Showing posts from August, 2011

Honey, Can you Tweet Me A Soda and Chips?

If it seems like the internet has finally become as import as electricity in every room of your house, that may be because a number of appliances you may seldom think of as internet-bound are surprisingly connected to the outside world. There is even a term for it, called the Internet of Things . Last year the trend in TV was 3D. This year it may be the dawn of the download era. Cable has had an On Demand feature included in most set-top boxes for a few years and TiVo was once very forward-thinking technology because it bypassed the cable company to download schedules and other on-screen goodies to help guide your viewing choices. This year, TV goes a little further with internet-ready sets and accessories such as wireless BluRay players, Roku media players and AppleTV . The main point of connecting the home entertainment center to the internet is to download content from places like Netflix , Hulu or Amazon Instant Video . But, you often get a few other options with an

National Grandparents Day

How did it National Grandparents Day evolve? Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a West Virginia housewife, founded this national holiday. Marian had worked with senior citizens for many years and her original idea for the holiday was not only to recognize grandparents but also to bring attention to the needs of people living in nursing homes. In 1978, Congress passed legislation and Former President Jimmy Carter signed it declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. This year Grandparents Day will be celebrated on the September 11th. Today, an increasing number of grandparents have actually assumed daily responsibility for their grandchildren. According to the AARP, 4.5 million children are being raised in households headed by grandparents. For those kids and millions of others, grandparents create special relationships and impart lessons that last a lifetime. As President Carter wrote, "Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the ev

Books to Get You Thinking

As the world continues to reel from the financial crisis of 2008, we are now receiving even more sobering news and the distinct possibility of a double dip recession that conjures up memories of the 1930’s. The United States has experienced a sluggish recovery since 2009; in the coming years, it anticipates tightening spending levels and challenging prospects for generating new jobs and growth. Consumer demand is sagging under the burden of high consumer debt levels, particularly in the aftermath of the housing crisis and an unemployment rate that has climbed to over 9%. As the situation worsens, the private sector has little incentive to invest in new jobs. In the meantime, higher oil prices and supply disruptions following the Japanese Tsunami have only added to the current economic woes. The news from Europe is equally grim with Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy facing their own rapidly escalating debt and deficit issues. The US dollar may find itself sliding from its domin

10 Movies to Hold on to Summer

It’s too soon to say good-bye to summer, but it’s already starting to happen – Summer Camp’s are winding up; “Back-to-School” sales have started, and MCL’s Summer Reading Program has ended. You can hang on to those summer days throughout the rest of the year with summer-themed movies from MCL’s collection. Here are ten to get you started: Adventureland (2009) Rated R Who knew there could be such great life lessons learned while working a summer job at a local amusement park? This dark comedy’s lead characters, James (Jesse Eisenberg) and Em (Kristen Stewart), take its viewers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Directed by Greg Mottola. Dazed & Confused (1993) Rated R Last day of school = First day of summer! Richard Linklater’s film gives us a taste of a small Texas town’s 1976 teenage antics. Incoming freshmen, on the last day of junior high, try to avert hazing rituals – a long-held tradition for the incoming seniors. Dirty Dancing (1987) Rated PG-13 “Baby” (Jen

Book Clubbing: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Why do Asian societies excel in the maths and sciences? Students from Singapore, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan beat all other nations in the TIMSS (a comprehensive math and science test give to elementary and junior high students from around the world). Malcolm Gladwell ‘s Outliers credits the cultural heritage of wet-rice agriculture. In these countries, poor peasants have cultivated rice paddies for thousand of centuries, working each year at least three thousand hours per small paddy. It is actually very skilled labor, requiring planning, dedication, ceaseless work – just the qualities valuable for academics! A favorite maxim of these peasant farmers is: “ No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich. ” It is all about attitude - and this attitude of hard work and persistence, translates well into academic work. It is not just our stars that make us so, it is our culture, our heritage, the society that we grow

Wanted: Adventure, Love, and Fun All Between the Covers of a Book

“I don’t know what to read” is something I hear a lot at the library. Most of my favorite books are in our Young Adult collection. So if you need a break from your school reading list and you’re looking for love, adventure, and fun; look no further than your library’s shelves. There you’ll find teenage thieves, girls undercover, mobsters, wise-cracking Bozos, and much, much more… I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter - "Cammie may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year she's beginning her most dangerous mission - falling in love" Heist Society by Ally Carter - Since she can remember, Katarina's relatives have been grooming her for the family business, thieving. But when Kat tries to go straight and leave that life for a normal one, she's promptly kicked out of her new school for stealing the headmaster's car and mounting it on the school Flipped by Wendlin Van Draanen - When

Condition Your Rows!

Are you going cross-eyed squinting over tables of data in your Excel worksheet? Do your colleagues dread having to look at your monthly attachments containing large Excel sheets with loads of data tables that have to be read and analyzed? Why not make your Excel document easy on the eye by coloring every other row a different color? Not only will this trick make your Excel document more readable but it will also add an “eye-candy” appeal! Adding a different color to even/odd number of rows is easy to do by using Conditional Formatting and writing a simple formula. Not only can you make your table look pretty but it will also make it much more readable. Here’s how: After you have completed your table, select the entire table. [If it is a large table, simply use ctrl+a to select the entire worksheet]. From the Home tab, in the Styles group, click on Conditional Formatting . From the drop-down menu that will appear, choose New Rule . From the New Formatting Rule box,

Musings From the Reference Desk

I’m a reference librarian. It’s a pretty good job. While I don’t love my job the way I love my husband or my kids or my grandson or listening to Jagger or Springsteen or Beethoven or Puccini or watching the Phillies or kayaking on a quiet stream, I do definitely like my job. I like figuring things out, following leads, working out different ways to formulate a question, narrowing down choices until the answer becomes clear. So when someone asks me for information on “Janet Kendleigh. She had something to do with World War II.” and I can’t find a thing, I enjoy the winnowing process that helps us figure out that what we’re really looking for is something about Jane Kendeigh, the Navy flight nurse who landed on an active battlefield in Iwo Jima. I like chasing down obituaries (I especially liked it when it turned out the subject of the obituary was actually still alive and living in a nursing home in South Jersey). I enjoy tracking down specific magazine and newspaper articles f

Hybrids Aren’t Just for the Garden

Last December, we discussed tech trends to look for in 2011 . One item that was on the list to look for is the hybrid app, also called a mashup, which basically combines two types of applications into one for a mobile device or computer. While we have been hearing about apps since Smartphones, cell phones that can also run applications and surf the web, hit the market a few years ago, hybrid apps were not that typical. Before discussing a few apps as examples, including a new one available to MCL patrons, let’s put the hybrid app in perspective in order to better define it. Computers have always used apps, from the earliest ones that only featured language compilers for programmers to the latest versions of Office. These types of apps are called native apps because they are installed on the device and use the device’s hardware to function. On a mobile device, an app that uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to give directions or a game that you download and play are examples of native a