Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Should You Moderate Your Blog's Comments?

Our blog moderates comments. Below are some comments that went right to the Blogger spam folder, for obvious reasons you will see. Other comments which are not so obviously spammy are sent by Blogger software to the Reference Department email to moderate.  We love comments about our posts, about books, about library services, about Children's programs, about our databases and down-loadables, about what you are reading, about what we are reading. But, we do not want to be a venue for commercial advertising. Thanks, but libraries are non-profit and cannot promote one product over another. Isn't that nice that there is one place on the internet that does not advertise or take sides? For details, see our blog policy, which is posted right here on our home page. So, if you are a blogger and want to know whether to moderate comments or not, I have no idea what you should do, but be prepared for some pretty irrelevant (at best) comments if you just leave that commenting option wide open.

Thanks for the comments! (The end of each comment refers to the post they tried to 'comment' on. You can see that the comments are completely irrelevant to the topic. Nice try, though!)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Apps for the Amateur

Apps we liked this year: ( I use an iPhone and iPad, but probably most of these have Android apps too.)

FingerDraw: free, you can draw on photos you have taken. I used this app in a post I made a few weeks ago to illustrate a point about memos. It was easy to take a picture with the iPad, then doodle on the picture with FingerDraw, then upload that saved picture to the blog, using the Blogger app, never leaving my iPad the whole time! 
Using FingerDraw app
Notice old technology: clipboards should never be underestimated for how official they make something seem.

Using PhotoCollage app for the Blog
PhotoCollage: free, you can turn a bunch of your photos into a collage, more is better than one.

Evernote: do you keep thinking you could be organized if only you found a good system? Evernote is the ultimate Getting Things Done (GTD) and Getting Organized app. There is a free version and a fee version. The free version has so many options, I have not used them all yet. You can make Notebooks into which you can place virtual clippings from the web, you can keep lists and notes, you can share your stuff with other people. I use one notebook to file research articles on a topic I am following so I can refer to them easily. This works better than just bookmarking the articles in a browser as it keeps them all in one file.

WhatsApp: for texting on your phone from outside the U.S. I am told by my traveling daughter that this app only works in wifi so that you won't get charged huge out of country fees by your phone service.

Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Wordpress and, yes, our very own Blogger here (This blog is on Blogger), have apps so you can use them on your phone or tablet. The library is on many of these social media platforms and we use the apps on an iPad and also the desktop versions. Take a look at our homepage http://www.bhplnj.org/ and click on the app logos to see the library's posts on FB, Twitter and Pinterest. We are not on Instagram.

Chatbooks is a photo book making app that promises to be fast and to make design decisions easy. I used this over the holidays and sure enough, it was so simple, I actually made three photobooks in time to be shipped for Christmas. Usually I get so hung up in all the choices and styles of the other photo book apps that I have unfinished books littered around cyberspace, I think. There are lots of good photo book apps out there, but for the cheap and indecisive, this was the one for me. I could even connect it to my Facebook account and Instagram account, but let's not get too ambitious here.

Finally, many of the Berkeley Heights Public Library's databases and downloadable services have apps: go to our All Things E page to try  our FREE downloadable and streaming apps.
Rosetta Stone languages
Hoopla - streaming TV, movies, books and music
eLibraryNJ (Overdrive) - ebooks and audiobooks
Flipster - magazines
OneClickDigital and Zinio and Atomic Training all from RB Digital which is coming out with a new app this spring.

P.S: the library has its own app which we made using Boopsie.

Related posts on this blog about apps:
There's an app for that
the library app
more apps

The article that clued me into making fast photo books, from USA Today, (I read actual newsprint papers, enjoying them while they still exist, but here is the digital article) Make photo books faster on a phone app

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Movies Shown at the Library in 2016

The Berkeley Heights Public Library shows movies every third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm in the library meeting room. The library  also offers a foreign film festival weekly during the summer.
For details, go to our online calendar or Events for Adults page on the website. You can sign up for a monthly email alert about our movie showings. Ask at the Circulation Desk for a form to sign up for the movie email list or email us at reference at bhplnj dot org. In 2016 we showed the following movies which are available to borrow from the library.

The Walk (English)

Human Capital (Italian)

Jimmy’s Hall (English)

Keeping Mum (English)

East Side Sushi (English, Spanish)

Marie’s Story (French)

Lady in the Van (English)

Son of Saul (Hungarian)

Samba (French)

The Second Mother (Brazilian Portuguese)

Coming Home (Mandarin)

Labyrinth of Lies (German)

Hail, Caesar! (English)

The Man Who Knew Infinity (English)

Theeb (Arabic)

Indignation (English)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What I Read in 2016

Best Book  of My Reading Year:
The Risk Pool by Richard Russo.
 I started reading Everybody's Fool, Richard Russo's much anticipated 2016 sequel to Nobody's Fool, but I had to return the book before I finished because it became due and there was a long waiting list. I will get back to that book when I can - Russo books require a fair commitment of time. Meanwhile, I owned a copy of The Risk Pool (1994) that features a shiftless, but charming, character who reminded me of the Sully in Nobody's Fool, one of my favorite books and favorite characters. Reading the Risk Pool over Thanksgiving week was a total immersion experience. It is a slow read, highly recommended for Russo fans, and readers who enjoy a deep dive into character and place, told with a sly, dark wit.

Short Novels, almost Novellas
Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent (Reviewed in this blog)

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich (Reviewed in this blog)

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd, a Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
Smile and Be a Villain, a Dorothy Martin mystery by Jeanne M. Dams
No Corners for the Devil, a Cornish mystery by Olive Etchells
Dearly Departed, an Amy's Travel mystery by Hy Conrad
The Perfect Murder, the 1st Inspector Ghote mystery by H.R.F. Keating
The Darling Dahlias and the 11 O'Clock Ladies by Susan Wittig Albert
Threats at Three by Ann Purser
Dead Bolt (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #2) by Juliet Blackwell

Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation (The Grantchester Mysteries #5) by James Runcie

Blood Orange (China Bayles, #24) by Susan Wittig Albert
Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #3) by Dorothy L. Sayers

An Obvious Fact (Walt Longmire #12) by Craig Johnson (This is Cowboy genre, not Cozy)
The Highwayman (Walt Longmire, #11.5) by Craig Johnson

Night Passage (Jesse Stone, #1) by Robert B. Parker

 By M.C. Beaton, one of my favorite mystery  authors:
Agatha Raisin Pushing up Daisies (Agatha Raisin, #27)
Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth, #25)
Death of a Nurse (Hamish Macbeth, #31)

By Elly Griffiths:
The Zig Zag Girl (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #1) and the second in this new, renamed 'Magic Men' series,  Smoke and Mirrors
The Woman in Blue (Ruth Galloway, #8)

By Agatha Christie:
Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot, #7) by Agatha Christie
Closed Casket, a new Hercule Poirot mystery by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie

A Murder of Quality (George Smiley #2) by John le Carré
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
I started John le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, but did not have time to finish before the holds list demanded I return the book.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (unfinished, this was a long slog and I finally decide to go with the movie versions)
Journey to Munich, a Daisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear
Princess Elizabeth's Spy, a Maggie Hope novel by Susan MacNeal
By Bill Bryson: (author reviewed on this blog)
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1) by Graeme Simsion
The Diamond Caper by Peter Mayle
The Revolving Door of Life, a 44 Scotland Street novel by Alexander McCall Smith

Read for the Tuesday Library Book Group  
The View from the Castle by Alice Munro
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Tea with the Fireflies by Shona Patel
Thanks to Jane Austen
North By Northanger: Or The Shades of Pemberley (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries, #3) by Carrie Bebris
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (The Austen Project, #4) by Curtis Sittenfeld
Medicine and Health (see blog post about reading while sick)

No Laughing Matter by Joseph Heller

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Fiction, not otherwise classified in this list
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Election by Tom Perrotta 

Children's Books
Beyond the Pawpaw Trees: The Story of Anna Lavinia by Palmer Brown
The Silver Nutmeg: The Story of Anna Lavinia and Toby by Palmer Brown
The Secret Garden & A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I am gradually rereading the Harry Potter series:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (#1 in the series) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2 in the series) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3 in the series) by J.K. Rowling

Christmas Books
Mistletoe Murders: and other stories by P.D. James
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry

Related posts from this blog:
What I Read in 2014
My Year of Reading 2013
My Year of Reading 2013, continued
The Year in Books 2012
The Blog Christmas Posts recapped





Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Atomic Training: learning technology with online tutorials

Does your smart phone seem smarter than you? Do you want to start a blog? Are you curious about how to get organized using Evernote? Are you under-utilizing your Firefox browser? Does Microsoft Word drive you nuts and what are all those options anyway? Are your spreadsheets adding up or just staring back at you mutely? Do you want to tidy up your email account and take back your iPad from your grandchildren? These and other vexing questions will be answered by watching short videos on Atomic Training, free from the Berkeley Heights Public Library.

To use this online resource,  go to our All Things E page
Click on Atomic Training to learn new technology and computer skills online by signing up for a free account using your Berkeley Heights Library card. No need to troll through You Tube to find the best video to learn how to master technology, Atomic Training has videos on hundreds of topics.

A video-based how-to training resource, Atomic Training opens up unlimited access to thousands of short videos covering more than 500 of today's most popular software applications on both PCs and Macs, including:

·    All the latest offerings — Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Google, and more
·    Valuable job training — Improve job skills with in-depth training on Excel and Photoshop
·    Learn valuable social media techniques with tutorials on Twitter, blogging, and podcasting
·    Mobile training — Learn how to use mobile products such as the iPhone and iPad
·    Access anywhere — Watch videos at the library or remotely from home
·    ADA Accessibility — All videos are closed captioned Accessibility Statement

A full list of courses can be found here (copy and paste this link into your browser) http://blog.atomiclearning.com/sites/blogs.atomiclearning.com/files/AtomicTraining-OverallAppList.pdf

Call the Reference Desk or stop by with your phone, tablet or laptop and we will get you started.