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September 19, 2017

Chrome Extensions, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:12 am

For several weeks, we have been looking at some of my favorite Chrome browser extensions. Last week we ended with a couple that could save you money while shopping online. Today we will start with one that makes your startup window better looking and functional too.

Leoh New Tab” is the next extension I will bring to your attention. As with all the others go to the Chrome Web Store and type the name quoted above. When installed it will set up a very picturesque useful page when you open a new tab. Last year I wrote an article entirely related to Leoh so check the site for many details.

Leoh New Tab

Leoh New Tab

Next one of my favorite and most useful Chrome extensions, “Mighty Text” which was one that made my list of favs from years ago. Mighty Text” allows you to send and receive SMS and MMS using your computer. The only prerequisites are that you use Chrome and have an Android phone.

Mighty Text syncs with your phone and actually uses your phone to send and receive the messages, pictures, etc. It pulls in your contacts list from your Gmail account so that you can send messages to people from your list using only their name. It allows you to text message, send pictures, etc. from your phone while at your computer. I do not have to pull my phone out while working to read or answer a message…very convenient.

Mighty Text

Mighty Text

Another valuable extension is “Office Online.” It is so good there are many imitators out there. Make sure you add the one that states, “Office Online Microsoft Corporation.” Basically, it is a free Office cloud version. This is almost as good as the full-blown version. As I have said before it will handle most anything that Office users would ever have a need to perform in Office. (Yes, I know, Google Docs is good too, but my preference is Office.) You can run One Drive, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Once you install OneNote Clipper I wrote about several weeks ago, all the features OneNote are immediately available. This is truly a very useful and productive addition to Chrome.

Office Online

Next up is, “Print Friendly & Pdf.” This extension does a great job of taking any webpage that you want to read, email, save for informational purposes or as one of my friends puts it allows him to read the NY Times without all the “junk” included. When you are on a page click the extension’s button and the magic begins. It will generate another view of the page without ads and other distracting, non-related junk on the page. It will then allow you to print it, create a PDF or email the file to someone. I personally like to save it as a PDF file then email if from my own email account.

Print Friendly & Pdf

September 5, 2017

Chrome Extensions, Part 1

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:29 am

Before I get started on Chrome extensions, one thing about last week’s article, titled, “Read a Book”.  I received emails from several readers regarding the article on places you can get eBooks, audiobooks, etc.  There were several others that were suggested to me.  They were all good but I just picked a few of the ones that I was familiar with.  There are many others out there including all of the large bookstores; however, I can only afford to try a few.  I do not get free samples from companies like some of the big boys out there (hint, hint to the big companies).  I only mention the ones I have experience with (unless I state otherwise).  I test them before I tell you about them.  Oh yeah, one other thing: I do not get paid to mention them so you get my actual opinion on all that I write to you about.

Now onto Chrome extensions.

image

An extension or plugin for any browser is small software that adds on or extends the capabilities of the “out of the box” browser.  It adds some sort of additional functionality to a browser that was not originally present.  Browser extensions can change a webpage in some way, add a new feature to the browser and give the browser more, “skills”.

I have read many articles over the years, and even written one regarding computer nerds’ favorite extensions.  I figured it is time to give it a go again as mine have changed over the years and some have been replaced.  This week I will start a multipart series listing some I use with a short explanation of each…in alphabetical order so I will not upset anyone.  To hurt a few feelings those I list are for Google’s Chrome browser; however, many are available for the other browsers too.

To get to your extension setting in Chrome, click the menu button (the three dots in the upper right corner of Chrome), then “More tools,” and finally “Extensions.”  Once on that page, scroll to the bottom and click “Get more extensions.”  Or Ron’s quick way – type “chrome://extensions/” in the address bar without the quotes.  When you arrive type the name of the extension given and you will get to the page to install them.

How to get to your Extensions

The first I will share is “Behind the Overlay.”  (Remove the spaces between the words to find it in the store, “BehindtheOverlay)  I have just started using this one.  For advertisements on sties we used to get a popup, then a pop under, next those that pop up when you get to a specific point on the page.  This new advertisement “getter” is the one you have seen recently which pops up a window and greys out the page you were viewing with a clickable ad.  If you search very carefully you may be able to find the “x” that will close it and return you to the original page.  The “x” is not usually very easy to see and next to another clickable link you may not want to use.  Beyond the Overlay ads is a button to Chrome at the top right side, where all of the extension controls will be.  Click the button and the ad page vanishes easily.

image

I have run out of room today so, next week we start with an extension to help secure your browsing security.

February 28, 2017

IE Tab for Chrome

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:51 am

My friend, John and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about a geek hassle we have all faced.  Usually this happens at work but on occasion anywhere.  Some specific websites are designed to open and function properly in Microsoft Internet Explorer…only.  SharePoint seems to be one of the main offenders.  They may open in other browsers; however, they will not function properly.

Since I am an advocate of the Google Chrome browser I hate when I am working on something in deep thought.  I open a site in anticipation of reading something, completing a process or researching information and poof, it fails to respond properly.  Then we all do the same thing, copy the URL from the failed site and paste it in MSIE to get where we need to be.  What a hassle!  IE Tab logo

Enter IE Tab.  Chrome as well as other browsers, have extensions or add-ins depending on what they are called by each company.  These allow additional features to be added to the browser that were not available originally.  There are many types available which perform a wide variety of functions.  They help you with your shopping, find articles, check the weather, help you navigate in your browser as well as your car and do hundreds, if not thousands of other things.

IE tab was built originally for Chrome but now comes in a version for Firefox as well.  You can get it for Chrome while in the browser.   Go to the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner, when you hover there it will show “Customize and control Google Chrome” and click.  Go down to “More tools” then “Extensions.”  At the very bottom of the window you then click on “Get more extensions” and search for “IE Tab.”  Finally click and install the extension.  (As a shortcut, you can type “chrome://extensions” and skip many of those steps.)  After IE Tab installs and you use it the first time you will be directed to install “IEtabhelper” which is needed to make it work.  Do not worry, this is a safe app too.

Once all is done you will get a dark blue extension icon with an “e” to the right of your address bar.  Right click it and then click on “Options.”  Then scroll down to “Auto URLs” and start by entering an offending URL and click “Add.”  The next time you go to that site which would not work correctly in Chrome it will now function flawlessly.  It will continue working any other time you go there in the future.  The makers of IE Tab say that it will properly use Java, Silverlight, ActiveX, SharePoint, and other Microsoft browser features.

One thing my buddy John mentioned is that he uses the Safari browser.  Yes, even though he is my good friend he uses a MAC!  I found this about Mac’s lack of IE Tab.  It has it built in, sort of.  While in Safari go to Safari, Preferences, Advanced Tab and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”  This will place the Develop tab in the menu where under it you will find “User Agent.”  There is a list of browsers so select the browser you would like Safari to emulate, then go to your web address.  The only problem with this is that you must do this each time you need to visit that site again.

Safari Browser logo

May 17, 2016

Microsoft Took Control

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:19 am

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of articles about some Windows 10 tips.  I like Windows 10 just fine; although, I realize some of you out there do not.  But that is fine.   Choices and variety are usually good.

However, after a recent Windows 10 update I found something I was really annoyed with (I am too laid back to get mad, but I was close.)

I opened a link to a website after the update and the Microsoft Edge browser had replaced Google Chrome as my default browser.

No big deal since I am a geek and know how to "fix" Windows stuff when it happens.  So I went to set up Chrome as my default browser again.

Click on the Windows start icon on the lower left then type, "Default app settings."  You should perform that step after your computer has been on for a few minutes.  I have sometimes found that the search does not function well until all of your start up programs have finished.  Click the link to the default app settings at the top.  A new window will open where you will scroll down on the right to "Web browser" and the click "Choose a default." If anything but the preferred browser is shown in that icon you may change it to the browser you want to use when you click on any link.  You may have a grey "+" box which indicates no default is set.

Default apps

This has been the prescribed method to change most all default settings for the recent OS versions.  For instance, I use VLC (VideoLAN) for all of my music and video playing so both of those are set up there. 

But as I stated the last update(s) changed that.  You can set default apps for all except your browser now.  Microsoft took that away from you to make the world use MS Edge.  I do not care for Edge, along with many others. 

Here is the secret way to correct this issue which I found after Googling for quite a while.    While in the default app settings area scroll down a little more and click on "Set defaults by app."  This is where you set them up in older versions of Windows.  It is actually in your Control Panel.

Settings

Finally scroll down the list on the left of all of your applications.  Click the one you want to set as the default and then on the right click "Set this program as default."

Default apps

That "old way" overwrites the settings Microsoft has used to block other browsers from becoming the default in the latest updates for Windows 10.  

One last thought for you Windows 10 haters.  I read this article recently about what will happen after the July 29th cutoff date for getting the free Windows 10 upgrade. Please remember that capitalization counts, "rd.dblclx.com/stopW10". 

August 4, 2015

Emailed Questions, Part 3

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:52 am

For the past two weeks I have answered questions which I regularly receive from readers.  There have been more emails so this week is part three of answers I have given and what I have suggested.

Many people ask, “What is the best browser to use on a PC?”  This is an extremely hard question for me to answer.  I cannot really tell you what is best for you.  The reason is that they are all very similar with some having add-ons that the others may not.  It is really a matter of preference.  Currently the top three on the market, in order of popularity, are Chrome, Firefox and MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer).

Chrome - Firefox - MSIE logos

My current favorite is Chrome, made and maintained by Google.  I just like the way it works and the Extensions (add-ons) available. Extensions give the browser additional capabilities that are not there by default.  I also use Chrome for my Android tablet and phone.  However, this again is personal preference.  I used Firefox exclusively up until a couple of years ago and it would still be my second choice.  When Windows 10 comes out MSIE will go away to be replaced by “Microsoft Edge” and then my preference may change.  Pick one, try it out and if you like it keep it, if not install one of the others.  The only one you cannot uninstall on a PC is MISE as it is basically part of the operating system and needed to run your computer. Microsoft Edge logoNext, “How can I password protect a zipped file in Windows 7 or 8.1?”  Quick answer is you cannot.  With Windows XP you could but not in the following two versions.  Why did they remove that capability…who knows?  Longer answer is that you need to download a third party app.  For the uninitiated a zip file is a file that can contains one or more files combined together which makes them smaller and easier to handle.  I use a zipped file to keep my past tax returns in; therefore, the reason for a password to keep prying eyes out.

The third party app for zipping files I recommend and regularly use is 7-Zip (7-zip.org).  I used to swear by WinZip but it is about $30 for the better version, compared to free, so there is no comparison IMHO.  There are many others but this one has been around for quite a while and is trustworthy from what I have determined.  The size savings can be significant depending on the types of files zipped.  I just tested the theory on a variety of file types, mostly text files.

Zipped file imageI zipped the 52 document files of my 2014 columns at a size of 850kb into one file of 716kb.  I also password protected them all in about five seconds.  I can then delete the original files and have only one smaller file.  As long as I do not forget the password I can retrieve them in another five seconds either minutes or years later having all of the original files.  You may zip any type of file including pictures, text, spreadsheets, videos, etc.  However, they compress at different size savings.  Text files give you the greatest compression with pictures and videos usually the least.

Let me know if you appreciate this series of email answers and I will run a few more next time.

I will be having some upcoming columns about Windows 10; however, I will wait a week or so for you to start formulating your questions and sending them to me.

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