Microsoft has announced (again) that its support for the Windows XP operating system will end in April of 2014. Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest and greatest, lends a very new look to your PC or laptop. It functions differently than previous versions of Windows, with a “start screen” appearing on start-up instead of your desktop. This screen displays tiles representing different applications and providing dynamic information instead of static icons, and that familiar start button is nowhere to be found. Also, a lot of Windows 8′s functionality is made for touch screens, with the ability to swipe across the display to see other applications or functions, to reveal hidden icons, etc.
If you are thinking about upgrading to Windows 8, or you already have Windows 8 and want to learn more about how it works, the library has some great options for learning the ins and outs of this new operating system.
If you learn best through an actual course, Universal Class has recently added a course on Windows 8. This learning tool is accessible through the library’s website, is free with your library card, and offers more than 500 online continuing education courses taught by real instructors with remote, 24/7 access. The Windows 8 course, which you’ll find under the computer training category, features an in-depth tour of the operating system and how-to instructions so you can learn to navigate the seemingly complicated interface, locate the files and folders you need and more.
Of course, we also have books!
The 2013 One Read book is “The Ruins of Us” by local author Keija Parssinen! Each year as part of this community-wide reading program, the public helps choose a single book that we then invite everyone to read. Pick up your copy today, and join us in September to explore the novel’s themes through discussions, art, film, presentations and more. Sign up to let the library know you are reading “The Ruins of Us,” and you will be entered into a drawing for a free autographed copy of the book.
To learn more about this gripping and well-crafted novel, visit www.oneread.org.
Hey, y’all! Spring has FINALLY arrived, and this is the perfect time of year for a Mid-Missouri day trip. Get out your light jacket and some good walking shoes and head to one of these outdoor destinations not far from our own backyard!
Foremost Dairy Center
Located just 6.5 miles west of Columbia off old Highway 40 is the University of Missouri’s research and teaching dairy farm. You can arrange for a tour of the facility, which includes plenty of hands-on fun. You might see a baby calf, and you just might get to help milk its mama! You’ll also get to learn how the milk goes from the cows to the bottle factory to your dinner table. Visiting a working dairy farm is a great adventure for young and old alike. To arrange a tour, visit their website.
Dairy Farm Lake No. 1
Located next to the Foremost Dairy Center is Dairy Farm Lake No. 1, owned and maintained by the University of Missouri. Take the family (or escape by yourself!) for a day of fishing, canoeing or bird watching. The lake is 15 acres and has boat access. Don’t forget to purchase a fishing license if you are going to fish. You can buy a permit online through the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website. The MDC also has a handy online tool for finding other public fishing areas in Missouri.
My daughter and I learned how to bike in the summer of 1984. She was 7 and I was 32, so I learned first, and then I spent another month pushing her bike and catching her (and her bike) when she lost her balance. My quick biking progress made me sure of my athletic abilities, and despite the fact that I didn’t do any biking between that summer and the time I moved to Columbia in the summer of 1991, I began my new American life by buying a used bike and riding along the MKT trail.
I did a lot of walking, too: for one thing, I never drove a car in my hometown Moscow, Russia, so passing a driver’s exam with very little driving practice – and my broken English – was extremely difficult. Well, it would have been difficult had I actually attempted to listen to my examiner. Instead, I somehow persuaded him that it was not my English that mattered, but my driving ability, so if he just showed me which way to turn, I would be fine. Amazingly, he did just that, and I passed my driver exam on the first try (little did he know that even today I have problems distinguishing right from left ).
In any case, between biking and walking I got myself in pretty good shape, and I even began passing some people on the trail. I did so well that when I began dating my American husband-to-be, the very first time we biked together, I quickly left him behind in the dust. Not for long, mind you, just for five minutes or so. Still, those five minutes impressed him so much that he quickly decided to marry me, and we soon found ourselves biking together along Katy Trail.
Welcome to the first installment of THE GENTLEMAN RECOMMENDS. This series is intended to get people (especially gentlemen) excited about the books/authors/eating-contests I’m excited about. I’m an ideal person to represent and recommend things to gentlemen and I’ll prove it: in the last hour alone I’ve: 1) removed my trousers and draped them over a puddle so that a particularly well-coiffed golden retriever could avoid soiling her paws, 2) not sneezed into anyone’s face and 3) responded with the gentlemanly phrase “No, thank you” when asked to please put some pants on. Credentials established.
I can think of no better inaugural recommendation than pizza, but, after that, I think George Saunders is pretty spiffy. Not only is he a Great Writer, but reading everything about the fellow I could find convinced me he’s one of this world’s premier gentlemen. Mr. Saunders’ short stories have been sending readers raving since 1996 with the publication of “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline,” but this year the adoration has skyrocketed, beginning in January with a lengthy profile published in some magazine claiming that Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year and culminating in May with a much briefer, if more prestigious, post from what may very well be the greatest blog in the world.
“The Time Machine“ by H. G. Wells is a classic example of speculative fiction and has led some sci-fi fans to call Wells the father of steampunk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this fast-growing science fiction sub-genre, it is, in short, Victorian alternative history. (Books in this genre also typically contain a lot of clockwork, goggles, airships and advanced technologies based on outdated power sources.) I’d say a scientist who builds a coal-powered bronze machine to fling himself from the 19th century to the year 802,701 A.D. is pretty alternative! This steampunk precursor is a great first step if you are thinking about exploring the genre; it’s short, but it reveals the potential of books written in this vein.
“The Time Machine“ centers around a genius on a quest for answers about the future of mankind. He is a man possessed by his desire to be a legend in his own time, to boldly go where no man has dared to go before, but he winds up experiencing much more than he bargained for.
H. G. Wells is a great plot writer. Every chapter holds something new to develop the characters further and to thrust the reader deeper into the tale of earth’s possible future. From the eerily calm story of the Eloi people to the lurking dangers of the unseen and hungry under-worlders, the Morlocks, Wells’ tale will keep you fascinated with the sickening possibilities of where humanity may be headed.
I highly recommend the album “This Delicate Thing We’ve Made” by Darren Hayes as background music for your journey. You may know Hayes from his pop career in the ’90s as front man for Savage Garden. In this album, Hayes explores the time machine as a concept to tell the story of his jaded past, using divine lyrics and super-sonic tones.