Staying Current

At a recent training that Mark and I did for the NHLA Paralibrarians section, we were ask a question about how to stay current on computer security topics. This can be quite a challenge, especially for busy librarians with a lot of other things to keep track of. The easy answer is that you do it the same way that you keep current on anything else. However, I thought it might be useful to share some of the specific ways that I keep on top of things. [Read More]

Native IPv6 with Comcast Business and pfSense 2.3

Our ISP, Comcast, has recently rolled out native IPv6 support in our area, so this week I decided to set up our library to be dual stack. The first thing that had to happen was getting a Comcast tech to change out our SMC modem for a Netgear modem. According to Comcast tech support, the SMC doesn’t support IPv6. Once the modem was switched out, I went in and turned off every feature I could in the modem. [Read More]

Passwords

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a US Government organization which does many thing including defining password standards for the government. The recently published new recommendations which overturn some previously widely recommended practices. You can read the original publication at https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63-3.html. Here is a breakdown of how to set a secure password policy according to NIST. Favor longer passwords NIST recommends a minimum password length of 8 characters. If you must have a maximum length, they recommend at least 64 characters. [Read More]

The Less Than Typical Subject for a Library Tech Class

Every Tuesday, except the last Tuesday of the month, I offer a tech class on various subjects. Not unusually, the major OS platforms, like Windows, Apple iOS and OSX and now macOS, Android, etc., form the natural basis for the subject matter, since it relates to what most people are using and are familiar with in their daily lives. I’ve even offered a class on home networking, but quickly realized during the class presentation that most people are not using their own routers, but are using Comcast Gateways which are hybrid modems and routers. [Read More]

NHLA Spring Conference 2017 – Debriefing Part 2 – Graphic Design

This insightful and very practical presentation was delivered by Laura Horwood-Benton of the Portsmouth Library. In her engaging presentation, she shared some tricks and simple methods for creating professional looking publicity materials, based on universally recognized design principles as well as her own practical experience that have garnered positive feedback from colleagues and patrons alike. She mentioned several key design components that include alignment, proximity, contrast, space, color, text, position, and repetition, all of which combine to create the architecture of a given production. [Read More]

KeePass

Recently, I was browsing https://haveibeenpwned.com/ and found that one of my old email addresses had been involved in a data breach. Looking into it more, it seemed that the company involved (adobe, go figure) had done a poor job of securing the passwords so there is a good chance that my password was compromised. Like everyone else on the planet, I used to use a couple of passwords for all of my accounts. [Read More]

NHLA Spring Conference 2017 – ITS Roundtable Discussion Notes

At this year’s 2017 NHLA Spring Conference I participated in an ITS Roundtable session which featured a number of interesting topics for discussion. The free-flow of roundtable discussions is often an ideal atmosphere for the willing exchange of ideas as well as the participation of those who might otherwise be less inclined to share. Topics for discussion included… when is the ideal time to offer tech classes if libraries video-record their classes, and if so, what recording tools do they use [Read More]

Dogfooding

Dogfooding or Eating your own dogfood is a concept in software development that says that companies should use their own software. This approach is meant to help developers experience what their customers will.The hope is that this will find bugs quicker and improve usability. It can reveal problems that only become obvious if you use something day to day. Libraries care about our patron experience. We want all our services to be easy to find and use. [Read More]

The Importance of HTTPS

People have been preaching about the importance of https for a long time now. However, it seems that many libraries and library vendors haven’t yet got the message. I decided to add my voice to the mix to argue for the importance of https from a public library perspective. We need to ensure that our websites, library catalogs, and ILS’s are all running on https, and we need encourage vendors to use https for all their services as well. [Read More]

VPN’s for privacy

With congress rolling back FCC privacy rules on ISPs, there has been a lot of interest in ways that you can protect yourself from snooping. One of the best, and easiest, ways to protect yourself is by using a reliable VPN. Right now, ISPs have access to everywhere you go on the web. If you are using https (and you should be), they can’t see which specific web page of a site you are on, but they can tell which sites you visit, in which order, and how long you spend on them. [Read More]