Firefox and PDFs printing out blank

Has your library recently experienced patrons complaining that when they print out PDF files they come out blank?  Well, we know that the problem is being caused by a recent release of Firefox, specifically version 29.0 that was released on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.  By chance Tuesday night is the same night that we automatically update patron PCs with any new applications, so all patron PCs got this version of Firefox the day it was released.  After we received numerous reports about this we started investigating and saw that lots of Firefox users were experiencing the same problem.  People were saying that when you did a print preview of the PDF file it looked just fine, but then when it was printed out all you got was a blank page.

Thankfully, Mozilla got right to work on this problem and released Firefox 29.0.1 on Friday, May 9, 2014.  So the next Tuesday evening all patron PCs got this update, which fixes the PDF printing problem.  If you are still getting reports of PDFs printing out blank then find out which patron PC it was printed from and verify the Firefox version on that PC.  This is done with the following steps:

  1. Open Firefox
  2. Click on the Help menu item
  3. Click About Firefox in the dropdown menu
  4. The version will be listed in the window that opens

If you see 29.0.1 then you are ok, but if you don't then please call the Help Desk to get the update installed.  Please note: this is only for patron PCs as staff PCs have their Firefox updated by us because we use it for Koha.

New Folders Shortcut

This is what taking a shortcut looks likeI discovered after creating several folders for a project I’m working on a faster way of doing this task. Before I used to right click with the mouse and choose New and Folder. That seemed extremely repetitive and very boring. Now, it’s just ordinary repetitive and ordinary boring. By using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl + Shift + N, I cut the amount of time I spent on my project by seconds.

New OverDrive Account

OverDriveAccountIn late April, OverDrive released the latest version of the OverDrive App which includes a new feature - the OverDrive Account.

Why, you may ask, would I want another account? If your patrons want to sync their progress and bookmarks across multiple devices, this is the way to do it in OverDrive. I tested this out last week and here's what I found out.

In order for this to work, the title needs to be downloaded onto all devices and you need to be signed into your account. In my example, I used my iPhone and iPad mini. I downloaded and started reading on my iPad. Then, I opened the OverDrive app on my phone, signed into my account, downloaded the title and this is the message I received. When I tapped Yes, I was taken to the page I left off at on my iPad.

In addition to syncing, having an account will save you time in a few ways. Patrons are continually getting a new device or phone. If they have an OverDrive account, all they need to do after they download the OverDrive App is to sign in and any libraries and saved searches will be there. In addition, OverDrive will automatically activate your new device with Adobe Digital Editions. That, in itself, is quite the timesaver. Patrons can have up to six devices synced with their account and activated with the same Adobe ID.

You can find more information about this new feature on the OverDrive Help page. And, this account doesn't replace the need for a library card to check out titles from Wisconsin's Digital Library.


Hackable or Uncrackable?

Hackable or Uncrackable? A fun video from Intel about password security...

Play the password game and see how a password you create might measure up (don't use your real passwords!). After you test your password, you'll get helpful tips for taking your password from hackable to uncrackable.

Choose Privacy Week

MonitorMay 1-7 is Choose Privacy Week, an ongoing program of the American Library Association that invites library users into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age. The Choose Privacy Week website has programming resources for libraries and includes the March 9, 2014 broadcast of "60 Minutes" which provides a good basic introduction to the activities of data brokers and how online personal data is tracked, bought, and sold without users’ knowledge. This 15-minute video is excellent (and worth sitting through the commercials!).

After you learn about how personal data is tracked, bought, and sold, you might want to follow up with tips about how you can lead a more private life online. Try the "60 Minutes Overtime" video, "How to defend your privacy online."  Skip ahead to 2:59 for some recommendations.

And don't forget about iLibrarian's 2013 post, "A quick guide to Private Browsing," which covers the Private Browsing and Do Not Track features for most popular browsers and includes "how-tos" and screenshots.

Are you concerned about your privacy in the digital age? What special steps do you take to preserve it? I have to confess, I hadn't paid too much attention to this topic in the past, but now I'm considering options like DuckDuckGo and Disconnect for more private browsing! 

More TechBits posts about privacy:

2 Questions about YouTube

YouTube-logo-full_colorHow do I embed a YouTube video in a PowerPoint presentation?
Apparently, there's a trick to it that involves a few edits to the embed code! See this short (1:36) YouTube video, "HOW TO Embed a YouTube Video in a MS PowerPoint 2010"  for the details. 

How do I download a YouTube video?
A quick internet search turns up a ton of applications that will do this task. However, the real question might be, "is it legal to download a YouTube video?"

According to YouTube's "Download YouTube videos" support page, 

"In general, downloading videos that other people have posted on YouTube is not allowed. However, you can download MP4s of your own uploads."

See section 4 YouTube's Terms of Service for more details about permissions or restrictions related to the use of the service. 

Thanks to Kristine for passing these questions our way!

DDoS attack on Typepad affects some SCLS sites

Thumbs_down_smiley2Did you miss us? At various times since Thursday, April 17, Techbits and some SCLS blogs and member library websites hosted by Typepad were unavailable due to DDoS (or Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks on Typepad. As reported on TechCrunch,

Though Typepad has not yet publicly shared much information about its attackers, the typical scenario involves an attacker knocking the victim’s site offline using a flood of traffic, then refusing to stop the barrage until the victim company pays a small amount of “ransom.” ...

SAY Media [Typepad's parent company] has responded that they, too, received a “ransom” note which didn’t specify an amount. The company ignored the note and focused instead on mitigating the attack. They are also cooperating with the FBI on this investigation.

As of April 23, Typepad service and websites have been restored (hopefully for good, this time).

During the attacks, Typepad staff communicated with users on Twitter, posted updates on the Typepad Status website, and posted a Response to Typepad Downtime on their "Everything Typepad" blog. SCLS staff followed the news and posted information on the SCLS Status wiki.

What You Need to Know about Heartbleed.


So, by now, I'm sure pretty much all of you have heard about the Heartbleed bug, and you're probably wondering to yourself, "How does this affect me?". I'm here to attempt an answer to that question.

First off, What is Heartbleed?  Heartbleed is a software bug in a program called OpenSSL.  OpenSSL is used by web servers to manage secure, encrypted, web communications.  One feature of OpenSSL is to keep your secure connection active through times of inactivity by sending and responding to "heartbeats".  A heartbeat is a small message that is sent at regular intervals to the server and the server then responds by sending the message back. The message includes 2 parts: the message (a string of characters) and the length (a value matching the number of characters in the message).  The problem is that, until recently, OpenSSL wasn't verifying that the number in the length was the actual true length of the message.  So if you sent a heartbeat with a really small message and a really big length, the server would send you back the message plus any data that was stored in memory just after where your message was stored; which could have included, potentially, your username and password.

Here's a list of popular online services and whether they were vulnerable and whether you should consider changing your password.

As far as we know, no SCLS-hosted services are affected by Heartbleed, as we are not currently using OpenSSL for secure connections. Some services we use, such as SurveyMonkey, were affected and we have changed our login information for those cases.

Real time malware map

Seems like not a week goes by anymore without hearing about some new virus, Trojan or Kasglobeother bit of malware attacking PCs.  But have you ever wondered what these attacks look like?

Kaspersky has released an interactive map of malware.  They’ve taken their data and plotted it out on globe so you can see the various threats and where they’re coming from in real time.  Leave the map alone and it will spin on it’s own and show you a country.  Using your mouse you can spin the globe and take a look at where the attacks are heaviest.  If you click on each country, you can get statistics on how many attacks have happened so far that day and a global ranking of each country.  

The map can be found at:  (The map seems to work best in Chrome)

Creating a live web link in an Adobe Acrobat pdf document

This trick allows your audience to easily reference another url/document from an Adobe Acrobat pdf file.  This will not work in Adobe Reader.

  1. Open your pdf document in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click on “Tools” in the Toolbar, located in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Select the “Content” section.
  4. Under the “Add or Edit Interactive” Section, select “Link.”  (Your icon will turn to a plus sign.) 
  5. Click and drag the cursor to highlight the text where you want to insert the web link.
  6. A pop-up will appear called “Create Link”.  Make sure “Custom Link” is selected.
  7. Click on the “Next” button.
  8. Click on the “Actions” tab.
  9. Under “Select Action” drop-down, select “Open a web link.”
  10. Click the “Add” button.
  11. Copy and paste the url into the pop-up window.
  12. Click the “OK” button, then again.
  13. Save your document.