Technology Blog

Why is the Internet Slow? And What's the Library Doing About It?

Bandwidth Explosion

If you use the Library's public computers, you know that we have experienced a decrease in Internet connection speed. There are a number of reasons for this, several of which have been addressed. And we have isolated the cause of what we hope is the last remaining issue. The good news is that the Library now has a dedicated segment of the City and County of Denver's Internet connection.

This means we aren't competing for bandwidth with other City agencies, and our heavy Internet traffic (we have over 1,500 computers) is not interfering with the Sheriff, Courts or other agencies. The bad news is that this shift has yet to improve the connection speeds at our public computers and this is due to the way we currently filter the Internet. What is not news is that Internet traffic is growing exponentially worldwide.

Apps and eBooks for kids!

galaxy note ii

Did Santa bring the kids new tablets or eReaders for Christmas? Are you befuddled by the new look of the library’s eMedia page? Wondering what apps are right for your child?

Whether you want to download library eBooks to your iPad or find great apps to keep your children entertained, we can help get you started! Swing by the Children’s Pavilion the first two Sundays in January and learn how to make the most of your new devices.

On Sunday, January 6, we’ll show you how to find and download free children’s eBooks and audio eBooks from the Denver Public Library website. Check out the new look of our eMedia page, and learn how to install the required software to your computer or device (see schedule below).

How do I know which gadget to buy?

Which Gadget is Right for You

It's that time of the year for my casual daydreaming about gifts for friends and family to turn to wide-eyed panic as I realize I'm quickly running out of shopping days. The time of the year when I look for the gift that says "I love you but I am able to display it in an ironically distant way," but usually end up settling for saying "I found this at the 7-11 on the off-ramp into town." 

If you've got any gadgets on your list - laptops or ereaders or tablets or anything else with a pretty screen - it can be even harder to pick out the right gift. That's why the CTC is offering the "Which Gadget is Right for You?" class, this Tuesday, December 4, at 5:30 PM on level four of the Central library. We'll be discussing the pros and cons of different ereaders, tablets, and smartphones - so come with questions!

What's Up with Prospector?

Good things often come to those who wait.  And you have been waiting a long time for the return of the Prospector service.  We have to assume that the original gold prospectors were patient folks much like library customers.  You may have given up, and for good reason, but we haven't!

The Library's previous automation system was connected to Prospector via a customized program that is no longer allowed by the system behind Prospector, requiring the creation of an entirely new connection process.  The effort to reconnect the Denver Public Library to Prospector has been technically challenging.  All parties involved have been working diligently to overcome integration issues, however, and together we have made significant progress.

Do you own your ebooks?

We're all confus 'bout ebooks.

It's been an interesting week for eBook news. It's been an interesting year, actually, but this last week has been especially interesting, in that the issue of whether you own the eBooks you buy or not has been placed front and center.

If you're looking for the short version of this story, the answer is "no." For details, read on...

There was an interesting story about a woman in Norway who had access to her eBooks revoked when her Amazon account was shut down. She had bought a used Kindle from the United Kingdom and transferred her purchases to it. The Kindle developed a problem, and she contacted Amazon to have it replaced, which they agreed to do, as long as the replacement was shipped to the UK.

Wow! Zoom! Sweep! with Prezi Presentations

Do you know what a Prezi presentation is? It's ok, neither did I a few months ago. It's kind of a new thing. I'd even wager to say it's The New Thing as far as presentations are concerned.

Prezi is a free cloud-based program that allows users to create moving (literally) presentations by zooming in, out and around visual objects, whether they're images or power words. Think of it like this: Prezi is to Powerpoint as a landline phone is to an iPhone. There are advantages to both, but Prezi has a lot more bells and whistles, capabilities and is all around a more impressive product.

OverDrive App for Nook

Overdrive Media Console App for Nook Tablet, Nook Color, Nook HD

Borrowing eBooks and audio eBooks from the library just got a whole lot easier for users of the NOOK HD, NOOK HD+, NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color. Last week, Barnes & Noble added the OverDrive Media Console app to the NOOK Apps storefront. This NOOK app enables users to wirelessly borrow eBooks and MP3 audiobooks from the library.

Visit the NOOK Apps storefront to install the free OverDrive Media Console (OMC) app.

Creative teens + technology = ideaLAB!

Image courtesy of DeviantArt user Jakusczon

This last week brought terrific news: the Community Technology Center at the Denver Public Library was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Colorado State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services! The grant will fund the creation of what we’re calling the ideaLAB, a digital creation space just for teens.

The purpose of the ideaLAB is to provide a space where Denver youth have access to professional-level equipment and software, creating a positive, safe after-school space where teens can become producers of digital media. In the lab, you can create and record your own music; film, edit, and produce your own videos; make your own video games and distribute them online; create digital art and photo manipulations and print them out in color; create 3-D models for animation and games; and much more.

Marketing With Social Media

social media lady

Have you been wondering how to advertise your small business using tools like Facebook?  Check out some basic tips to help get your social media marketing plan started!

One of the first things you need to consider when you start using social media to advertise your small business is your media strategy.  Think about questions like, "How often do I need to post?"  "What kinds of posts would appeal to my market?"  "How do I get maximum engagement from the people who are following me?"  Think about who will be writing the posts and who will be reading them. 

Photo Editing Online

This is what happens when you spend too much time playing with photo editors

Sunday, the CTC will host the second of two classes on Photoshop Elements. The class will be fun, as I am teaching it and my snaggle-toothed charm will eventually win you over. But do you have photos you need to edit and you don't own Elements? Alternately, do you feel compelled to make photos of yourself look ridiculous? Come with me into the internet for some free online options...

Our favorite at the CTC used to be Picnik, but they were bought by Google and rolled into Google+, so, unless you're one of the 15 Google employees currently using Google+, you're probably not going to find that very useful. Luckily, the internets are full of other options:

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