Life Hacks

The old saw is that technology is going to make our work easier, our tasks quicker, and our lives more productive. But oftentimes it feels like we are getting caught in a relentless crunch of innovation.  Between checking our email, our voice mail and text messages on our computers, laptops, PDAs and phones it’s easy to wonder if we are indeed becoming more productive.

Enter the life hack. A life hack is a tip or trick that cuts through the techno-clutter, simplifying the tasks that seem to be complicating your life. Often, these hacks are technological in nature such as a useful web appplication, but surprisingly, some have a anti-technological flavor to them, such as the hipster PDA (a deck of index cards held together with a binder clip).

Here are three great sources for interesting life hacks. 

Lifehacker: “Tech tricks, tips and downloads for getting things done”.

43Folders: The weblog of tips and tricks from the originator of the term “lifehack”. “Daily digest and pointers on productivity, getting things done and lifehacks.”

All three websites are now buzzing with talk of New Year’s resolutions.

43 Things

Get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions with 43 Things. 43 Things is a social networking site where you compile a list of goals that you would like to accomplish and share them with others.

Goals can range from the typical, such as lose 15 pounds or quit smoking, to more creative and esoteric goals such as teach myself to write backwards with my left hand to read all the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

Participants can read what others are trying to accomplish. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are trying to do. You can cheer others and get ideas from others who have been successful. Perhaps you will find a goal that hadn’t occurred to you.

Probably the best thing first of all would be to pay off my fines and re-join the library.

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal for aspiring writers is to write a 50,000 word novel (about 175 pages) starting no earlier than November 1 and finishing before November 31.

By signing up at the National Novel Writing Month website (also known as NaNoWriMo), you can create a profile and access the participant forums, where you can finds tips, hints and helpful encouragement. You can post excerpts of your novel for others to read. When you are ready, you can submit your novel for an official word count, which is “read” by a computer. If you succeed, you get a certificate and the satisfaction in having finished a novel.

According to NaNoWriMo, the key to success is to worry less about the quality and more about quantity. The brute force method must work, because every year more and more people finish as “winners”.

Learn more:

National Novel Writing Month FAQ

Wikipedia: National Novel Writing Month


With Overdrive, the Library’s new eMedia service, you can now download a variety of audiobooks, ebooks, and videos — then enjoy them from your home computer or upload them to your mp3 player, PDA, or smartphone.

Go to our eBR eMedia page to browse or search for eAudiobooks, e-books or videos then, after installing the Overdrive Media Console software,  check them out and download them.  It’s just like checking books out from the library, only better, because the items are “returned” automatically on their due date and you don’t get charged late fines.

Get started now with the Quick Start Guide.

See if your device is supported.

United States Patent and Trademark Office

United States Patent And Trademark Office

Are you an inventor?

Have a product or invention that needs a patent?

This website has all the information you need to officially register your patent or trademark legally. Information is available on patents, trademarks, copyrights, how to’s, strategic planning, currents news and much more. You can also keep up to date on all the upcoming changes proposed to patent laws. This website is an official of website of the federal government and is the best source for information on patents and trademarks.

Looking for help with patents and trademarks in the Baton Rouge area, visit LSU Libraries Patent & Trademark Resources website.

National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
July is National Hot Dog Month. Find out all the fascinating facts about hot dogs from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. For instance, “on Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs – enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. over five times.” That’s a lot of weenies!

Get tons of great hot dog recipes, and even download brochures on types of sausages. So get out there and celebrate National Hot Dog Month with the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council!

One Book – One Community

One Book One Community – Summer 2007
The summer 2007 title selection for One Book One Community is Breach of Faith by Jed Horne. Horne is a metro editor for the Times Picayune. Breach of Faith “traces the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the lives of numerous survivors and, by extension, on the lives of all of us who live in southeast Louisiana.”

The website has a schedule of events taking place at the library and around Baton Rouge, a printable discussion guide, suggestions on participation in discussion groups and an online sigh-up to receive email updates.

Asian Nation

Asian Nation
Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month by visiting Asian Nation. This site offers a good concise introduction to Asian culture. The site’s author is Dr. C.N. Le, Director of the Asian and Asian American Certificate Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Le discusses the history of Asian Americans and contemporary issues in Asian culture today. He refers to his site as “Asian Americans 101.” The site also has a sections for related links, a discussion forum, and message board.

Take time this month to learn about another ingredient in the culture gumbo that is Baton Rouge.

Looking at Jazz – National Website

Looking at Jazz – National Website

Jazz is America’s indigenous music — born in New Orleans, developed in American cities, and exported throughout the world.

This website, provides not only an outline for our six month series on jazz, but through film clips and narration, provides a great overview of jazz history and the influence of jazz on our American culture.