Sunday 22 December 2013

Christmas tree 2013

Over at Genea-Musings there's an ancestors' surname Christmas tree, the idea came from Ancestors Live Here.
Rather than use ancestors' surnames, I've created one for my extended family.
I used Tagxedo for the tree shape and fonts, added just first names of siblings, our children, nephews, nieces and their partners and children. The baubles were added in MS Word and the screen clipping tool did the rest.

Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Christmas books: 1913

Australian publications in time for Christmas 1913

While browsing through an historic newspaper on Trove, I found this advertisement for new book titles to be published in time for Christmas 1913.

1913 'BOOKS By AUSTRALIAN AUTHORS.', Kapunda Herald(SA : 1878 - 1951), 29 August, p. 4, viewed 11 December, 2013,

During the forthcoming Christmas book season, Messrs. Ward, Lock & Co. announce that they will publish the following:-(1) "Norah of Billabong," by Mary Grant Bruce, author of "A Little Bush Maid," etc. ; (2) "Stairways to the Stars", by Lilian Turner, author of "Three New Chum Girls," etc. ; (3) "The Childhood of Helen," by Evelyn Goode (Mrs. Crawford Vaughan), a companion story to "Days that Speak" ; (4 ) "With Beating Wings," by Vera Dwyer (of Sydney-her first book); and (5) "Maori Land Fairy Tales," by Edith Howes (of New Zealand) author of "'The Sun's Babies," etc.

The Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce were favourite titles of mine in younger years. Norah of Billabong was the third title in a series of 15. The titles are listed in sequence here on Goodreads.
I wonder if the books on many Christmas lists this year, will still be available to read in another hundred years time.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Haikudeck and Snapguide, Thanks

At last

Owning an original iPad has been fun, stimulating and has provided endless opportunities for learning and communicating over the past 3 years. Sadly now I have more than 60 apps crying out for updates but  many updates only cause it to crash. 

So many great ideas have been implemented in the form of apps for mobile devices and now I delight when some of those app makers recognise that their tool is also useful for desktop and notebook users. 

Recently both Haikudeck and Snapguide have made their excellent products available via the desktop.
Thank you developers, now I'm empowered once more.

Friday 21 June 2013

Gmail and images

Image size in Gmail

 Modern cameras and phones are capable of producing high resolution images which result in large file sizes. Images attached to gmail retain their original size. Whilst gmail generously allow attachments up to 5 mb this is a burden for the both the sender and receiver and can quickly use up one's allocated storage quota.

Inserting images into the body of the message instead of sending an image as an attachment, provides a quick method for reducing the image size.

1. Click the "Compose Mail" button or reply.
2. Locate the image you want to include from your computer. 
3. Drag the image and drop it into the body of your Gmail message window. You must add the image to the message body; if you use attach file, you will not be able to reduce the image size.
4. Click the image in the email message body to select it. Underneath the image you get to choose small, medium, large or original.
Now where was that huge image I needed to send?

Monday 10 June 2013

eMagazines - Borrow or buy?

Borrow or buy?

Subscription models for emagazines range from the confusing to the simply outrageous which double up the price from the print subscription. Some magazines offer the digital version of their product free when the print version is purchased, others offer stand alone apps with a wide variety of models in between. Some subscriptions open in apps, some in web browsers. A search for emagazines reveals a wealth of sites offering to publish your work as a magazine but also points to agencies for online subscriptions which are often subscription options for print versions of magazines.

When our local library recently supplied access to more than 360 magazines through Zinio I was keen to explore this new option. Could this supply the ideal option? The sign up process requires both a library card and a Zinio account. Zinio provides a generic guide to guide users through this process.


Free access to hundreds of magazines - read those not usually available in your local store.


Current version of magazines only available - no back copies
Saving articles limited to screenshots
Favourite magazines may not be available

These alternative instructions may help Sunshine Coast library users

1. Click on the Zinio link
2. Choose Create Account
3. Enter your library card number and validate.
Now you will need to set up a free Zinio account by entering your email address and a password.
Follow the link in the welcome email you receive. You are now ready to start browsing. Choose a magazine and a new tab in the browser will open which will contain your reading list.

You can return to the other tab to add more magazines.
a. Start reading in the browser by clicking on the magazine – it will open inside your browser
b. Install the Zinio app on your phone or tablet and login with your Zinio account details to read the magazines on your portable device.

ALWAYS browse and select magazines through your browser – Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc. not through an app on your phone or tablet.
On subsequent visits to the emagazines just enter your email address and the Zinio password you chose – no need to put in your library card number again.

Purchaser beware!

One of my favourite magazines, Delicious, is not available through the library collection so I looked to purchase it online.
I had downloaded the free app with the option of subscribing from within the app when I decided to check out the option for subscribing from Zinio. Results - In app purchase $24.99 for 6 months, Zinio purchase $19.99 for 6 month - buyer beware!

What options do you find most useful for reading your favourite magazines? Check out your local libray to see if they have an online collection of emagazines for you to browse and borrow.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Technology for Travel

Let's go travelling

There is a wonderful collection of tools for the traveller available online. Here are some of the multipurpose and specialist sites for planning and organising your travel. Find out how to make your own free travel guide to access offline throughout your trip. Learn about apps for a wide range of mobile devices designed to enhance your travel and for managing your data and photos while travelling. View a range of methods for preserving the memories upon your return home.
This presentation was prepared for a Friends of Noosa Library event held on 17th April in the Noosa branch of the Sunshine Coast Libraries.

Tech for travel from Carmel Galvin

More sites are being added daily Follow Travel apps and tips to keep up to date with the latest offerings.

Related posts: Making Readlists Use a Readlist to compile all those pages you want to take with you.

Which of your favourite travel tools have I omitted?

Monday 18 March 2013

Easy video downloads for presentations

Tube downloader with Dropbox

The inclusion of a short video clip in any presentation can lighten the mood, bring emphasis to or illustrate a point and certainly provides for variety from the presenter's voice. When using video in presentations it is important to remember to seek the owner's permission to  use it and to include any copyright information attached to the video. Here's the simplest method I have found for ssaving and using short video clips.

A range of apps can perform this function on a mobile device but this is a simple method that uses Tube downloader and Dropbox to get the video from the web to your presentation in a few easy steps.

The app is available for iPhones, iPads and Androids. It downloads video from a wide range of sites including YouTube, Vimeo, and Flixxy. If you can play a video in a web browser, this app will enable you to download it. There is both a free and paid version.

1.Open the browser window of the Tube downloader app and paste the URL of the video
2. Select play and then choose download from the pop-up menu. If this is not enabled, select save to cache.
3. When video  is finished locate it in either the Files or Cache menu depending on your  previous choice..
4. Choose Open in Dropbox, this will save the file to your folder of choice.
5. From presentation interface choose Insert Video from file, get it from your Dropbox, adjust size and you're done. Easy!

Remember to delete the video from your Dropbox once inserted into your presentation.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Quick and easy ebooks via Readlists


The Readlists site provides a quick and easy method for preparing an ebook from web articles for offline reading.

  • Login to Readlists and simply add the URL of each of the articles you wish to compile into an ebook. 
  • Add a title and description and you are ready to download the ebook directly to your device or embed on your website or blog.
  • The Readlists can also be publicly shared enabling multiple editors to add to or amend any individual list. 
  • The range of export options makes this a very useful tool for all platforms.


Simple online instructions guide the user through the Send to Kindle option.The contents page displays the title of each article allowing the user to move quickly to the desired reading. Individual articles which incorporate images are reproduced in full. The normal Kindle functions of increasing text size, creating notes, finding definitions and following links are all enabled.


The ePub version presents in full colour and with full functionality but disturbingly displays the Readlist compiler at the top of each page as if they were the author. Full links are still provided to the individual articles but individual authors are not listed as they appear in the original Readlist.

Readlists are a great method for sharing a range of links for reading on any device.

Related articles:
Readlist creates ebooks from URLs
Create ebooks with Readlists

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2016 Readlists closed in July 2016

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Libraries empowering customers

Travelling light

Our local library like so many other libraries has many identities and roles. Excellent services are provided to the housebound by a group of dedicated volunteers and library staff provide a variety of training for a range of technology tools, to name but two of the myriad of services provided.

The local area has many retirees with time to travel and the library has graciously provided the venue for me to present a session on Tech for Travel. The session  will cover a wide  range of tools available to the traveller in planning their journey, mobile apps to use while on the road and preservation of holiday memories.

Here is a short screencast on how to make an ebook from Wikivoyage.

Next up, preparing a Readlist book for travel purposes.
Which other web tools are you using for making ebooks?
What are your favourite travel apps?

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Hooray for the sidebar

iTunes 11

For some time I have been frustrated by the changes to iTunes 11 and have really missed the functionality of the sidebar. Sometimes it just takes another person's post to point out the obvious and today I came across this great post on the iPad academy site. What I see in Windows is slightly different to the screenshots provided hence my pictures below.

First turn on the Menu Bar by selecting the drop down arrow in the top left hand corner of the screen.

Now that you have the Menu Bar showing it is simple to switch views so that the sidebar shows

Now when an iDevice is plugged it is once again easy to browse its contents through the sidebar functionality,

and the top Menu for the iDevice is also visible.

Monday 7 January 2013

Smart phone, Smart uses

Phone of the times

While planning for a recent trip overseas I looked for the best and cheapest solutions for staying connected while away as well as having access to all my travel documents. An in depth look at functions on my phone had me thinking about all the possibilities some of which I had not used. This post does not address the multiple uses of calendars, email and messaging but concentrates on using the camera.

If you use your phone to store personal information make sure you have set PINs for your phone and for your SIM card, should your phone be misplaced this provides a modicum of protection.
Use an online service like Dropbox, Box, Sugarsync or any other reliable online storage to back up all your information. In some places you may not have access to data services so think about the usefulness of having some of the information listed below at your fingertips, stored on your phone.

Before a trip, update apps and use the camera to record passports, visas, card details and contents of suitcase. Annotate where needed and arrange the pictures in a folder in order to avoid scrolling through all pictures in your gallery.
Store all travel documents as PDFs in case you lose any paper copies, e.g. boarding passes, visas, car hire and accommodation bookings.

General use
Medicare/health cards, loyalty cards and emergency health information.
Loans - each time you loan a friend a book or tool, take a snapshot of them holding the item, helps you remember easily who has that item and solves any cases of forgotten items. If your friend is camera shy, take a shot of the item and annotate in an app such as PicSay or Skitch  then forward the picture to your friend when you need the item returned.

Before a family outing, take photos of children in clothes of the day

Pre shopping lists and notes
Recipe ingredients

List of intended purchases, models, size
Children's' / partner's shoe and clothing sizes

Photos of needed DIY items e.g. door handles, architraves, nuts and bolts

Parking location
Price tag comparisons, dimensions of items on shopping tags

Post shopping
Receipts for tax
Return labels
Care labels on fabrics and clothing

Snap a photo of a plant for identification at the nursery or for dragging into Google image search for identification

Cable configurations at back of computers, TVs, home theatre systems and other equipment, photograph equipment before taking apart for quick reassembling.
Before rental photos - take photos of any damage that exists: carpets, walls, doors, fly-screens, appliances and other fittings. If a place has not been adequately cleaned before you move in get a visual record of that too.
Before move photos - valuable household items along with any identification labels.
Any scratches and dents on white goods and furniture can be quickly identified post move if you have photographed goods in their previous condition.

What are your favourite uses for the camera in your phone?

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