If you use the Google.com (not a country-specific) page to search, you can now customize a background image if you're logged in. As you hover over the page you'll see a new link in the lower left, which will allow you pick from some standard pix, or upload one of your own:
Chrome still doesn't have a couple of what I consider are my vital extensions, so I still use Firefox whenever I can. Problem is, with all the extensions I use on it, plus the fact that I usually have something like 20-30 tabs open across several windows, Firefox has kind of become a bloated beast, consuming an awful lot of system resources :-( No more!!!! Thanks to an episode of Tekzilla I discovered BarTab, which keeps all the background tabs unloaded, only actually connecting when you click the tab to view. Where it comes in even handier is when FF is starting up, say after a crash or update, when BarTab will do the same thing with all the tabs I had open. Instead of fully loading them all, really slowing the startup process, it only fully loads the main tab, leaving the rest grayed out until you actually need to revisit one of those tabs. I've noticed a significant increase in performance since installing it a couple of days ago - try it out!
I searched my archives and was surprised to learn I hadn't ever recommended Dropbox before. I was reminded when I received an email from them letting me know they had a new video from CommonCraft (the xxx in Plain English folks) explaining how it all works. In a nutshell, Dropbox is a cross-platform folder synchronization service. After installing, you'll have a new folder on your Mac, Linux, and/or Windows machine (and iPhone) which syncs through the cloud, so if you pop a file into that folder on your PC, you can access it from your Mac or the web. I use it daily - almost never use my USB key anymore.
The free service gives you 2GB of space, and you can upgrade to 50 or 100GB if you really need to. I've been just fine with the 2GB. If you decide to sign up, you can use my referral link and I'll get an extra 250MB, but you can sign up directly if you don't like that sort of thing :-) Do sign up though, it's a great service!
This is a really excellent piece of information - one of the shortcomings I've always had with screencasts has been the difficulty of tracking usage. If you can copy and paste, you can implement this.
You can also read the paper Paul delivered earlier this year in the most recent issue 48(3/4) of the Journal of Library Administration: Creation, Management, and Assessment of Library Screencasts: The Regis Libraries Animated Tutorials Project Page Range: 295 - 315 DOI: 10.1080/01930820802289342
JSTOR reports "We are glad to report that we have located and fixed a problem that caused an incompatibility between JSTOR PDF files and older versions of Mac Preview. This problem caused only part of the article to be viewable in Preview. The fix released today means that JSTOR PDF files should now be viewable in their entirety in Preview 3.0.9 (the current version integrated with Mac OS 10.4) as well as newer versions integrated with Mac OS 10.5. Users of Preview 3.0.9 should note, however, that the page images of articles are usually highly compressed to save file size, and may be slow to open on this version of Preview. It is believed that this is a limitation of Preview that Apple corrected in the version of Preview shipped with Mac OS 10.5."I've had one patron report this problem, and thought I'd post the official word from JSTOR for wider discoverability:
We have recently become aware that certain versions of Mac Preview are incompatible with the newest generation of JSTOR PDFs. For some users, this means that only the cover page is displaying. Other users have reported that the downloaded article appears to be missing the first portion of the article—it begins somewhere after the first 10 pages of the article. The article is in fact intact and complete, but some pages are not displayed properly. We are working to fix this and plan to continue to support the use of Preview with JSTOR PDFs. We apologize for the problems that this is causing for Mac users.
For now, the quickest workaround is to download the latest free copy of Adobe Reader, available on the Adobe web site:
Once Adobe Reader is downloaded, please check to make sure that the default PDF viewer is set to Adobe Reader rather than the original PDF viewer installed on your Mac.
The default viewer for PDF documents in Mac OS X is Preview. To change the file association for PDF files:
* Select any PDF file and choose File > Get Info.
* Choose the application that you want to open PDF files from the Open With menu.
* Click Change All, and then click Continue.
You will also want to make sure that the popup blocker is turned off for the JSTOR site. The new PDF files are set to open in a new window and popup blockers may affect this.
The other day I came across a Firefox extension called Aardvark that makes it really easy to clean up websites to print, or even to read online w/o lots of advertisements and fluff around the text. Here's a quick demo of it in action:
I've been using Google Reader for quite some time now - really like it. I used to use a desktop aggregator because it was a lot more flexible and customizable, but being tied to a single machine eventually did that one it for me. I've found Google Reader to be very reliable, and it gets nice new features from time to time. A couple of weeks ago they added a nifty way to view their keyboard shortcuts, something I haven't been taking advantage of. While using Google Reader, simply hit the "?" key, and you'll get a nice overlay showing all the keyboard shortcuts (perhaps ironically, users of aggregators may have to click through to see the following brief screencast): (oh, you may want to bump down your volume a bit before hitting play, I seem to have inadvertently pumped up the volume)
If you use any kind of electric toothbrush - make sure you turn it off before you take it out of your mouth, or you're going to spray the toothpaste all over the mirror, which is a pain to clean, and if you're already wearing your work clothes, you may get them messy too. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Here's one for the Mac users, and I'm surprised more people don't seem to know about it considering the "bloops" I hear as people adjust their volume during podcasts. As I don't use a desktop, I can only vouch for this on the Apple laptops, where the volume is adjusted using function keys. Quite a useful feature is that in addition to a visual representation of how loud your volume is during the adjustment, you get a "bloop" sound at the appropriate volume. But if you'd rather adjust the volume using only the visual cue and don't want to hear the "bloop", just hold the shift key as you're adjusting with the function keys. Here's what it sounds and looks like first as a default, and then as I press the shift key:
(Aggregator users may need to click through to see video)
The other day I learned a neat Word trick that has nothing to do with libraries, but since part of the reason I keep this blog is to annotate things that are interesting to ME I thought I'd throw it up here in hopes that it's also of interest to you. I've got a few other ones so thought I'd stretch it out as some sort of semi-regular series.
Say for some reason you need to generate a large amount of random (or at least random-looking) text. Maybe you need to fill up a website or Word document to see how the formatting looks over several paragraphs or pages. Here's how to do it in word. Simply type in the following formula and hit enter:
=rand(x,y) where x=the number of paragraphs you want, and y=the number of sentences. You can read more about it at the MS Knowledgebase.
Click through to see it in action if viewing in an aggregator: