December 30, 2010

OverDrive Shatters Records

If you have had problems accessing our OverDrive site since Christmas, you are not the only one. According to OverDrive's Digital Library blog, checkouts and new user registrations hit all time highs in the period leading up to and after the Christmas holiday. Additionally, for the first time ever for Overdrive, eBooks out-circulated eAudiobooks. 

Statistics for the Troy Public Library have also followed that trend. In December 2010 we have had our highest recorded monthly circulation of OverDrive titles. We have also seen our biggest increase in new patron registrations. In December 2010 we have seen a 75% increase in the amount of eBook checkouts compared to December 2009. Also, the Technology Center has been busy answering questions about a variety of eReading platforms, including the Nook Color, Kobo Reader, Pandigital Novel, Android smartphones, and more.

If you haven't tried OverDrive, now is a perfect time. You can find a list of eBook compatible devices here and eAudiobook compatible devices here. Like all eResources provided by the Troy Library, you will need a valid Troy Library card to be able to use OverDrive. To get started, go to, click on the "Download eBooks, Audiobooks" link, and select OverDrive.

December 23, 2010

Tech Help for the Holidays

The holidays have arrived, and with them comes family gatherings. With family gatherings comes the distinct possibility that you may be asked to help family members with their computer problems. Here are two sites to help prepare you for the role of being the family computer troubleshooter.

If your family has basic tech questions, Google's new Teach Parents Tech site is sure to help. Teach Parents Tech features a short videos about a variety of basic computing concepts, including how to send email attachments, how to crop photos,  how to find information in Google, and more. It also features a form that you can fill out so you can send links to specific videos.

If you need to help with more complicated issues, such as virus removal and computer slowness, has an article dedicated to PC troubleshooting tools that you should have on a USB drive. Some of these tools include antimalware software, a Linux distro, and alternate browsers.

Good luck answering your family's tech questions this holiday season!

December 16, 2010

Yahoo to Close

Amid news this week that Yahoo! is laying off 4% of its workforce, it appears that it is also  going to be ending some of its services. One of the services Yahoo is most likely closing is Delicious, a popular social bookmarking service.

Delicious was an early social site that used cloud computing to store user data. Instead of saving bookmarks and favorites locally within a specific web browser on a specific computer,  Delicious would allow you to save links to a Delicious account. These links were then always available on any computer that was able to access the web. Additionally, you could add tags to your links so that links about similar topics were easier to find. At the Troy Public Library, I used Delicious to track various sites regarding eBooks and eResources. I also tagged reference books that may be of interest.

While Delicious may be closing, there are some alternatives. Xmarks is a popular choice. If you have a Google account, Google offers a bookmarking service. Additionally, Google's web browser, Google Chrome, gives you the ability to sync bookmarks between computers that are running Chrome.

December 13, 2010

Good-bye, Chris

Today, The Tech Desk says good-bye to Chris Hunsanger. Chris has been a library aide in the Library's Technology Department for the past three years, and is moving on to pursue other opportunities to further his career.

Chris has been an asset to the the Technology Department. He has taught classes, helped design, and has been a tremendous help to not only patrons but also staff when it comes to fixing a variety of computer issues.

Chris has also been a contributor to The Tech Desk since its creation. Here are some examples of Chris' work:
We at The Tech Desk wish Chris the best of luck in his future endeavours. 

OverDrive App Updates to v2.0

OverDrive, the digital catalog provider of the Troy Public Library, has updated its Android and iPhone apps to v2.0. What does this mean to you?

Here is what you can expect in the latest release:
  • EPUB eBook support
  • Bug Fixes
  • An all new "Get Books" feature
The biggest feature is the new EPUB ebook support. Now, you can now read EPUB eBooks on your Android device (and tablets), as well as your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. This is in addition to the already available MP3 audiobook support that the app previously provided.

To initially download the books on to your device, you can take advantage of the new "Get Books" feature as well. After finding your library and adding to the app (done by searching), you will be able to quickly click on your library from within the app, and be taken to a mobile friendly version of the OverDrive catalog. From there, you can search, download, and view/listen to the books through the OverDrive application.

Finally, the OverDrive team has also noted the following: optimized version for iPad—with improved resolution and additional features—is coming soon, along with apps for BlackBerry and other mobile devices.
You can find the Android version of the app by searching for "Overdrive" in the Android Market or by scanning the QR code provided below. To download the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad version, search for "Overdrive" in the App Store or click on this link

December 3, 2010

Fun Friday: Google Translate Beatboxing

If you are a fan of 1980s hip-hop, you already know what "beatboxing" is. If you are unfamiliar, beatboxing someone produces drum beats and rhythms just by using their mouth. For an example, see this Wikipedia page.

Humans aren't the only one's with beatboxing skills. Earlier this week, TechCrunch had a story about how to turn Google Translate into a Google Beatbox. Here are some examples of Google Translate beats:

Example 1

Example 2

Inspired by the examples above? Post any great beats you have come up with using Google Translate in our comments section.