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

 

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!)

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!

 

Windows Trick

This seemed like a good idea for a TechBits article when I thought of it in the middle of the night.  Now that I am rested and my brain is functioning, not so much.  Let's go with it anyway.  If you're like me, you may get to a point in which you have too many windows open on your screen.  You don't necessarily want to close them, but you would like to minimize all of them except the one you're currently working on.  The easiest way to do this is to click-and-hold the title bar of the window you want to keep on your screen and shake it vigorously.  After a few shakes, the other windows will minimize.  This works with Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.

I used free software called "Ezvid" to create this short video demonstrating the procedure.

Download Minimize Windows Tip

Viewing Images on Google search

In an attempt to make it more difficult to steal copyrighted images, Google removed the ability to “View Image” in its search last month. Instead “Visit” remains an option which takes you to the website that contains that image. Once you’re on the website, it’s more likely that you will see the copyright information for that image if you plan on using it elsewhere. But for a lot of Google users, including me, that aren’t planning on using the images they find, it is just another step to look at an image. Not to mention having to navigate through websites that may be sketchy, filled with ads, or may not even host that image on that particular web page anymore

There are a couple workarounds to view an image on Google.

You can right click on the image preview and choose “Open image in new tab”, “View image”, or something similar depending on your browser. This will open up the original image just as it did before.

An alternative is using a browser extension. There are a couple extensions already made that adds the “View Image” button back to your search results. Here is the one that I use for Chrome and its Firefox counterpart.

If you do plan on using the image elsewhere, do pay attention to the copyrights associated with the image, but if you just want to look at images the way you did before, these will work.

Converting Old into New

New_year_father_timeIf you've been using computers as long as I have you're bound to have some old files laying around. The problem with these old files is that unless you still have the software you used to create them with you can no longer open or edit them. How sad! Well cheer up! I'm here to tell you how to convert those old files into new files. Back in 2009 Craig wrote a TechBits article about this and I thought it might be time to talk about it again. Just in case you or a patron has an old file that they really need to work with.

There is a website called Zamzar that offers a free online file conversion service. They can convert lots of old file formats into newer file formats so that they can be worked on using currently available software. Once you go to their website the conversion steps are as follows:

  1. Select the files you need to convert
  2. Select the file format you wish to convert to
  3. Enter the email address at which you wish receive the converted files
  4. Click the convert button on the screen

The files you chose are then uploaded to their server, converted, and then emailed to you. Simple as can be and it only takes a few minutes.

Add-ons and Plug-ins

We've talked about finding and using public domain images quite a bit here on TechBits - as far back as 2009! More recently, I've been finding add-ons and plug-ins that make it even easier to use public domain images in your documents and presentations thanks to Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers*.

We've talked about Pixabay before, I think, as another place to find public domain images. It's one of my go-to sources for images for presentations. It's even easier now to find and use photos in Word or PowerPoint by using the Pixabay Images plug-in for Office. If you need help finding and installing PowerPoint plug-ins, Richard has you covered with his video here.

For Google Docs, Richard has a post showing how to use the Pixabay and Full Deck add-ons. The Full Deck add-on is new to me and uses Unsplash that Kerri talked about last December.

WordCloudMost recently, I used the Word Cloud Generator add-on for Google Docs. I had forgotten how much I like the visual representation of the important words in a discussion or exercise. Here's an example from a recent discussion about purpose. 

While I haven't used this add-on yet, It's something to keep in mind when I need to use icons in my presentations. The Noun Project has "over a million curated icons" and they're now available through an add-on for Google Docs and Slides.

Google Slides doesn't have a large number of add-ons available yet. Luckily, one of them is Unsplash for Google Slides. It's very easy to use and makes adding images to your presentations a breeze.

*If you haven't followed Richard yet, you really should! And, if you missed him in January when he presented for the 2018 Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference, you can watch the recording here.

Display formulas in Excel

Ever need to look through the formulas on a spreadsheet?  Maybe you need to update them, maybe you're trying to fix a problem or maybe you just want to know what's going on.  Sure you can go through and click on each cell to show the formula but did you know you can set Excel to show the formulas instead of the values in the regular display?

Select the Formulas tab and click on the Show Formulas option.  Now, instead of showing the results, Excel will display the formulas themselves for the entire spreadsheet.  Since the formulas are often longer than the results, the columns may also automatically resize to be able to display the formulas. 

Showformula

When you're done, just click on Show Formulas again and the spreadsheet will go back to showing the results.  It will also automatically resize the columns back to their original settings.