Melanie's blog

21st Century Travel

I guess I sort of remember what it was like to travel before the internet. I definitely remember having to buy a phone card for long road trips, and carrying around a sheet of paper with important names and numbers on it.  Once when I was about 19 I landed my mom, my sister and me in a weird industrial neighborhood in a rental car in Chicago. Folding paper maps have never been my jam.

I admit it -- I'm super happy to have a smart phone, and to be able to research destinations online. It's awesome. So as mon petit ami and I prepare for a spring adventure to Paris, I am reflecting on just how heavily I rely on the web for my travel plans. There’s some great stuff out there, for sure. I do a lot of research before I go anywhere. It helps me relax and alleviate anxieties I might have about going somewhere new. I thought it might be useful for me to divulge some of the travel planning tools I use.

Apps and eBooks for kids!

galaxy note ii

Did Santa bring the kids new tablets or eReaders for Christmas? Are you befuddled by the new look of the library’s eMedia page? Wondering what apps are right for your child?

Whether you want to download library eBooks to your iPad or find great apps to keep your children entertained, we can help get you started! Swing by the Children’s Pavilion the first two Sundays in January and learn how to make the most of your new devices.

On Sunday, January 6, we’ll show you how to find and download free children’s eBooks and audio eBooks from the Denver Public Library website. Check out the new look of our eMedia page, and learn how to install the required software to your computer or device (see schedule below).

Free Video Field Production with Denver Open Media!

Denver Open Media Logo

Do you enjoy taking iPhone footage of your cat chasing the laser pointer light around the living room? Perhaps you're a slightly more seasoned cinematographer looking to improve your understanding of lighting and audio. Either way, Denver Open Media's Video Field Production workshop is for you!

Join fellow video enthusiasts at the Central Library next Tuesday and learn the nitty gritty about cinematography, lighting and audio. This workshop focuses on the manual controls available through larger 3-chip DV cameras, such as the Sony PD170. Don't know what that is? Don't worry! Beginners are welcome too!

Working it Out

mapmyfitness

I like to work out because it's a great way to release stress, to get better sleep and to have more energy. Yada yada yada, right? We all know these things are true. But, like most people, I get into ruts when I don't exercise at all. It's soooooo hard to get back on track. But I've discovered a few fun online tools -- which are available for free -- that might help keep you motivated!

Currently I use MapMyFITNESS to track all the exercise I do, minus my bike commuting (more on that later). I'm not going to claim to understand the psychology of why logging every physical activity works, but it does. There's something extremely satisfying about having a record of what you've done to keep you motivated. MapMyFITNESS is far and away the most comprehensive free app I've used to record workouts.

What is KeyTrain and what's in it for me?

growdenveroed

Are you a job seeker? Have you wondered what KeyTrain is all about? Are you currently employed but looking for a new opportunity? Perhaps a KeyTrain session is just what you need!

If you're looking to increase your job skills and employability, KeyTrain sessions are a good place to start. KeyTrain is an online interactive learning tool used as a pretest and remedial tool to pass the WorkKeys CareerReady Colorado Certificate in Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. This certificate shows employers that you've got what it takes to get the job done!

Party Planning Online

evite

Now that my whole family is on the email bandwagon, planning parties, potlucks and holidays is super easy! Free online tools like Punchbowl and evite help hosts and hostesses keep track of who is attending and who is bringing what -- or whom! I encourage you to try one out, maybe for a big Memorial Day potluck!

If you have a big family or lots of friends, you've probably experienced the agony of planning a potluck. Was Jenny bringing pecan pie? Or did she say coleslaw? I've been bombarded with emails to the effect of, "What can I bring? I was thinking ham." But Dad already agreed to bring ham, so then it's a phone call, text messages or emails to Dad and Jenny, and some Advil.

Google Better!

Google

Google is a very powerful tool, particularly if you know how to use it correctly.  Try a few of the simple tips shared here, and you'll be on your way to Googling better!

All locations of the Denver Public Library will be closed on Monday, March 26, in observance of Cesar Chavez Day. Wait. Cesar who? Let's use Cesar Chavez to practice some advanced Google search techniques.

Organizing Your Virtual World

Most of us have favorite bloggers, trusted news websites, an email account and a few social networks we follow, too. Maybe the sites are bookmarked for quick access or addresses pop up in the browser history upon beginning to type. In some cases complete web addresses have been memorized! Stop the insanity!

I don't know about you, but my mornings used to be all about a cup o' joe and time set aside for perusing the newspaper. It's been a long time since I've had actual ink and paper delivered to my doorstep, but I fondly remember opening up a newspaper and leisurely trolling for scandalous headlines, often skimming the heady news articles and jumping straight to the crossword puzzle and comics. This familiarity is comforting, to be sure. The beauty of newspapers is the way they're organized; we know what to expect when we open one up. Breaking news appears on the front page.

Download FREE Denver Public Library Books to your Nook, Kindle, mp3 player... and more!

eBook Reader

If you got a fancy new Nook or Kindle for Christmas but aren't sure how to make it work with Denver Public Library's downloadable books, fret not! The Community Technology Center is providing FREE instruction to show you how it's done.

Come to one of our eMedia classes at the Central Library, or attend a Tech Petting Zoo at your neighborhood branch library to learn how to find, check out, download and transfer books to your reader.

If you have an eReader and/or laptop, please bring them to class. If you are curious about purchasing an eReader, devices will be available to try out!

Upcoming Tech Petting Zoos:

Schlessman Family Branch Library: Thursday, 1/12, 10 - 11 a.m.

Online Holiday Fun!

NPR

The holiday season is upon us! Looking for fun, free and festive online entertainment? Look no further!

There are lots of fun things to do online during the holidays, from listening to an old favorite like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to finding a new recipe - Romanian Zucchini Potato Latkes, perhaps? Here are a few sites to get you started!

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