Showing posts from July, 2012
Last month , we looked at how to digitize a family photo collection.  This month, we’ll take a look at how you can use some of the same techniques and equipment to make digital copies of family documents.  There are two basic ways to scan text, as a file or using OCR, optical character recognition.  Both are appropriate options, but produce different types of files. A PDF will produce a full-color image of a document, with sharp text and accurate reproduction of any images or photographs on the document.  Most scanners have a PDF button on them, so creating a PDF is as simple as making a photocopy.  Make sure to use a preview scan if you can, since you can make sure the borders are correct and you capture the full document.  Most PDFs are created with basic software and cannot be edited after they have been scanned, but can be universally read using free PDF viewers on a computer or tablet.  Because it handles both text and images to produce an exact copy of the document, PDF is esp

Magazine Strip Photo Frame

Construct a fun, colorful frame in just five steps with materials you already have! You will need: One side of a cereal box (or other cardboard) Pages from an old magazine A paper shredder or scissors Glue Cut the cardboard into the shape of a frame. Run the magazine pages through the paper shredder to make long thin strips. If you don’t have access to a paper shredder, use your scissors to cut skinny pieces--the thinner the better. Put glue on one side of a strip. Wrap the strip around the frame. If there is a spot you don’t like, cover it up with another strip. 4. Corners are the trickiest part. To make them easier choose skinny strips and rip them in half. Just wrap     one side of the corner at a time. The glue should make them more flexible. 5. Optional step: If you used liquid glue you can paint a coat of the glue over the top of the magazine strips. This protects the frame a little bit and gives it a shiny gloss. 6. Tape a photo to the b

Books to Get You Thinking

On July 4th, 2012 an announcement from CERN, the world’s largest Particle Physics Lab situated in Geneva set the entire scientific community ablaze with sensational news about the probable discovery of the long sought Higgs Boson Particle. The search for the elusive particle dates back to about half a century ago – it was back in 1964 that the physicist, Peter Higgs proposed a theory postulating the existence of a field (named the Higgs field) that would help us understand how particles acquire mass.  The Higgs field plays a critical role in explaining   interactions between fundamental forces, the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe.  One direct inference following from the Higgs theory was the prediction of the existence of the Higgs Boson Particle which has an extremely short life time and unique properties. The Higgs field strengthened the Standard Model of fundamental particles and has inspired a wealth of new research in the realm of particle physics. The hunt f

New Jersey Locavore Resources

Back in March , I wrote about my self-imposed challenge to prepare at least one meal a week comprised of locally (and ideally, organically) raised meats and produce. So far, my family and I have survived, and it’s been quite a learning experience! Through books, magazines, and websites, I’ve discovered that the “locavore movement” is in full force.  The term, “locavore” (2007’s Oxford Word of the Year ) refers to a person who consumes locally grown foods as much as possible. An unofficial guideline used to determine whether a food is local is if it was grown or harvested within a 100-mile radius. Using the Radius Around Point Map via F ree Map Tools , a free, online resource, I figured out the 100-mile radius (red circle) from my home address, which happens to encompass all of New Jersey. Just to see what townships, towns, and area remained, I calculated the 50-mile radius (green circle), as well as the 25-mile radius (purple). While anything grown in New Jersey keeps me within my

Found Poems by Bern Porter

“Everything can be cast, recast” … Bern Porter Are you intimidated by poetry or the ‘poet’ – do poems often seem remote, difficult, dull, inaccessible? Well, you will be pleasantly surprised to take a look at the library’s copy of Bern Porter’s Found Poems . This book is the opposite of any poetry anthology you have ever perused. First published in 1972, with no index, table of contents, or even page numbers, the very non-traditional and graphical pieces do delight. A poem often takes up one page – and is built from ads, junk mail, charts, icons, technical drawings, pages from catalogs – in sum, something easily found .  Porter then alters, repositions, glues and snips the objects into a recomposition of great wit, paradox, and surprising immediacy. Found poems can be, and are often, wordless. Is that a poetical contradiction for a poem? The foundness of the poems is part of the concept. Porter wrote that “the American College Dictionary in the course of defining found, f

Lists, Lists and More Lists - How Do You Find the Appropriate Reading Level for a Book?

There is no question of the value of summer reading.  But parents and children may not be mindful of schools’ required summer reading lists – despite students being given these reading lists and assignments on the last day of the school year (with indication of instructional reading level on their report card). Complicating this, parents may be unsure of what a child’s reported reading level truly means, and how they should embark on choosing books from such lists that will be fun or challenging. Below I have included advice and info that may give you and your child confidence in using this summer’s school reading lists. Most assigned summer reading lists have a requirement of one to three MUST read titles.  Since summer is a time for fun, playing, and sleeping-in, there will still be plenty of down time to read additional books.  Let’s encourage kids to keep reading by giving children books that they will enjoy reading! Conveniently, the Mercer County Library System has made avai

An Excel Chart in MS Word? Yes, you can!

Did you know that you can add a chart – Pie, Bar, Line, etc. - to your Word document without actually opening Excel?  So if you are loath to open Excel but still want to use the chart feature then just use Microsoft Word to create a chart. Note: If your Word document is saved as Word 97-2003 document i.e. in compatible mode, then functionality of this feature will be available, but limited, and the instructions will be different. You can convert your document to the 2007 file format by clicking on the Office button and then clicking Convert. Here’s how you can insert a chart in Word: Once you open Word, click on the Insert tab. Then from the Illustrations group, click on Chart . Make sure to position your cursor where you want the chart to be placed . From the Insert Chart dialog box, click and select the chart type you want and then click OK . Instantly three things will occur simultaneously: 1. The type of chart you selected will be inserted on to your Word document


Summer’s here and when it’s hot outside our thoughts tend toward the refreshing powers of water:  we take for granted a drink of cool water, a shower and parks with waterslides.  As abundant as water may seem, only about 3% of all the water on earth is freshwater.  The rest is in the oceans where it’s salty or from other areas where it’s undrinkable.  The question now is how to deal the finite amount of water available so it can nourish our increasing world population. BOOKS Fishman, Charles.   The Big Thirst:  The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water .  (2011)   The author’s main thrust is that we must begin to appreciate and respect water by “changing our water consciousness,” while rethinking how we approach and use water. Prud’homme, Alex.   The Ripple Effect:  The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century .  (2011)   This book centers on whether there will be enough fresh water to meet the demands of the current and future population and points toward possible sol

Building a Personal Archive, Digitally

Let’s say you have a ton of photos, slides, documents, tapes, and other family history items lying around the house and decide one day, wouldn’t it be neat to make digital copies to share with other family members.  Or maybe you just want to digitize for your own sake, perhaps to include older photos in a digital photo frame.  What should be the next step?  Below is the first in a series of posts dealing with the “next steps” in archiving photographs, audio, documents and video. Before you get started on digitizing your photograph collection, the best thing to do is create a plan of attack.  If you have tons of photos, you may not want to make a digital copy of all of them.  The Library of Congress has a website that covers how to archive digital photos , but the steps suggested serve as a good starting point for print photos as well.  First you want to gather your prints and slides and sort through them to identify the ones you want to digitize.  Next you want to organize them an