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Design, digital, Digital Media Lab, Digitization, digitize, dml, Equipment, Gift advice, holiday gifts, Just for Fun, Library Facts & Fun, Technology »

[1 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]


If you are wondering about gift what to do about giving this holiday season, why not try to make something in our Digital Media Lab? Stop by the 2nd floor Tech Desk or call 847-324-3179 to book your spot.

The library has tons of cool software that just needs to add your imagination to the mix. If you are interested in music try composing a tune with GarageBand, Adobe Audition CS6, or Logic Pro 9 (with Mainstage plugin). The library has M-Audio Oxygen 61-key USB/MIDI controller keyboard attached to the computer, but there is a Washburn Electric Guitar RX-22 and Simmons Electronic Drum Set SDMP1 available as well. All of the DML stations have Yeti Pro Microphones with pop filter attached and Bose Speakers. For more control over the recording power there are separate Shure Microphones (the SM 57 -vocal and instrumental and the SM 58 -vocal) and Beyerdynamic Pro headphones.

New to the SPL tech collection is the super cool Nessie Microphone that SPL card holders can actually check out and take home to record high quality sound (song vocals or podcasts).

Nessie Microphone via www.bluemic.com/nessie

If you are a movie maker then we have good news for you too! DML has a green screen painted on the wall, or if you prefer to shoot your movie at another location there is a portable green screen for checkout. Just don’t forget a Flip Mino camera too. When it comes to video editing software for beginners there is iMovie of course, but there are Adobe After Effects CS6, Final Cut Pro (versions 7 and 10) and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 for advanced users. There are additional plugins that work with  Final Cut Pro such as: Cinema Tools, Color, Compressor, Motion, and Soundtrack Pro. And plugins for Adobe Premiere Pro are: SpeedGrade and Media Encoder.

Need inspiration?

Here is a short video that one of our patrons has submitted for Skokie in Motion 2013.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you have old family videos still stored on VHS tapes (that your parents cannot watch because who watches VHS tapes nowadays?) why not come in and use the DML to digitize all of them – burn them on a DVD or save them in the cloud for easier access on all of your devices (and make mom and  dad happy too)?

If you have old photos that are in dire need of restoration or digitization don’t worry, the library has an Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner that will enable you to scan super high resolution images. The scanner also handles negatives. So if your aunt Molly happens to have tons of slides of her trip to Chile (from what feels like gazillion years ago) why not create her a nice photo slideshow she can enjoy and view on her new iPad?

Epson Perfection V750-M Pro Scanner via www.epson.com

For your photo editing needs there are: Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (beginners), Adobe Photoshop CS 6, Adobe Lightroom 4, Adobe Illustrator CS 6, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, Anime Studio Debut, Manga Studio EX 4, and Blender. Do not forget to ask about the Intuos5 tablet for easier drawing and the Cintiq13HD (for the more serious designers).

Use Screenflow (3.0.8 -> User Guide ) to record your project progress or create tutorials to share on YouTube.

Another important thing worth emphasizing is to save all of your work somewhere online (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, etc.) or check out a Lacie or Seagate hard drive from the library (and save often as you go).

To use all of this you should be familiar with Mac computers because all this software is on Macs. If you do not know how then we suggest enrolling in free classes (offered here at the library) to learn how to do some of this cool content creation.

Also, the library has a ton of books that are easy to follow (in print and online) and there are two main databases (Lynda.com and Atomic Training) that offer video tutorials (and are now available to access with SPL Card from outside of the library).

Remember we do have a separate DML for kids too (grades 1-8) located at the Youth Lab just in case they are interested in creating a cool video or audio project or a drawing as a gift.

>> For the list of other tech items at the DML click here.

Happy Holidays from SPL!

Digital Media Lab, Google Glass, Innovation, Just for Fun, Research, Technology »

[18 May 2014 | No Comment | ]

Google’s new slogan is “All Google One Account,” with that being said Google has come out with one of the most technologically advanced device and that is, Google Glass. It is one of the most innovative devices created by Google and they look just like regular glasses but do much more!

Google Glass can do many things including, searching anything at anytime, displaying the time, turn by turn navigation, helping you improve at your favorite sport, you can send messages and play music. There are so many different ways someone can use Google Glass.


Google Glass can do so many things by the sound of your voice!


With all this great innovation and technology located in one place this amazing device, however, is not offered to anyone just yet. The only way a person can get their hands on this, is through the “explorer program” that allows people access to this amazing device. In any case, again, all of Google in one place.

citizen science, Digitization, science, Technology, volunteering, Websites »

[23 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]

ZooniverseCitizen scientists unite! And zip over to Zooniverse, where you can volunteer your time to help scientists and researchers sort through field data.

Zooniverse is a collection of citizen science projects put together by the Citizen Science Alliance. There is an extensive collection of projects so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that interests you. If you like astronomy, take a look at Galaxy Zoo, where you can view photos of distant galaxies and classify them by shape, which helps astronomers understand how galaxies form.

Zooniverse Projects

If you like oceanography, check out Seafloor Explorer, where you can classify ground cover and animals such as sea stars, scallops, and crustaceans. Or head over to Snapshot Serengeti to view photos from Serengeti National Park and identify mammals, birds, and reptiles. And if science isn’t your thing, you can always lend a hand transcribing museum records. Each project starts with a tutorial demonstrating the how any why of that project. With over 1 million users already contributing to Zooniverse, what are you waiting for?

Computer Lab, Digital Media Lab, Mobile, Online, Productivity, Technology, Web 2.0, Websites, Youth Digital Media Lab »

[5 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]


OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) by Microsoft gives you one place for all of your files, including photos, videos, and documents, and then access them from any of your Windows PCs or mobile devices (similar to Google Drive)

OneDrive provides 7GB free of space, but you can earn more free space by referring friends who do not already have OneDrive or purchase addtional space.  It will also give you another free 3GB when you upload photos to OneDrive.

One of OneDrive’s strength, if you are a Microsoft Office user, is the integration of free Microsoft Office online.  It works closely with Microsoft Office apps, such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint.  OneDrive users can collaborate on documents in real time like on Google Drive.  You’ll be able to see the changes they make as they make them.

For more details on how to use OneDrive, a video is shown below.

Click here to view the embedded video.



Design, Technology, Websites »

[26 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]

pixabay1Ever find yourself looking for quality copyright-free images to use in a presentation, project, or blog? Do you get tired of looking at low-quality free images or pricey subscription stock photo sites?

Pixabay can help! Pixabay is a community of photographers and illustrators who publish their work in the public domain. Anyone can use these images, with no attribution required.

The image standards for Pixabay are high; images must meet minimum resolution requirements, and meet various technical requirements (proper exposure, focus, etc.) in addition to being well-composed. You can read more about Pixabay’s standards here.

The images on Pixabay are published under Creative Commons public domain deed CC0, which states that:

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Pixabay, you can see if Flickr’s Public Domain Pool or Wikimedia Commons have what you need.

Digital Media Lab, Mobile, SkyDrive, Technology, Windows »

[21 Feb 2014 | No Comment | ]

Copying files to SkyDrive on Windows 8.1 would then be accessible on any of your windows devices. To start,

Open the start screen

Open the SkyDrive

Click on SkyDrive, then browse/select the files you want to add. From there you want to right click and then left click on “Add File.” After you’ve clicked on “Add File,” you then need to copy the files into SkyDrive.

Copy files

Once all your files have been copied to SkyDrive, they are now accessible to any windows device using SkyDrive.


Digital Media Lab, Equipment, Technology »

[12 Feb 2014 | No Comment | ]

We have some new technology items that can be checked out from the 2nd floor Technology Help Desk. We have 4 new 500GB Lacie Rugged Hard Drives and 3 new Nikon Cooolpix S6600 cameras. These items and much more can be checked out for 7 days.
nikons6600 lacie500gb

Digital Media Lab, Featured, OS X Mavericks, Research, Technology »

[24 Jan 2014 | No Comment | ]

With the new OS X Mavericks for Mac out already, they added some very cool new apps and programs. One of their revamped programs is called Time Machine.




Time Machine is where you can back up all the files on your Mac computer or Macbook.

First you want to open the program.


Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 12.06.50 PM


Then you will see the program open up.


Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 9.03.08 PM


From here you want to turn on Time Machine.


Then you want to click on “Use as Backup Disk”

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 8.44.04 AM


You will be taken to this screen, from here you want to click on Restore (bottom right of the page)

Now, you will sit back and watch Time Machine do all the work!

Digital Media Lab, Kids Tech, Technology »

[7 Dec 2013 | No Comment | ]

scratch catScratch 2.0

Scratch 2.0 is now available in the DML. Scratch was developed by MIT as a free application to learn to code and program. You can use it to create animations, games,  or interactive stories. Along the way you will also learn valuable skills that translate to more advanced programming languages like JavaScript, PHP, or Python. Scratch uses blocks that snap together to give users a visual representation of what would traditionally be written code. This makes the seemingly daunting task of learning programming much more approachable and fun. Download the Getting Started Guide here and watch the Introductory Video Tutorials here to start creating and learning to code.

Digital Media Lab, Technology »

[6 Dec 2013 | No Comment | ]

Windows just released it’s first major update to Windows 8. In the post I will go over some of the new features of Windows 8.1!

Updating to Windows 8.1 | Before updating be sure to back up your files. Even though the files will be transferred automatically, it’s a good idea to make sure they are backed up. Just in case. Once you’re ready to update go to the Start screen and click the ‘Store’ tile. In the Store click Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 RT update. Click download.


The New Features….

Better Organization and Customization | The Start screen has a few improvements. There are new sizes for the tiles so users are able to configure the start screen more similar to the Windows Phone 8. You’re also able to select and group specific tiles. Also, now you are able to view the apps by category, most used and by date installed as opposed to only alphabetically as before.

The Start Button | The Start button is back. However, it wont’t show you the Start menu as it did in previous versions but it will bring up the Start screen. Not a huge change but a convenient one for those who miss clicking the button in the bottom left corner.

SkyDrive Integration | Good news for SkyDrive users. Now you can save your files to SkyDrive by default and keep them in sync. It is also integrated with File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer). You’ll see a SkyDrive option in the left sidebar. This doesn’t automatically store all your SkyDrive files locally—instead, you can open any SkyDrive-stored file right from this section when you’re online, or right-click to save an offline version.

Tutorials | One of the biggest issues with Windows 8 was the completely redesigned interface with no explanation. Not anymore! When you log in for the first time, huge pop ups will explain the basic importatant features of Windows 8.1. Microsoft has also added a Helps & Tips app that teaches the user about the new features in a straight forward way.