Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Internet Security Alerts

Have you ever received this message while surfing the Web?

Security Alert
You likely came across this message when you were filling out an application of some sort, which makes this message seem scarier than it is.

"But what does this mean?! What should I do? Do I want to continue?! NO!!!"

This message touches on a great fear for many people that surf the Web...the fact that "It will be possible for others to view information you send"!!!

However, you can ignore this message. It carries little weight.


Which is OK. I know this message came up right after you completed your application, but this message is letting you know that you are leaving a secure area. Using Microsoft's words:

Microsoft Internet Explorer generates this warning message to let you know that you are leaving a Web page that is using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) for security.

So fret not. No one will be able to view the information you just entered into the application. However, once you leave that secure area, then, yes, other people could possibly view what you are doing online.

When you think about it, this is an annoying message. Think of it this way. When you leave your house in the morning, do you really need a sign that states, "You are about to leave a secure area. It will be possible for others to view what you do. Do you want to continue?... Yes or No."

If you come across other "scary" messages while surfing the Web, open up another window (by pressing CTRL+N on the keyboard), go to your favorite search engine, and type the message exactly as you see it. You will then find several explanations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Search Engines For Kids

Pulse2.0 conducted a survey to see which search engines for kids do their job best. Click here to see who won!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Gale Databases Now Offer Search Alerts

While searching our Gale databases, you will be given the option to sign up for Search Alerts. This will notify you whenever a new article matches your search terms. You have two options. You can enter your email address and Gale will notify you via email. Or, you can subscribe to an RSS feed and be notified via your feed reader.

Click here to see the Distant Librarian post which includes snapshots.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More About Downloadable Audio Books and iPods

Librarian.net talks about libraries offering downloadable audio books (or E-Audio Books) via Overdrive. I talked about this in January in which I describe how these audio books are not compatible with iPods.

Librarian.net suggests that we should move away from explaining to customers why the audio books do not work with iPods, or move away from assessing blame to some entity as to why the audio books do not work with iPods. In her words:

You can say “Here is this service we are providing you. Yes it won’t work on an/your iPod. Yes there are other ways to get audiobooks for your iPod and some of them are even free...

...What do we usually say? Well if my anecdotal experience is any indication — take with a grain of salt of course — we say “Yes you can check out an audiobook via Overdrive. No it won’t work on your iPod. This is the fault of [insert suspected faultmaker — whether it’s Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Overdrive].” and then the story ends there. We can do better.

I like this. This takes an unpleasant situation and turns it into a situation in which the library is still providing information on what the customer needs.

Oh, and by the way, she then points out another blog (openculture) which lists a TON of free downloadable audio books that will work with iPods.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Google Explains The Data They Collect From You and Why

Here is a video about Google's privacy methods. It also gives you some insight as to how search engines work. About 5 minutes long.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I need somebody. Not just anybody. You know I need a Help menu. Yes... a help menu. If you are having trouble with Word, or Excel, or PowerPoint, or Outlook, or our new Online Catalog, etc., use the Help menu.

Generally, help menus can be searched via keyword. For example, if you want to know how to view someone else's calendar in Outlook 2003, you would go to help and type something like "view someone else's calendar". The first topic is exactly what you need.

Or, you are having trouble printing an Excel document so that it fits all on one page?... Go to Help and type something like "print on same page" and look through the results.

Or, you saw someone's PowerPoint presentation and you liked the way the words faded in and out. Go to Help and type something like "words fade in and out".

Help menus can also be searched via a table of contents. For instance, if you are using Outlook Web Access and you click on Help, you will not receive a keyword search option. Rather, you will see a table of contents. Scroll through the table of contents to see what you need.
The same is true for the Help menu on our public home page. Click on Help and look to the left sidebar for the contents.

Also, general Web searches work great as well, especially for error messages. You would be surprised at what you find on the Web in regards to doing certain tasks. Probably nearly a third, if not more, of all of my visits to this blog are from folks around the world doing google searches on different topics.

Help menus are a great, easy, underutilized resource. Try it the next time you are in a bind. I know that I certainly do appreciate them being around.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

See More Messages at One Time in Outlook Web Access

One of the more frustrating things with Outlook Web Access is that you can only see 25 messages at a time. You then have to use the navigational buttons at the top right in order to move around within your Inbox (or other folder). Or worse, you may not even realize that you are not seeing all of your messages...

You can quickly change the number of messages that you see at one time.

  • Click on Options.
  • Then, under the header Messaging Options, you will see Number of items to display per page.
  • Change that from 25 to something larger...say 100!
  • Then click Save and Close.
There you go!

Find Stuff Easier in Outlook by Using Type-Down Search

Your Inbox (and all other folders) will list messages with three main columns. Those are: From, Subject, and Received. Generally, you want your messages sorted by Received. However, if you are looking for a message about a certain topic or from a specific person, you can click on the column heading to resort your messages (ex. click on From to sort your messages in alphabetical order by the person who sent you the message).

You can then scroll to find the message you need. Or... you can use something called "Type-Down Searching". Basically, after you click on the column heading, type the first couple of letters and Outlook will automatically take you to that part of the list. Example, I sort my Inbox by From as I am looking for all messages from Paul. I then type paul and I am taken to that part of the list (actually, I probably could have typed pa). This works with Subjects as well, but not Received.

Give it a try. This works in both Outlook Web Access and Outlook 2003.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Office Clutter: Physical and Virtual

The Commercial Appeal had an article on the August 5 paper which talks about office clutter, its effect on productivity, and what to do about it (Office Clutter Decreases Productivity).

You can find some good advice as far as the physical clutter that can hamper your productivity. However, virtual clutter has the same effect.

If you have an organized physical workspace, then you probably have a file system in which you store documents related to various aspects of your job. Your computer and your email should have folders with the same structure as your physical file system.

Do you have a file folder for a certain committee in your filing cabinet? Then create a folder in your Outlook account with the same name. Then move all pertinent and important messages regarding that committee into the folder. Not sure how to do that? Outlook 2003 users click here. Outlook Web Access users click here.

Also, you should have a folder on your computer with the same title. This is where you can store all electronic documents regarding that committee (agendas, minutes, stats, etc.). To create a folder, access your My Documents folder. Click on File, point to New, then select Folder. Name the folder then move existing files into that folder by clicking and dragging.

Also, while you are at it, delete all those messages and documents that you no longer need. On top of that, create an Archive folder to keep things that you just can't throw away.