Tablets And Tykes

chartIf you take a minute to look around, more than likely you will see a child with some form of tablet or smartphone. In fact, according to a 2012 Nielsen survey, 70% of households, that own tablets and with children ages 12 and younger, admit that their kids use the device. So this begs the question of what types of apps for kids can you choose from the 300,000 plus iTunes App Store or the 500,000 plus from Google Play. Well, may we suggest these 30 to get you started? (Note: Most links to the apps are to their iTunes descriptions.)

  1. 8 Planets (Free) Young astronomers will enjoy learning about the planets and earning ribbons in games testing their knowledge.
  2. A Little Book About Feelings ($0.99) This book app gives kids a start on understanding feelings and how to express themselves.
  3. ABC Pocket Phonics ($3.99) is a simply-designed app that reinforces letter knowledge. Children are encouraged to trace letter shapes and repeat the sounds.
  4. Alien Assignment (Free) Created by the Fred Rogers Center and a Kindergarten teacher, Alien Assignment is a fun game that encourages problem solving and discovery.
  5. Apps Gone Free (Free) Every day hundreds of apps reduce their price to free for a limited time to try to stimulate excitement and publicity. (Hey, if you can get it for free, that’s always a good thing.)
  6. BrainPOP Featured Movie (Free) features a different animated, short film each day on topics such as Science, Social Studies, Technology, Engineering, Health, English, Art & Music and Math.
  7. Doodle Buddy (Free) future Picassos of all ages will enjoy creating their next masterpiece using a variety of tools including, paint, chalk, stencils, stamps, backgrounds and photographs.
  8. Dragon Box ($5.99) This app introduces fundamental topics in mathematics with an emphasis on algebra in a playful and colorful environment.
  9. Duck Duck Moose apps ($1.99) Duck Duck Moose is an award-winning creator of educational children’s applications, founded with the mission of revolutionizing how children learn, play, and imagine on mobile devices.
  10. Endless Alphabet (Free) Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app. Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet.
  11. Faces iMake-Lite ($0.99) let your imagination go wild by making silly faces using common everyday objects.
  12. Felt Board ($2.99) This app gives you all the small felt board pieces you need for play without dealing with the many pieces.
  13. Geography Drive USA ($3.99) Students will be delighted to learn about geography in a whole new, fun, exciting way. The visitor’s center has each of the individual states and facts galore. Each state has three different questions to answer. To gain more fuel and money, visit the all-state pass for more questions that are read to the player.
  14. Go Away, Big Green Monster! For iPad ($2.99) Ed Emberley’s beloved and best-selling book comes to mobile! Cleverly diecut with bold colors and overlapping pages, Go Away, Big Green Monster! is an entertaining book that turns scary into silly, and empowers kids to take control of their fears.*
  15. Highlights Hidden Pictures ($1.99) Seek and find the everyday objects hidden within fun, kid-friendly illustrations.
  16. iWriteWords ($2.99) Kids will enjoy following a little bug to form letes and numbers, helping them get started with writing.*
  17. Karaoke Anywhere HD (Free) features a database of free songs or you can pay for more downloads. Remember it is karaoke, so you are getting a karaoke version of the song with background music and words on a screen. This is great for a sing a-long.*
  18. Make It Pop! ($1.99) Learn shapes, letters, colors, and numbers while popping bubbles, balloons, fireworks and popcorn!
  19. Math Doodles ($2.99) Get thinking with a variety of math games that will have kids solving problems in new ways.
  20. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99) includes 7 different games that teach kids about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences.
  21. Monster Physics ($0.99) is a unique building app that lets you play with physics! Build and operate your own car, crane, rocket ship, plane, helicopter, tank and more!
  22. Moo, Ba, La La La! ($3.99) Sandra Boynton’s best-selling book of all time comes alive with sound and movement and gloriously unpredictable interactivity. (There are other books by Boynton that have been made into apps: Barnyard Dance; Blue Hat, Green Hat; The Going to Bed Book.)
  23. Overdrive Media Console (Free) Download digital books for read a-longs or link them to a screen for a bigger view. This can help when the hard-copy is too small for a regular read a-long. (Of course we’re going to suggest this. It’s basically the library at your digital fingertips.)
  24. PlayTales(Free) PlayTales’ stories are designed to educate, entertain, and inspire young readers ages 1 to 12.
  25. Reading Raven ($2.99) Reading Raven is an extremely fun and engaging learn-to-read educational game that provides step-by-step reading lessons designed to help young children build a solid foundation for reading.
  26. Shake-a-Phrase ($1.99) Encourages older children to read by way of silly sentences that will help teach vocabulary and parts of speech.
  27. Stack the States ($0.99) makes learning about the 50 states fun! Watch the states actually come to life in this colorful and dynamic game!
  28. Toca Boca apps ($0.99 – $2.99) Toca Boca is a game studio that makes digital toys for kids. We think playing and having fun is the best way to learn about the world. Therefore we make digital toys and games that help stimulate the imagination, and that you can play together with your kids.
  29. Toontastic ($0.99) Take storytelling to the next level by creating cartoons from start to finish, using your own voice to narrate the story.
  30. Word Wizard ($4.99) This is the “Speak and Spell” for the iPad generation. Word Wizard is a unique app that lets kids hear the sounds of letters and words using a talking movable alphabet.

Social Networking

The latest craze on the World Wide Web is Social Software. Chances are, if you have a teenager, you probably have heard about one of the biggest social networking software sites on the web and that is  Even if you don’t have a teenager you may have heard other people discussing it or you may have heard about it through the news.  Here is a list of social networking sites found through

Autosummarize in Word

Last night I discovered something new on Microsoft Word. Since I have Microsoft Office 2003 I thought that it was a new feature for this version. As I was working on Word today, I checked to see whether the same feature was on the 2002 version. And guess what! It was and I would have never known it was there if I hadn’t been working on my project last night.

It is a pretty neat feature. Especially for those who write for a living. It is called “Autosummarize”.

It allows you to create a summary, highlighting the keypoints of the message. You have a lot of control over what you create. Here is a screenshot of what you will see after you select Autosummarize.

After you decide how you want it to summarize you will automatically be given the new page with the changes on it. The “autosummary” is at the top of the page.

Scanning Capabilities

The RLCC has scanning capabilities available to the general public. If you need assistance with scanning a document or image you may ask any staff member in the RLCC. You will need to have a floppy disk to save your information once you have completed your task. If you don’t have a floppy disk, the RLCC does sell floppy disks for $1 each. Also, we charge a $1 per scan. The scanning capabilities include the ability to scan a document directly onto a software program file such as Microsoft Word. Also, when you scan you can choose to have the image or document scanned directly onto the location in which you want it saved. So if you are wanting it to be saved to your floppy disk, you would simply choose the floppy disk from the drop down menu of items. You also need to select what format you want the item to be saved as. If it is a text file you can save it as a simple text file, html file or even a PDF file. For images, you may save it as a JPEG, GIF, or BMP.  If you have multiple pages to scan and you want them in the same document, then we can assist you with that as well.

Kathy’s Tip of the Day


How do you turn a scantly filled two-page resume into a abundant one-page resume?

Trick question!? No, it is just a question that requires some thoughtful consideration and some handy computer skills that you will be able to use for a lifetime.

Well, today I am going to use a real life example that I encountered today. This person had a resume that she was trying to submit online to a job bank. The person who she was working with before she came here told her that she needed to redo her resume because there was a huge gap between sections on her resume. Needless to say this lady didn’t want to do this and I don’t blame her. First of all, there is no need to redo a resume because there is a gap within the resume. You simply make changes to the document so that there isn’t a gap anymore. So here are some tips and tricks you can use to make a two page resume into a one page resume.

  1. Check the size of your font. The standard size font for most business papers is a size 12. If it is larger than a size 12 then shrink it to a size 12. You will find that this will help in the majority of cases. Sometimes, though, the changing of the font size does not make any difference. On to tip 2 then…
  2. Change your font style. Sometimes even though your font size is on size 12, different fonts will appear smaller even though they are the same size. Take in mind, though, that you don’t want something totally outlandish for a resume. Keep in tame but look for a font that could possibly make the entire body of the resume smaller.
  3. You could also try condensing your resume body by eliminating anything that could possibly be left unsaid. Today, I was not successful in doing that but for some people you might find something that could be eliminated.
  4. Change your margins, if they can be changed.
  5. With this last tip make sure that your formatting symbols are showing. For formatting symbol, resize each one until you get all your information on that one page.

By using a combination of all the above mentioned methods we were successful in making a  two page resume into one page. Now I would not try this with a resume that clearly had enough information to fill two pages. This particular persons resume was just a “tiny, tiny” bit over the one page. In this particular case we were able to help her and send her away very happy.

Stay tuned for more helpful tips.

USB Drives with U3 software

As most of you know there are many USB Drives to choose from. In recent weeks, we have discovered a USB drive that has U3 software attached to the drive. Why the big fuss? Well, as it turns out, by having this feature on the drive the USB drive becomes useless at a Birmingham Public Library. Here’s the scoop on why U3 is a problem:

“Recently, flash drive manufacturers have been adding pre-installed software to some USB flash drives. These pre-installed applications are executed directly from specially formatted USB flash drives. One example of this added software is U3 “smart” software.
By design, U3 software attempts to install a virtual drive on computer systems when inserted so that it can run a U3 program manager. The library does not allow users have to have administrative privileges to add or re-configure software on library machines. For this reason, USB flash drives with U3 or similar software will not function on our public access computers.”

In summary, if you have a drive like the one mentioned above you will need to remove the U3 software from it in order to use the USB on any of the library’s public computers. To remove the software from the USB, you will need to use a removal tool which is downloadable from . Once the software is removed you will be able to use your USB drive normally on any PC. As staff members, we are not able to remove this software from your drive.

Our Purpose…

There are many purposes for this blog.  First, we want to provide the highest quality of service to our patrons.  This high quality of service will consist of up-to-date information about the ongoing classes that we offer in the Regional Library Computer Center. It will also consist of tips or tricks that we have found handy in various software programs that we want to pass on to you, our reader.

We have added several features to this blog. First we have a section that lists the computer classes. We also have a section that contains a link to the actual handout that you will receive if you attend one of our classes. There is also a section that lists any tutorials that we have found useful in developing our computer skills.

Please stay tuned for more information from the RLCC.