Thursday, June 12, 2008

The PrtSc Key (or Print Screen)

Here is a link to some helpful instructions regarding the PrtSc key on your keyboard. You can use this to create a screen shot. Screen shots are great for notating odd error messages that may appear on your screen. That way, when you report the problem, you don't have to say something like, "An error message came up that said something about referencing a control issue or siphoning off a cable gear... what does that mean?"

Monday, June 09, 2008

Basic Mail Merge Assistance

By staff suggestion, I have created a page on the Technical Trainer wiki devoted to the basics of mail merging letters and envelopes.

Friday, June 06, 2008


I just received this email:

"As a Firstbanks customer, your privacy and security always come first. We have been dedicated to customer safety and protection, and our mission remains as strong as ever.

We inform you that your Firstbanks Internet banking account is about to expire. It is strongly recommended to update it immediately. Update form is located here.

However, failure to confirm your records may result in account suspension. This is an automated message. Please, do not reply.


Firstbanks administration"

This email is an example of phishing. From Wikipedia, "phishing is an attempt to criminally and fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication."

Unfortunately, there are enough people in this world that would see this type of email, get worried because they do not want an account suspension, and follow the link and enter their bank username, password, etc.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More About Online Job Applications

Robert from Randolph commented on the Job Application post from May 5. I was adding a follow-up comment when I realized that it would be better to create another post.

Robert's comment:

"I've noticed an increasing number of patrons who want to fill out an online job application, but their computer skills are often minimal at best. I'm wondering if we could offer a computer class at Central once a month that would help people with the online job application process?"

First, I appreciate the comment and would like to see more from everyone.

We offered a class called Job Searching on the Web. We set up monthly classes, recruited trainers, distributed flyers, and we could only get one or two people in a class (and canceled others due to lack of registration). And the few people that did attend already had the skills necessary to fill out an application. Their questions were more focused on the entire job searching process (not necessarily technically-related). Meanwhile, we have people banging the door down in order to register for our existing classes. Therefore, I removed the class from the rotation so that we could continue to focus on the existing classes.

Why did this class fail? Unfortunately, the online job application is one of those customer needs that is immediate and fleeting. Also, as the previous post pointed out, if someone cannot fill out a job application, then it suggests a larger lack of computer skills that needs to be addressed appropriately.

The online job application requires basic computer knowledge (filling out text boxes, using drop-down menus, etc.), basic internet skills (entering a URL, following links, not getting overwhelmed by the Web environment, etc.), as well as Email skills. All of these skills are addressed in our existing classes. If a customer went through our entire class program, I have no doubt that they would be able to fill out an online job application. But one class will not successfully address the issue at hand.

I believe the online job application is the single most important battleground inside the Digital Divide, which exists partly due to lack of desire to cross the divide. Nothing else has continually pushed unwilling participants into the online world. As stated in the previous post, I think that some companies use it as an unofficial screening process. If you do not know how to fill out an online job application, then they probably do not want to interview you. If that is not the case, then these companies will need to find out ways to simplify their online job application process so that first time computer users have equal access.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Databases Special Access

A while ago, a staff member suggested the creation of a list of databases with special access features. As you know, most of our databases include remote access with the username m* and password e*. (These must be in lowercase letters. If you do not know what m* or e* stands for, just ask a fellow co-worker. They will know.) And many allow for unlimited log-ins.

However, some do not allow for remote access, some do not use m*/e*, and some only allow for a limited number of log-ins. Here is a list of those that do not have remote access, or do not use m*/e*, or have limited log-ins. This can also be found on the Technical Trainer page on the MPLIC-Wiki under Databases Special Access.