Another Option for Product Evaluations

We frequently assist patrons with access to our Consumer Reports issues at the PSD for questions concerning various products and services. Tom’s Guide is another option for similar reviews for tech products in particular.

On the homepage you can get a list of reviewed products in this manner:

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…or you may use the “Product Reviews” dropdown to get this fuller view:

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From that view you can see Tom’s also offers links to Tech deals,

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a Forum in which users may post questions and have them answered, either by Tom’s experts or other Forum users.

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In my opinion the feature that may be of most use for our patrons is the “How To” section:

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As you can see, there are many topics relevant to using apps, devices, programs and more:

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There is also a section where one may download software and other items:

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Tom’s Guide is a good resource for our patrons seeking various types of information on tech products, from buying, to learning how to use them and even having specific questions answered about them.

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Coding for all!

What is coding? If you’d like you may access this clear, brief explanation of it on YouTube, but for those who just want a definition in a nutshell, code is instructions you give a computer so that it will do what you want. Everything that has any level of computer in it has code of some kind or another: your watch, TV, car, etc.

If someone is attempting to learn how to code, it falls within the realm of our department. We need to be able to point them to helpful, valuable resources. One great resource for coding is code.org.

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Code.org is dedicated to helping anyone who wants to learn how to code for free. They focus on underrepresented populations, such as minorities, the poor and women, but they won’t turn anyone away.

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They also want to always offer their services for free. Even those who may want to use their service and/or materials for a formal class setting.

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From their home page, click the “Start Learning” link and you find yourself here:

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You are then to choose your learning level, then you move on to about what specifically you wish to learn. It’s intuitive and simple.

You may even search for in-person classes staged in your particular area, though I have to say no classes are listed in the Memphis area. Either available classes are not listing their classes on this site or there is a dearth of such classes available in this area.

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Ultimately this topic is much larger than one simple post. This is, however, a great introduction to an entire world of possibilities.

Navigating the Thrills and Spills of Insurance

With all of the recent natural disasters you may have taken stock of your own home and thought about what you might do to replace items you might lose in such a scenario. Here is a helpful link from the site United Policy Holders that helps explain how you might go about dealing with such issues.

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United Policy Holders is a non-profit [501 (c)(3)] dedicated to helping consumers successfully navigate various types of insurance to make sure each gets the best deal and fair shake when it comes time to both buying and using insurance. Think of them as a sort of Consumer Reports of insurance.

In fact, here is their mission statement posted on the home page:

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Just to the right of the mission statement is a short list of broad topic areas covered on the site:

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Today let’s focus on what can be done in the event you have to make a claim on your property due to some sort of disaster. They have a detailed, step by step tutorial on how to successfully make claims to replace much of, if not all of, your damaged property here:

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They even offer tools to help inventory your household items in advance to avoid having to complete the arduous task after a disaster has struck. There is even an app to assist in the process, if you get into that sort of thing:
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Another helpful feature I found was an example of an actual letter sent to an insurance company requesting an extension on the time allowed to complete a claim:

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This site offers a wealth of information from which anyone may benefit because nearly all of us have insurance of one type or another. This site aims to help us identify how to proactively take advantage of all our insurance carriers promise and to avoid being taken advantage of by what can be a bloated, dense bureaucracy.

E-Tools You Can Use

A recent article in the Library Journal, cited below, has informed and inspired this post highlighting several useful e-tools.

C-SPAN Video Library

Do you want to see what the president said yesterday?  What about what the speaker of the house had to say about your pet issue?  The C-SPAN Video Library is the best place to begin searching for such content.  From the site: “…a way to archive and index the thousands of hours of congressional coverage produced by the network every year. The project quickly became one of the most comprehensive video archives of governmental and political content…”

Docteur Tweety

This site does charge a small fee, but it is useful to keep up with how your tweets are performing.

European Language Social Science Thesaurus

This site bills itself as “a broad-based, multilingual thesaurus for the social sciences” and is useful for those who do business within the European Union.

Google Translate Offline Capabilities

You can use Translate even when you’re offline, by taking a picture of the text in question.

The Internet Broadway Database

From the site:  “…the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today.”  So, it’s like imdb.com, but for theater.

Irish Films Archive

“The IFI Irish Film Archive acquires, preserves and makes available Ireland’s moving image heritage, working to ensure that Ireland’s rich and varied film history, both amateur and professional, is protected and accessible for the benefit of current and future generations. Film reels, digital materials and document collections are held in custom-built, climate-controlled vaults designed for the long- term storage of archival materials.”

Knoema

Knoema is full of helpful data on every country in the world.  “We discover, extract, and normalize data to make it usable through our open data platform. Knoema’s smart search engine moves beyond simple keyword search results to dataset discovery and auto-generated visualization collections to represent your data query.”

NewsNow

This is a UK based site, but you can personalize a free homepage with news from sources you prefer from sources all over the world.

Original article:

Price, Gary, and Henrietta Verma. “E-toolkit redux.” Library Journal, 1 Nov. 2016, p. S18+. Business Collectionhttps://goo.gl/bf4xWQ

 

Nursing Home Compare

http://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

Nursing Home Compare has detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the United States. Search for a nursing home by zip code or by city, state. The search results will provide the name of the nursing home, its overall rating, how it has done on its health inspections, and its staffing situation. Results are rated from one to five stars, with five stars being the best. General nursing home information and its ownership is also provided. Another page presents a place to file a complaint for a specific nursing home in your state.

EasyBib

http://www.easybib.com

EasyBib is a bibliography and citation generator. Just type in your book title, newspaper, database, website, or journal and it will provide a WorksCited page in MLA, APA, or Chicago/Turabian style from their manuals. Each bibliography has a choice of being printed, saved, copied and pasted, or e-mailed to your paper or document.

The site also has an app for I-Phone and Android phones. This app allows you to scan the ISBN number of a book and it will automatically produce a citation for that book.

Codeacademy

http://www.codecademy.com/

Want to learn how to write code and start a website? Codeacademy is the place to go to. Codeacademy provides learning resources for writing websites, games, and apps. Under the “Learn” button, you can choose the topics of HTML, CSS, PHP, jQuery, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and API’s to master. You can also create your own class and become a teacher under the “Teacher” button. The information is free for anyone to use on the website.