Category Archives: Uncategorized

Convert VHS Videos to DVD Using VIDBOX

If you have home videos recorded on VHS tapes, you might be wondering how you can play them if you don’t have a VCR anymore. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to convert VHS tapes to DVDs and other digital formats using a VIDBOX converter.

A VIDBOX converter is a small unit that takes analog video input from a VCR and outputs it to your computer. All you need is a VCR with RCA (red/yellow/white) cables and a computer with a USB port. VIDBOX converters can be purchased online from retailers like Amazon.

The process for converting a video is simple. You just install and launch the VIDBOX software, specify the length of the video, put the VHS tape into your VCR, and press record. When finished, the video is saved to a digital file on your computer that you have the option of burning to a DVD.

Stark Library will demonstrate how to use a VIDBOX converter and allow patrons to convert their own videos at our upcoming Makers Studio event on Tuesday, November 27 from 2-3 pm at the Main Library.

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SCDL Makers Studio

Welcome one and all,

SCDL has launched a Makers Studio series that will be offered the 4th Tuesday of each month from 2-5 pm. Exceptions are December, May, and August. These will be special edition Makers Studio on the 2nd Thursday of those months from 5-7:30 pm. Both will be types will be held at the Main Library in downtown Canton.

The Makers Studio opens up the usage to the public of Makers Stations. Each Maker Station consists of a specific piece of equipment for the patron to use during the Makers Studio. All stations will be a first come first serve bases, open to all patrons respectful of the equipment, and can be throughout the duration of the Makers Studio event.

Makers Stations consist of Sewing: Brother sewing machines;  Paper: Elis Dies and Silhouette machine, Digitalizing: Converting VHS to digital or DVD formats; and Button Maker; Alternative Printing; Printing on Fabric.

Additional news includes Makers Studio Spotlight session that will occur the first hour of each Markers Studio dates. Unlike the open forum of the Makers Studio, the Spotlight is a training session that will include one of the Maker Stations and a make and take project excluding the VHS to Digital Spotlight. Registration is required.

Contact Technology Training Services @330-458-3150 or trainer@starklibrary.org

Dee

Using Learning Paths on Lynda.com

We recently began offering access to Lynda.com to Stark Library patrons—all you need is a library card! If you’ve been using Lynda, you’re probably already familiar with the wide selection of high-quality training videos on all sorts of different topics.

What you might not be familiar with, however, are Learning Paths. Learning Paths are sequences of courses designed to structure your learning on a particular topic in a logical way. They also provide a great sense of motivation and achievement as you can see how much progress you’re making.

To find and join a Learning Path:

  1. Go to the top of the Lynda.com homepage. You’ll see a section titled Popular Learning Paths.
  2. Click See All.
  3. You can filter paths by subject using the Filter Paths button at the top. When you find a Learning Path that matches your interests, click on it.
  4. Once you’ve selected a Learning Path, you can view the individual courses that are part of it and how many hours it will take to complete.
  5. Click Start Learning to begin.

Once you begin watching courses in a Learning Path, you’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the Lynda homepage. This is great for staying motivated and being able to see the progress you’re making.

If you ever want to leave a Learning Path, just click on its title at the top of the homepage and select Leave Path.

Once you’re done with a Learning Path, you’ll receive a certificate of completion you can show to employers. In many cases, you’ll find that there are other, more advanced Learning Paths you can complete once you’ve finished one of the basic paths for a given skill.

Have fun learning!

New Databases at Stark Library

Hi Everyone,

This week the Stark Library added three additional databases to the collections: Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center, Home Improvement Reference Center and Small Business Reference Center. Each database can be found on the Stark Library Databases A-Z page. All you need is a Stark Library card and a device with internet connection.

Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center offers detailed “how-to” instructions and creative ideas for virtually every hobby enthusiast. It featuring magazines, books, videos, recipes, patterns, and more in topics like scrapbooking, model building, crafts, and cooking.

Home Improvement Reference Center provides users with detailed, user-friendly “how-to” information covering a variety of home improvement and repair projects. This is a great resource for learning remodeling, electrical work, home decorating, plumbing, and more.

Small Business Reference Center is a great resource for those running their own business. It offers exclusive full text of many top consumer small business reference books, as well as tools to address many small business topics. It includes business videos, state-specific resources, a help and advice section and details on how to create business plans.

Enjoy these databases as well as our other databases.

Dee

Learn how to use Libby with Libby Academy

If you use the Libby app on your smartphone or tablet to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, you might want to check out Libby Academy. Libby Academy was recently added to the app as a way to teach you how to use Libby. It’s composed of short video tutorials that give you step-by-step instructions for topics like returning items early and playing audiobooks.

To access Libby Academy, you’ll first have to locate the menu. This is represented by the Libby icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

Tap the icon to open a sidebar. Within the menu sidebar, you’ll see a section that says Explore the app…. Tap the Learn Libby button.

You’ve now opened the Libby Academy. You’ll see a list of videos on a variety of different topics.

Find a topic you’d like to learn more about, then tap the video to begin playing it.

Libby Academy is a great way to learn more about how to use Libby. Give it a try on your device!

Gmail’s New Features

Gmail now has some new features in their inbox that are available from a computer or laptop. This new Gmail has a new look that adds some quick features that were hidden under Google’s Apps Menu.  This new feature isn’t automatically added, however.  The user has to change the settings themselves.

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After signing into Gmail, look for the gear box in the upper right hand corner, and click on the arrow. Next, click on the words: Try the new Gmail.

Google will ask to choose a view: Default, Comfortable or Compact. Once configured, a right sidebar will appear that shows:

  1. Calendar
  2. Keep (Notes)
  3. Tasks
  4. + (Add Add-ons). Add-ons are tools that can be used to add more features to Gmail and Google Drive.  Items like SignRequest or QuickBooks for Gmail are 2 examples.

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Check out Mango’s redesigned user interface

If you use Mango Languages to learn a new language through Stark Library, be sure to check out the newly redesigned user interface. This has been accessible from a link at the top of Mango’s website for some time, but now it’s the default interface when you access Mango from starklibrary.org.

The new user interface is consistent across the web version of Mango and the mobile apps available for iOS and Android. For users accessing Mango through a web browser on a desktop or laptop computer, one advantage of the new interface is that it doesn’t require Flash Player to be installed anymore.

Access to Mango is provided to library cardholders free of charge—all you have to do is use this special link from our website and enter your library card number and PIN. You can also find the link listed on the Databases A-Z page at our website.

Once you authenticate with your library card, you’ll have the option to create an account. Don’t want to sign up for one? Just click Use Mango As A Guest. You can always create an account later to save your progress.

Mango offers courses to help you develop conversational skills in over 70 languages. If you haven’t yet, try it out today!

Android Basics: Installing apps from the Play Store

You’re not limited to the apps that come with your Android smartphone or tablet. Google Play, also known as the Play Store, is an app store that provides easy access to millions of free and paid apps. It’s linked to the Google account you’ve used to sign into your device, meaning that any apps or media you download can be accessed from different devices if you get a new phone or tablet.

Browsing the Play Store

To launch the Play Store, go to the apps menu and tap on its icon to launch it. You may already have an icon on the home screen you can use, as well. The current icon for the Play Store is pictured above.

The Play Store’s home page displays apps and games that are popular or otherwise recommended based on what you’ve installed in the past. You can find different types of media on Google Play in addition to just apps—movies, music, and other categories are available at the top of the home page.

To search for an app, tap the white bar at the top of the screen and begin typing the name of an app. As you type, you’ll see search suggestions and sometimes a link to the app you’re searching for, which you can tap to go directly to the app’s store listing page. Otherwise, press the search button on the keyboard, then tap one of the search results.

Installing apps

Before you install the app, review the information on its store listing page. Pay special attention to the publisher’s name (found at the top under the name of the app) and number of downloads—there have been instances where malicious “lookalike” apps have masqueraded as legitimate apps. If you’re trying to install a popular app like Facebook or Twitter but it only lists several thousand downloads, that’s a clear indication that you could be encountering a scam.

Tap Read More to see the app developer’s description of the app, which often contains useful information. You can also view screenshots of what the app looks like in action. Scroll down the page to check out user reviews, which can be helpful in determining an app’s quality and can help you spot potential problems other users have experienced.

Also be sure to check out the app’s permissions by tapping Permission details at the very bottom of the page. Permissions are special abilities granted to an app that let it access different parts of your device and other information.  If you see an app requesting lots of permissions, consider checking out the app developer’s website and/or privacy policy to make sure the permissions aren’t being misused.

Once you’re ready to install the app, press Install at the top of the page. When the app is done downloading and being installed, you’ll have the option to Open or Uninstall the app from this page. When you return to the home screen, an icon will automatically be added for the new app.

Android Basics: Working with apps

Apps are one of the main draws of a smartphone or tablet. They allow you to check the weather, send messages, read the news, learn a new skill, and even have a face-to-face conversation with friends and family from across the world. It’s a good idea to know a bit about how apps work on Android before you dive in, though.

Launching apps

Apps can be located in two places: the home screen or the apps menu. Launching apps from the home screen is easy—just find the app and tap its icon to launch it. (Remember to swipe left to view additional screens if necessary.) If you don’t see it there, you’ll have to locate the app in the apps menu.

  1. From the home screen, tap the icon for the apps menu at the bottom of the screen. Newer versions of Android may require you to swipe up from the dock.
  2. Scroll through the list of apps. Usually, these are arranged alphabetically, but they can sometimes by arranged in another order.
  3. Once you locate the app, tap it to launch it.

Using apps

Apps can be designed in a lot of different ways. On Android, a lot of apps are designed using a style known as Material Design. This style was created by Google and has several distinguishing features that are worth pointing out because they’re so prevalent in many different apps:

  • Navigation- Many apps have a “hamburger menu” (three lines) located in the top left of the screen. When pressed, this button reveals the navigation drawer. The navigation drawer allows you to access different sections within the app.

  • Search- Many apps have a search bar at the top of the screen, either taking up the entire menu bar or represented by a magnifying glass icon. You can use search to look things up within the app.

  • Settings- Represented by three dots in the top right corner of the screen, the settings button reveals more options or access to an app’s settings menu.

Viewing/closing running apps

When you’re in an app, you can press the home button (circle icon at bottom of screen) to return to the home screen. You might think that the app has been closed at this point, but it hasn’t—it’s actually still running in the background. If you launch the app again, you’ll find that the app is in the same state in which you left it.

This is fine in most cases, but if you’re ever having trouble with an app, or simply want to close apps to conserve battery and keep things tidy, you have to take an extra step to completely close the app.

Press the overview button (square icon at the bottom of screen) to view running apps. If you have a lot of apps open, you can scroll through this list. Tapping on any app will open it up. If you want to close an app, just swipe it to the left or right.

Android Basics: The user interface

Once you’ve figured out how to use a touchscreen, you’re ready to dive into the Android user interface. This may look different depending on the specific device you have, but in general, all these things will be present on any Android device.

Lock screen

The first thing you’re greeted with when you turn on an Android device is the lock screen. The lock screen is simply a barrier that prevents anyone who picks up your smartphone or tablet from accessing all the information and apps you have stored on it. The lock screen also displays useful information like notifications and the time/date.

To get past the lock screen, swipe up. If you have your device set to require a PIN or pattern, it will ask you for it at this time. (If your device doesn’t have one, it’s a good idea to set a PIN—it prevents strangers from picking up your phone and having instant access to your email, Facebook, and other sensitive information.)

Home screen

The home screen in Android is similar to the desktop on a Windows computer—it’s the launching point for pretty much everything you do on your device. The home screen is composed of several different parts:

Navigation buttons

At the very bottom of the screen, you’ll see three buttons. How these appear varies by device, but in stock Android, they are represented by a triangle, circle, and square.

  1. The triangle (left) is the Back button. When you’re in an app, this brings you back to the screen you were previously looking at. This could be another screen within the app or, if you just launched the app, the home screen itself.
  2. The circle (middle) is the Home button. You can use this button to return to the home screen when you’re in an app.
  3. The square (right) is the Overview button. This shows you any apps you have running in the background. You can switch to open apps here or close them.

Dock

The dock is where you can store your most frequently used apps for quick access. In many cases, you’ll also see an icon for the apps menu, which displays all the apps installed on your device. For some newer versions of Android, there’s no longer a dedicated button for this—you have to swipe up from the dock to reveal this menu.

App icons

The majority of the home screen is taken up by space for app icons. This space is customizable and gives you quick access to frequently used icons. You can have multiple screens with different icons, usually represented by small dots beneath this area. Swipe left to view additional icons.

Notification drawer

At the top of the screen, you’ll find a status bar that displays the time, your device’s signal strength, notifications from apps, and other information. This bar will be present regardless of if you’re on the home screen or in an app. If you swipe down, this bar expands to reveal the notification drawer. Notifications are messages sent by apps on your phone that alert you when you have new messages and emails or provide other information the app deems important.

You can tap on a notification to open the app that sent it. If the notification is very long, sometimes all of the text won’t be displayed—you can simply swipe down on the notification itself to reveal additional information. Notifications can start to pile up if you don’t keep them tidy, so you can dismiss them by swiping them away to the side. If things get out of hand, there’s also a Clear All button that allows you to dismiss all notifications at once.

Swiping down again from the top of the notification drawer reveals quick access to frequently-used settings, like Wi-Fi networks and screen brightness. There’s also usually a gear icon displayed that lets you access the Settings menu.