Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Things to To on Long Island This July 4th

Hi All,

The July 4th holiday is right around the corner once again!  What is there to do? Plenty!  Just read on!

Regular readers will know that this site that I've mentioned the site LongIsland.com...well, its still a good, local area website with timely and useful articles. The site has an interesting article titled 'Long Island's 2015 4th of July Weekend Guide: Fireworks, Fairs, Fun in the Sun & More!

Click on this link from Mommy Poppins (Get more out of LI with kids) which also talks about 4th of July Fireworks on Long Island.  Click on this link for a list of Free Summer Concerts on Long Island (from About.com Travel).

Finally, click on this link for the current version of the Explore Long Island/Funbook from Newsday.

Happy 4th of July - and enjoy the summer weather!

Regards,
Stu

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Halfway Point in 2015: Mid-Year Reviews

Hi All,

I can't believe it.  The halfway point in 2015 is just about here.  Tonight is the halfway point - which means that we still have half a whole year left.

Mid-points are a good time to summarize where we've been - and where we're going to go in the next six months of the year...forthwith, a whole bunch of useful sites that will help you chart the future six months of 2015 on a whole host of personal topics!

The website Generation X Finance  (which bills itself as 'Helping a Unique Generation Achieve Financial Independence) has an article title, 'How to Do a Mid-Year Financial Checkup - Things to Think About This Summer'  Important parts of the article include reviewing goals, progress and your taxes and, believe it or not, saving for Christmas 2015...

Lifehack.org has an article titled, 'How to Do a Personal Mid-Year Review?'  Three parts of this article were notable: Making a list of everything that you feel proud of over the past six months, making a list of any new goals or challenges (and noting any progress) that you taken on over the last six months and identifying areas of your life that you'd like to focus on over the next six months seems particularly poignant, relevant and helpful. 

Career Realism (whose tagline is 'Because Every Job is Temporary') has an article titled, '10 Questions to Ask Yourself Today'.  This short article is divided into 2 sections, 'Look-Back Questions' and 'Look-Forward Questions'.  Some salient points from each include thinking about  key accomplishments, mistakes made, time management, top 3 personal goals, learning and knowledge and relationship development.  How did you do on the last point?

Finally, from the Huffington Post comes this article, titled, 'Time For a Personal Mid-Year
Review: This is How! (What We Can Learn From Business)' This article gives the writer in all of us something to do. For example, the article suggests that we:
1. Write down the goals that you had set yourself at the beginning of the year.
2. Write down how you have 'performed' in these categories.
3. For each category, write down one or two of the biggest challenges you have had...
5. Write down in a maximum of two sentences how you wish to achieve open goals on your list.

As you can see there is a lot of writing and thinking...but it will help you get more proactive and engaged in your mid-year life review.  

While we are at the half-way point in the year...there are 180 days left to achieve those goals that you've set down!  You can do it! (Click here for a list of motivational quotes from BrainyQuote.com.

Enjoy the links - and good luck on your goals, aspirations, hopes and dreams.

Regards,
Stu

Monday, June 29, 2015

Leap Second!

Hi All,

No doubt you've probably heard of leap year.  If not, click here and you'll get up to speed for what you need to know about for this blog entry.  Leap year 1 article Leap year 2 article.

Well, now there is a thing called 'Leap Second'.  What the heck is leap second?  Indeed, it is an extra second that will be added on June 30th at 8pm..  Why?  'So that watches, computers, clocks and other time tracking devices can sync up with the Earth's slowing rotation...the 61 second minute threatens to make computer systems go haywire...'

For more information about tomorrows' leap second click on the next bunch of links: CNN, Google article titled 'Time, Technology and Leaping Seconds', Neil deGrasse Tyson's tweet on Leap Seconds,
ACMA/ITU article about Leap Second and Gizmodo's article about Leap Second.

Hopefully this is one second, that 'doesn't take a second'.

Regards,
Stu








Monday, June 22, 2015

Publications.USA.gov

Hi All,

Just a quickie post today about a US government site called Publications.USA.gov.  What is the site about?  Simple, it's a federal website where citizens can order government publications. 

Specifically the FCIC (Federal Citizen Information Center) has been "a trusted one-stop source for answers to questions about consumer problems and government services. "  Publications.USA.gov has replaced the old Pueblo, Colorado website.  For more information about the organization, click on this link. 

Users can search for publications by using drop-down menus on the homepage.  Categories include Animals, Cars, Computers, Education, Family, Health, Housing, Money and Travel among others.  Material can be ordered in printed, pdf, e-reader or online format.  Material also comes in Spanish and English.  Finally, users can search for publications using a text search which is also on the homepage.

Instead of using the drop-down menu's at the top of the page, users can choose categories at the left side of the homepage...(same categories are listed as in the drop-down menu).

Features publications are listed on the right side of the page (and are hyperlinked).  Examples of featured publications when I was writing this entry included 'Men: Stay Health at Any Age', 'Buying a Used Car', and 'How to Fix Mistakes in Your Credit Card Bill'.  

Note: not all publications need to be ordered.  In fact, many of the publications can be viewed online directly on the site by the viewer.  Advantages: You can see the publication directly and then you can decide whether or not print them out on your printer....

The 2015 Consumer Action Handbook is available on the site as well - which is a very, very popular publication!

And...users can sign up for email for free email updates on nearly topics (including benefits, grants, financial aid, health and nutrition, money, and taxes. Users can sign up for free email updates or to access subscribers preferences by clicking on this link.

Site users can order publications by catalog item number as well - click link for more information.

Finally, in order to display the variety of publication topics available on the site, I did a deep-dive in the the list of education publications.

Preparing For College
Examples of publications include:
Choosing Your Student Loan
Choosing a College: 8 Questions to Ask
Funding Your Education
My Future My Way: First Steps Toward College

Preschool
Helping Yor Child Become a Reader
Helping Your Preschool Child
Toddlers Get Ready to Read: How Parents Can Help Their Toddlers Get Ready to Read

K-12 Years
Choosing a School For Your Child
Extracurricular Activities: The Afterschool Connection
Imagine! Introducing Your Child to the Arts
Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success

And on and on it goes...what a great free site from the federal government!

Enjoy the links and the publications.

Regards,
Stu

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dinosaurs + Kids + Computers = Fun!

Hi All,

Just a quickie post today to discuss something that's fun, interesting, educational and great for kids!  What am I talking about?  Dinosaurs of course!

Click the following links for fun, adventure, education and some great viewing for pre-schoolers, toddlers and kids about dinsosaurs! How could you NOT love it!

KidsDinos.com - play dinosaur games and read about dinosaurs
Dinosaur Games at PBS - make dinosaurs run, hide, fly and fish with them - some educational games
Kids Sites.com/Dinosaur - has links to other high quality dinosaur related websites including Billy Bear's Land O' Dinosaurs, Curse of T. Rex, DinoBuzz, Dinosaur Galleries, Download-a-Dinosaur, Meet the Dinosaurs, Prehistoric World, and much, much more.

Zoom Dinosaurs is another excellent site that answers a large variety of dinosaur related questions!

Finally,  don't forget to come in to the library and check out our collection of dinosaur books!  Click here to find out more about which dinosaur books we have in the library.  

And, finally, if you really, really want to see some awesome dinosaur bones in real life, click on this link which goes to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City!

Enjoy the links and the bones!

Regards,
Stu


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Johnny Lists

Hi All,

Bet you never heard of the site, 'Johnny Lists'.  Well, me neither, Until today. I did a search for 'daily surveys' using Google and on the second or third page 'Johnny Lists' came up. And so I investigated this little gem of a site.

So, what exactly is 'Johnny Lists' you ask? Good question.  Basically "these are lists - posted almost daily - to improve your life and your knowledge."  Interesting premise so I went further.

The first set of lists was '10 Websites You Should Bookmark' - which includes sites like Productchart.com (an interactive product comparison site), all-free-download.com (a download resource for designers), mealdb.com (best restaurants and cafes nearby), pizzacodes.com (coupon codes for your local pizza store) and scr.im (convert your email address to share safely and openly)

Another interesting list was titled, '8 Websites to Teach You Random Knowledge'.  With links like sporcle.com, mentalfloss.com, nowiknow.com and factoclock.com there's always something to learn on the site.

Titles of other lists include '7 Amazingly Unique Items To Help You Get Around', 'How to Control Your Temper', and '12 Free Things For Students' and many more.

Users can subscribe to Johnny Lists by email (click link),  find Johnny Lists Most Popular Posts to Date and look in a Johnny List archive that goes back to at least May 2014. 

Note that the archive is just a smaller version of the individual webpages.  It might sound odd, but its a very clever way to see many posts on one page.  Users can click on each page and the title of each page is easily seen.  Smart idea.

Finally, readers should note that Johnny Lists is pretty much a black and white interface.  No graphics and has a sparse look to it.  But - and this is a big but (but a good one) - the site is very user-friendly and intuitive to use.

Finally, readers can click on this link, to find books about lists in the library card catalog.  The subject of this search was 'organizing lists' and I narrowed down the results to items held in the Farmingdale Public Library circulating collection of material

Enjoy the links, the lists and the books!

Regards,
Stu

Monday, June 15, 2015

Keeping the Kids Safe When They are Online

Hi All,

The world has changed - that's for sure.  Now kids can access the internet from not just a desktop computer, but from a smartphone, tablet or even a laptop.  And, of course, they can get to the web via the 'traditional' desktop computer.  The web is everywhere - its ubiquitous!

So how do you keep kids safe when they are online?  Great question - here are some steps and some sites to help you keep the kids safe when they use the computer and the internet.

This interactive site (called Kidsmart) offers videos, tips, activities, and ideas that teach kids to be smart and be safe online. Categories such as file sharing, social networking, games, chat, safe searching, digital footprints, and competitions allow kids to learn more about the areas they use most often.  Notice the tabs at the top of the homepage for 'I work with kids', 'I have kids' and 'contact'...

PCMag had an article titled 'Keep Your Child Safe Online' back from 2011.  The article still has decent content and is helpful for parents and educators.

PCWorld (a competitor to PCMag) had an article called 'How to Child-Proof the Internet'. Its a bit more current, but again, is a decent starting point for parents.

Even the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has gotten into the act of child safety on the internet with this link. 

This comprehensive site has links to Cyberbullying, Talking to Your Kids about Being Online, Kids and Computer Security, Kids/Mobile Phones and Kids/Socializing Online, Kids and Virtual Worlds and, finally, Kids and Texting/Sexting. It is a central repository for lots of valuable (and useful) information for parents whose kids use the internet!

Enjoy the links and the sites.

Regards,
Stu