   Smiley Face

:(   Frown Face

;)   Wink and a smile

:-o  Surprised

In human conversation, it is fairly easy to tell when someone is joking by their tone and body language.  In email, you don’t have that luxury, and it is easy to mis-interpret something as negative or mean-spirited.  Emoticons can help clarify your statements in an informal setting.  This website is a good introduction to emoticons.


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How to Take a Screenshot

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

You can capture a picture of what you’re looking at on a PC’s screen.  This is called a “screenshot.”   You can save the image, or paste it into a document.  Try these steps:

1.  Have the screen appear the way you want it.

2.  Hit the button in the upper-right of the keyboard that says “Prnt Scrn” or “Print Scrn.”

3.  Go into another program, such as Microsoft Word or MS Paint (Start Menu – All Programs – Accessories – Paint).  Now, paste the image (press CTRL + V, or go to Edit and hit Paste).

In these programs, the image can be cropped or stretched.  You can even crop a small portion of the image, like if you just wanted a little picture of the Start Menu or the toolbar, or a graphic from a website.


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Listening to Music for Free

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Would you like to listen to music for free, but you have too much of a moral compass to download music illegally? Most mainstream artists limit what songs of theirs are free on the internet, but through Amazon.com (the world’s largest store), you can listen to 30 second samples of songs by most popular artists.

This is great partly as a way to “try it before you buy it,” but it is also a great way to learn about a musical artist that you are not familiar with. To get to these free download samples, in the drop-down menu next to Amazon’s search bar, choose “MP3 Downloads,” and search for “Coldplay” (for example).  You’ll get a list of every song by that artist that Amazon sells as an MP3, and you can listen to samples of the songs.


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Adding a Website to Your “Favorites!”

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Why go through the effort of typing website addresses, if they are ones you go to frequently?  Here are the ways to have your favorite sites at your fingertips through the browser on your personal computer (here is an example picture):

If you use Internet Explorer:

  1. Be at the site you like (or even a folder such as “my documents!”).
  2. At the top, click on “Favorites,” and “add to favorites.”
  3. You can give the page a different or shorter nickname if you’d like. 
  4. Click “add.”
  5. To access the site later, click on “Favorites” and then click on the site!

If you use Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Be at the site you like.
  2. At the top, click on “Bookmarks,” and “Bookmark this page.”
  3. You can give the page a different or shorter nickname if you’d like. 
  4. Click “done.”
  5. To access the site later, click on “Bookmarks” and then click on the site!

Firefox note: If you want to save Firefox favorites IN the actual toolbar, try “Bookmarks,” “Bookmark this page,” and change the folder to “Bookmarks toolbar.” 

You can change the order of your favorites, or organize them into folders. If you want to delete a “favorite,” click on “favorites” (or “bookmarks”), RIGHT click on the offending one, and DELETE.

Happy computing!


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In Defense of Yahoo

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

 

I’d like to take a moment to talk about Yahoo.com.  Everyone talks about Google, but I don’t think everyone relies on Google because the results are better.  Google is lucky enough to be a verb too, while it is awkward to tell someone to “just Yahoo it.”  Even though I do most of my “Googling” through Google because I like the simple interface, I use Yahoo as my homepage for a few reasons:

  • It has news stories in the middle of the page, with tabs for world or local news.
  • By choosing “Games” on the left, one can find really fun games, including online crossword puzzles!
  • Click “Movies” and search by your zip code.  You can see the movie listings for all theaters in your area.
  • Choose “TV” and enter your zip code to see your local TV listings.  It is an easy way to find out what is a new episode and what is a rerun.
  • By choosing “Shopping,” you can select a product and compare prices between vendors.
  • Choose “Maps” and search for businesses or addresses (like Mapquest or Google Maps).

I understand that many of these features can be found through Google, but they are in the forefront through Yahoo’s main page.  In addition to the features I mentioned, Yahoo has normal searching at the top, including an image and video search. 

Keep Yahoo-ing!


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Turn Your Computer Into a Recording Studio

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009


 

Most of us who own a computer haven’t used it to its full potential.  Listening to songs or podcasts is great, but what about making our own audio files?  I am going to describe how to record to your computer in a very basic way.

You may have seen a little headphone jack on your computer, but did you notice a “mic jack” (hole for a microphone)?   Holes labeled “mic” or “line in” are where you can plug in a microphone to record speaking or singing, for example.  In addition to microphones, you can also plug in any audio input.  For example, you can plug an electric guitar into the “line in” jack. 

(Note: For a PC to be able to “hear” the microphone or device, you may need to open your volume controls and un-check the “mute” box for “line in” or “mic in”).  If your microphone cord is too thick for the jack, you can buy a low-priced adaptor.

The next step is to record yourself to a program on the computer.  One FREE program that I love to use is Audacity.  It is available as a free download through their site.  With Audacity, you can edit your sound files (trim their length, splice segments together, and add effects), and multitrack (sing along with yourself, or speak along with background music).


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Google Searching with Phrases

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

 

If you “Google” something and get millions of results, you shouldn’t pat yourself on the back.   If the result you know you want is in the top 5, that works fine.  However, if you search with a bunch of words and are confused by your results, here is an important idea to consider.

If you are searching for a particular phrase, use quotation marks around it.  Example: Do you want sites that mention text and highlight, or do you want only sites that use the following wording: “How to highlight text“?  Song lyrics are a good example.  Let’s say you get a song in your head and are dying to know who sang it, and you Google How does it feel to be on your own.  It is best to use quotation marks to keep the words together, and you can put the word lyrics next to it (and outside of the quotation marks) for added precision.

Caution: Use quotation marks if you are sure of the wording.  If you get zero results, you should rethink your wording instead of giving up.  You can search for “How to jump start a car”, but you might not get the results from “How to jump start YOUR car”!  One way to get around this is perform the following Google search: “how to jump start” car.

When searching for a phrase (or a whole sentence), you are essentially getting in the minds of the people who made the pages, trying to use the wording that they used.  This is just one powerful tool to consider when Google searching. 


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