Microsoft rolls out more Windows 10 updates as July 29 launch looms

Author: 

For: CNET

windows10-updates.jpg
Microsoft continues to update Windows 10 in time for its July 29 due date.screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft has pushed out a few more updates to Windows 10 as it rushes to prep its new OS for launch next Wednesday.

On Thursday, Gabe Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft’s operating systems group, tweeted: “Another update now available on Windows Update for Windows 10 PC build 10240.” Build 10240 is the latest and final build forWindows 10 before the official launch. As such, Microsoft has been focused on pushing out updates for that build to ensure that it’s as solid as possible.

The two updates released late Thursday include a security update with the Microsoft Knowledge Base number of KB3074679 and a new driver for Intel HD graphics. The security update description says little other than the generic: “A security issue that been identified in a Microsoft product that could affect your system.” The one for Intel HD graphics updates the driver for PCs with Intel’s integrated graphics processor. I also caught an update for Windows Defender, Microsoft’s built-in antimalware software, which is updated on a regular basis with new definition files.

Microsoft needs to hit a home run with Windows 10, not just to make up for the debacle of Windows 8 but also to prove that it can still create an OS that generates appeal, excitement and demand among users. The company has been constructing and enhancing Windows 10 since October, with feedback from people who joined the Windows Insider Program to download and test each new build and offer their comments, suggestions and criticisms.

But even if Windows 10 isn’t 100 percent bug-free and rock-solid come next Wednesday, that doesn’t spell doom and gloom for the latest version. With Windows 10, Microsoft has adopted a new rollout approach. Members of the Windows Insider Program will get the upgrade on Wednesday so they can keep testing and offering their feedback. Based on that testing and feedback as well as its own findings, Microsoft will continue to update Windows 10 to address any new issues. It will then start pushing the OS out to Windows 7 and 8.1 users who reserved the free upgrade.

And even after the upgrade is installed by potentially millions of Windows 7 and 8.1 users, Microsoft can continue to update the product as necessary through the Windows Update process. So in some ways, Windows 10 may always be a work in progress. That’s not much different than previous versions of Windows, which continually required updates. Still, the new OS needs to be as stable and user-friendly as possible during the rollout period if it’s to catch on with users, especially those jaded with Microsoft after Windows 8.

The latest Windows 10 updates should download automatically as long as you’ve enabled Automatic Updates. To do so, click the Start button and choose Settings. From the Settings screen, click the category for Update & security. In the Windows Update pane, click the link for Advanced options. And under Advanced Options, make sure the option under Choose how updates are installed is set to Automatic.

You can also check for new updates manually from the Windows Update pane. Click the Check for updates button. If any updates are found, click the View details button and then click the Install button to install them.

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Here’s everything you need to know about upgrading to Windows 10

Author: 

For: Business Inside

On July 29th, Microsoft will release the most significant overhaul of its operating system in years when it launches the long-awaited Windows 10.

You probably have some questions. So we’ve prepared some answers.

What’s new and cool about Windows 10?

Windows 10 comes with lots of nifty new features: The Cortana digital assistant takes the best parts of Apple’s Siri and Google Now and adds a little more attitude; the new Windows Store promises apps that work exactly the same on your Windows 10 PC as on your Windows 10 tablet. Plus, the new Microsoft Edge Web browser has cool new features (like being able to scribble notes directly on a webpage), and it’s performing better than Google Chrome in some early benchmark tests.

Should I bother with the upgrade to Windows 10? Windows 8.1 was pretty bad.

So far, Windows 10 seems pretty solid.

Microsoft has made a free preview edition available to those brave enough to test early versions of the software, with a program called Windows Insider.

And even in that early form, there’s been a lot to love. At first blush, Windows 10 takes the best parts of Windows 7 (stability, user friendliness) and Windows 8.1 (touchscreen-friendliness) and combines it into something that’s easy to use, both on computers and tablets. It’s familiar, but fresh.

Microsoft is billing this as “The Last Version of Windows,” and promises that it’ll get new features and upgrades on a rolling basis rather than ever releasing a Windows 11 (or 12, or 13).

How much will it cost me to upgrade my Windows 7 or 8 PC?

Nothing. For the next year, any Windows 7 or 8/8.1 computer, tablet, and smartphone gets a free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has big plans for Windows 10, but first it needs to have everybody on the same operating system, so it’s willing to take the financial hit.

Which version of Windows 10 will I get for free?

Check out this handy chart:

Windows 10 upgrade chartMicrosoft

Can my PC or tablet handle an upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft says the basic system requirements to run its new OS are: 1 GHz or faster processor or SoC; 1 GB RAM (for 32-bit version), 2GB RAM (for 64 bit-version); 16 GB hard drive (for 32-bit version), 20 GB hard drive (for 64-bit version); a Directx 9 or later graphics card with WDDM 1.0 driver; 800×600 display.

Most PCs will probably meet these requirements — and the Get Windows 10 app that you probably already have on your computer will tell you for sure.

Cool. So I can get Windows 10 on July 29th?

Sort of.

Sort of?

On July 29th, the first batch of computers with Windows 10 preinstalled will be available for sale. There won’t initially be many of those computers available though, as a lot of PC manufacturers are holding back their new models until the back-to-school shopping or holiday seasons.

What if I don’t want to buy a new computer? 

Microsoft is making Windows 10 available for download, starting on July 29th.

New Windows 10 start menuMicrosoftThe Windows 10 Start menu.

So I can download Windows 10 on July 29th?

Sort of. Again.

First, it will go out to the members of the Windows Insider program, to thank them for their service in testing the operating system. Then, it will go out to one group of users at a time over the next few weeks, starting on July 29th — Microsoft doesn’t want to risk a tidal wave of Windows 10 downloads taking its servers down.

You might have already signed up to get in line for the download. Microsoft has been bugging Windows users about the upgrade for the last month or so, via a “Get Windows 10” app in your system tray. That same app will check your computer for compatibility with Windows 10.

What if I don’t want to download Windows 10?

You have two choices: A boxed copy, or a copy that lives on a USB flash drive. Either way, it will run you $119.99 for Windows 10 Home Edition, and $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro Edition.

The big catch here is that neither version will be released in stores until August 30th, 2015, according to the Amazon product listing.

Xbox Windows 10MicrosoftThe Xbox app for Windows 10, which lets you stream games from an Xbox One games console to a Windows 10 PC.

So if I absolutely need to make sure I have Windows 10 on July 29th, I have to buy a new computer?

Basically, yes.

If I upgrade my existing computer to Windows 10, will I lose my files?

Nope. The actual download and install process is handled through Windows Update, so Windows 10 will still have everything once the process is complete. The only catch is that you’ll lose some programs like Windows Media Center, which doesn’t have a Windows 10 version.

Is Microsoft doing anything special for the Windows 10 launch?

Well, it’s not going to be the mass-market advertising and media blitz of the Windows 95 launch 20 years ago, but Microsoft Stores are having special events all around the country. So if, say, you live in New York and don’t have plans on July 29th, you can meet World Cup soccer champion Abby Wambach at the Garden City Microsoft Store.

Just don’t expect any iPhone-style overnight lines.

bill gates windows 95Microsoft ArchivesBill Gates announces Windows 95.

What if I have a problem with Windows 10 and need some tech support?

“As with any significant release, we evaluate customer resources and have invested in upgrade support from a variety of resources including Microsoft Answer Desk, Windows.com andsupport.microsoft.com,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.

Plus, those same Microsoft Stores are getting “Answer Desks,” where you can bring in your Windows 10 computer and have them answer questions for you. They’ll even help you install it.

Great. So what’s the catch?

Windows 10 is still very new, so let the buyer beware. Those early testers have already caught lots of flaws and bugs, but there’s going to be some weirdness early on as Microsoft works to patch up the platform. The new Microsoft Edge browser that comes with Windows 10 won’t support browser extensions right away, for example.

If you’re really concerned, maybe take some time before the upgrade.

Windows 10 Available on July 29

Yes! Finally. I have been waiting too long for this. I reserved my copy this morning!

Microsoft announced today that it will release Windows 10 on July 29.

The OS will be available as a free upgrade to all licensed Windows 7 and 8.1 users.

Windows 10 will feature Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana, the company’s all-new Edge Web browser and will run on desktops as well as tablets and phones.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Blog post by the Windows Team:

Today, I’m excited to share the availability date for Windows 10. In fact, I thought I’d let Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant, share the news. You can ask Cortana for the answer! You can ask Cortana for the answer, or if you don’t have a Windows phone or a PC running the Windows 10 Insider Preview handy – you can hear it for yourself here:

Through the feedback and testing of over four million Windows Insiders, we’ve made great progress on Windows 10 and we’re nearly ready to deliver this free upgrade to all of our Windows customers*.

Do Great Things with Windows 10

We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.

Familiar, yet better than ever, Windows 10 brings back the Start menu you know and love. Windows 10 is faster than ever before, with quick startup and resume. And Windows 10 provides the most secure platform ever, including Windows Defender for free anti-malware protection, and being the only platform with a commitment to deliver free ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.

1

We’ve designed Windows 10 to help you be more productive and have more fun, with a range of innovations**:

  • Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant helps you get things done. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing. And the Cortana experience works not just on your PC, but can notify and help you on your smartphone too.

Cortana in Windows 10

  • Microsoft Edge, is an all-new browser designed to get things done online in new ways, with built-in commenting on the web – via typing or inking — sharing comments, and a reading view that makes reading web sites much faster and easier. With Cortana integrated, Microsoft Edge offers quick results and content based on your interests and preferences. Fast, streamlined and personal, you can focus on just the content that matters to you and actively engage with the web.

Inking on websites in Microsoft Edge

  • Office on Windows: In addition to the Office 2016 full featured desktop suite, Windows 10 users will be able to experience new universal Windows applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all available separately. These offer a consistent, touch-first experience across a range of devices to increase you productivity. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, you can easily create and edit Word documents, and deliver PowerPoint presentations while annotating on the fly. With new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. You will also be able to enjoy new versions of OneNote and Outlook, which are included with Windows 10 at no additional cost.
  • Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App bring new game experiences to Windows 10. Xbox on Windows 10 brings the expansive Xbox Live gaming network to both Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Communicate with your friends on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One – while playing any PC game. You can capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices. You can play games on your PC, streamed directly from your Xbox One console to your Windows 10 tablets or PCs, within your home. Games developed for DirectX 12 in Windows 10 will see improvements in speed, efficiency and graphics capability.
  • New Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar apps have updated designs that look and feel familiar from app to app and device to device.  You can start something on one device and continue it on another since your content is stored on and synched through OneDrive.

Photos app in Windows 10

  • Windows Continuum enables today’s best laptops and 2-in-1 devices to elegantly transform from one form factor to the other, enabling smooth transitions of your tablet into a PC, and back. And new Windows phones with Continuum can be connected to a monitor, mouse and physical keyboard to make your phone work like a PC.
  • Windows Hello, greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password and providing instant, more secure access to your Windows 10 devices. With Windows Hello, biometric authentication is easy with your face, iris, or finger, providing instant recognition.
  • Windows Store, with easy install and uninstall of trusted applications, supported by the broadest range of global payment methods.

In addition to these innovations, we will continue to update Windows 10 over time with new innovations to help you be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, these updates will be free for the supported lifetime of your device.

You can see these features in action in this video.

Get Ready for Windows 10

On July 29, you can get Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, or on a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer. If you purchase a new Windows 8.1 device between now and then, the Windows 10 upgrade will be available to you and many retail stores will upgrade your new device for you.

The Windows 10 upgrade is designed to be compatible with your current Windows device and applications*. We are hard at work to make this upgrade process a great experience. You can reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade now through a simple reservation process. Look for this icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, simply click on the icon, and then complete the reservation process. You can find more details on how this works at Windows.com.

Reserve your Windows 10 upgrade

Thank you for choosing Windows. We are designing it for you, so you can be more secure, more productive, have more fun.

Terry

* Initial release will be for PC and tablets. See Windows.com/windows10upgrade for availability and other details.

** Specific features may not be available in certain markets, some features require specified hardware, and Continuum for phone available on select premium models at launch.  More details at Windows.com/windows10specs and xbox.com/windows-10.

Why Microsoft is calling Windows 10 ‘the last version of Windows’

“Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10.” That was the message from Microsoft employee Jerry Nixon, a developer evangelist speaking at the company’s Ignite conference this week. Nixon was explaining how Microsoft was launching Windows 8.1 last year, but in the background it was developing Windows 10. Now, Microsoft employees can talk freely about future updates to Windows 10 because there’s no secret update in the works coming next. It’s all just Windows 10. While it immediately sounds like Microsoft is killing off Windows and not doing future versions, the reality is a little more complex. The future is “Windows as a service.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT WINDOWS AS A SERVICE

Microsoft has been discussing the idea of Windows as a service, but the company hasn’t really explained exactly how that will play out with future versions of Windows. That might be because there won’t really be any future major versions of Windows in the foreseeable future. Microsoft has altered the way it engineers and delivers Windows, and the initial result is Windows 10. Instead of big releases, there will be regular improvements and updates. Part of this is achieved by splitting up operating system components like the Start Menu and built-in apps to be separate parts that can be updated independently to the entire Windows core operating system. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s something Microsoft has been actively working on for Windows 10 to ensure it spans across multiple device types.

While we’ll witness the results in the coming months, Microsoft is already in launch mode for a number of its apps and services that power Windows 10. The software company is testing preview builds of Window 10 with willing participants, and apps like Xbox and Mail have been engineered for regularly monthly updates. Even Office for Windows 10 will also get regular updates, much like a mobile version, instead of the big bang release every few years.

WINDOWS ISN’T DEAD, BUT THE IDEA OF VERSION NUMBERS COULD BE

When I reached out to Microsoft about Nixon’s comments, the company didn’t dismiss them at all. “Recent comments at Ignite about Windows 10 are reflective of the way Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner, with continuous value for our consumer and business customers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We aren’t speaking to future branding at this time, but customers can be confident Windows 10 will remain up-to-date and power a variety of devices from PCs to phones to Surface Hub to HoloLens and Xbox. We look forward to a long future of Windows innovations.”

With Windows 10, it’s time to start thinking of Windows as something that won’t see a big launch or major upgrade every few years anymore. Much like how Google’s Chrome browser gets updated regularly with version numbers nobody really pays attention to, Microsoft’s approach will likely result in a similar outcome. This is really the idea of Windows as a service, and the notion that Windows 10 could be the last major version of Windows. Microsoft could opt for Windows 11 or Windows 12 in future, but if people upgrade to Windows 10 and the regular updates do the trick then everyone will just settle for just “Windows” without even worrying about the version number.

Source 

45 Most Exciting Apps For Librarians

By Robert

Thank you for all your great feedback! We updated our list to include even more great apps!

Although this is the information age, one of the most common places for people to seek information is still the public library. Fortunately, modern libraries have kept up with technological advancements and have integrated computers, the internet, and other important tools as a normal part of this dynamic hub where paper media meets electronics. In fact, many people view the library as the central information center of the city, and in order to retain this title, librarians now find themselves faced with the need to utilize smartphones and tablet apps to complete their tasks and perform jobs more quickly and efficiently.

There are various applications on the market for librarians, each with their own uses, and although not all are helpful in the library, you might be surprised to learn of how many do serve a literary purpose.

Check out this list of 45 of the best apps for librarians:

For Better Reading:

1. Kindle – The Kindle is by far the most globally popular e-reader and e-reading app on the market, and was created by Amazon. Due to its connections with Amazon it has a huge selection of books to choose from in a multitude of categories.

2. Nook – Similar to the Kindle, the Nook is featured by Barnes and Noble, and has many new releases for sale as well as a small selection of free reading materials.

3. Kobo – Kobo is an e-reader company that was established in Toronto, Canada, and is the second most used e-reader in the world after the Kindle. It’s most commonly used in Canada, and hosts a large assortment of books.

4. Free Books – The Free Books app provides 23,469 classic titles for your selection, and allows for highlighting, notes, dictionary support, and bookmarks, which make it an asset for any library.

5. iBooks – iBooks is an iTunes app that includes access to the iBookstore for a wide variety of reading materials.

6. Good Reader – The newest Good Reader application is called Good Reader 4 and it’s more of an academic tool than some of the other e-reading apps on this list. It allows you to access scholarly articles and other documents and save them to your mobile device for later viewing.

7. Bookviser – This application was specifically designed for Windows-based mobile devices and is used by over 700,000 Windows phone owners to browse and read their favorite books.

8. Audiobooks – Not everybody can enjoy a book on the go, or has the time to sit and scan a page; luckily, the Audiobooks application offers free books that you can listen to for multitasking and hands free enjoyment of books.

9. Readu – This application reads EPUB and TXT files and allows you to download books from other places and sites, as well as translate text.

10. Freda+ – Freda+ is a customizable reading application that allows for changes in font and color, and accepts text formats like EPUB, HTML, TXT, and FB2.

For Boosting Productivity and Organization at Work:

11. Box – Box provides secure access to cloud storage and collaborating on a multitude of mobile devices.

12. Outliner – This application assists with the organization and maintaining of the appropriate structure for projects and planning while at the library.

13. Pages – Create documents for many purposes including library newsletters, documents for handouts and other pages that may need to be printed later with this mobile word processor.

14. World Book: This Day In History – This app is perfect for posting a history fact of the day on a library webpage or in individual library departments.

15. iNapkin – iNapkin is an app for iOS devices and allows you to take notes, organize them and access them later.

16. CalenGoo – CalenGoo is made for mobile Android devices and can be used to sync Google calendar and other Google apps with your phone.

17. Evernote – This free note making app organizes and saves ideas by giving you the opportunity to snap photos, take notes, make voice reminders, and even scan business cards.

18. Things 2 – Things 2 is available for iPad, Mac, or iPhone, and manages tasks by planning your day, saving important dates, customizing workflow, and organizing e-mail.

19. LanSchool Teachers Assistant for iOS – This is a free classroom organization and management software that allows librarians to block certain content and monitor patrons in a digital loan setting.

20. History: Maps of World – This app is perfect for libraries to have on hand during presentations or children’s learning events where geography is being discussed.

21. Dropbox – Dropbox is a cloud app that allows you to share files between your tablet, mobile phone and computer wherever the app is installed.

22. Docs Anywhere – As the name suggests, this app allows librarians to take their Word and image documents anywhere. This is done through USB transfer and it works with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF and other kinds of files.

23. Keynote – For librarians who make group presentations for management purposes or during patron events. Keynote supplies animated charts and many other features.

24. eClicker Presenter – Another presentation application, eClicker doesn’t just provide standard presentation guides and tools, it also gives librarians the ability to send out questions to the audience with the click of a button.

25. Moodboard – Moodboard is a way to put together all of the events and interests going on around the library into one neat display. Print your page and post it up in the library, or have it uploaded to the library website so that patrons can see what’s new and interesting.

26. Offline Pages Pro – Although most libraries have wi-fi, there isn’t always access on the journey between home and work. Offline Pages Pro will give you the opportunity to take information and webpages with you to read or work on while you’re not connected to the internet. It also includes PDF reader support.

27. Dictionary – Reading is no fun if you don’t know meaning of all the words that you are reading, which is why having a dictionary on the go is a great tool for a librarian. This app also works as a thesaurus and offers a word of the day for each day of the week to strengthen your vocabulary and keep things interesting.

28. Wikipanion – Wikipedia may not always be 100% guaranteed correct information, but it’s an excellent resource for librarians in a pinch who need to look up an answer to a question of a patron. It is one of the largest online information sources across the globe, so it has a little bit of everything, and Wikipanion was designed to easily access the information in Wikipedia.

29. Osfoora 2 – Twitter is a huge method of communication for many people globally, so tweeting to patrons from a library twitter account is a perfect way to keep in touch. Osfoora 2 lets you use more than one account at a time to send tweets for work.

30. Quickoffice – Quickoffice combines Word, Excel, and Powerpoint into a great mobile app for librarians who need to open, edit, and send documents on the go. This is wonderful for presentations, reports, and other paperwork that have to be processed from time to time.

31. Wolfram Alpha – This multi-functional application can help answer questions through a variety of educational tools for math, history, geography, and more. Different features of this app work with different subjects, which could help to better understand various subject matter within the library.

32. ReferenceUSA – This application is only available for iPad at the moment, but it’s a wonderful app for librarians who need real time access to research databases across North America. You must have a registered library card to use this app, which is highly convenient if you happen to work at a library.

33. ArticleSearch – This is a free app that, like ReferenceUSA, gives you access to a wide selection of scientific papers, academic journals, and other publications. It is great for research related to academic projects going on within the library, and it is also helpful as a library patron aid for those who come to do school work.

34. Farlex – Farlex provides a free and professional level dictionaries for librarians and other users who not only want to look up words and find their meanings, but also listen to their correct pronunciations. As a librarian there are always going to be kids and young adult readers who have questions concerning book titles and other difficult words throughout reading material, and this can really help.

35. Mango Mobile – The Mango Mobile Library Edition helps with language learning and is free for both iPhone and Android users. With this app you can take cultural lessons and hear the proper pronunciation of words by native speakers. This is a wonderful way for librarians to enjoy books with other languages featured throughout them, and also to share those books with children in reading programs and other events held at the library.

36. TurboScan – This application gives librarians an edge by allowing them to scan multiple documents using their mobile devices. This works well for receipts and business cards and also for other reading resources that you might like to store.

37. CamDictionary – CamDictionary lets you translate text into different languages and also provides the correct pronunciation. This app is particularly neat because you don’t need to type the word with text, but you simply point and click, and a photograph will be used to determine the meaning in other languages.

38. Google Goggles – This is an Android application that can be great for librarians who want to look up a certain person, place, or item, but can’t think of the name. You simply take a photo using your mobile device and then Google Goggles will search for it in its database and give you some information about it if it is found in its database.

39. Adobe Reader – This app works for most mobile devices and helps read pdf files without any of the trouble that some pdf readers cause. This is available for a large selection of handheld phones and tablets.

40. iAnnotate PDF – This is another pdf reader that gives librarians the added advantage of editing their pdf files from their mobile devices.

41. Offline Pages – For librarians working without access to the net, Offline Pages will store entire web pages so that you can look at them while out of the reach of wi-fi. This is a great way to store info on the go to look at while in transit, or even just when you need a quick glance at something, but don’t want to wait for the entire page to load online.

For Staying Up To Date On The News:

42. The Guardian Eyewitness – A very well-known European news source, The Guardian has developed this application to connect users with the world on a whole new level. Unlike other world news programs, this application is designed to bring you strikingly beautiful images from across the globe that visually reflect current events. There is an image of the day, as well as a themed archive of photos that can be sorted through.

43. CNN – CNN reports important, up to the minute headlines from around the world. From this application a librarian can stay in the loop of different global subjects and factual information that might be required for later projects and for personal knowledge.

44. NewsRack – NewsRack is an RSS reader for global news which include crucial top stories from many countries and can be used by librarians to stay informed on an abundance of subjects. This is a great way to connect with the news before work or to look up a top story for research purposes.

45. USA Today – For news affecting the United States, the USA Today app is available on nearly any handheld device or mobile unit. This news app also follows world news and includes subjects like money, sports, travel, life, tech, and weather.

Each of these applications has some really great qualities to offer librarians at work or at home to stay organized, up-to-date, and, of course, do some reading. Although some apps might have similar attributes, each individual tool tends to have its own specific advantages to look forward to.

If you can think of any other applications that might make life as a librarian more convenient, interesting, or fun, leave a comment.

How Libraries Are Integrating Effective Technology

by: 

tecnhology-integration

With so many rapid changes occurring in technology and social media, librarians need to maintain their role as technology leaders more than ever. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be the first adopters of new tech, but in being early users of the most effective technologies. In order for librarians to help students learn how to analyze information, apply it in different contexts and pinpoint potential areas for growth, technology should engage and encourage students to construct and build knowledge rather than being an arbitrary, sporadic, or rarely used instruction tool.

Some libraries require librarians to spend an allotted portion of their weekly schedule networking and posting events on social media sites, news portals and the like. Technology integration requires librarians to spend more time using tech to learn rather than spending time learning to use new tech. Logically, this is why it is advantageous to stick with the tools that are tried and true — the tools that are intuitive and useful — rather than to jump on each and every trendy bandwagon that comes along as technology shifts. Of course, it’s also important to keep an ear to the ground for evolving tech as well as newly popular tech, so librarians should reserve short blocks of time solely for the purpose of visiting their favorite online haunts and social networks to research and seek recommendations from experts, even if it’s off-the-clock.

When a certain technology becomes widely-used by fellow contemporaries and institutions, it’s important to at least keep abreast and carry a basic understanding of its functionality and purpose, even if you decide not to implement it yourself.

When a particular site or new technology becomes popular with the general public, it’s often beneficial for librarians to adapt and interact with users rather than underestimate or dismiss new trends. For instance, a librarian who actively uses sites like Pinterest or Facebook to post creative content with a focus on community has greater potential to reach a broader target audience than locally posting flyers or mailing printed newsletters.

Determining which platforms will perform most effectively in the ever-changing and always-evolving world of digital technology is part premonition based on experience and part luck. The public won’t always flock to the most intelligible, intuitive, or advanced technologies available. Sometimes, great resources are entirely overlooked. Useful little start-up companies with great ideas can’t compete with the big dot coms and eventually fall by the wayside. Other times, masses of reference material and data exist within an entirely unnavigable site or under a poorly visible domain. Essentially, finding and utilizing technology in a way that facilitates collaboration and invites the community to participate may be just as important as technology designed simply to instruct or deliver information.

Source: Link

Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

This post is brought to you by Media Temple gr_logo_light

It has been reported that by 2018, the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion. Having burst onto the tech scene in 2006, the “cloud” — as IT leaders, programmers, and marketers know it today — is almost a decade old. From Google Docs to Dropbox, Web-connected humans are glued to the cloud every minute, of every day.

Take a step back, however, to ask yourself what the cloud is, where it is, and what it does. Now, try to condense those thoughts into a short sentence.  The closest that you might come to a definition is the following explanation from TechTarget:

“Cloud computing enables companies to consume competing resources as a utility — just like electricity — rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.”

As TechTarget elaborates, cloud computing touches upon the following three areas:

  • Self-service provisioning, in which end users can control and customize workloads on demand.
  • Elasticity, which means that users can scale their computing needs to demand.
  • Pay per use, in which users measure and pay for the resources that they’re using.

The short story? The cloud is a lot of things to a lot of different types of companies and consumers. What 2015 means is that the tech community has exceeded a decade of research, development, and innovation. Here are three important ways that the cloud is helping companies evolve.

1 – The cloud levels the playing field between enterprise giants and small ventures

mobile security laptop fingerprint 520x315 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Not so long ago, the highest performing technology assets were limited to large, complex organizations. With the level of risk and investment involved in adopting new hardware, few organizations could boast access to fast and infinitely scalable computing power.

“Before the cloud, companies implemented new software and technology in a relatively traditional way through structured, company-wide deployments,” explains John Brennan, head of business development at international communications firm BT.

What the cloud brings to the table is versatility that allows end users to invest in the exact resources that they need — no more and no less. Companies can switch over to lightweight, cloud-based deployments that require little in the way of on-premise configuration and management.

“There’s much less investment and risk required to adopt and use new technology, and service agreements can be adapted to a company’s size through flexible pricing models, which has given all companies equal access to the latest and tools and capabilities,” says Brennan.

One of the most basic examples of this idea is cloud hosting provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) — a resource used by companies ranging from bootstrapped solopreneur ventures to fast growing startups and the largest organizations in the world. It’s cost effective for every type of user to access the same basic technology.

2 – The cloud simplifies information exchanges

rain cloud gloomy 520x316 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Today’s top technologies — and human-to-human communications protocols — are dependent on APIs. Thanks to very simple programming, applications can connect to support the swift and efficient flow of information ranging from product SKUs to media buys, CRM data, and credit card transaction details.

“Cloud based APIs and microservices simplify information exchange,” says Chris Hoover, global vice president of product and marketing strategy at Perforce Software. “It lowers the barrier for new vendors to enter the market.”

The result, according to Hoover, is a trend in which enterprise companies are moving away from a ‘top down’ approach to software and information exchanges. More than ever before, individual departments, teams, and employees have the ability to choose their own software. This versatility will place increased pressure on organizations to become more innovative — and exchange information faster.

“A lower barrier to entry for enterprise software means increased competitive pressure,” says Hoover. “Expectations for faster release cycles mean that development within enterprise software vendors must accelerate, which leads to implications for new processes and automation.”

3 – The cloud allows higher levels of support

CloudDrive 520x199 Why 2015 will be the year that the cloud comes of age

Applications of the cloud are seemingly limitless. Companies have ultimate flexibility to add and remove resources as needed.

“Previously when you bought a server, you were trapped within that box,” explains Dustin Bolander, vice president of technology at IT firm Technology Pointe.

“If the company needed less resources long term, you still had to commit to that capital cost. If you needed more long term solutions, you were stuck making large purchases for more servers. Cloud lets you right size things on a monthly — or shorter — basis.”

This flexibility yields higher demands for customization — which will, in turn, create a need for higher end support packages.

“We are seeing a lot of companies dissatisfied with the level of support offered by many infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers,” says Bolander.

What’s important to keep in mind, according to Bolander, is that the tech community isn’t looking at the cloud from a cost-savings perspective anymore. Rather, the cloud has evolved into a tactical advantage for businesses looking to scale strategically.

Managed system operations (SysOps) services will include areas of performance monitoring, security audits, system backups, and resource optimization. Rather than managing these initiatives in-house, business of all sizes will be better positioned to focus on their core strengths instead of distracting maintenance operations.

“Multiple support tiers will become the norm,” says Bolander.

Final thoughts

The cloud has created a story that is ‘to be continued,’ with 2015 being a critical year for technologies to mature.  As companies grow accustomed to flexible, scalable infrastructure — and competition for faster, better services increases — the need for stronger support will grow stronger too. Meanwhile, the tech community will figure it all out together.

(Source The Next Web)