General Data Protection Regulation law - what?

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation law goes into effect May 25, 2018.  The definition from Wikipedia is "The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA.

This law has been seven years in the making and, in light of other recent news about data privacy infringement, seems to be very timely.  If companies and websites that you may use have a global presence (like Google), you are probably seeing an increase in "required" information bits about how that company or website is protecting your privacy and/or changes you should make to your account to increase the protection of your personal data.  

Here's a link to an article in The Guardian (UK) that I was reading in my last copy of American Libraries Direct.

And an article from The New York Times May 6, 2018 

Enjoy! Heidi O.

ID for Cables

Earlier this year while assembling the Virtual Reality kits, I came across a problem with them: Too many cables.  At first I had used a small label maker to identify the cable but found they could be torn off easily and didn't look very nice.  After a quick Amazon search I found some cable IDs and knew that it would be the perfect solution.  The set I purchased can be found here.

They are slim plastic tubes to put around the cable to ID them either by color, number, or text.  The identifiers come in different colors so you can easily see them and where they go.  They also come with the inserts so you can display inside what the cable is for.   One piece of the VR kit showing the cable IDs

These aren't just for VR kits though.  They can be used with PC cables, TVs, projectors, or gaming consoles.  How many times have you gone to unplug one of the 10 black cables you thought was the right one and it ended up being the fish tank or the whole network?  This is a cheap and simple solution to those minor situations.  (Plus the colors make the cables look pretty :) )

Word's Disappearing Ribbon Trick

Have you ever been using Word and wished for more vertical space? Or maybe, like what happened here and at one other library where all that was showing up in the Word window was the menu bar and the user was wondering: Where's the ribbon?

This post will help you answer these questions. In Word there is an option to hide the ribbon or unhide the ribbon by using Ctrl F1. This keyboard command works for both Word 2010 (if you have Windows 8) and Word 2013 (if you have Windows 10).

If you prefer using the mouse then the location of the clickable caret (looks like an upside down V) varies depending on which version of Word you have.

For Word 2010

In the upper right-hand corner of a Word window, directly to the left of the question mark inside a blue circle is the caret you click on to either hide the ribbon or show the ribbon. If it is hidden then the caret points down and if the ribbon is visible then the caret points up.

Word_Ribbon_04

 

For Word 2013

In the upper right-hand corner of a Word window, directly to the right of the word "Editing" is the caret you click on to hide the ribbon.

Word_Ribbon_01

If it is hidden to show it again you need to click on the icon directly to the right of the question mark in the upper right-hand corner.

Word_Ribbon_02

It will show you three options: Auto-hide Ribbon, Show Tabs and Show Tabs and Commands. In order to show the ribbon again you will need to click on the Show Tabs and Commands option.

Word_Ribbon_03

 

CAN Opportunities

I occasionally post about Community Area Networks (CANs) in this blog. If you are curious about what a CAN might do for your institution and your community there are two upcoming opportunities to learn more in Wisconsin.

The first is at the WiscNet Connections Conference in Madison next Monday and Tuesday (May 14 & 15). Advance registration is closed, but you may register at the event. CANs are a thread throughout the conference. 

The second is also sponsored by WiscNet and it is WiscNet's Community Conversation: CANs in Stevens Point on June 12. "Invite your stakeholders to learn the “What, Why, and How” of CANs; connect with others to glean ideas for the next steps to help your organization and community move forward with your own aspirations of connecting and sharing resources and applications for the common good."

 

 

Marker.to

Marker.to is a Chrome extension for highlighting text on a webpage.

Why would you use it?
I used it because I ran across a blog post that I wanted to share with a friend. We had just been talking about his work environment, team dynamics, and the importance of trust (and an interesting book I just started reading), and I wanted to call my friend's attention to specific sections of the post. I used the extension to highlight those bits, and the extension provided me a URL to the highlighted page.

Here's the original page: http://www.blockshelf.com/leaders-eat-last-simon-sinek/

and here's the URL to the highlighted webpage: http://marker.to/sjtUeg

Highlightedpage

The link to the highlighted page includes a little toolbar at the top that includes a link to the original page, sans highlighting.

Now, of course, the kicker with this is that the URL is a shortened URL and it isn't apparent where it's sending the user, so I also included a very-clearly-from-me sentence in my email about the article I was sending so he knew it wasn't malicious.

Pretty nifty!

Chrome blocking autoplay videos on PCs

ChromeiconYou've opened a web page and just started reading when suddenly you're spending the next few seconds trying to hunt down that annoying autoplay video that's blaring out of your speakers. Sounds familiar, right?  Annoying, right? As time has gone on, browsers have started coming up with ways to fight the problem but  most have required you to fiddle with settings or possibly install an add-on.

Starting with version 66, Chrome is going to be muting autoplay videos. There's a default list of over 1,000 popular sites that will be allowed to autoplay videos and Chrome will learn from your browsing behavior to know which sites to mute or unmute. Once you've "trained" Chrome, they say it will block about half of your unwanted auto-plays though it will still allow those videos that are muted when they autoplay to run. At least it'll save your ears.

Website maintenance best practice reminder: block old accounts

Colorful keys - a metaphor for website editing accountsYou wouldn't let a staff member keep a key to the library after they become a former staff member, would you? Of course not! Don't forget to take the same care with the library's website. When a staff member leaves the library (for any reason, good or bad), it's good practice to limit their access to edit library websites, such as:

  • Main public-facing website
  • Staff blog or wiki
  • Social media/other groups where the library has a presence (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Slack, etc.)

For example, if your library website runs on Drupal, there are options* to deal with a departing staff member's website editing account:

  • Change the password on the account so the departing staff member can't log in anymore.
  • Reassign the account to someone else with a new username & email.
  • Block the account so that it cannot be used to log in at all.
  • Delete the account so it is gone forever. On a Drupal site, this option will also prompt the question: should the content created with this account be deleted or reassigned to another staff member?

The specific options and steps for each platform may differ. The important thing is to remember to make sure the account housekeeping happens!

* Some of these options might only be available to a site administrator. (If your library's website is hosted by SCLS, this is something SCLS staff can help you manage—just let us know!)

More on HTTPS

Chrome-SecureDo you remember this TechBits post about http and https? If you have time, read it over again and be sure to watch the 3-minute CommonCraft video because you're going to be hearing a lot more about https in upcoming months.

What are the advantages of https?

  • Confidentiality - information is passed securely between websites and browsers
  • Authenticity - when you see that little lock, you know you're really talking to the website that belongs to that name
  • Integrity - that lock indicates that the content of the site hasn't been changed by a 3rd party on its way to your browser

Chrome and Firefox are the browsers at the forefront of the push to move all sites to https. They already warn you that a page is "not secure" if it is http and prompting you to put in a username and password.  Very soon (July 2018 for Chrome), they will be alerting users that ALL http pages are "not secure."

The winds of change are blowing
As websites move to https, a couple of things will happen:

  • Everyone with a website will be scrambling to configure their sites to be https
  • Very old browsers may not be able to use https sites

SCLS has a team of folks looking at what needs to happen to move SCLS websites and SCLS-hosted library websites to https, and we and will be sharing more information on the SCLS Technology News blog and in Top 5 emails as we have more details. If your library has a website that isn't hosted with SCLS, you may need to look into what steps to take to enable https for your website.

In the meantime, if you're looking for some more in-depth information, try these posts:

Using DuckDuckGo for Internet searching

Over the years, Google has become synonymous with Internet searching for many people, including myself. While Google is certainly convenient, I think it's a good idea to use alternative search engines as well. 

Years ago, I used DuckDuckGo and recently I was surprised to learn that it's still around. In addition to navigating directly to https://duckduckgo.com/ to execute your search, you can set it as a default search engine in your browser settings, or install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extension. You can also download the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser as an app on your phone or tablet.

Duckduckgo-privacyOne feature on the app that I like is the "privacy grade" that assigns a letter grade to each web site that you visit. You can click on the grade and get information about how well the web site protects your privacy.

Next time you have to do some Internet searching, try out DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google and see if it works for you!

 

Exploring Chrome Extensions Volume 5: Unshorten.link

Welcome back to another monthly installment of Exploring Chrome Extensions.

Shortened links are pretty popular and often used these days. They are great at reducing characters in incredibly long URLs making it easier for users to view and it looks less like spam. The problem with these shortened links is that they could potentially be sending you somewhere you don’t want to go.

This is where Unshorten.link comes into play. Unshorten.link is a Google Chrome extension that works whenever the user clicks a shortened link. The extension will take you to a buffer page where it will show the user the full URL that has been shortened and will let you know if the site is safe or not.  Keep in mind it is hard to say whether or not the extension saying if the site is safe is truly accurate though.

Check out the extension here