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April 25, 2007

Computer Tips and Tricks: A Non-Google Search Approach

We recently posted a blog about Google and its features, but we also would like you to know that searching is not all about Google. There are plenty of Google alternatives out there in the World Wide Web for you to try out and see where they will take you. Here are a few of them:
  • ASK.COM - a feature-rich search engine and uses "subject-specific popularity". Instead of ordering results simply by popularity, it orders them by "popularity among pages considered to be experts on the topic of your search."
  • DOGPILE - a metasearch engine that fetches results from Google, Yahoo, Windows Live Search, Ask.com, and several other popular search engines.
  • CHACHA - a search engine that pays human "guides" to answer questions for users. A technique knows as social searching. ChaCha lets you talk to a real live professional "guide" who takes your query and returns results made to your specifications. Completely free and can be a lot of fun.
  • QUINTURA - a visual search engine, powered by Yahoo, that has become the first search engine to help visually find web pages, images, video, and Amazon products. The search returns both a list of search results and a tag cloud that contains the original search terms surrounded by related tags. They also have QUINTURA FOR KIDS which is designed specifically for kids.
  • KOSMIX - a topical search engine that is still in beta mode. It conducts searches by category, including these six topics: Health, Video Games, Finance, Travel, US Politics, and Auto. Most of the results were outdated though but in non-timely issues and search terms, like health topics, it is a lot better and included lots of information on prevention, treatment, and risk factors, along with the standard list of search results.
  • STUMBLEUPON - a web browser plugin that gives you thumbs-up/thumbs-down icons in your toolbar allows you to discover and rate webpages, photos, videos, and news articles you come across. As StumbleUpon learns your preferences, it gets better at directing you to stuff you'll like. It is a recommendation system which uses peer and social networking principles.
  • TECHNORATI - a search engine for searching blogs, competing with Google, Yahoo and IceRocket. This blog search service includes plenty of ways to search for the hottest blog content, including a Top Searches list, a list of the most-linked-to blogs, and the music, movies, videos, and games that the most bloggers are linking too. You can sort your results by timeliness or authority.
  • DRAZE METASEARCH - a search engine that lets you collect search results quickly from Google, MSN, and Yahoo. A typical Google-looking page, with a search bar. Yu can also view the results from just one of the search engines, or exclude the results from one. The results page includes a "Peek-a-Boo" feature that gives you full, scrollable page previews, so you don't have to click through to see that a page isn't a helpful.
  • MS. DEWEY - a search engine that has a "flirty" style. It is a Flash-based experimental interface for Windows Live Search. Ms. Dewey is an interactive search assistant who audibly comments on searched keywords in her own style and makes random actions when idle, including taking props from behind her desk. It also features a modern-looking cityscape as a backdrop and the search results appear on the right. If you're a little bored on Google looks, you'll enjoy this one.
  • NETTREKKER - an educational search engine that is aimed at schools and students, and every site that is included in a list of search results has been hand-picked by a staff of educators to ensure safe surfing. A search for "stars" for instance, will include lots of info about constellations and zero about celebrities. The service is not free ($4.95/month), but your kids may have a school login, which they can use at home.

Resources: PCMAG.com, Wikipedia

Keep checking our blog for more computer tips and tricks. Also, register for computer classes at any Orange County library. Remember these classes are free for Orange County residents.
For more information, call us at 407.835.7323 or check it out www.ocls.info

April 24, 2007

Southwest Book Club Meets May 1

WATERFORELEPHANTS.gifSouthwest Book Club will meet on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the meeting room at the Southwest Library to discuss the book, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski, now in a nursing home remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression. The author carefully weaves circus lore; romance and the always inspiring human/animal bond throughout the book.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The Book Club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info

April 17, 2007

The Author Series at Southwest Library


The Dr. Phillips Rotary Club and the Orange County Library System invite you to attend this year's Author Series, "Face to Face with Martha Powers" on Friday, April 27, 6:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library.

Martha Powers, an award-winning fiction writer is the author of eleven novels. She will be discussing her latest novel, Death Angel. Death Angel is Powers's third suspense thriller that involves a parent's worst nightmare, a missing child. More suspense is added when the child's father becomes the prime suspect. Power's other suspense thrillers include Sunflower and Bleeding Heart.

Powers did not always write mystery thrillers. Her novel writing career started in the romance genre. In fact, she publiished nine Regency romances, including two nominated for the Golden Medallion, the Romance Writers of America national award for published authors.

Powers also adds humor columnist, freelance editor and public speaker to her career list. She currently resides in South Florida and is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America. More information about Powers and her books can be found at her website http://www.marthapowers.com

Refreshments will be provided by Publix and Bice Ristorante. No admission fee, but donations welcome.

For more information about this program, call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

April 11, 2007

Computer Tips and Tricks: More About Google

Google, as we all know, is a search-engine tool for finding resources on the World Wide Web. But now, it has expanded and improved. Most of us are big Google Users which probably means we must have Google accounts. With the Google Accounts service, searching is just not enough. There's Gmail, Google Alerts, Google Adwords, Froogle, and more.
So what else does Google offer that we might find useful? Following is a list of some Google programs that you can pick and choose from. Just click on the hyperlinks to get to the page. Enjoy Googling!
  • Adwords: An advertising/marketing program
  • Alerts: A reminder service
  • Blog Search: A blog search service
  • Blogger: A blogging tool
  • Book Search: A book search service
  • Checkout: An e-commerce checkout application
  • Desktop: A collection of tools to make your desktop more user-friendly
  • Directory: A service to browse the Internet by topic
  • Earth: A combination of satellite imagers and mapping applications
  • Froogle: An e-commerce price-based comparison service
  • Gmail: An e-mail application
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets: A Web-based word-processing and spreadsheets application
  • Maps: a Web-based mapping application
  • Notebook: A note-taking and information collection application
  • Page Creator: a Web-design application
  • Picasa: a photo-editing and sharing application
  • Scholar: A search service specifically for scholarly papers
  • SketchUp: A 3D modeling application
  • Translate: a Web-based language translation service
  • Video: A video sharing application

Keep on checking our blog for more computer tips and tricks. Also, register for computer classes at any Orange County library. Remember these classes are free for Orange County residents.
For more information, call us at 407.835.7323 or check it out www.ocls.info

April 6, 2007

Exhibits at Southwest

Southwest Library currently has two exhibits being held March through May 2007.

Artists from the Orlando Oriental Brush Painting Society have several of their paintings on exhibit throughout the library. The Society is a group of artists who practice the long-established techniques of Chinese brush painting. Chinese brush painting requires the use of bambo brushes, black ink or watercolor pigments and rice paper which is soft and gentle. This art form demands discipline, first of oneself, and then of one's tools. In March, three Society artists presented a demonstration/class at the library (see Photo Gallery).

Carol Smith, local collector is displaying her collection of photos, books, documents and other articles dealing with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. During Black History month in February, Carol presented a program on her collection (see Photo Gallery).

For more information regarding these exhibits, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest(at)ocls.info

Photo Gallery - Chinese Brush Painting Program March 24

People of all ages came to learn and practice the ancient techniques of Chinese brush painting from artists/instructors of the Orlando Oriental Brush Painting Society.