“How-To” Tutorials

I am in need of ideas from our readers! I will be developing a series of “how-to” videos which will be displayed on this blog. These “how-to” videos can be an alternative to attending one of our two hour classes. Granted it can’t replace a class with an instructor but I have hopes that we can help those who for whatever reason can’t attend our classes. These tutorials will not be very long so don’t expect to learn everything there is about a particular program or computer issue.

I need ideas on possible topics. Please email or comment to this blog with your suggestions.

Black History Month Online Resources

February is Black History Month and the Birmingham Public Library is well-prepared for this annual event. There are several online databases available on the Birmingham Public Library’s website. To access the free databases click on the “Databases” link, which is located at the top of the page. Once there you can have immediate access to “Black History” resources by scrolling down to the “Subject” list and selecting “African American”. This will immediately take you to a listing of all African American Resources or databases available only through the Birmingham Public Library and the Jefferson County Library Cooperative.


Another resource for Black History Month can be found by going to the Library of Congress website. Here you can find a wealth of information on Black History. Of course, you can always “Google” Black History Month and find a few helpful websites.

Online File Conversion

I discovered a gem of a website a few weeks ago after reading one of our organizations blogs. The website is http://www.zamzar.com . Basically it is a free online file conversion website. This is a very handy application to have because many times you may need a specific file, let’s say a Word doc file, to be a PDF file. If you go to this website you are able to convert the Word file to a PDF file in just minutes. Sometimes there is a little wait, but it is free so no complaining on my part. Here are some file formats that Zamzar converts:

  • Document formats
  • Image formats
  • Music formats
  • Video formats
  • Compressed formats

There is a maximum upload of 100 mb which can be split between up to five different files.  The process of converting a file is simple:

  1. Select the file to convert.
  2. Choose the format to convert to.
  3. Enter your email address.
  4. Click on convert.

In a matter of minutes or sometimes longer you will receive an email message containing the link to your new file.

Online File Management

Have you ever wondered whether there was a storage system that you could use regardless of where you were? I am not speaking of the USB Flash Drives or floppy disks but of something that has the ability to transfer and store huge amounts of files without having to have an additional device. The downside to this is that you must be connected to the Internet. I have been using an online file management program for quite awhile now and I find it quite useful in keeping up with important files. This is not to say that I don’t have a backup on my USB, because I do. The online storage program simply makes it easier to access important files wherever you are. Not only can you access and store important files but you can also transfer files to another individual.

I have been using http://www.box.net as my online storage program. It is very useful as I mentioned above as you can access, store or transfer any file that you desire. They have three different user levels. They are:

  • Individual 
  • Business
  • Enterprise

There are also several different plans. You can get a free 1 gigabyte of storage or you may opt to pay a monthly fee for more storage depending on your needs.

Can you spell D-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y?

Let me see…d-i-c-t..i?…

Well, if you are like me, you can always use a good dictionary around. For most people nowdays, it is almost foreign to see someone with an actual dictionary on one’s desk. Nowadays, as I like to refer to it, we have dictionaries “online”. Yes, that is right! You can check your spelling without having to get up and grab a dictionary. And yes, even your old favorite Merriam-Webster is online as well. Here are a few good sites to visit to check your spelling.

Dictionary.com    http://www.dictionary.com

Merriam-Webster  http://www.m-w.com

YourDictionary.com   http://www.yourdictionary.com

 Don’t worry! The online version of your favorite dictionary is just as trusty as your hardback or paperback copy.