Convert web pages to PDF for printing/saving in Chrome and Firefox

Some time ago I came across a handy extension available for Chrome and Firefox called Print Friendly & PDF. You can use this extension to generate PDF files from web pages that can be used to either print or save the web page as a PDF file. However, I have noticed that the extension doesn't work exactly the same in both browsers. 

Pdf-chromeFor example, when converting the scls.info home page in Chrome, the extension only picked up the one visible slide at the time that I did the conversion.

Pdf-firefoxI then switched to Firefox, and found that in Firefox, the extension captured all of the slides in the slideshow in one PDF file. 

You can find these extensions in Chrome by going to the upper-right hand corner menu and going to More Tools>Extensions, and then searching the Chrome Web Store. In Firefox, go to the upper right-hand corner menu and choose Add-ons.

Given that the extension works differently in different browsers, I think it's a good rule of thumb to keep your options open when using browsers. If something doesn't look right or work well in one browser, try another browser.

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:

Firefox Screenshots

Recent versions of Firefox have included a new screenshot utility.  You might find it useful when you want to capture content within a web page.  With Firefox 57 or newer, click the Page Actions button at the right side of the Address Bar then click Take a screenshot.

Page-Actions

At this point, you have four options for your screenshot. 

  • Select a predefined section of the page
  • Click-and-drag your mouse to capture a section of the page
  • Capture the entire visible part of the web page
  • Capture the entire page without scrolling

Now you can save the screenshot to your PC or you can have Mozilla save your screenshot in the cloud for a user-specified duration.  The screenshot will be given a unique URL that can be shared with others.

Mozilla has provided more information that you may find helpful.

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