October 30, 2009

Fun Friday: Halloween Edition

According to CareerBuilder’s Halloween survey conducted among more than 4,000 workers, nearly one-in-five (18%) workers describe their workplace as scary.

Some workers think their workplace is scary because their bosses bear a strong resemblance to famous Halloween characters. When asked which popular characters best reflect their boss’s behavior, workers said the following:

Glenda the Good Witch, liked and respected by all - 20%

The Wolf Man, fine one minute, howling the next - 11%

The Invisible Man, never around - 10%

Casper the Friendly Ghost, eager to help, but often misunderstood - 9%

Dracula, constantly sucking the life right out of you - 6%

Wicked Witch of the West, conniving and sending out minions to do his/her dirty work - 5%

The Mummy, slow-moving and has an ancient thought process - 4%

Grim Reaper, constantly delivers bad news and inspires fear among workers - 3%

Frankenstein, green with envy - 1%

In addition to spooky bosses, when asked what the scariest part of their job was, workers reported the following fear-inducing activities:

Workload - 18%

Performance reviews - 9%

Tight deadlines - 9%

Hours worked - 8%

Their boss or supervisor - 7%

Sitting through meetings - 6%

Hm. I wonder how the Technology Department staff would describe me as a boss. I have my suspicions....

In any case, how about your workplace? Let us know.

And have a Happy Halloween.

October 29, 2009

Is Your Wi-Fi Connection Safe?

On October 29, the Today Show did a segment on the safety and security of using a wireless connection. The video features several scenarios where unsuspecting people were accessing the Internet using a wireless connection. A computer expert easily "hacked" into their computers, viewing their personal data. The video ends with suggestions for ensuring your security when going wireless. Watch it below.

October 27, 2009

See the Moons and Planets at the Troy Public Library

Interested in the moons and the planets?

Drop by the Troy Public Library after dark (about 6:30 pm) on Wednesday, October 28, and Thursday, October 29, and let members of the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club help put your head in the clouds.

Club members will set up telescopes to give you a great view of Earth's moon - now in its first quarter. Viewers should be able to see mountains and craters on the lunar surface. You should also be able to see the giant planet Jupiter -- 465 million miles away -- and a few of its moons.

The telescopes will be on the sidewalk on the east side of the Library, at the north end of the handicapped parking area, right in front of the current construction. There will be minimal interference with pedestrian traffic.

If you have an interest in seeing what else is out there, here's your chance. The early weather forecasts are clear and mild for both evenings -- perfect nights for sky gazing.

October 26, 2009

Be An Informed Voter this November

The League of Women Voters Troy Area has posted its Voter Guides for the November 3 election in Troy.

The Guide provides non-partisan information about candidates for the offices of Troy City Council and Troy School Board. Each candidate is given an opportunity to provide biographical information and to answer a number of questions on issues important to the office being sought. Responses are included as submitted and have not been edited, except for space.

If you live in a Michigan community other than Troy, check out the League's Voter Guide for your area.

October 22, 2009

Windows 7 is Here!

Windows 7, Microsoft's latest operating system, is now available. Reviews, such as those from PCMag.com and CNET have been positive, with some saying "Microsoft has an OS in Windows 7 that is simply better than anything Apple offers". Is Windows 7 a great product? Is it for you?

Below are some sites that discuss Windows 7 features and how to upgrade.
  • Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
    Paul Thurrott is a major source for Windows information. Not only does he maintain the SuperSite for Windows, he is the co-host of the
    Windows Weekly podcast and also writes books about Windows. His site features a 12-part review of Windows 7, extensive articles about specific Windows 7 features, and detailed articles about how to upgrade.

  • PCMag.com
    Another excellect source of Windows 7 information, pcmag.com seems to have unveiled their new website design along with the launch of Windows 7. In addition to reviews and hands-on tests, editor Lance Ulanoff describes his
    upgrade experience.

  • Microsoft
    This is obviously an excellent source of Windows 7 information. Not only can you buy Windows 7 here, you can also download the
    Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see if your computer can run Windows 7.

If you want to know more, the Troy Public Library now has books about Windows 7. Many of them are on the shelves. But, if you see a title you want and its availability is On-Order or Out, you can place a request and we'll call or email you when you the item is here.

What do you think about Windows 7? Let us know by leaving a comment.

October 21, 2009

Learn About Polaris, The Library's New Catalog

Interested in learning how to better use Polaris, the Troy Public Library's new catalog?

The Library is now offering one-hour classes to teach you the basics, including how to: find items you want; request titles to be held; renew material; save your reading list; manage your account; use the children's catalog; and access MeLCat, the statewide library system.

The classes are free, open to the public, and held in the Library Training Room. Click on the date for which you want to register, and enter your name, phone, and email address. We'll send you a confirmation:

6:30 pm, Tuesday, October 27
10 am, Wednesday, October 28
3 pm, Thursday, October 29
6:30 pm, Monday, November 2
10 am, Wednesday, November 4
1 pm, Thursday, November 5

Questions? Email Phillip Kwik at kwikp@troymi.gov, or phone 248.619.7577.

October 19, 2009

Celebrate National Save for Retirement Week

Congress has declared October 18 to October 24 as National Save for Retirement Week. With employer pension plans becoming a thing of the past and market downturns hurting 401(k)s, it is more important than ever not only to plan and save for retirement, but be aware of how your investments are doing. In addition to books and magazines about investing, several financial electronic resources (eResources) available through the Troy Public Library feature guides to help you make informed investing decisions.

Morning Investment Research Center contains comprehensive information on stocks, mutual funds, industry profiles, and more. It also has an excellent help and education section which features articles about beginning investing, saving for college, and retirement planning.

Standard and Poor's Net Advantage is another excellent resource for tracking investments. In addition to stock, mutual fund, and company information, Standard & Poor's features a financial education section. From here, you can browse articles about investing basics, how taxes affect investments, and saving for retirement.

Do you invest largely in stocks? Value Line is a popular source of stock ratings and recommendations. With our subscription to Value Line, you can get the latest copies of the Value Line Investment Survey electronically before the print publication is available. Value Line also has an education section called Value Line University which discusses investing basics, how to build a portfolio, and how to study a stock.

All of these databases are available in the Library or at home to Troy Library cardholders. To access these products, go to the
Go to the Library's website and click eResources on the left under Library Links. Click on the Business and Economics link and then choose which one you want to use.

October 13, 2009

ConsumerReports.org Now Available at Home from the Troy Library

Are you considering buying a new car? Do you need to replace a home appliance? Or, perhaps you want to know the best value for your money when it comes to everyday products, from breakfast cereal to light bulbs.

In today's economy, it's more important than ever to make informed purchasing decisions. Consumer Reports, the magazine of nonprofit organization Consumer Union, has been independently testing, evaluating, and rating products for over 70 years.

Now you can get all the ratings from Consumer Reports at home through the Troy Public Library's subscription to ConsumerReports.org. Our subscription gives you access to all subscriber-level content, including ratings, product overviews, video, and more. You can also browse issues from the current calendar year.

To access ConsumerReports.org, you will need a Troy Public Library card. Go to the Troy Public Library website and click eResources on the left under Library Links. From the Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers subject list click on ConsumerReports.org.

October 7, 2009

Managing Electronic Waste

More and more households may find themselves accumulating electronic waste, or "e-waste," as they purchase new electronic equipment or replace existing equipment with newer technologies. Electronic waste is any unwanted or discarded electronic equipment and consists of items such as TVs,VHS and DVD players, computer hardware, cell phones, and more. Many states, including Michigan, have passed legislation that regulates the recycle or disposal of electronic equipment because often they contain toxic pollutants such as mercury, chromium and lead.

Beginning October 2009, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will maintain a list of registered manufacturers and links to each manufacturer web page providing details on where covered electronic equipment can be recycled. The list is/will be available at www.michigan.gov/deqewaste under the link titled 'Electronic Waste Takeback Program.'

For more information on managing electronic waste in Michigan read What Do Generators Need to Know About Electronic Waste?

October 6, 2009

Microsoft Confirms Hotmail Phishing Attack

According to PCMag.com, several thousand Hotmail usernames and passwords were exposed over the weekend via a phishing attack, which Microsoft confirmed on October 5.

In a phishing scheme, users are tricked into divulging confidential information, often account password and usernames. In this case, users could have used Hotmail to communicate with banks and other institutions, storing confidential information in their accounts. Users who believe they have fallen prey to a phishing scheme should change their passwords immediately, Microsoft advises.

PCMag.com reports that on October 6, Gmail, Google's email product, also fell prey to the phishing attack. As soon as Google learned of the attack, they forced password resets on the affected accounts. They will continue to force password resets on additional accounts when they become aware of them.

These attacks are a good reminder to exercise extreme caution when opening unsolicited email attachments and links from both known and unknown sources. All email users, regardless of what product they use, should install and regularly update their anti-virus software.