mrweaver's blog

Learning Linux: Maker Stations

image of old self check machineDo you remember our old self-check machines? Maybe not so fondly? Two of them are coming back, but in a good way! When the library added the new self-check machines, there was a question about what to do with the old ones. We tried selling them, but no one wanted them.

I had an idea. Last summer, we had a lot of interest in Raspberry Pi at our maker event. What if we turned the two free-standing units into stations where people could come and play with the RPi?

Building Services refinished the desktops -- they look fantastic, btw. I gutted all of the self-checks for parts to be used in the library or for future Maker Club projects.

Heartbleed: When to change your passwords

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In the past couple of days you have probably heard a lot about Heartbleed, a major security flaw in SSL (secure socket layer) that many websites use to encrypt data. If you have read about this, many people covering the story have given the advice "change all of your passwords right away." This may not be the best advice. If you changed your password on a website before the site patched the security flaw, the new password could still be vulnerable.

WPPL does not use OpenSSL (the technology that is the source of the vulnerability) in our public websites, nor in our catalog. Learn the true costs of college

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If there is someone college-bound in your household, take a look at a new database that has just been launched called Created by the Dallas Morning News, The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association, the site includes data on more than 3,000 institutions of higher learning. For families dealing with making college choices, this site contains a lot of helpful information.

Overdrive update: Renewals, Checkout limit

Overdrive iconThere are a couple of pieces of big news for users of our Overdrive ebook services:

More ebook news: Penguin, Kindle

Overdrive iconIn the past couple of days we have seen some major changes in the content that we can get via Overdrive, our ebook and audiobook vendor. For quite a long time, we have been unable to offer ebooks by publishing house Penguin. As of yesterday, we now can acquire books from the Penguin catalog.

Just today came a second announcement, one that will be of particular interest to Kindle owners. For our existing Penguin books, Kindle owners could only download them via the USB cable. I will spare you the reasons why Penguin required this, but suffice to say, Overdrive and Penguin apparently have made up. So, in addition to the previous announcement, Overdrive has said that Penguin titles can be downloaded via wifi.

Apple Owners: iOS7 eBook Trouble!

We received an announcement from our ebook/audiobook vendor Overdrive that their app is not compatible with iOS7, the new version of the operating system for Apple iPhones, iPads, etc:

"When an existing OverDrive Media Console (OMC) user upgrades to iOS 7, the app will fail when trying to open a DRM-protected eBook. "

Virtually all of our ebooks -- except for public-domain titles --  are "DRM-protected". If you have tried to update your app, here is the remedy for users:

"1) Re-authenticate the app with their existing or a new Adobe ID. Refer to the iOS section of this Help article for assistance. (Recommended)  

2) Uninstall and re-install OMC which will also require the user to re-authorize with Adobe. IMPORTANT NOTE: A re-install will clear a user's bookshelf, history, and app settings."

The company is working on the problem and we will let you know when it has been sorted out.

Need Help Reading the Paper?

If you have a subscription to the new "e edition" of the Plain Dealer and are having a little trouble with it, the paper has released a video on how to use the app version. It is fairly fast-paced. While it does not cover the desktop version of the e edition, the app is pretty similar.

Econtent update: Free Audiobooks, and Deals on Nooks

audiobooksync logo As part of audiobook month (June, that is), Sync is providing free audiobooks to teens for the summer. Click on the image on the right. On Sync's website, free selections are available on the left-hand column.

Titles are available mp3 format, so they will play on anything, and have a checkout term of 7 days.

Titles are provided via Overdrive: you will need Overdrive Media Console for your Windows/Mac computer, and a wide range of mobile devices.

Two new titles -- one young adult and one classic -- will be available each week.


America's Worst Charities

You get a flyer in the mail for a charitable organization seeking donations for a cause that speaks to you. Maybe it's cancer, disabled police officers and firefighters, veterans, or diseases affecting children. The flyer features bold images and effective stories that move you to contribute. You take out your checkbook and pause before putting the pen to paper, thinking, how do I know if this charity is legit? How much of my money actually will go to help the cause itself?

Sadly, not all charities are as charitable as others, and some seem to be most charitable with their own solicitors, hence the list of America's Worst Charities. This list, a partnership between the Tampa Bay Times, Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN, showcases charities based on the amount of donations used to pay the professional solicitors charged with raising it. The result, as you see in the list, very small percentages of total donations ever reach those in need.

Guides for Your Mobile Devices

image of book spines

Here at WPPL, we field questions about new mobile devices all the time. Do you have one? If so, we have a fat stack of guides to help you learn how to use it. These guides will help you learn everything you can do with your device, not just ebooks.

We even have some in ebook format for iPads and Nook Tablet via our ebook vendor, Overdrive

This picture shows what we have right now among our new non-fiction books. And if you have an older device sitting in your junk drawer, we might have a guide that will help you, too.