...and other information to keep staff in the Technology Loop

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We've moved

Fans, this blog will cease operations on Feb 15th. Please follow us at facebook.com/cmlibrary, twitter.com/cmlibrary or on at youtube.com/cmlibrary.

For more on news and programming information from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, please bookmark cmlibrary.org or subscribe to our many RSS feeds. - Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Please update your bookmarks and feeds

As you can see it's been a while since this site has been updated. The Core Competencies program is alive and well at PLCMC. I will be blogging about our Core Competencies program on my other site, Lori Reed.

All of the posts from this site have been moved over. Here is a link to access the Core Competencies posts: http://lorireed.com/category/core-competencies/

Stop by and say hello. The new site has Meebo embedded and I am usually available during the day for a quick chat.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Free Training from Microsoft

Ever wanted to learn about some of the new features of Office 2003? In addition to the free online tutorials from GCF, Microsoft has their own tutorials available at: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training

Check them out and let us know what you think!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

1 Year Anniversary, Learning 2.0, and 23 Things

This month is the one year anniversary of beginning the Information Technology Core Competencies Training at PLCMC. So how exciting that at the one year anniversary we embark on a new journey into Learning 2.0 and 23 Things.

We have come a long way in just a year. A year ago we were learning what USB meant and what flash drives are. Now we have staff setting up blogs, talking about wikis, and earning MP3 players!

I am so excited to work for an organization that is so committed to lifelong learning for all staff.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Back Me Up

I grew up in Florida, the lightning capital of the US, and remember having to unplug TVs, VCRs, etc. almost every afternoon during our summer thunderstorms. My parents now have lightning rods installed underground. So their electronics have become fairly safe from these storms.

The past few weeks have brought record-breaking heat to Charlotte and with that some amazing lightning and thunderstorms. Normally when we have these storms we unplug most of our electronics. Even though we have surge protectors, most surge protectors will not protect from lightning.

Last night my neighborhood had a particularly bad storm from out of nowhere and within the blink of an eye my home computer got fried. This is the second computer that has crashed without a backup. Financial records, photos, videos, all irreplaceable because I have been too busy to make a backup, not that making a backup should take that long. After all I have a CD and DVD burner on the computer. Hopefully I will be able to recover some of the files, but thought it would be a good time to remind everyone that you should always back up important files and don't rely on a surge protector to save you from lightning!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New USB "Flash" Drives Do So Much More

Flash drives, jump drives, thumb drives, pen drives, key chain drives, etc. They're known by many names, but they all serve pretty much the same purpose—portable computer storage. Very portable, in fact, as they do usually fit nicely on a key chain. They're increasingly available in an ever-growing variety of shapes and sizes, and their usefulness is on the rise as well.

Now, however, in addition to simply storing your computer files, newer flash drives are capable of providing us with a complete portable desktop environment. This means we can have our own Windows desktop (complete with icons and a taskbar), our favorite programs (email, Internet browser, office suite, etc.), and other features right on that little keychain. Pretty cool, huh?

So, what's the catch? Viruses are programs too. So, not only will public computing facilities like PLCMC need to be aware of the potential dangers posed by these mutated port-o-drives, but the average Joe and Jane will need to keep in mind that such facilities may be a little overly cautious at first (as with any possible hazard) resulting in difficulties using the devices.

While there's always been a certain level of risk from files stored on traditional media like floppy disks, homemade CDs or ordinary flash drives, these new flash drives throw a new element into the mix by having programs actually run right from the drives. Of course, anti-virus software can be installed on the flash drives too, but it will be up to the public computing facilities to draw that digital line in the sand.

More info:

The good: These advanced flash drives allow people to carry their desktop environment, favorite applications (web browsers, email programs, office suites, and lots of other stuff) in addition to their favorite files on a flash drive. Just plug it in and everything runs right from the flash drive with little to no evidence left behind on the PC (just needs a Windows environment in the background to power everything).

The bad: viruses are applications too. U3, a popular manufacturer of this new type of flash drive, makes software to allow or disallow drives based on authorization, and we may see other approaches as well.

Of course traditional flash drives already pose a slight danger if there are any virus-infected files on them, but they would require an application to activate the offending content. With U3, applications on the drive could launch automatically when the drive is inserted (unless the PC is instructed to preempt), and we should expect that virus authors will want to write for this new environment.

Read more about it:


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Times they are a changing

Earlier this week I went to CPCC to purchase some books for a Spanish class. I went to the service desk to get my books and then asked the young woman working there if they sold "flash cards."

She answered, "of course," and walked me over to the computer area and showed me my choice of USB storage devices. I almost laughed out loud. This was the first time it dawned on me that the new generation of young adults have a totally different vocabulary than we do as they have been raised with technology since birth!

It made me wonder what other terminology will change over the coming decades?