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Technology Blog

August 23, 2016: How Does Facebook Label You Based on Your Political Views?

politicalviews082316.PNGJust in case you are not sure if you are liberal, moderate, or conservative, check with Facebook because it has made a determination based on your activity on the site.  In the article entitled Liberal, Moderate or Conservative?  See How Facebook Labels You by Jeremy B. Merrill in The New York Times, you can find out how Facebook has categorized you.  You may also participate in The New York Times project called AdTrack in which The Times collects Facebook ads from Times readers.  In this unusual political season, you will surely want to know where you stand.

~mary anne
mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org

August 22, 2016: Virtual Reality!

medium_thomaskozak.jpgYes, I was wondering about all the hype surrounding virtual reality.  So, my husband and I attended Exploring Virtual Reality with Google Cardboard given by Wilton Library's own Thomas Kozak.  The materials fee gave us each our own Google Cardboard and Thomas quickly got us to download some apps, insert our phones into the Google Cardboard viewer and we were off!  Our group of six students covered a wide range of ages but we all oohed and aahed as we encountered each new experience. We visited world-famous landmarks, flew with the birds, swam with the fish, rode scary roller coasters, and flew planes, all from the comfort of our chairs in Wilton Library's Innovation StationThe New York Times allows one to "experience stories reported by award-winning journalists, all told in an immersive, 360-degree video experience."  Wikipedia defines virtual reality (or VR) as "a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user's physical presence and environment to allow for user interaction with this environment. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experiences, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell. Most 2016-era virtual realities are displayed either on a computer monitor or with a virtual reality headset (also called head-mounted display), and some simulations include additional sensory information and focus on real sound through speakers or headphones targeted towards VR users.  The Google Cardboard App is a great place to start and it is available for iOS and Android devices.  If you want to join the fun, watch our calendar--Thomas may be repeating this program in October!

~mary anne
mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2016: MTA eTix Arrives on Monday!

medium_MTA etix.jpgOn Monday, August 22, New Haven Line riders on Metro North will have access to the MTA eTix app (iOS and Android).  Riders on Metro North's Hudson and Harlem lines and the LIRR Port Washington branch have been enjoying this leap into the convenience of the 21st Century.  In 2015, the New Haven line amassed more than 40.3 million trips and it is the busiest commuter rail line in the country!  As with the introduction of any upgrade or new technology, it might pay to let a bit of time pass before jumping on the etix train.  Let the conductors and other passengers work out any bugs and your experience will be extra smooth.  

 

 

 

August 18, 2016: OverDrive Books Are Always Available!

medium_My Brilliant Friend.jpgI am so grateful to have access to downloadable books and audiobooks 24/7 through OverDrive!  It is so easy to find and download items and our Media Librarian, Melissa Baker, keeps our collection current and in top shape.  Back in January, 2016, I read an article in The New York Times entitled Elena Ferrante's Naples, Then and Now by Ann Mah.  I held on to the article, knowing that I wanted to read this series of four books, referred to as the Neapolitan Series.  After I finished The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, I wasted no time in downloading Book 1:  My Brilliant Friend.  I am a big fan of audiobooks and I am thrilled with this terrific listen.  The story of a side of Italy that is not idyllic or pretty and marred by corruption and crime takes us into the lives of Elena Greco ("Lenù") and Raffaella Cerullo ("Lila"), best friends and fierce academic competitors.  According to Ann Mah, " to view the Naples of Ms. Ferrante is to view Naples like a native."  To access OverDrive, go to our website and click on the green Digital Library button on the right side of the page.  Then, click on OverDrive (ebooks and audiobooks).  Happy reading!

 ~mary anne

mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org

August 17, 2016: Do Not Disturb

medium_Do Not Disturb.jpgOne of my favorite iPhone features is Do Not Disturb.  I really like knowing that my cell phone will not ring at night (unless the call is from one of my Favorite people).  While browsing through iPhone Life today, I found this article by Abbey Dufoe on How to Let Favorite Contacts Call You When Do Not Disturb Is On and I thought you too would like to enjoy uninterrupted nights of sleep.  Another tip:  To turn on Do Not Disturb manually when you are in a library or another quiet place, swipe up from the bottom of any Home screen on your iPhone.  You will see Control Center pop up.  Just tap the Moon icon (the fourth icon from the left in the top row) and Do Not Disturb will remain on until you turn it off.  To turn it off, open Control Center and tap the Moon again.  When Do Not Disturb is turned on, you will still receive notifications but you will not receive sounds and vibrations.  Happy Sleeping!

~mary anne
mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org

August 16, 2016: Google Duo Makes Video Calling Between Operating Systems Easier

medium_Google Duo.pngIn The New York Times today, there is an interesting article by Brian X. Chen titled Google Duo Makes Video Calling Between Operating Systems Easier.  I had to give it a try even though I am an iPhone user.  The app is certainly easy to find and install from the App Store and one is quickly led through the few steps it takes to set it up.  It is a real plus to use an app that doesn't care whether you are an Android or iPhone user and it is just as easy to use as FaceTime.  I especially like the Knock Knock feature which allows the person you are calling to see you making funny faces before they pick up the call (this feature can be disabled).  My only concern is that you must "agree to letting Duo periodically send your contacts to Google."  If you have friends who are both Android and iPhone users, this might be the app for you!

July 8, 2015: Siri Can Tell You When Sunrise and Sunset Will Be

If you are racing to be somewhere before sunset and are not sure when sunset will take place, you can ask iPhone's Siri to give you the information.  I try to time my dog's evening walks to get home before it gets dark and if I am running late, I don't want to waste time trying to figure out when sunset will occur.  Follow the instructions in Jim Karpen's Tip of the Day from iPhoneLife.com.  Not only can you find out the times for sunrise and sunset, Siri will also give you a weekly weather forecast.  Thanks, Siri! 

~mary anne

July 7, 2015: The 30 Best Windows Phone Apps

If you have or are in the process of deciding to buy a Windows Phone, you will want to read this article by Michael Muchmore of PCMag.comThe 30 Best Windows Phone Apps.  The article states, "Windows Phone, as such, is going away. . . .  It will be replaced by . . . Windows 10 Mobile."  This development will provide more integration among mobile and desktop and should treat users to the same seamless movement between desktop and mobile devices that Apple users currently enjoy.  The apps cover productivity, entertainment, gaming, and more and is worth reading in case you are missing some quality apps on your phone.  

If you have a favorite app you would like to share,  let me know at mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org.

~mary anne
Mary Anne Mendola Franco
Assistant Director, Technology and Training
Wilton Library Association, Inc.
www.wiltonlibrary.org
mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org
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April 2, 2015: Newsbank Hot Topics

newsbank.jpgIn addition to providing our online version of The Wilton Bulletin, Newsbank also puts together a monthly list of Hot Topics.  The topics range from current events (Iranian nuclear talks), social issues (the controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration act), business topics (Heinz/Kraft merger, Keurig disposable plastic coffee pods and the environment), politics (Harry Reid's upcoming retirement from the Senate), crime and law (Germanwings Flight 9525, Amanda Knox verdict), economics (unemployment), history (Selma March anniversary), to health (Alzheimer's Research), and more.  With your valid Wilton Library card, click on Research on the navigation bar near the top of our homepage (www.wiltonlibrary.org).  Then, click on Databases and Web Links and then on Magazines/Newspapers (alternatively, go to www.wiltonlibrary.org/content/magazinesnewspapers.  Then, click on Access Business News (NewsBank).  At the top of the left-hand column, Click on Hot Topics to see the current month's list.  Copy the Search Terms you are interested in (e.g., Iran AND nuclear development AND negotiations).  Close that window,  click on Access World News paste the search terms into Newsbank's search box, and click Search

The topics are great for research projects, cocktail party conversations, and general enjoyment!

 If you have any questions, let me know at mamfranco@wiltonlibrary.org.

~mary anne

 

February 25, 2015: Less Stress, More Calm

Life is certainly becoming more and more stressful.  We have less time, more responsibilities, and more angst.  To help you survive in this world of anxiety, check out this article "Apps for Meditation and Calming on iPhone and Android" by Kit Eaton of The New York Times.  Remember to relax and breathe!

~mary anne

 

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