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Showing posts from December, 2009

Make Friends with Keyboard Shortcuts

You can save time using shortcut keys. The most common and important editing commands, of course, are: Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+V. Ctrl+C will copy the selected/highlighted text; Ctrl+V will paste your text; Ctrl+X cuts or erases the selected text. But these are just the tips of the iceberg! There are plenty of keyboard shortcuts that come in very handy, and once committed to memory, make our computing life easier. Here are a few:

Ctrl+A – For any editing or formatting task, your document will have to be highlighted/selected. Use this combination to quickly select your entire document or the web page that you are viewing.

Ctrl+S – Save your document by using this pair.

Ctrl+P – Will conjure up the print dialog box.

Shift+Delete: Tired of emptying your Recycle Bin? Using Shift+Delete will delete an item without putting it in the Recycle Bin. Watch what you delete using this dynamic duo because once deleted you won’t be able to retrieve the deleted item from your Recycle Bin!

Alt+Tab - Press…

Picture Perfect in 2009

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With 2009 drawing to a close, it is time to pay homage to the wonderful picture books that were published this year. Below are some of the favorites chosen by the youth services staff throughout the Mercer County Library System. Do you have a favorite from 2009?

Recommended by Andrea Lenhardt at Lawrence Branch:

“Amy Krause Rosenthal is one of my favorite new authors for children. Her books are very funny and slightly unconventional. She did not disappoint in 2009 with two more gems.”

Little Oink
By Amy Krause Rosenthal
“Little Oink is a neat little pig, but his parents will not allow him to play with his friends until he is messy, as pigs should be.”




Duck! Rabbit!
By Amy Krause Rosenthal
“Two unseen characters argue about whether the creature they are looking at is a rabbit or a duck.”




Pretty Pru
By Polly Dunbar
Pru’s purse goes missing and all friends deny knowing anything about it; however, one after another they are shown wearing the make-up from Pru’s purse.

Harriet’s Had Enough
By Elissa Had…

Brand New Holiday Treats!

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Curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and these new works of fiction this holiday season:

Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb

It's 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he'll never forget.





A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor

A short comic novel about a Hawaii-bound holiday traveler who ends up stranded in his North Dakota hometown during a blizzard.






You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs

In this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection of memories, Burroughs recounts Christmases past and present—as only he could. With gimlet-eyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.


The Gift by Cecilia Ahern

In this modern-day fable, workaholic executive Lou Steffen shows an uncharacteristic burst of generosity towards Gabe, a homeless man …

It’s a Wrap

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One of my old college roommates has recently challenged me to repurpose and reuse more. I’ve been extending this to wrapping gifts—for all occasions. Here are some kid friendly versions of my experiments so far.

Stamping: This tried and true method is a lot of fun. I use paper grocery bags or scrap paper. For stamps I cut an old, dry sponge. If you want a fancy shape, cookie cutters make good templates, and handprints are always cute. I added some glitter to mine (which is an inside-out gift bag) while the paint was wet. Wrap first: Newspaper or magazine pages make a great background. Wrap up your gift, then glue on whatever small, extra things are lying around. I used pieces of tissue paper because I liked the way the newsprint shows through them.
Gift tags: A small scrap left over after wrapping makes a good gift tag. These were done with fingerprints. If you have any homemade wrapping ideas or tips to share, I would love to know about them. - Miss Emily

Books to Get You Thinking – Special Holiday Edition II

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As promised last month, here is a selection of titles from fiction as well as from food and entertainment that should come in handy when you’re brainstorming gifts for the book lovers on your list.

Fiction

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
A hauntingly beautiful novel that captures the horrors of the Holocaust and weaves a spellbinding story around Sarah’s life, tracing back her ordeals that began one fateful day in Paris of 1942.

New York by Edward Rutherfurd
A memorable piece of historical fiction that traces the origins and growth of New York City from the earliest times to the present through the lives, the loves and the drama surrounding the diverse characters in the book

Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
Set in 1950s Hong Kong, a story of love, intrigue and the choices made under harsh war conditions, the ramifications of which echo through time and come back to haunt the lives of the characters.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
The novel explores the struggles of William Shepherd as h…

Please Mr. DJ - Won’t You Play Jingle Bell Rock For Me?

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If you listen to the radio during the holidays, you probably have a few favorites that Mr. DJ spins. So here’s a chance to see if your top picks are among the most popular 25 holiday tunes that have ruled the airwaves in the last decade (as determined by ASCAP - the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) . Before we vote, here are some nuggets about the 25 chestnuts:

The oldest tunes of this hit parade are two songs written in 1934: Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. Time doesn’t stand still though; Winter Wonderland has since been recorded by Eurythmics, Jewel and Air Supply.

The most recorded holiday song is White Christmas with well over 500 versions.

The newest song is Do They Know It's Christmas? Written by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof and recorded in 1984 by an all-star collection of British musicians, Band Aid. Proceeds from the enormously popular hit single were donated to famine relief in Ethiopia. Twenty years later, Band Aid 20 recorded a rema…

The Music in the Air

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It seems to start earlier and earlier ever y year. We hear it in the grocery store, the mall, and even the doctor’s office. We can’t escape it. Winter holiday music descends upon us – whether we are ready or not!

Personally, I can’t wait to hear songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The bouncy, happy “Linus and Lucy” tune, without my really knowing, was my first exposure to jazz music. The song, “Skating” still invokes memories of Lucy telling her peers that she NEVER eats December snowflakes; she prefers January’s.

Whether you prefer “Variations on the Kanon by Johnan Pachelbel” from George Winston’s December, Bing Crosby crooning “The Christmas Song” from Bing Crosby (The Christmas Collection), “My Favorite Things” performed by Christ Botti on Yo –Yo Ma & Friends' Songs of Joy & Peace, or “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, the library’s collection contains a diverse selection of genres that fit your musical needs for holiday parties, family …

Gifts for Geeks

Are you looking for the perfect gift for your favorite geek? Confused about the mp3 players, netbooks, and digital cameras on their wish list? Like last year, the hot items are going to be GPS units and mp3 players. In addition, Windows 7 will spur a new interest in PCs and eBook readers should be hot items in 2009. There are plenty of places online that offer some shopping help. Here are some of our favorite guides:

GeekDad blog from Wired - features gifts for adults as well as those appropriate for younger geeks, in a variety of price ranges. With a focus on the unusual, this is the place to start if you are looking for a Jedi bathrobe or book on how to build a flamethrower.

Cnet Holiday Gift Ideas - Cnet is one of the top sites to turn to all year for reviews and news on the latest in technology. At this time of year, they collect the hottest trends, editor's picks and user favorites all in a handy tech gift guide. Handy features of the site include videos demonstrating the pr…

Holiday Helper: Mail Merge

Just in time for the holidays - the annual family brag letter, and how Mail Merge can help!

What is a mail merge?

Say you’ve had a very exciting year 2009: You went trekking in the Himalayas; went bungee jumping over Victoria Falls; on the way back ran into a famous celebrity who invited you to his beach house in Key West for New Years Eve; and to top it all, you got your book of poems published! Now wouldn’t you like to share all this great news and terrific pictures with the rest of your family and friends? You could type up a form letter-that’s easy. But you would like to personalize each letter with the name of the recipient. Forget addressing each letter with the person’s name by hand - you don’t want horrible finger cramps, you still have to wrap presents.

Mail Merge is the answer: you can use Mail Merge to insert the name of each recipient from Auntie Anne to Cousin Zelda in a matter of minutes. Mail Merge will combine your letter with a list of recipients and produce one letter f…