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Nothing good on TV? Try these YouTube Live Streams!

In 1992, Bruce Springstein wrote 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On), lamenting an abundance of television material, but nothing which was truly satisfying.  Why not unplug from your regular cable channels and jump on a live stream program via YouTube?

What’s a live stream?  It’s live video and audio coverage of an event or activity over the Internet.  Because live streams are built into the YouTube app, it has the features regular videos have such as the ability to search for a stream, find them in recommendations, and add them to a playlist.

Yes, it sound great, but what kind of options are available on a live stream?  You’d actually be very surprised by the sheer amount of options for all ages and areas of interests.  Here are a few of my recommendations!

Visiting a notable aquarium or science center may be a matter of proximity, so a growing number of institutions are offering animal encounters 24 hours a day on an internet stream.  You can have access to a front row penguin experience with a live stream hosted by the California Academy of Sciences.  Most of the time, the penguins can be seen socializing,  swimming, sleeping, and eating.  The best time to check out this stream is during the penguin daily feedings at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. PST.  The biologist feeding the penguins will give an overview of their diet, social practices, and general care.  You don’t have to push a little kid out of the way for a good look at the penguins.  Thanks to the live stream, you have the best view of these fine flippered friends.  The California Academy of Sciences even posted an underwater view of the penguin habitat, so it’s easy to see them frolic and swimming without holding your breath.


Also recommended:
Live Jelly Fish Cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Live Shark Cam (Lagoon View) from the California Academy of Sciences
Live Shark Cam (Reef View) from the California Academy of Sciences

Cute Animals
Now you can enjoy the hijinks of cute puppies and kittens without those pesky allergies getting in the way.  The creator of Kitten Academy is based in Illinois, and provides a safe and loving environment for fostered and rescued cats and kittens.  The cameras are rolling 24/7, and the night vision mode is amazingly clear.  The kitties have the run of the room, with toys, hiding spots, perches, and other cool cat friendly equipment.  I think they’re in a good place emotionally.  The FAQ’s on the live stream includes information on adopting the kittens and cats on the channel.  Think of it, you could be adopting an internet superstar!  There are also special close up videos of kittens playing, sleeping, and general kitty cuteness.

There are a lot of other live puppy and kitten streams, this one just happens to be one of my favorites!

Space: The Final Frontier
I may never have the opportunity to travel in space.  It would be cool and I would absolutely love to do it, but until NASA starts accepting librarians on their trips, it’s a severely cost prohibitive experience.  With that thought in mind, NASA offers a fantastic live view of earth from the International Space Station.  What was once only an astronauts view is now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.  It’s an absolutely awe inspiring live stream, and I usually watch this at night on the YouTube app before going to sleep.  The music in the background is equally fantastic.  Anyone with a love of space exploration will love this live stream.  Great for kids!

Oh The Places You’ll Go!
While I’m a huge fan of the Abbey Road Live Cam, I have to say I’m completely enamored with the Shibuya Crossing live stream from Tokyo.  I’ve seen film clips of all the people crossing the busy streets in this crowded Japaneese city, but to see it live is very cool.  The people crossing the road seem like a synronized drill team or a flash mob depending on what time of day you’re tuning in.  Rain or shine, there’s always something interesting to watch when several hundred people are crossing the street.  For viewers in our Central Time Zone, I advocate watching the Shibuya Crossing live stream at night due to the time difference.

Is there a live stream you enjoy watching?  Post your recommendations on our blog and we’ll check them out!

See You At the Library!

Up and Running with Chrome OS through Lynda.com


I, recently, had the experience of taking a technology related 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 “Up and Running with Chrome OS”. “Up and Running with Chrome OS” is taught by Doug Winnie.  Presented in five parts of video instruction, Winnie examines the various facets of what you need to do and what you need to know to get up and running with Chrome OS.  He begins with a brief introduction of the course overview.  From there, he examines Chrome OS by discussing what it is and how it’s different.  He also analyzes both the advantages as well as the limitations of Chrome OS.  The second part of the course focuses on getting around Chrome OS.  This includes starting it up for the first time, navigating the Chrome OS user interface, working with files, and installing as well as managing apps.  Next, Doug zeros in on personalizing the Chromebook with an emphasis on changing themes as well as changing system settings.  The last thing topic he covers is on updates to Chrome OS with an overview of changes, updated windows controls, using “OK Google” voice search, and organizing your app drawer.  With that he concludes the course, with a brief summary of all the topics that were discussed.


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 Doug is well versed in all the intricacies of Chrome OS 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

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