March 7, 2014
by SJCPL Techs

Tech Tip # 13 – How to Optimize Your PC?

If you would like to ask a question, submit a tip or suggestion please follow this link by clicking the Suggestion Box and provide a name and email address.

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How to Optimize Your PC?

Here are a few suggestions that only takes a few minutes, but should make a significant difference in your computer performs:

  1. Clearing your cookies and other temporary web data every so often will really increase how fast your internet browser responds.
  2. Running security scans is something you should set up to happen automatically each week. If malware has infected your computer, you can bet that it will take a very large portion of your computer’s resources for its own malevolent purposes. Checking for malware once a week will definitely help to keep your computer running at tip-top shape. Using Spybot-Search & Destroy  a free antispyware utility will take care of Spyware and Malware, on your pc.
  3. Along with keeping your antivirus software up to date, keeping your operating system supplied with the latest updates will do a world of difference. Many people out there hit the “remind me later” button when their computer asks to install updates. Check for new updates a few times a month, because many of these updates will help to close security holes, and will also optimize certain aspects of your operating system.
  4. One of the biggest boosts to your machine’s performance would be to limit the items that start when your computer boots up. Run the programs you need to use when you need them. If you have 10+ programs running automatically when your computer starts, it will take forever to boot and it will be slow the entire time its in use. Even if you’re not using these programs, they will run in the background and use up valuable ram, which still uses

Here are your 4 Quick and Dirty Tips for speeding up your computer:

  1. Delete cookies and temporary files from your internet browser frequently
  2. Run your antivirus at least once a week to make sure no malware snuck into your system
  3. Keep your antivirus and operating system up to date
  4. Limit the amount of programs that run automatically when you start your computer

Suggested by: Elijah.

Liabilities and Disclaimer

The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog are those of their respective contributors only. The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent the views of SJCPL, its management, or employees. SJCPL and the writers of this blog are not responsible for, and disclaim any and all liability for the content of comments written by contributors to the blog.

February 21, 2014
by Rada

Live Music @ Main Presents: Kennedy’s Kitchen

If you have a cabin fever and tired of sitting at home, then come to the library tomorrow, Saturday, February 22 at 3:00 p.m. for a live performance by well known and loved by all, local Irish Band – Kennedy’s Kitchen!

Kennedy’s Kitchen is part of a monthly Live Music @ Main music series, that features local musicians and singer song writers.  This event is free and starts at 3:00 p.m.


Kennedy’s Kitchen has been making music together since 1998, playing everywhere from backyard birthday parties to concert halls as far as New York and Florida, releasing four CDs along the way.

Rooted in traditional Irish music – jigs, reels, hornpipes – it’s all about having a good laugh… or a good cry.

Please join us, you will definitely enjoy it.




Check out some of their albums:

shanlwjk_disc kennedyjohn_disc kennedyskitchen_disc kennedyskitchen3_disc kennedyskitchen2_disc kennedyskitchen5_disc

February 13, 2014
by hank
1 Comment

The Blizzard of 78 (Part 2)

hankshowlsfinalNearly everything was closed –  factories, stores, restaurants and of course schools.  South Bend Community Schools were closed for two and a half weeks. Grocery stores were open if they could get some staff there.  Biggest sellers were bread, milk, diapers, beer and cigarettes.  The lungs of smokers in rural areas had nothing to do as they couldn’t reach any source of cigarettes.

A friend told me that after several days he walked down to a nearby Martin’s to see if it was open.  It was, but they were out of nearly everything.  As he left the store the first bread truck since the storm pulled up.  A crowd quickly gathered and started thrusting hands full of of cash toward the driver who kept explaining that he couldn’t sell them bread from the truck.  He would take the bread in the store, and they could buy it there.  This prompted a bidding war in which people were willing to pay well over the list price of the bread, if he would just sell it to them on the spot.  My friend left at that point so I never learned how it turned out, but it was a real life lesson in supply and demand.

All our shut-in days were about the same.  Get up, eat breakfast, shovel snow, see if anything good is on TV, turn off the TV, call friends, see  if anything good is on TV,  turn off the TV, read, shovel snow, read, eat lunch, shovel snow, see if anything good is on TV, turn off the TV, talk on the phone, shovel snow, eat dinner, pray that there is a basketball game on TV for me that night or a sappy movie for Bonnie. If prayers are answered watch TV, if not, shovel snow, read, go to bed.  Next the day same.  Third day – do it again.  Fourth day – repeat. Fifth day – more of the same.  Sixth day – no change.  Seventh day – cabin fever sets in and there is no end in sight.

At one point we were completely out of crackers.  I had no choice but to mush to the nearest grocery store, a mile away, and hope that it was open. I checked with our next door neighbors but all they needed was cigarettes, and I refused to get those.  Just as I was going out the door, Bonnie insisted on giving me her own list – vegetables, food staples and other unimportant items.  I told her that with the deep snow and my hands full of cracker boxes I didn’t think I could carry her supplies, but she would not be swayed.

As soon as I got to US 31, a car stopped to give me a ride.  I wasn’t expecting that because there were so few drivers on the road.  Thank God, the store still had some crackers left.

When I headed home with three bags of groceries, another car quickly pulled over.  These were my first two lessons on how everybody helped everybody else during the snow emergency. I even helped someone once – briefly.

Our street didn’t get plowed out for one week.  No traffic of any kind traveled or moved in our neighborhood during that period.  Finally, the plow appeared.  It couldn’t function in its normal fashion because of the amount of snow.  What it did was to back up  about 100 feet in the area already plowed,  then take off as fast as it could and rammed into the snow pile. The plow kept going it forward until its momentum stopped.  Then it backed up for the next charge.  It was a slow process, but little by little, a single lane was opened on our street.

Eventually all roads were open.  The caveat was that the width of streets were effectively cut in half because there were massive walls of snow on each side. Roads that normally carried two way way traffic now had only one lane. This made for some interesting situations when cars going in opposite directions encountered each other.

The loss of traffic lanes created driving gridlock as people went back to work, and finding a place to park was almost impossible.  Parking spaces on the sides of streets were inaccessible and parking lots were mostly filled with mountains of snow dumped there by front end loaders.  Where to put the immense quantity of snow became a major problem.

In those days there was an area behind the old Granada Theater and near the river which was commonly called “the hole.”  It was a good place to finding a parking space in normal conditions. “The hole” became the repository for much of the snow that fell in the downtown area.  As the mountains of excess snow grew, a local radio station started a contest.  Listeners guessed the day that the last of the snow dumped in “the hole” melted.  The winning guess was well into into April.

The blizzard of 78 was an extraordinary experience for everyone who lived through it.  It was, to put it mildly, an inconvenience, but the way everyone helped each other was inspiring.  Perhaps the greatest lesson was that no matter how advanced we humans become, Mother Nature is still in charge, and she always will be.


Get get enough snow and ice?  Here are some books on polar exploration:

Race to the Pole by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

Fatal Journey by Peter C. Mancall

Journeys of the Great Explorers by Rosemary Burton et al

Polar Wives by Kari Herbert

Charting the Sea of Darkness by Donald S. Johnson

The Last Explorer by Hubert Wilkins

The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester

Explorers by The Royal Geographic Society



February 10, 2014
by hank

Hank Howls For The Blizzard Of 78 (Part 1)

hankshowlsfinalYou know how dramatic the weather forecasters are these days.  ”If the temperature falls below freezing, the wind shifts six degrees and picks up considerably, we could be in for heavy snow.  Stay tuned to this channel for ongoing weather alerts that may save your life.”  Back in the day, it wasn’t like that, partly because the weather forecasting equipment wasn’t as good, but mostly because television executives had not invented the strategy of keeping people tuned in by warning that a life threatening weather event was imminent. Thus, the blizzard of 1978 took most people by surprise.

As I returned home from teaching school on January 24, I observed my neighbor diligently shoveling a half-inch of flakes off his driveway.  Had he known what was coming, he wouldn’t have bothered. A massive blizzard was on its way. Had Bonnie and I watched the eleven p.m. news, we would have learned of the impending storm, but like much of Michiana, we went to bed without a clue.

What we didn’t know was that “a relatively rare merger of two distinct upper level waves” was going to cause “an explosive intensification of a surface low-pressure system moving north from the Gulf Coast.”  Along with heavy snow there would be “winds gusting from 50 to 70 mph, causing snowdrifts of up to 25 feet.”

What was never explained to my satisfaction was why these two upper level waves couldn’t just go about their business, whatever their business was, instead of insisting on merging.  And If you are a low pressure system and your name is Gulf Coast, why don’t you stay down south where you belong?

The phone rang about 6:00 Thursday morning.  It was a worker from the daycare in Elkhart that Bonnie managed.  She advised Bonnie to stay home and pleaded with her to close the daycare because of the heavy snow that was falling.  Bonnie looked out the window and noted that we had received a good six inches and snow was still falling, but it wasn’t anything different than many winter days.  Her daycare opener told her that the storm was moving in from the East and would soon reach South Bend.  In addition, she said,  all schools and most businesses in Elkhart were closed, plus police were ticketing people who ventured out on the roads.

This all seemed like a bit of overreaction on the part of Elkhart, but Bonnie had no reason to disbelieve her colleague.  When Bonnie called the home office in Chicago, they would not give permission to close the daycare center.  By this time the storm had reached South Bend, and it was obvious that it was more than just heavy snow.  Eventually, the Chicago office acquiesced, allowing Bonnie to relax.  All  area schools had long before shut down.

The wind blew violently throughout the day, and snow just kept on coming.  We could see very little out the windows because the wind had plastered snow all over the glass.  In the afternoon, I went outside to check the depth of the snow.  It was halfway between my knees and my hips.

The next morning the sun shone on a polar landscape.  The gusty wind had caused the snow to be distributed unevenly.  In some places there were patches of grass showing while in other places the wind had built drifts up to the roof.  Bonnie and I quickly started phoning our friends to inform them that our yard contained the biggest snowdrift in Michiana.  We impressed no one, as each of our friends asserted that our snow drift could not possibly be as high as theirs.

We would have told them to drive over and see for themselves except for the fact that no one was driving anywhere, not even four-wheel drive trucks.  Even snowmobiles had limited use.  Helicopters were the only sure way to go anywhere. That’s not true. You could walk, but it was a tough slog.

I didn’t know it then, but schools were going to be closed for two and a half weeks.  Another thing I didn’t know was the meaning of the term “cabin fever.”  I was going to learn.  All of Michiana was going to learn.

Books about  natural disasters:

Isaac’s Storm: The Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 by John M. Barry

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

The Worst Hard Time: The Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan

The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death by John Kelly

A Crack in the Edge of the World: The Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester

Pompeii: A Novel by Robert Harris

The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina by Douglas Brinkley

Tsunami: Hope Heroes and Incredible Stories of Survival edited by Joe Funk

February 3, 2014
by SJCPL Techs

Tech Tip # 12 – Why is My Mac Slowing down ?

If you would like to ask a question, submit a tip or suggestion please follow this link by clicking the Suggestion Box and provide a name and email address.

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It doesn’t happen very often, not with our work machines at least, but when it does occur it can be frustrating watching the rainbow wheel spin away. It becomes harder to open simple applications, browse the web, play some tunes, do the things we enjoy doing.

Why is My Mac Slowing Down?

Over time, your Mac starts collecting junk files (PC’s too). Computers are odd that way, little digital hoarders, you can never really know when it begins to be to much, and know what’s taking up space or under which beds all those files are hidden.

Here are a few easy fixes for your Mac.

Upgrade OS X

Upgrading your OS X to the latest version is always a good idea, some people think of it as simply adding more junk to your Mac. You can think of it as booster shot for your Mac, it’s simply new software to help your Mac run smoothly.

Manage Startupscreen_2

Starting up clean is always a good idea. Imagine you running a race with a hundred pound weight belt strapped to your body, you will get moving but its going to take a minute to build some momentum, right?  Lighten your Macs load on start up by removing unnecessary apps. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups, and then click on your username. Now click Login Items and uncheck the boxes of each program you don’t need immediately on start up.

Activity Monitor


The easiest way to take back control of your slowing Mac is to check your Activity Monitor. Quitting a single app could make a huge difference in speeding up your Mac. Open up Applications folder and then your Utilities folder. Here you’ll find the Activity Monitor, open it. Check out the list of apps and processes that are going on inside your Mac. You want to find out what’s causing your Mac trouble. Click on the %CPU filter at the top of the list. This sorts the programs by the amount of space they’re taking up on your Mac RAM. The higher the number, the more RAM its using up. Remove, by clicking on the app from the list and then clicking Quit Process, located at the top-left corner of the window. Don’t remove anything you don’t know, or, if you do, make sure to look up what it is that you’re removing before doing so.

Hard Drive Cleanup

The most well-rounded option for Mac users is to clean out your hard drive. The problem with that is knowing what files to delete and how to completely remove them from your Mac. One of the best ways to do this? is with a clean up software for Mac’s, there are quite a few out there. Clean up software takes the guesswork out of cleaning. They can give your Mac a complete scrub down by removing apps, data, and other unnecessary junk.  CleanMyMac 2, Magican, AppCleaner and MacCleanse,  are some of the options out there, some are free and others not so much, they all function in similar ways, and seem to get the job done.

Suggested by: Elijah, the Library Technician for Main Reference.

Liabilities and Disclaimer
The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog are those of their respective contributors only. The comments and suggestions expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent the views of SJCPL, its management, or employees. SJCPL and the writers of this blog are not responsible for, and disclaim any and all liability for the content of comments written by contributors to the blog.