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Practical Tech with Tony – 2nd Annual Consumer Electronics Show Edition

Sheesh, time got away from me. We recorded this podcast the week after the Consumer Electronics Show, but haven’t had time to get it up until now, almost a month later! Sorry, dear reader, for the delay! Please note: this podcast blog entry will soon be migrating to the Studio 300 blog, so if you have favorited it or are following it, look there beginning in March.

Internet of Things – For a satirical look at this, I highly recommend the Twitter feed Internet of Sh*# – Language is pretty tame, but the word sh*# appears quite a bit. Here’s his Facebook page if you don’t Twitter.

The list o’links discussed in this podcast:

Laundroid laundry folding robot

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

Oculus Rift

HTC Vive

Playstation VR – exclusively for Playstation 4

Google Cardboard – need a smartphone to use

How to know if your PC is ready for Oculus Rift

Fitbit Blaze – Press release & Product Website

Yuneec Typhoon H

Human carrying drone

FAA site for drone registration

FAA sued over drone registration – The meat of the issue is there was a law passed by Congress in 2012 that said the FAA cannot require registration of small hobbiest aircraft that weighs under 55 pounds, but the FAA did just that, requiring registration of these drones that weigh anywhere from 0.55 to 55 pounds. Here is the relevant text about the law from the article:

“Section 336(a) of the FAA reform law declares that the agency cannot ‘promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft … if … the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use,’ does not interfere with other aircraft, weighs less than 55 pounds, and operates ‘in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.'”

Drone registry database privacy controversy

Acer Chromebook 15.1

Practical Tech with Tony – Gift Tech for the Holidays

Here are links to items and topics mentioned in the podcast:

Google Chromecast

Video converter – Diamond VC500 for Windows and Diamond VC500 for Apple computers.

Logitech Harmony 650 Remote – This is the one I am most familiar with. Retails for $79.99 but you can usually find them on sale at Amazon or other retailers for around $65, especially after the holidays, which is when my parents bought theirs after getting their new TV, Blu-ray player and surround sound system. The Logitech Harmony Elite is the remote that I mentioned in the podcast that can control all your home automation and media center functions. It retails for $349.99.

Bluetooth speakers – This is a recently published (November 17, 2015) article at TechRadar.

Drones/Quad Copters – There are a lot of articles out right now about the best Drones/Quad Copters, and this one has a nice mix of low and high cost models. All the models mentioned show up on other “best of” lists that I have seen.

Acer Chromebook 15 and Acer Chromebook 15C910 – There is a sub-$200 model available in the lineup, but it doesn’t sport a true HD screen (true HD is 1920×1080 pixels per inch) and this is also true of some of the other lower cost ones. The lower cost ones also have “slower” processors, less memory and less storage. The library currently has this particular configuration available for in-house use at the Children’s Services Desk, if you would like to take a look at it. Other manufacturers have other models available, and you can find out more about Chromebooks at Google’s website here.

Mobile Device Gaming Pads – There are lots out there and the prices run the gamut from just under $20 to well over $100. I think it is most important to find something sturdy that fits comfortably in your hands, especially if you are going to be using it extensively. Most game controllers now mimic the shape of Sony’s Playstation console controllers or Microsoft’s Xbox console controllers. Also be aware that not all gamepads may be compatible with all devices, so a device compatible with Android may not be compatible with an Apple device.

Nest Home Automation

Philips Hue Lux – The link takes you to the starter kit page of the Philips website.

Happy Holidays from the staff of the Fountaindale Public Library!

– Tony L.

Library Events

Help Me! Tech Support!! Event – Tuesday, January 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 17 from 2-3:30 p.m. in Studio 300

Received a tablet, phablet, camera, laptop, or other tech gadget recently and you’re still not quite feeling comfortable with it? Get the help you need at our Practical Tech drop-in event. Bring your gear and your questions and get ready to learn from our staff of tech experts.

Word is Spreading Across the Galaxy – Star Wars Celebration is Nearly Here!

Before The Force Awakens, bring your family and friends to Fountaindale Public Library’s Star Wars™ Celebration on Saturday, December 5 from 10 am to 4 p.m. Show your love for this epic franchise with a day of out-of-this world fun for people—and Wookies—of all ages!

There are a ton of fun events and activities throughout the day, so here are just a few of the events you won’t want to miss!

10 AM to 1 PM
• Battle it out for glory during our Star Wars Battlefront™ Gaming Tournament (10 am to Noon)
• Kids Star Wars Crafts in the Creativity Park
• Test Drive a BB-8 Droid in Meeting Room B
• Pick out a Star Wars Temporary Tattoo
• Trash Compactor Prize Search

11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
• Show off your best fighting stance with light saber green screen photos in Studio 300

1:00–2:00 p.m.
• Star Wars Costume Contest
Take a break from our activity stations to enjoy the Star Wars Costume Contest!  Dress up as your favorite character for our all-ages costume contest. Registration runs from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., with the contest starting promptly at 1:00 p.m. You must be registered to win! Contest age groups: Children (0-5 years old, 6-8 years old, 9-12 years old), Teens (13-18 years old), and Adults (19+years old); prizes awarded to winner in each age group.

2:00–4:00 p.m.
• Star Wars Team Trivia
Is your knowledge in tune with the Force? Test your Star Wars knowledge with team trivia and win prizes! Play our Star Wars trivia games from 2:00–3:00 p.m. and 3:15–4:15 p.m. Create your own team, or join a team of up to six people. If you are new to team trivia, Sporcle, Inc. will be on hand to ensure that everyone has a fantastic time! Each game is limited to 60 people per game; registration begins at 11:00 a.m. outside Meeting Room A. Space will fill up fast, so sign up well before game time!
• Make a jump to light speed in a Millennium Falcon simulator in Studio 300
• Podracing Game
• Bottle cap necklaces and key chains Craft in the Secret Garden Park
• Test drive a BB-8 droid in Meeting Room B
• Pick out a Star Wars Temporary Tattoo
• Trash Compactor Prize Search


You’ll want to also stop by Brooks Cafe in the lobby for a group of special Star Wars themed menu items!

To find out more about this program, visit our website at www.fountaindale.org.

May the Force Be With You!

Practical Tech with Tony – Technology for Youth at the Library

Here are links and other information about the things we discuss in this podcast.

Early Learning Workstations – Provided by AWE

Chromebook – Available in the Children’s Services Department for parents that need to use a computer but have to keep an eye on their children using other areas of the department. This is a test collection for the library. The Chromebooks are checked out from the Children’s Services Desk and can be used for up to four (4) hours. If you would like to see Chromebooks offered in other areas of the library, please let us know in the comments or send us an e-mail using our online contact form. For more information about what you can do with a Chromebook, please see our basic Chromebook FAQ.

Launchpad – Android based tablets pre-loaded with a wide variety of educational apps, games and content in a specific subject area and grade level.

Nooks – these are the older HD models, preloaded with titles for children as well as apps and games curated by our Children’s Services Department staff.

Scratch – A programming platform developed at MIT that teaches basic coding skills using a kid-friendly, visual interface. The software is open source and is compatible with lots of different hardware.

The Practical Tech with Tony podcast about littleBits, Cubelets, and other tech kits and components.

Brainfuse Help Now! – Online tutoring and other homework/school help, including a writing lab that provides help with writing assignments.

Scholastic Go! – This link will take you to the elementary age landing page, but using the tabs along the top, you can switch to the middle school, high school, adult and teacher portals.


Mango Languages and Little PIM

Where Have All the Pumpkin Stencils Gone?

The library has been providing free pumpkin carving stencils every year for the last couple of years around the Halloween season. Unfortunately due to the lack of interest in our free pumpkin stencils last year, the library will be postponing this specific service. We still have plenty of books available on pumpkin carving and plenty of books on how to decorate your house and scare your friends on Halloween.Take a look at some of our materials  that we have on pumpkin carving by clicking on the picture of the scary pumpkin below, you will be redirected to our catalog. If you’re looking for books on decorating your house for Halloween click on the picture of the haunted house.

Scary Pumpking


A Lynda.com Experience

lynda logo

I, recently, had the experience of taking a course in Lynda.com.  Lynda.com is an online subscription library we offer here at the Fountaindale Public Library that teaches the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts.

To begin with, you have to create an account.  Once you have done that, you are now ready to be exposed to a plethora of various subjects and topics to examine and purse.  The course I took was “Getting Started in Photography”. “Getting Started in Photography” is taught by Jim Heid.  Presented in five parts of video instruction, Heid examines the various facets of what you need to do and what you need to know in the world of Photography.  He begins with a brief introduction of the course overview.  From there, he covers a wide range of topics such as what essential gear you’ll need, developing your shooting skills, examining Photography Software, as well as further steps, including:  exploring the intersection of analog and digital as well as what other options and/or courses you can take when continuing on and charting your own learning path.  As you proceed through the course, it tracks your progress.  Finally, once the course is completed, you are then able to print up a certificate of completion.

I found the course to be very informative, easy to follow, and well presented.  You can tell Heid is an expert in the field and is both passionate as well as well versed in all its intricacies and what it entails.

I really enjoyed my experience with Lynda.com.  It makes learning very easy and hands on.  It allows you to learn at your own pace.  If there is a certain section or any material that you aren’t too sure or familiar with, Lynda.com lets you go back to those parts and/or sections and replay them.

If you get a chance to check out Lynda.com, do so.  Learning has never been easier, more user friendly, or convenient. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

– Brian S

Home Brewed Beer Demonstration at the Library!

Fall is just around the corner and what better way to enjoy this time of season than with some good craft beer. The library wants to help make your Fall and Winter season more enjoyable by providing a great demonstration on how to home brew your own beer. Impress your friends and family with your brew master skills during the Fall and Winter festive meals; regale them with tales of how you acquired such mastery of the hops at your local library. Don’t worry! The program doesn’t start until September 10th, there is still time to sign up for the program just click on the cold frosty glass of beer below to register.


If you can’t make it to our Home Brew Beer program the library has plenty of Home Brewed Beer Resources available. To check out what is available at our library click the glass of beer below, this will re-direct you to our catalog.




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