Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Are you having a problem with your Ipod that the instruction manual does not explain how to remedy? Have you lost or just don't want to bother with searching for the manual for your TV? Can't figure out the complicated technical jargon in the manual for your new digital camera?

Fortunately, in our world of ever-increasing gadgets & ever-increasing gadget-created frustration, there is a great one stop source for solutions to many of the technological confusions we face. FixYa is a website that provides free tips on how to repair or troubleshoot hundreds of common problems for devices such as cellphones, MP3 players, printers, refrigerators, video games consoles, turntables (hey, they are making a comeback), & even wine coolers.

FixYa was, according to its website, "founded by an entrepreneur who decided to take advantage of the fact that consumer products manufacturers are not providing adequate support through their web sites. Although these products become more and more technologically advanced, their manufacturers are not allocating the necessary resources that are required in order to provide good technical support." The great hook of FixYa is that its basis is on real consumer's experiences with technological problems & solutions, & not based on the often confusing or incomplete manuals provided by a product's manufacturer.

FixYa has a relatively straight-forward means of searching. The homepage quick-lists links to dozens of major manufacturers. By clicking a manufacturer name, the page will reset to list the categories of products produced by that company. Great, too, is that the site has pictures of the products, so you won't need to know a product number to access the information about it.

The other means of searching is a simple search box much like a Google or Yahoo search box. In this search box, you can enter either a product name & number if you have the "find a product" selection clicked. Or, if you've clicked the "find a solution" button, you can enter, for example, "playstation 2 blank screen" or "heating coil dishwasher whirlpool" to get to series of possible answers to the problem.

So, keep FixYa in mind the next time you have trouble with one of your gadgets. Unless, of course, the gadget you're having difficulty with is your computer. In that case, you might have to dig out that user's manual after all.

Patrick Layne: playne@bpl.lib.me.us

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 5th Video Game Tournament @ the Library a Big Success!

April 5th Video Game Tournament

The video game tournament on April 5th proved to be a great success. Around 50 teens competed in either the Dance Dance Revolution or the Guitar Hero III tournament in what turned out to be an all-around fun day. In addition to the competitors, dozens more friends & family members saw the rather mind-boggling skills displayed by the players in each game. The championship rounds for each game had the crowd cheering as loudly as the fans do at Fenway Park -- I'm not exaggerating. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating -- a little.

I was personally impressed by the skills of all the players in these games. Much of my amazement stems from just how inept I was a playing each of these games. I still think of myself as somewhat active & coordinated (even at the "ancient" age of "in my mid-thirties"), but next to the teens' abilities at these games, my ability at each game was the equivalent of trying to start a fire with two wet stones, while the teens had blazing bonfires going. I'm not totally sold on all video games being of value, but I really believe that being good at Dance Dance Revolution & Guitar Hero III (and many other video games) does speak volumes towards a person's organizational skills, coordination, and concentration levels.

The success of the tournament encourages the library & me to plan more such events for the fall. I would like to host a tournament for Madden NFL. Madden NFL is, after all, arguably the most successful gaming franchise of all-time. A Madden tournament would probably take place of the course of several days, given the length of individual Madden games. Of minor note, I am also terrible at this game. The last time I played I threw 4 interceptions with Tom Brady as my quarterback.

Another idea we're working on is getting adults, especially senior citizens, involved in gaming. I've read about the success of games like Wii bowling (you can too at http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1127/p01s05-ussc.html) in engaging older generations in what often is viewed as a younger generation pastime. The idea of getting seniors into libraries for a gaming night strikes us as something we'd love to be a part of.

The slate is truly open for the future of gaming at Bangor Public Library. We would like to hear your thoughts on gaming at the library & any suggestions you might have for a future gaming tournament.

You may send any ideas or comments by responding to this blog post. Or, you can directly email me (Patrick Layne) at playne@bpl.lib.me.us or give me a call at 947-8336 x127.

Pictured below: Dance Dance Revolution competitor Alex in action on April 5th.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Look What's New on the Web Page

The Bangor Public Library web site has gotten a new look so when you have a chance check it out http://www.bpl.lib.me.us We haven't changed the content so you'll still be able to find things where they were. However, Jan has created a really fabulous banner and new buttons. She also put the IM Reference widget on the home page and we've already started getting more questions. So if you are in hurry and need to get in touch with us send an instant message right from our home page. Also check out the teen page its completely new and looks very nice in purple.
Jim Riordan jriordan@bpl.lib.me.us

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401