Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Library 2.0 Sandbox

Huntington Beach Public Library - Central Library
HBPL Web 2.0 links

Photo Pages
Some nice looking, easy navigation, user-friendly library websites: http://del.icio.us/hbpl/cool

HBPL Blogs
Teen Blog: http://hbplteenblog.blogspot.com/
Film Blog: http://hbpl.blogspot.com/
Music Blog: http://hbplmusic.blogspot.com/
Room Rentals Blog: http://hbplnews.blogspot.com/
Children's Events Blog: http://hbplkidsevents.blogspot.com/
Library Director's Blog: http://hbpldirector.blogspot.com/
Wordpress Blog: http://hbpl.wordpress.com/

Less Popular Web 2.0 sites
Google Reader Google Maps , Google Profile, Orkut Page
Windows Live Profile, HBPL on Second Life,
Eventful: http://eventful.com/users/hbpl
Arto: http://hbpl.arto.com/
Live Journal: http://hbpl.livejournal.com/
Flixster: http://www.flixster.com/user/hbpl
Tumblr: http://hbpl.tumblr.com/
Tagged: http://www.tagged.com/hblibrary
Friendster: http://www.friendster.com/hbpl

Free Remote Desktop Software

Remote desktop control software has long been used by computer support techs to provide long distance help over the phone. Using it does require that the user's computer has no issues with power or network connection though. Once those two requirements are met, you can use remote control software to help walk users through the steps on their computers or take control of the mouse and perform the operations for them.

One useful free software that I discovered through our ILS vendor is logmein.com. This remote desktop software only requires an Internet browser to easily access another computer's desktop. I found it easy to use and install. There is of course other remote desktop software available like Window's built-in Remote Desktop Connection, but I found it hard to configure. Logmein has a free personal version that I have used to support my friends and family. Another advantage is that if you have basic Internet, you can use it via your browser without having to ask the network administrator to open up any special network ports. So if you're looking for a free and easy to use remote desktop control program, try out logmein.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Facebook RSS App that actually works

Last year I posted about how to feed many blogs on to a Facebook Page by taking advantage of RSS. I had been using Yahoo Pipes to aggregate 5 blogs into one feed and then used Facebook (FB) Notes to import the feed. Unfortunately, FB Notes stopped working every so often so I often had to fiddle with the settings by stopping the import and reimporting. I also tried a 3rd party FB app called Social RSS. That app also was very buggy and limited to only 5 feeds.

Lately I've had the good fortune to discover RSS Graffitti, another 3rd party FB app that works surprisingly well. The feeds are quickly updated to my FB Page whereas FB Notes used to take over 8 hours to update. I also don't have to mess with the settings, it's a set-it and forget-it app. Love it, it makes feeding my FB Page Wall with outside blogs, news, and sites like Yelp reviews so much easier.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Free Microsoft Office and Google Docs

Recently, I've been using free online versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and I am very impressed with the functionality provided. I have used Google Docs, which you can access with any free Google account, and also Microsoft Office, which is accessible with any free Hotmail account. Both companies' free offerings are very similar. The beauty of cloud computing is that I can access my documents from any computer and not have to carry around a flash drive. I still am wary of putting sensitive and private information online in case my accounts are ever hacked. The online versions also lend themselves to collaborative access. You can share your documents with others and see who else is viewing or working on them. The cynic in me wonders how long these companies will offer these services for free. If cloud computing reaches the tipping point, it wouldn't surprise me if they started charging for access.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to set up a pop up ad

These days many websites utilize flashing animated splash screens and pop up ads. Here is one method of creating a simple pop up ad that isn't too annoying or blocked by script blockers since it uses CSS code. It's easy for those who aren't experienced in flash or complex java coding.

For a complete tutorial, visit Patrick Burt's blog at http://www.pat-burt.com/web-development/how-to-do-a-css-popup-without-opening-a-new-window/

Add this to your CSS code:
#blanket {background-color:#111;opacity: 0.65;filter:alpha(opacity=65);position:absolute;z-index: 9001;top:0px;left:0px;width:100%;}
#popUpDiv {position:absolute;background-color:#eeeeee;width:300px;height:300px;z-index: 9002}

Download the csspopup.js file to your website

Add this to the body of your html file:
Click Here To Open The Pop Up

In the comments of Pat's blog, you can find out how to immediately load the popup upon entering the page by removing the display:none from the DIV containers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yelp RSS feeds for businesses

At long last I discovered the RSS feed URL for a business. It is:

You can get yourbusinessid from the Yelp Business Login page at https://biz.yelp.com/
Once you have the RSS feed functionality you can then feed your reviews about your organization to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or a myriad of other social networking sites that allow RSS input.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sharepoint Solutions

Recently our library converted to Microsoft Sharepoint for our internal Intranet. With the conversion I encountered some challenges in being limited by Sharepoint's ability to display HTML code. Since our Sharepoint is controlled by our IS department, I was restricted to coming up with solutions that didn't involve reconfiguring Sharepoint settings or using Sharepoint Designer. So thanks to the Wonderful Worldwide Web, I was able to find workarounds that didn't involve having to install custom Web Parts or fiddling with XML code schemas and javascript.

Challenge #1: How to display a Google Search box?
Answer: http://www.heathersolomon.com/blog/archive/2005/07/18/1023.aspx
I used these steps:
1. Upload a simple html page to your Sharepoint Server with your google search code.
2. Next drop a Page Viewer Web Part onto your page and point it to the page you created. The url to the page will be http://servername/_layouts/external/yoursimplewebpage.htm

Challenge 2: How to allow users to add Links that open up in a new window?
Answer: http://weblogs.asp.net/bryanglass/archive/2008/03/07/changing-links-list-in-sharepoint-2007-to-open-in-new-browser-window.aspx
I used Rob Carlson's no code solution:
1. Go to the Site Settings,
2. Under the black heading of "Galleries" click on Site Columns,
3. Create (button at the top left),
4. Enter a Column Name - whatever you want to name it.
5. Check the box - Hyperlink with formatting and constraints for publishing,
6. Hit OK
7. Now Go to your List/Library,
8. Go to Settings or go to List Settings
9. Click on "add from existing site column",
10. Locate your recently created "site column" from the group you selected previously,
11. Select it, Click Add and OK,
12. Now you have a new URL column that allows you to make the hyperlink open in a new window. This looks just like the CEWP hyperlink field.
I then edited the View to display only my new URL column and not the default URL column. I also had to train my users to click on the Edit Hyperlink link and leave the other fields blank.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

eBook Format Wars

Lately there has been a number of inquiries at the library about offering eBooks. eBooks are nothing new really, there was a buzz about them in the early 2000s, but ever since the bookseller giant, Amazon, got into the game with the Kindle, the buzz has been hotter than ever. The main problem with any new technology is there is no industry accepted standard yet. You can't buy a Kindle-version eBook and then easily transfer it to a Sony eReader or Barnes and Noble's own reader, the Nook. That makes its really hard for any library to build up a collection when there is no assurance that these readers and their proprietary formats will still be around in the next few years. No one wants to be on the bleeding edge of technology left with a huge collection of obsolete HD DVDs when Blu-ray emerged king of the DVD formats. Or looking back even further, who was foolish enough to stockpile Beta tapes when VHS won that war? At some point you do have to jump in the game, but I hope that by the time my library does, there is an official industry standard for ebooks.