Friday, July 25, 2008

GIMP - new photo editing program

Jeff mentioned that we're going to have the (unfortunately-named) program GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) on our public computers with the forthcoming image. Jeff says it will probably be a while till it is installed, and that Sunset will get it first. I thought we might want to familiarize ourselves with it, because it's certain we'll be getting questions about how to use it as soon as we make it available to the public. It's installed on Lucy and Desi, and there is a shortcut on the desktop to it.
From Wikipedia:
Typical uses include creating graphics and logos, resizing and cropping
photos, altering colours, combining multiple images, removing unwanted image
features, and converting between different image formats.
It is often used as a free software replacement for
Adobe Photoshop, the
most widely used bitmap editor in the printing and graphics industries; however,
it is not designed to be a Photoshop clone.

Here's the User Manual for the current release, if you're needing help.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Valley Metro, anyone?

I just have a dickens of a time using the Valley Metro site to find routes. I can never seem to find the right cross streets to put in, and am constantly being given a list of streets and landmarks that have nothing to do with what I put in. Does anyone feel confident in their skills at finding bus routes? Please, if you understand the site, will you help me? I am tired of cringing when people ask me about bus routes, and if things keep going the way they're going (viz. gas prices & the economy), we're probably going to be seeing more and more folks taking the bus. Wonder if we can get someone from Valley Metro to come help us? Or maybe I just need to get my brain to engage. . .

Remote Authentication Troubleshooting

I keep calling Jeff for help about remote authentication problems and finding out that there isn't a problem (sorry, Jeff!). This is for me, more than anyone (thanks, Jeff!):

Patron can't log into databases remotely. . .
  • Of course, check their card number and PIN.
  • Card or PIN wrong? If the card or PIN have to be fixed, keep in mind that the card will still not work until 15 minutes after (probably) the (next) hour, when the Unicorn Server syncs with the EZProxy database. (If you made the update at 1:10, it should be available after 1:15, but if you made the update at 1:20, it will not be until after 2:15.)
  • Card number and PIN were Ok to begin with?
  • Try to duplicate their problem using our PCReservation computer.
  • See the instructions taped onto the base of the monitor about using the Remote Desktop to do this.
  • Try their card and PIN to access one of the remotely accessible databases (e.g. Masterfile), and if that isn't working, try your own card and PIN or one of the guest cards in the drawer.
  • If none of the cards works, it could be an issue of the server having problems. Report this to Jeff.
  • If your card works, but theirs still does not, you might let them try a guest card and PIN (test it first).
  • If the guest card that worked for you does not work for them, you could try having them clear their cookies and temporary Internet files in the browser settings (in IE 6.0, it's under Tools/Internet Options).
  • If that doesn't work, it could mean that it's an issue of the port's being blocked on their end [see following].
If you didn't make any changes to their card or PIN, ask them if they are at work and if there's a possibility that Port 2048 may be blocked. This is a port that most serious firewalls will block (not usually home computer firewalls) and would have to be specifically unblocked. They will need to ask their IT folks about this. It has also happened that someone has had a hardware firewall at home. They will need to disable it or figure out on their own (we cannot do this for them) how to unblock port 2048 to use our databases.
If all else fails, you can contact Jeff. . . :-)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Meebo Tips from their Troubleshooting Guide

I keep getting logged out of my IM account
<snip> Try clearing your cache and refreshing your page. If you don’t know how to clear your cache [see Clearing your cache below]
Once you've cleared your cache, go to and hold down the ctrl key and F5 function key simultaneously. This will force the browser to load the most current meebo source with the latest updates.

I can’t sign into meebo
If you're unable to sign in to meebo it can mean a number of different things. Please check the following:
1. Check your network connection. [this probably won't be the case]
2. Make sure your username and password for the particular network you’re accessing are correct and match. [we have it saved, so this probably won't be the case]
3. You may have logged into a network and not been properly logged out…wait about 5-10 minutes and try again. [this might affect us, unfortunately - we probably need to make sure to log out before signing in at the other machine]
4. Try using another browser.[i think this means closing that window and opening a new browser window]
If you've checked the above mentioned possibilities, send an email to

I can’t get the meebo web site to load properly
1. You may be behind a firewall that’s interfering with your access to meebo.Try [?]

Clearing Your Cache/Cookies
Many issues can be alleviated by clearing your browser's Cache and cookies. Before you clear your cache and cookies for the first time, close all of your browsers, then open up a new one.

For Internet Explorer users:
1. Click on “Tools”
2. Select “Internet Options” from the drop-down menu
3. Click on the “Delete” button in the section for Browsing History
4. Click the buttons to “Delete files…” and “Delete cookies…” or click on the
“Delete all” button
5. Click “Yes” in the confirmation dialog box
[and this is interesting]
You should also every now and then force your browser to load the most current meebo source with the latest updates. To do this, go to, hold down the ctrl key and f5 function key simultaneously.

BBB Phoenix change

BBB Phoenix is now The Better Business Bureau of Central, Northern & Western Arizona. I'll change the consumer pages to reflect this.