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Blog Posts by Subject: Technology

A Tour of the Stacks

On Sunday, December 5, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was the site of the 2010 Holiday Open House, the Library's annual thank-you celebration for donors at the Friends level ($40) or above. Besides enjoying building-wide party fun, attendees were offered a rare opportunity to glimpse a part of the Library that is normally hidden from public view: the building's central stacks 

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Ask NYPL: How Was X-Ray Invented?

Did you know you can ask NYPL librarians questions via text message? You can ask anything, from the mundane and everyday ("what are your hours?") to the perplexing riddle keeping you up at night! The Virtual Reference Team (aka Ask NYPL) offers text reference, which is a great way to receive an almost immediate answer without missing a beat. Text questions are answered quickly unless the question mystifies the expert reference librarians of Ask NYPL, but a response will always be 

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Social Media as Public Expectation: The New Public Utility

"Balancing the demands of consumers, regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders is a daunting task… even under the best of circumstances. Add to this the ever increasing complexity of contemporary … issues and simply keeping up with the changing landscape can become a full time job." Sound familiar from the current debates between Facebook and users, or Google and users, or YouTube and users?

Counter to potential expectations, the previous quote did not come from any social media dispute, but from the 

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Txt M3 Plz

Color, sound, flash—today’s web experience is experientially active. Surfing the Internet is a multisensory experience that puts the user in the midst of information and entertainment. The one catch is that you need a fast connection alongside the computer hardware. To download PDF a file while watching a music video that you are simultaneously twittering about certainly is beyond the reach of a cell phone. And while the glitz and sound of cutting edge technology is a lure, it is time to consider what we can achieve globally if we step back our 

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Monopoly: Google Takes the Game

For Internet searching, roughly 65% of computer users turn to Google. To see the popularity of Google, one has to look no further than ‘Google’ being 'declared' a verb by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. How is that for official proof that Google is big in the search world and winning prominence?

In its path to verbification

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The New Digital Divide: Outrunning the Unemployment Line

“With the emerging digital economy becoming a major driving force of our nation's economic well-being, we must ensure that all Americans have the information tools and skills that are critical to their participation. Access to such tools is an important step to ensure that our economy grows strongly and that in the future no one is left behind.”

— from Falling Through the Net, a letter from William M. Daley, U.S. Secretary of Commerce 1997-2000

* * *

This 

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Follow the Money (part 3 of 3): Apple and the Company (app) Store

The day has come, and the sound of cash register bells still ring in your ears. Or, the bells would ring if the cashier's computer had sound effects. But it doesn't matter, for you are riding the surging thrill of attaining the hailed product of the latest media bliss.

You have bought the computer all the tech blogs and computer gurus are talking about. After shelling out a minimum of $499 dollars, US, you open the box, and there it lays in pristine shiny plastic with a black emblem - your new 

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The Miles Between: A Review

October 19 is not going to be a good day.

For some people this would be an educated guess. For Destiny Faraday it is a bleak statement of fact. It is also part of why she tries so hard to never get attached. To anything or anyone.

October 19 has never been a good day for Des, which is why she crumples the day’s calendar page before the day has even started.

What was supposed to be a throw away day suddenly turns into something else. Thanks to an encounter with an odd stranger and the sudden appearance of a car, Destiny and three of her 

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Google 101

Many of us, use google for everything. We look up addresses, movie times, weather, admit it you know you have typed in your name too. In any case, google has become a search strategy, but many of us do not use all of the incredible features it has to offer.

How to do a basic google search?

-Always put your search terms in "quotation marks". This will allow google to search the words as a phrase.

-When specifying your search use "+" to include another topic in your search OR use "-" to exclude a topic from your search.

-You can also specify what 

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Stay Safe on Social Networking Sites

Now we all have heard horrific stories about sexual predators preying on our kids online. Facts like this make it scary for parents and teachers to feel comfortable with social networking sites. It's extremely important and our responsibility as adults to provide safety measures to kids when using the internet.

Ask questions (find out what the kids are doing online and confirm if they are telling the truth) View their profile page (make sure personal information or provocative pictures are not posted on the child's webpage) Inform them that not ... Read More ›

General Motors and Chrysler images on Flickr Commons

As we watch with astonishment the "restructuring" of two American automotive titans, take a look back at the first four decades of their history, a time which saw multiple breaking waves of innovation in both engineering and design, and a steady absorption of manufacturing brands into the conglomerates we now see in crisis today.

Over the years, General Motors Corporation donated photographs and related materials as a public service to 

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Cool in your (zip) code: Car Seat Safety Check

Right here in zip code 10035 you can keep your child safe in your car. Just stop by Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem on Saturday, April 11 between 11 am and 3 pm for a FREE safety check of your child car seat.

A trained car seat technician will check your seat and demonstrate correct installation. No appointment is necessary. DOT is sponsoring this event is in partnership with Safe Kids New York City and Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem.

Chevrolet-Saturn of Harlem 2485 Second Avenue (at 

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Poets named for hospitals

Poets named for hospitals is a very short list.

In fact, Edna St. Vincent Millay is probably the only major poet who would be on such a list. Frankly, I can't think of anyone else named for a hospital, let alone a poet, and if you know of one, please let us all know in a comment.

Edna's uncle's life was saved by the staff of St. Vincent Hospital shortly before Edna's birth in Rockland, Maine -- consequently, 

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“Don’t Let Them Break Your Camera”

The NYPL Photography Collection has one of the largest collections of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs outside of the Library of Congress. I’m not sure what it is about these images—though given the economic times I’d say they are due for a resurgence—but they continue be some of the most 

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NYPL, Mother of Invention

On quitting his classes at Harvard in 1927, Edwin Land moved to New York and became a regular user of the library’s Science Division. His goal: the manufacture of a polarizing light filter, the basic idea behind Polaroid sunglasses. Between the library and a variety of makeshift labs, he eventually figured out how to embed microscopic crystals of “herapathite” in molten sheets of plastic and align them all in one direction. He named the invention Polaroid, and used the name again when he invented his instant photography. Land had discovered the identity of the crucial 

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A walk through computer memory lane

Let’s take a look back over the years at some of the hardware and software I worked with at Mid-Manhattan Library.

Middle to late 1980s

IBM PC, XT and AT models with 128 -256 KB memory; 1 or 2 floppy 360K disk drives; 12″ monochrome green monitor; keyboard; 10-20 MB hard drive (optional); DOS 3.0-4.0; $2,500 or more.

Those computers were heavy and the monitors generated enough heat to warm an office. The keyboards were solid with function keys grouped on the left side. They were easier to reach and to use than at the top of the keyboard. User 

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Computer problems: an email transcript

My cousin sent me an e-mail asking for my help with a computer problem.  Since I was at work and couldn’t make a house call to New Jersey, here’s how it went after several messages and some editing:

ME: Well, long distance diagnosis is tricky, what’s wrong? 

HIM:  When I boot up my laptop, chkdsk [Checkdisk] gets stuck in a loop and I can’t get out of it unless I turn the laptop off. I can’t even run in safe mode as it freezes. Also, how do I turn off chkdsk from start-up?   ME: Chkdsk scans the files on the hard drive for 

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Technology musings

After a hard day dealing with balky printers, stubborn viruses etc., Murphy’s Laws on Technology are a source of comfort. Here a few gems, along with my observations:

“New systems generate new problems.” Installing any new hardware or software really scares me.

“Any part when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.” Some favorite hiding places are under a desk or between a pair of file cabinets. Dark carpeting turns a simple retrieval into an expedition. I’ll be wearing a white shirt that day. The shirt will be covered 

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Another one bites the dust: CompUSA to close

NEWS FLASH! I just read in CNNMoney.com that CompUSA will close all of its 103 stores after the holidays. As far as I know, this is one of the last national computer stores to close. It joins other chain stores such as Computer City, Gateway and Computer Warehouse in biting the dust. That leaves appliance and electronics stores, office supply stores, neighborhood computer stores, Apple Stores and Internet vendors as suppliers.

I’m sad to see it go. I spent a lot of time after work at the 5th Avenue and West 38th Street store looking for game software for my kids. I bought 

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Tips and advice on buying a computer, Part 2

Before you buy, do some basic research by reading Consumer Reports magazine and computer magazines like PC World and Computer Shopper. Look for key points like customer satisfaction, reliability and level of tech support. If you know someone who is computer savvy, ask for their help, especially if you don’t understand what DRAM or 

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