When I was in the Army, there was a surprising amount of focus on the presentation of the intelligence we gathered. In the beginning, I was frustrated. I was young and could not imagine why it mattered so much that our presentation to the higher-ups had to be as clear and simplified as possible. It seemed like a waste of valuable time. I remained skeptical until I started comparing our work to that of some of the other units. It became blatantly obvious how well-manicured presentation of information can help inform the reader quickly and effectively. Since then, I fell in love with the process of synthesizing information into presentable formats.
As part of starting my new job, I had to set up my new computer. Doing this always reminds me of the things I take for granted. The set up of my desktop, the icons pinned to my taskbar, and the extensions on my browser. However, the shake up in my complacency also made me reevaluate what privacy measures I’m taking. I did some research, and while not a ton has changed, there are some new developments. So, for this short post, I give you a annotated list of privacy extensions, apps, and programs you should know about if you don’t already.
Privacy badger – A browser extension created by EFF that blocks third party cookies.
HTTPS: Everywhere – Another browser extension created by the good folks at EFF. This one makes sure that your communication with major sites is encrypted using https regardless of whether the site defaults to http. Continue reading “Keep it private”
Our lightning posts are finished, so we will be resuming our regular schedule of the 1st and 15th for posts. With all this tech talk, we’re going to take a break. I’ll be talking about my pen and paper method for staying organized, which is inspired by the bullet journal. I know. I know. You’ve probably seen a million unrealistic instagram photos on the ‘bujo.’ It can be a bit intimidating for those of us without artistic talent, of which I have ZERO. I take a much simpler approach. Continue reading “Low-tech intermission”
Kahoot is a free web based interactive quiz creation platform. It allows you to build your own quiz, project it to a room, and have the audience provide answers. You can choose to give the participants points for right answers, like in trivia night. Or you can use it to survey the room, no points, no leader board. I have to say I’m not a big fan, mainly because of you can’t customize the way it looks. The primary color scheme and overly playful design makes it less that ideal as a teaching tool in university and higher level classes.However, if you have a more playful event, or are teaching to young kids this tool may be ideal for you. You can play with Kahoot and see if it will work for you here.
Though it was made by the same people that made ReadClearly, WriteClearly is a more universal tool. You place the bookmark on your toolbar and are then able to use it to test the reading level of your website. WriteClearly will give you suggestion to help simplify the language to better fit lower reading levels. Have a section on the library website geared to children; get that website down to their level. Targeting teens or adults? WriteClearly can still help you identify where you content might be bulky, dense, or too loquacious. Click here to get started.
I have fallen in love with this tool. Why? Because I hate slow loading webpages. I am one of those individuals you will lose if the site takes too long to load. It’s terrible but true. Large media files are often the cause of slower webpages. Compressor.io prevents this by compressing the images you want to host, sometimes by 50+%, but keeps the quality of the image in tact. How? Simply by removing all the information in the image that is irrelevant to humans (colors on a spectrum we cannot see) and optimizing coding. It supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG. There are two options for compression: lossy (doesn’t keep all of the data after compression so it is smaller) and lossless (keeps all the data so original image can be recovered later should you need to). Don’t believe it’s possible? The featured image for this post was compressed by 57%. Find the original here. See if you find a difference.
PageVault is a subscription version of PermaCC targeted at legal professionals. Why not just use PermaCC? While PermaCC has accounts for individuals, they top out at 10 links a month. The only accounts that get unlimited links must originate from libraries, journals, or courts. They are looking at expanding and providing a pay for service, but until they do, PageVault fills that gap. Also, PageVault provides a service PermaCC does not. They will provide an affidavit, for a fee, to confirm that the webpage capture is authentic and has not been tampered so the capture can be admitted into evidence at trial. PageVault is not cheap, with the lowest priced plan starting at $95/month, but for those firms that could find this useful, it might be a sound investment. For smaller practices with tighter budget, there is hope. Some state bar associations are starting to partner with PageVault and offer the service as a part of membership. Want to just keep an eye on them while you weigh your options, check out their blog.
For the next few weeks, we will interrupt our regular posting schedule for what I’m referring to as a series of lightning posts, which is short posts published more often. A bit of context first. I recently attended the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference. Different talks highlighted a number of tools and programs that don’t warrant long elaborate posts. I have convinced Dee to join me in posting short evaluations/explanations of these tools on a weekly basis until we cover them all. Then it will be back to our regularly scheduled blogging.
Some of these tools you may know already, some you may not. You’ll find a list of what we plan to cover below, in no particular order. Could you go out and research them all on your own? Of course. But why spend all your valuable time when we can do the work for you.
ReadClearly, WriteClearly, BeelineReader, Compressor.io, Wave Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, The Noun Project, PermaCC, Page Vault, Kahoot!, & Slack.
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