Hey, can you stop what you're doing and proofread this for me?

GrammarlyAbout two months ago or so an ad popped up while I was watching a YouTube video about Grammarly. The ad indicated it can check your spelling and grammar for free! I feel like I’m always asking someone (way smarter than me)to check my work for mistakes, and when I saw this ad I thought I would give it a try to see how well it worked. This article is going to be all me and Grammarly, so be kind in the comments if you find any mistakes, please.


You can download Grammarly from there website for free. They have a version for Microsoft Office and for web browsers. I downloaded both options just to try out. If you happen to write a lot more than I do and would like a more robust version, they do offer a subscription version.


I wrote this in Word with Grammarly turned off until this point. I intentionally misspelled a couple words, which I fixed that both Microsoft Office Spell Checker and Grammarly caught. I also left out a comma (not intentional) between mistakes and please at the end of the first paragraph that Grammarly said should be there.


I’m also getting an alert from Grammarly that it see’s five more mistakes that the Premium version will fix. Not today it won’t! Those are for you to find!

Printing in Landscape Mode

    It's not often that I need to print a webpage in landscape mode. I found the other day that I needed to however because the site had a lot of information that became squished and hard to read in standard portrait mode.  I wasn't sure if users knew this was possible within web pages and not just reserved for Microsoft Office Documents.  Each browser is capable of this and the steps slightly vary between them.

Google Chrome:   Printing in Chrome

    At the print preview screen:  

        Select the drop down box next to Layout and select Landscape.

FireFox:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select Landscape within the top menu bar.

Internet Explorer:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select the icon with the sideways paper for Landscape.

Microsoft Edge:   

    At the print preview screen:

        Select the drop down box next to Orientation and select Landscape.

Gone in a Flash

Adobe_Flash_Player_v10_icon

This week, Adobe announced it plans to stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020. While this will come as a bit of a relief to some due to the seemingly never ending circle of vulnerabilities, warnings that your Flash player was out of date and updates, it does mean that any site that relies on Flash will need to transition to a different format such as HTML5, WebGL or WebAssembly.  (Flash updates are one of the reason we love Ninite.)


A number of browsers have already switched to asking to run Flash by default and, as it gets closer to the deadline, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge and Firefox will start disabling Flash by default. It will still be possible to enable it for a website until Adobe ceases support in 2020. Facebook has also said that they will shut off Flash games by the end of 2020.


So if your website still relies on Flash, you’ll need to start looking at the alternatives.  (And if there's a game you haven't finished yet that may not get updated, you might want to finish it too.)

Non-secure HTTP

In recent months, you may have noticed browser icons and messages like these...

Notsecure--mypc

What's going on?

Earlier this year, certain browsers began to warn users when they visit a login page that doesn't use https. Https is a secure version of the http protocol used to pass information between websites and browsers and is commonly used by websites passing usernames/passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive information.

There is a big push to implement https on all websites to help keep users' browsing and personal data secure. Not all websites currently use https, and it will take time to convert them. You may have already noticed some websites managed by SCLS have not yet made the jump, but some like LINKcat and the ecommerce payment website DO provide secure connections. In upcoming months, we will be working on converting more of the SCLS-managed sites.

In the meantime, remember: never (NEVER!) enter your credit card, social security number, bank information, or other super-sensitive information on a website that is NOT https.  ALL banking, tax, financial, and retail sites should provide https for security.

Want to know a little more about https and secure websites? Take a look at this short but informative 3-minute CommonCraft video!

Additional reading
A short tutorial on your browser's security features: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafety/your-browsers-security-features/1/
Mozilla's and Google's blog posts about https:

Disable Sound in Browser Tabs


Browser tab sound
How many times has this happened to you? You’re sitting in front of your computer, starring at the internet with several tabs open on your browser and all of a sudden out of nowhere a really loud ad or video starts playing. If you’re lucky you know which tab is playing the offending ad and can close it. If you don’t know which tab it is, instead of hunting it down or reaching to turn down your speakers you can simply scan your open tabs for a speaker icon and click the icon to mute the ad or video in that tab. The speaker icon should only appear on the tabs that are currently playing some sort of audio. This works by default in Firefox. If you’re using Chrome, follow these instructions to turn this feature on.


    chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

  • Copy the line above into Chromes address bar and hit enter or select paste and go. Either way works.
  • Click enable below the “Tab audio muting UI control" flag.
  • Click the blue “Relaunch Now” button at the bottom of your screen to restart Chrome and that’s it, you can now disable sound on a tab by clicking the speaker icon.


Sadly, if you’re using IE you will have to hunt down that tab or turn down your speakers since it doesn’t have this awesome feature.

Browser tab no sound

 

Zoom In! How to Increase Text Size in your Browser

I am re-posting this Wicked Cool blog from 2008 because I find that, as I age, I need assistance with reading the "fine print".  You can test the instructions while reading the post.  Happy New Year. Heidi O.

Tired of squinting at websites with too-small text?  Use one of these easy techniques to make the text BIGGER, smaller or re-set the page to "normal size".  Works on most websites:

Ctrl and Mouse Scroll-Wheel

If you have a scroll-wheel mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and spin the mouse-wheel.

  • Works in both Firefox and Chrome.
  • Also works in Adobe Reader and the Adobe Reader browser plug-in.
  • Different browsers may vary in which direction you have to scroll for larger or smaller text.

Ctrl and +, Ctrl and -, Ctrl and 0

Hold down the Ctrl key and hit the + key at the same time.  More than once makes it bigger.  Use Ctrl and - for smaller text, or Ctrl and 0 to return to normal size.

  • Works in Firefox and Chrome.

 

If you don't want to use these options, there are per browser settings you can modify.

  • In the Firefox toolbar, select View then Zoom to see and set your options.
  • In Chrome, go to the upper right corner and click on the "hamburger" or the "three dots". The Zoom option is in this menu and you can set the percentage or choose Full Screen from here.

 

Restarting Firefox Trick

When Firefox starts running kind of sluggish, simply restarting it might help.  What if you have a several tabs open?  I stumbled upon this trick from AskVG that is pretty helpful as long as you Foxmart-300pxdon't have private browsing enabled.

  1. Press SHIFT+F2 and the developers toolbar will open at the bottom of the window 
  2. In the toolbar, type restart
  3. Press Enter
  4. Firefox will restart with all your tabs open

Guest Post: Open all in tabs

This guest post is from Nichole Fromm, a cataloger at Madison Public Library.

I rely on the browser trick "open all in tabs." Once you have a set of frequently-used tabs open in your web browser, you can bookmark/favorite the group as a folder, and later open the entire group in one step from the bookmarks/favorites menu (aka "open all in tabs").

Right click a tab and select Bookmark All Tabs

Name your group of tabs

Open all in tabs from the Bookmarks menu

Internet Duct Tape has a nice summary of the steps.

I have two folders that I use "open all in tabs" for. In Firefox, it's Koha staff access, GetIt, and Outlook webmail. In IE, it's the several ways my cataloging tasks are reported: Google form reply spreadsheets & shared Google docs, and file sharing/drop sites (OCLC ftp, the shared SCLS ILS reports folder), etc. Other folks would have their own favorites, but these help me stay on top of all the ways in which I need to keep on top of stuff.

Firefox Reader View

8435321969_8c5a154a0a_z-love2read

Like Jean, it's no secret that I love reading. Sometimes I dislike reading online though. Too much clutter on the screen can really get in the way of a good read. Anything that flashes, blinks or moves around while I'm reading is getting the evil eye from me.

Firefox Reader View to the rescue! Available in version 38.0.5, one click can take a cluttered, too-busy page and reduce it to just the main article that one wants to view. It can also render a page that is "unprintable" into one that prints cleanly.

FF-enter-reader-viewYou'll find this clever tool at the tail end of the Firefox address bar (just left of the Search box). Its icon looks like a little open book. The icon isn't always there; it will only be visible if the content of the page can be reorganized by Firefox.

Once you've clicked it, you can use the icons on the left side of the screen to fine tune the font, font size and screen background color, similar to features found on most e-readers. You can also drop the article from there into your Firefox Pocket for later reading, but that's a feature for another day...

F12 for website developer tools & device modes

Modern versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer each come with powerful tools for website development. In your browser of choice, hit F12 on your keyboard to toggle them on and off.

Screen shot of a website with Chrome DevTools & Device Emulation

Each browser offers variations on these tools, but these common utilities are my favorites:

A code inspector for viewing the page's HTML and CSS code and making on-the-fly edits to what you see onscreen. Edits made from the code inspector aren't saved anywhere—they only last until you refresh the page. Use it for: debugging tricky formatting, experimenting with new text or styling before actually making live edits.

A network tab reporting how quickly every component of the page loads, including total load speed and weight. Use it for: figuring out exactly which files may be slowing down the page.

Device modes for seeing how a web page looks on screens of varying sizes (with resolution presets for common devices). Use it for: checking how pages behave on small screens when you don't have access to the latest phones and tablets.

If you hit F11 by mistake, something scary happens—all your toolbars disappear! Your browser has gone full-screen. Take a deep breath, and hit F11 again to toggle full-screen mode off.

More about developer tools: