New in Overdrive: Video and iPod-friendly audiobooks!

Overdrive has recently added mp3 audiobooks to its lineup. These mp3 audiobooks do not have the Digital Rights Management encoding (DRM) that made them incompatible with  iPods.

You’ll also find full-length movies and short films available for download! If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer.

In case you missed the Intranet post, here’s a quick list of must-know information:

If you have a Windows computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iSomething-else, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Windows (version 3 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Windows Vista or Windows XP

If you have a Mac computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iAnything, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Mac (version 1 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Mac computers do not have to have Windows installed

Library members who already use Overdrive will probably be asked to download a new version of the software in order to use mp3 audiobooks. That prompt will appear once they click on the downloaded file saved to the desktop.

Last but not least, you’ll need to know the name of your book because it is listed under Songs by title.

Did you hear there are also Downloadable Movies?

First, an apology to iPod users. DRM is still encoded on each video, so you cannot download or play videos with Apple devices.

If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer not on the go.

To download and watch videos, you will need:

  • Windows computer
  • OverDrive Media Player for Windows v2.0 (or newer) – longtime users may need to upgrade to version 2
  • Windows Media® Player 9 Series (or newer)
  • DRM friendly mobile device (optional) – see compatible players list for details

How will I know if my device will play audiobooks? Or movies?

If you want to know if your device is compatible with audio/video content, view the list of compatible devices. You can sort by device or by format to quickly find out if your device is compatible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Go to Overdrive and find a book or video.
2. Checkout the item and download it to your computer. Play a little bit of the book/video.
3. Leave any questions in the comments section of the blog.
4. Take the survey.

The Transition is Coming

January 5, 2009

As you may know, American television will switch to digital-only broadcasts on February 17.  Library members are very interested in the transition and have many questions. Please become familiar with the topics on these sites. Make sure everyone at your library will able to point your visitors in the right direction.  tvimage-tvset

Keep in Mind

  • For specific technical problems with digital equipment, TVs, and accessories, contact the manufacturer. 
  • If a consumer uses an antenna now, they will still need an antenna after the switch. All new televisions have digital tuners, but still require an antenna to pick up the signal. 
  • Cable sets are not affected by the DTV transition. The ongoing transition of cable networks to digital is not associated with the February 17 deadline. Analog cable subscribers do not have to switch to digital cable at this time. 

Web sites covering the transition

  • Get Ready for Digital TV (PBS)
    Watch This Old House episode – it covers several different transition scenarios at homes in Boston, including converter box and satellite setups. The program will also be re-aired several times on Nashville Public Television, WNPT.
  • The Digital TV Transition  (FCC)
    Site contains a directory of documentation for setting up digital TVs and converter boxes. Consumer Corner’s extensive FAQ covers many transition issues. Shopper’s Guide will familiarize you with the technical specs for buying new equipment.
  • TV Converter Box Coupon Program  (NTIA)
    Apply for up to two $40 coupons toward the digital converter boxes. The converter boxes will be required for older TVs using “rabbit ears” or roof-top antenna to pick up a signal. 
  • Coupon Eligible Converter Boxes 
  • Which (nearly) free DTV converter box should I buy?
    CNet guide to the best Converter boxes on the market.

We’re less than a month away from ushering in the new first pets, but I only just discovered these videos! So, before it is too late, we have to share. But hurry and enjoy – who knows how long these links will work…

Update: The Bush-era site is no longer available. But we found this video on YouTube. Enjoy!

Barney’s Holiday Extravaganza

Oh, and this is Miss Beazley, not Barney. But they look just alike to me, so there you go.

It’s the third and final week of RSS Month! I hope we’ve shown you that RSS doesn’t have to be a lot of work. You don’t have to subscribe to MSNBC and get 400 news updates an hour. It can function as a reminder service (music and events), a shopping helper (Craigslist), or even a way to catch up on TV.

Yup, RSS and TV.

Do you watch TV? Do you ever miss the show you want to watch? What about shows you didn’t know you’d like but now you’re hooked and you missed the first season?

I’ve lost all the TiVo customers, but for those of you who remain, I’ve got a cool RSS trick to show you.

Did you know you can get shows like The Office, ER, The Colbert Report (and a lot of other shows) on a site called Hulu? Neat site, but who’s going to remember to go there while you’re gripped by “I missed my show” panic?

What if I told you that you can subscribe to TV shows in Hulu with your RSS reader? When a new episode is added, you’ll get an update in your feed reader with a link to the new episode!

And you’re not just subscribing to shows you know are online, either. You can subscibe to any number of feeds:

* Recently Added Videos
* Recently Added Shows
* Recently Added Movies
* Soon-to-Expire Videos (This is handy because current series episodes don’t stay on Hulu forever)

So, not only can you watch a show you missed, you can be altered when new series are added to Hulu – like Doogie Howser, M.D. It’s on Hulu.

There’s also a pretty neat tool around for those of you who’d rather not miss your favorite show. It’s called mytvrss. Select your favorite shows from the list and sign up for an RSS feed that will send you reminders when there’s a new episode. You’ll even get a nice little episode summary with each update. This is great for shows like American Experience and Frontline – shows that don’t require weekly devotion to a storyline.

One more thing…

If you don’t like Craigslist, you keep up with music just fine, and you have TiVo, there are other fun uses for RSS. Try getting a recipe a day, word of the day, or LOL cat of the day. Just remember, RSS doesn’t have to be a stress inducing nightmare – it can bring a smile to your face too.

If you’ve read an article, a blog post, or nearly anything online lately, odds are good that you’ve seen something like this:

What are all the icons for? What does “SHARE” mean?

These icons are quick links that let you save or share links, cool videos, or anything you find online.

Why would you use them?

Well, say you reading a blog post and someone mentions this really neat online game site. Now, you want to share it with your sister. So, you open up your email, start a new message, cut/paste the URL, and send her the link. Oh, and you want to remember the site too, so you save it to your enormous list of favorites on your computer.

That was a lot of work. Oh, not to mention the fact that when you go over to visit later, your sister has deleted the email, your nephew wants to play one of those neat games you sent and you aren’t at your computer to look up the link. Much nephew crying ensues!

What if you used one of these fancy buttons instead? When you find the really neat online game site, you can click the link for delicious.

And you can save it to your list of bookmarks/favorites on delicious. Now, you’ll know where the link is, even if you aren’t at your own computer. Plus, if your sister has a delicious account, you can send it to her using delicious.You could use the Facebook button to share stories and links on your Facebook page too.

Just click the Facebook button, and you’ll share the link with all your friends.

Take a look at this fabulous explanation about social bookmarking by the folks over at CommonCraft.

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

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I’ll admit, it took me a while to see the usefulness of social bookmarking.

The first time I heard of delicious, the conversation went something like this:

Web savvy friend: “What is delicious and why should I care?”
Me: “Beats me. I’m not sure if we should care.”

Then a friend started using it and talked about how easy it was to find links to websites he wanted to remember. I decited to give it a try. Turns out, it was pretty useful after all.

I read several library blogs and lots of art and design blogs. There are always web sites I want to save and look at later. I used to email myself the links I was interested in – and once I hit send, the reminder about a cool web site was lost to me forever in a too-cluttered inbox. Where was that great programming idea I read about? Where did I see those awesome rain boots? Why can’t I find those directions for etching a design on an old Altoids box? This is just a sampling of the info eaten by my Inbox.

After I signed up for delicious, I got in the habit of saving sites I liked to my delicious account. So, when I came across Little Paper Planes, I saved it to delicious and assigned it the keywords (or tags) shopping, art, and design. Now, when I want to look for a unique gift for a friend, I can go to my delicious account and pull up the shopping websites I’ve saved. No digging through my inbox, no pulling out my hair looking for a scrap of paper. I just go to delicious and click on shopping. Cool.

Where does the social come in?

Social bookmarking programs are pretty handy as a personal web directory. But the social aspect refers to the public nature of the link collections. You can share all your favorite sites, with your friends just by sharing a link or sharing your username. If you have a friend who is a total design nut, you might want to take a look at the websites he likes because you’ll probably find something you like too.

You can also see who else saved a site you saved. So, you can see all the people who saved Little Paper Planes. Odds are, if you both saved Little Paper Planes, there might be other bookmarks that person has that you’ll like. It’s a way of finding new sites from other people with similar interests.

What if you’re not feeling social and don’t want to share? No problem. You can mark links “private” or “do not share” and you’ll be the only one who can see them.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Explore the delicious tag cloud links on Teen Web or Books Movies Music web pages.

2. Pick one:
a. For Teen Web, find all the links related to homework.
b. For Books Movies Music, find the book lists.

3. In the comments, let us know how you like using Delicious.

4. Take the survey..