Monthly Archives: August 2012

It’s County Fair Time!

Congratulations to over 100 participants in this summer’s Teen Reading Program at the library earned a free ticket to the fair for completing a 750 page reading log. The Shenandoah County Fair, celebrating its 95th year, is one of the largest agricultural fairs  in Virginia. In addition to the great food, music and entertainment, there animal and crop exhibits, baked and canned goods exhibits as well as lots of photography and crafts exhibits.

Visit the library to find a wide variety of books related to all the activities you enjoy at the fair.  Check out the Book Barn, located in the reference area of the library. Built by Central High School FFA students and donated by the Farm Bureau, the “barn” features a variety of books on raising animals, homesteading and hobby farming.

Whether planning for next year’s blue ribbon entry,  learning a new craft or contemplating adding some animals to your homestead, visit the library for fun and informative books for the entire family.

Route 11 Yard Crawl Nets Record Sum for Library!

For the third year in a row there has been a huge outpouring of support from the Route 11 Yard Crawl buyers at the library’s booth in downtown Edinburg.  Donna Smith, our volunteer extraordinaire who spearheads this event for the library, spent many hours throughout the year collecting goods for the “crawl” that happens the second weekend of August in Shenandoah County.  In 2010 the sale earned $1033.  Last year it more than doubled that amount to $2130. And this year proceeds from the three days of selling were an astounding $2,938!  Nearly all was sold, INCLUDING the kitchen sink!  Donna had the help of her regular volunteers—Marlene Spindler, Sue Horne, Mo Eisen, Bobbie Sainz, Kaitlin Mantz , teens, and library staff—as well as son Andrew and husband Bill.  In fact, Bill joked that for those four days of moving, unpacking, and repacking he would be known as “Mr. Donna Smith”.  Bill and Andrew set up tables and canopies, ferried boxes from library to gazebo to yard, covered everything with plastic during the rains, uncovered and boxed the leftovers, and counted the proceeds.  After the final tally was done, Donna arrived at the library to hand over the hard-earned money to Cathy Stuter.

A decision was made last year to earmark the proceeds to fund programs for TAG, the Teen Advisory Group founded by Adult Services Librarian, David Robinson.  It was natural, then, that Robinson was able—with the promise of pizza—to entice some of the members to help move items from the Stone House basement to the lawn of Library Trustee member, Bobbie Sainz.  Pictured at left below is Donna getting assistance carrying items up from the basement and at right are Ben, David, and Tim Edelman, Damion Gilmore, and Hunter Bowers loading the truck.  Hooray for Donna, volunteers, and teens for a job well done!  Please clear your calendars for next August and watch for Donna’s pleas for help.  It’s a big fundraiser that could use many more hands to make light work.

Developing a Password Strategy

One large caveat of the Internet is that many websites require an account in order to utilize their functionality.  It seems as if a month cannot go by without hearing a website report that their users’ accounts have been compromised.  Couple this information together and you’ll start to feel paranoid.

I hate to break it to you, but you should be tad paranoid. You should also have a password strategy to protect yourself and your information.

One of the first things you should do is classify the websites where you have accounts. These classifications can be broken down to Critical, Important and Non-Critical. In the critical category, you would find things like your bank accounts; Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites; and your e-mail.

If a website is tied to your finances or would allow someone to impersonate you, it is Critical. Important category items would lean toward web services that you use like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, etc.  These are types of sites that have a higher level of importance that you also use frequently. At the Non-Critical level you’ll find websites that you go to infrequently.  Once you have an idea of what websites fit into which category, you’ll need to come up with some Strong passwords.

Strong passwords are not able to be easily broken or guessed.  They’re not words that you would find in a dictionary or encyclopedia.  A strong password is made up of 8 or more characters consisting of uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers.  The larger the number of characters, the better the security.

Try a website like Password Strength Checker to get an idea of what makes a password Strong.  Once you have an understanding of what makes a password strong, you can come up with a strategy for coming up with the combinations.  The easiest is the use of a pass-phrase.

The end result looks complex but will be easy to remember after typing it several times.

By using the first letter of each word in a sentence, the characters are randomized sufficiently but still can be retained in your memory.  Add a number sequence and a symbol or two and the password will be strong.  Having this sentence written down would be confusing as well since the password has nothing to do with the city where you were born.

After that, try following these tips:

Critical Websites –  These sites should receive their own unique password.  The passwords chosen should be at the strongest level that you can still remember in a pinch.  About every year, change the passwords so that each site has a new unique and strong password.

Important Websites – These sites can receive a password that you may share with other important sites.  The passwords chosen should still be strong, but because you may use these sites frequently, you might want to have a password that you can recall quickly.  Once you have it memorized, start rotating in other passwords until you have about five rotating passwords at the same time.  Just be sure to change up the passwords as well as dropping old passwords for newer ones.

Non-critical Websites – These sites can receive a password that is usually shared with lots of other non-critical sites.  The passwords chosen does not need to be necessarily strong, but should be easy to remember and at least have a letter/number combination.

By having a strong password and a strategy behind their use, you will help protect your information and online identity from being an easy target.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Tracking

If you are traveling or cruising through the Caribbean or Gulf Coast during hurricane season, you might want to check out the National Hurricane Center’s website to see if there might be a storm on the horizon.

National Hurricane Center is part of the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  They track Tropical Storms and Hurricanes as well as monitor potential storms.  You can check storm or hurricane’s projected paths, see potential upcoming storm probabilities, and check various radar and atmospheric imaging and other tools.

Using these tools, you can see how far a storm can travel in a day and what areas will be affected.  There’s even the capability to see what storm systems could be forming on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.  Those systems might be weeks away from the Caribbean.  If you’re going on a cruise, this will give you a heads up to check with your cruiseline’s website for more detailed information.  It will allow you to be better prepared if your ship has to take a detour or skip a scheduled port.  For a land-based vacation, you might want to have a contingency plan in mind.

What Font Is That?

Ever been in a situation where you need to identify what font was used for a document or design?  You can use the Identifont (http://www.identifont.com) website to find the answer.

Using a step by step visual quiz about different letters, numbers, and symbols, Identifont can eventually figure out what font was used by comparing answers to their database.  You can also search by keyword, name, similarity, and even designer if you know more about the typeface.  Once finished with your search, you’ll be presented with a sample sheet of the font, information on the design and company as well as to obtain or use the font.