Daily Show Chrome Ad

Very strange to be getting an ad that works against the displayed content. The Daily Show web site gave me an advertisement to use Chrome. Yet, Google is actively dissuading its users against using Flash. And the daily Daily Show uses Flash in its video player. I was only using another browser because the Daily Show has not reached 2014 and switched to HTML5 videos yet.

Chrome is my browser of choice. However, I stopped not use Flash in Chrome even somewhat before Google’s recent blocking the video technology. It was a strategy to improve performance of the browser. And Flash constantly has serious vulnerabilities which Adobe was slow to fix.

Even Adobe killed Flash nine months ago. When the company making something says, “Damn, we give up,” it is time to move on to better technology.

Restore Chrome New Tab Tiles

Occasionally I accidentally remove one of the tiles from Chrome’s New Tab. I try to live with it, but after about a week the annoyance at the situation becomes too great. There IS AN UNDO, but once you click away from the page it is no longer an option. I did click the undo link this last time, but it did not restore the one I inadvertently removed.

So then I end up looking for how to restore them all. Since I have had to do this twice, to save myself time in the future:

    1. Click the menu. (Upper right three lines.)
    2. Click Settings.
    3. Open the Advanced.
    4. Click the “Clear browsing data…” button.
    5. Check “Download history”. (Uncheck everything else.)
    6. Click “Clear browsing data” button.

That should restore all the tiles. It is sad there is no view of all the removed ones to pick and choose which to allow back.

Regarding #5, picking other options like cookies could make one have to re-login to accounts.

For Want of a Scrollbar

The start of an adventure usually starts when I tweet an annoyance:

Who has two thumbs and regularly disables Sharepoint’s overflow: hidden CSS to re-enable the scrollbar? Me…

A coworker asked a good question, which is, “Any easy/lazy way to make it automatic-like?”

My response was a Greasemonkey script should do the trick. Okay, so, how to make it happen?

Pretty sure like me, my coworker uses Chrome. This is good, because in 2009 Chrome acquired native Greasemonkey script support. They are treated as Extensions. I like this because there is one place to look for the scripts rather than a separate queue like I am familiar in Firefox’s Greasemonkey plug-in.

So I found some pages on writing Greasemonkey scripts. What I wanted to do looked easy enough. Which, of course, meant I spent a few hours stumbling around the Internet confused why it did not work. In the end, I wrote this <filename>.users.js did the trick:

// ==UserScript==
// @name Sharepoint Scrollbar Fix
// @namespace http://sharepoint.oursite.com/
// @description Removes the overflow:hidden which is buggy in WebKit browsers
// @include https://sharepoint.oursite.com/*
// ==/UserScript==
document.body.style.overflow = “scroll”;

From my research WebKit browsers have an issue with overflow:hidden going back years. Chrome and Safari are WebKit browsers. (Guess I could have saved myself time just using Mozilla.) Using either overflow:scroll, overflow:auto, or even removing overflow brings out a second usable scrollbar.

Probably GM_addStyle is a better approach, but this one worked first.

Protocols matter. Most of the time I spent confused was solved by having http in the @include address when the Sharepoint site uses https.

Testing it was interesting as Google does not allow just downloading from anywhere on the Internet. So uploading it to my web site was not a good way to get it into the browser. Just open up Extensions and drag and drop the file in there. It prompts to make sure you are. In the end, it is much more efficient that way.

Conclusion: Pretty easy to create and test. Very lazy fix. The information online about making one is not great.

Any coworkers who want to use it, I added it to the Content area on my site.

Sneaky Search Engine

I use Google search from my Chrome omnibox quite a bit. One of my favorite searches is “define <term>”.

Somehow my “define” got hijacked so that when I typed it, Chrome switched to a search of word.sc. Fortunately, I knew this probably would be Chrome’s settings for Search Engines (top right wrench or three horizontal lines > Settings > Show advanced link > Manage Search Engines).

Scroll down to the bottom of the search engine list and click the X next to word.sc. This removes it as a search option.

Basically, Chrome collects search engines from the sites I visit. If you enter the keyword for the search engine, then the omnibox searches that site instead of Google. So sneaky.

Context Menu

Almost everyone using a computer to access the Internet uses the left click on a link to go to its location. Exceptions might be left handers who switch the buttons on a mouse, those using screen readers, or similar small niche users of the Internet.

I tend to multi-task, so I will scan a page and open all potential links I want to check in a new tab. The  way I accomplish this is the browser’s context menu with a right click on the link. In both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, the open in new tab (or window) are the first options.

Since my exactly what I wanted to check does not persist in memory, opening them all up in their own tab, lets me not have to remember. I can just circle back through the tabs.

So any time a web designer changes the context menu so it is not there, my blood pressure rises.

A decade ago, web designers were terrified of people stealing photos and source code, so they would disable the context menu. Back then, I would turn off JavaScript from running, go to the page, download their images and source code, then email it to them as a proof of concept that all they did was annoy people.

Today, it seems my nemesis is a support portal where the right click on a link operates the exact same as a left click. At least Ctrl+Click still opens the item in a new tab, which is what I want. I did not name the company in hopes it takes them longer to not break my workaround too.

P.S. It appears that they keep track of the last page visited, but updating a ticket does not make it the last one visited. So I end up somewhere else.
🙁

Easy

Work gave me a new computer. An internal group does the initial setup and hand it off to me to do the rest. This has been the easiest setup I have had ever. (It would be easier on a Mac.)

At my previous job, I would get CDs with the operating system and other software and install it myself. Letting someone else install this for me was a test in professionalism for me. With my third machine, I no longer care that I am not in control and even rationalize it as more efficient.

After work and dinner I started installing some of the software I like to use. Chrome, Tweetdeck, and instant messengers automatically synchronized by pulling my data from my account. Lastpass, Dropbox, and Keepass gave me easy access to setup accounts. I dreaded having to find my various configurations, credentials, and data files to get everything working.

Still, I put away the new toy after lunch because email mysteriously stopped downloading. A window asking for my password (the one workstations said I would not need to enter at work) was hidden going through the Alt+Tab list. Windows 7 is waaaay different from WinXP. Of course, I had been using WinXP for 9 years. Change is hard. Change is good. (Maybe.)

Textarea Backup

I am going through my software installed on my work computer in order to transfer to a new one. This came to my attention as something potentially relevant to others.

A common problem we hear doing web-based learning management system is the web browser crashed before the user could submit a form. The complaints we hear usually are because an assignment was lost so the student received a 0 for a major grade. The ones who managed to redo the assignment in time generally never reach us. Nor do the mail messages or discussions or anything else not for a grade. The causes are many. Naturally the blame lies with us for running such a crappy product. Smart applications like WordPress post/page editor automatically save these boxes. Unfortunately, 99.99% are not smart.

An interesting Greasemonkey script, Textarea Backup, will preserve information written into a textarea form element. When the browser restarts and returns to the page, the information written into the textarea will be there.

Google Chrome does native support for Greasemonkey scripts. Mozilla Firefox still requires the Greasemonkey add-on.

With Greasemonkey installed, one can just hit the install button on a scripts page at userscripts.org and click through the various confirms one really wants to download or install it. Pretty simple to install.

Do colleges or universities actually encourage add-ons like Textarea Backup to students? Or are they left to figure out stuff like this on their own?

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is my primary interaction with Twitter. Managing two Twitter accounts would be annoying via the web (two browsers given Prism is dead). At times I do accidentally post under the wrong one. Though I think the solution to that might be not having two blue profile icons. It is not Tweetdeck’s fault I fail to pay attention.

The dot indicating an unread post helps me keep track. I can also clear read posts. These keep me from wasting time re-reading posts. Twitter web presents a count of new unread posts and requires me to click it to present the new one. Maybe if I were more of a dopamine addict, I would prefer it.

I follow the brand names of our clients and the relevant product names in my industry. Tweetdeck’s search columns make this easy.

In an ideal world, I would use the AIR app. However, it is no longer supported for the OS I use at home. Even then, there is a feature both the Chrome and Android apps have it does not.

    1. AIR app
      1. PRO: edit the columns in the title bar. (Why I switched back to AIR from Chrome app on one computer.)
      2. PRO: separate application from the web browser.
      3. CON: Adobe AIR is no longer available for Linux, which is the OS I use for about 25 hours a week.
      4. CON: If someone I follow mentions another user and I want to look at this other user, then I end up opening a browser to see their profile. Very clunky compared to the Chrome app. There is a setting “Open profiles in web page (saves on API calls)” that was set.
    2. Chrome app
      1. PRO: If someone I follow mentions another user, then I can see it in a client profile.
      2. CON: In a browser window.
      3. CON: Cannot edit columns in the title bar. Have to recreate the column with correct values.
    3. Android app
      1. PRO: If someone I follow mentions another user, then I can see it in a client profile.
      2. CON: Columns available to use are those from the Twitter web.

Really I am happy enough.

Apple Trying To Poach IE6 Users

Attempted to watch the Transformer’s 3 trailer, but apparently Chrome on Linux was a no-go for the JavaScript which hides the web site and displays the trailer. Fancy but broken. So I thought I would look at the HTML and get the .mov file. I found this snippet of code in the HTML quite interesting.

<!–[if lt IE 7]>
<div id=”ie6-message”>
<h2>You are currently using an outdated browser.</h2>
<p>Please upgrade to a <a href=”http://www.apple.com/safari/”>modern browser</a> to fully experience this site.<p>
</div>

Where most places would have someone upgrade to a newer version of the software they are currently using, Apple is trying to poach Microsoft users. Bravo! Bravo!

Google Chrome on Linux

I was excited to read today a Google Chrome Beta is now available on Linux. Gmail and Google Reader have weird font issues for me on both Linux and Window Firefox. So I tend split my browser load based on where the sites work best for me.

Making the Linux switch meant leaving Chrome behind unless I went for the unstable version. I was willing to wait for a beta. I just expected to wait a few more months. Whew.

So far so good!