Technology

If you need to send a fax while the library is closed, the company that supplies and operates the library's fax machine offers an online fax service. You can send a fax online from any device.

The cost is 99 cents for the 1st page and 49 cents for each additional page. For an additional 49 cents you may choose to get a text confirmation regarding the status of your fax. If you choose to not get the text confirmation, you can call 1-800-468-2748 for verbal confirmation or check their website to view the status.

video chat

This is a lonely time, and though many of us connect with others through posting platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it can be difficult to stay at home all day with the same people. Eventually, as we begin to miss our friends (and even our coworkers), and wonder: how can we gather while staying safe?

The answer is a virtual social hour, in which multiple people join a video chat to share an experience: a book discussion, playing a game, even chatting over an end-of-the-day beverage. Virtual social hours are a great way to see the people you miss while protecting public health.

3 Tips for a Successful Social Hour

  • Keep it small - limit the group size so you are likely to hear each other. Video chats make it possible to see that someone is preparing to speak, so limit the number of participants so you can pay attention and not talk over each other. Depending on which software you use, try to select a view option that lets you see a grid of each person's video, instead of putting one person front-and-center while they talk.
  • Set a purpose - Are you discussing a specific topic (such as the most recent Hoopla Book Club Hub selection)? Sharing tales of parenting in the trenches with your mom group? Perhaps you're hosting a virtual dinner party? Whatever the reason, setting a purpose can make it worth the trouble to change out of our "day pajamas" and into normal clothes (at least from the waist up).
  • Choose a platform everyone can use - if you are gathering your entire family for dinner, don't choose software that will frustrate friends and family with a complicated installation or expensive subscription requirements. Choose something that will be easy enough for your most tech-phobic participant, and maybe do a practice run beforehand. 

Comparing Three Popular Options

There are MANY different programs out there to help you find a virtual space for friends to meet. Here are some popular options that accommodate groups of 10 or more; are available for Android, iOS, and Windows; have free options, and are helping friends and family come together across the country right now. 

Zoom 

Zoom seems to be everywhere recently due to its heavy use in online education (which has grown exponentially in the last month), and its newfound popularity in businesses. Anyone can use it to attend a meeting, though hosts must have accounts and their account status is what affects limitations on meeting size and duration. Tutorials are available here.  

Pros - High-quality video and an intuitive interface. Some fun and useful advanced features available in free accounts, including very fun Virtual Backgrounds. Multiple users can share their screens with the group. 

Cons - Groups meetings are limited to 40 minutes unless the host has a Pro account. (Host can immediately re-start a meeting if needed.)

Cost - Free for basic access, with Pro accounts available for $14.99/month

Google Hangouts

Google products are everywhere, even for people who aren't "power-users". Many of us use Google as our default search engine, or Google Maps to find directions. Google Hangouts, Google''s "everyday" video chat has been around for years, and its getting even more use these days. Tutorial available here. 

Pros - If you are a Google user, Hangouts easily fits into your other Google products, such as Gchat, Calendar and Gmail. The interface is one of the easiest to understand, too, if you aren't looking to use advanced features. It has no time limit on meetings, even for free accounts.

Cons - Google Hangout requires a Google login, which are free to create but may be a nuisance if you don't have one already. Though it limits free accounts to 25 users, for our purposes this isn't much of a drawback: we think 25 is plenty.

Cost - Free, though there are business-level upgrades starting at $6/month.

Skype

Skype has been around since 2003, and is one of the longest-running options for making calls on your computer. They're now owned by Microsoft, so if you have a Windows 10 computer it's possible you already have it set up on your device. Tutorial available here. 

Pros - Getting set up for a call is very simple with Skype. There is no time limit on calls, and the web feature allows you to blur your background so no one can see how messy your house is right now.

Cons - Skype is not known for its video quality compared to Zoom and Hangouts, and audio calls perform much better. Its free features aren't as fun as Zoom's.

Cost - Free for computer-to-computer calls, but paid options exist for calls directly to phone numbers, or international calls. Rates vary by country, but are generally under $10/month US, or Skype Credit (a pay-as-you-go option) can be purchased as well. 

So, you've downloaded FaceApp and learned that you're going to look very suave when you're older. But just how does FaceApp magically age you so accurately?

FaceApp uses a type of artificial intelligence and machine learning called an artificial neural network. Investigate a little more about artificial intelligence and the latest in technology with some of these fiction and non-fiction titles (no technical background required!):

Fiction

Plum rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Also available in: e-audiobook

The Detroit Radio Information Service (DRIS) is southeast Michigan's Radio Reading/Audio Information service for people with disabilities. It is a service of WDET 101.9FM and Wayne State University.

 

DRIS broadcasts 8,760 hours of continuous audio information programming a year, helping to offset the impact of vision loss and the inability to hold or comprehend print. DRIS engages local volunteer readers and offers the verbatim readings of more than 100 local and national newspapers and magazines a week. Special interest materials include this week's grocery and department store ads, senior citizen issues, hobbies, and literature. Rehabilitation programs focus on topics like adjustment, employment, education, and legislation.​

 

DRIS broadcasts its programming over a private, closed-circuit radio signal. Specially built radio receivers are loaned free of charge to qualified applicants.

 

Any person, who is unable to see, hold, or comprehend conventional printed matter because of a disability, including a learning disability, may apply to use DRIS.

Make Facebook Fun Again

Concerned about keeping your data safe after the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal? Tired of ads, spam, and political posts in your news feed when all you want to do is keep in touch with friends and laugh at animal memes? Join us, and we'll show you how to maintain your privacy and keep your sanity. Learn how to tailor Facebook to meet your needs and help you live your best life. Make Facebook fun again! Ages 18+. Registration is required.

 

*Participants must have a valid Facebook account, know their log-in information (user name and password), and be comfortable using Facebook. Instruction will take place using desktop and laptop computers. 

 

Stressed Businessman by Emma Woo/Shutterstock.com 

Upcoming sessions

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Did you know...

The library makes available a number of magnifiers, large and small, that can be checked out with your Canton Public Library card? The magnifiers can help make reading text easier and are a low cost way to explore the item before making the personal investment.

Magnifiers can be checked out for three weeks and come in a durable bag for transportation. 

Check one out today!

App-y Trails: Travel Tech for Summer Fun

Are you hitting the road this summer in search of sun, fun, and new vistas? Stop in to the library to learn about helpful apps to help you have your Best Summer Ever! From navigating new territory to taking your library with you wherever you go, we'll share our favorite apps for living well while traveling light. Bring your device and your library card!

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

Last Tuesday, January 16th at 8:08pm, a meteor lit up the skies over southeastern Michigan. The vibrations from the noise the meteor made as it entered the atmosphere were strong enough to register as a 2.0 earthquake on the Richter scale! 

But... what is a meteor made of? Where did it come from? Why did it make such a loud noise? What is the difference between a meteor and a shooting star? When does a meteoroid become a meteor? Is a meteor the same as an asteroid? You've got questions and we've got answers! Check out the list of books and DVDs below for your space-related information needs.

Astrophysics for people in a hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook | large print

If you're thinking of starting a blog or just beginning one, this course on blogging and podcasting is for you. Perhaps you'd like to try out podcasting too. You can and it's easy. In this course, you'll learn how to create, manage, and promote your own blog and audio and video podcast using tools that you already have on your computer—no paid software or equipment is needed.  If you enjoyed this course, then check out creating Wordpress websites and intermediate Wordpress websites

All Gale Courses are free with your Canton Public Library card, and the next set of classes will begin on Wednesday, December 13. Learn on your own schedule, and receive a certificate of completion when you've finished. Our goal is to provide lifelong educational opportunities for you to gain new skills or improve existing ones. New sessions are offered every month. Take advantage of these instructor-led courses on our databases page!

Tech Take Apart

Have you ever wondered what made up the insides of a computer, phone, keyboard, or mouse? Now is your chance! Pry open, unscrew, and unlock all the components. Feel free to craft with them and make something to take home, or simply explore the inner workings of some common pieces of technology. Types of technology on hand are not guaranteed. For children ages 11 and up and space is limited. Registration is required and begins Nov. 22. PLEASE NOTE: the start time has changed from 2:00pm to 3:30PM

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

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