January 06, 2017

Removing links from Comments in Blogger

I finally got fed up with getting comments to my blog posts that contained links to websites.  I don't notice them when the "moderation" notice arrives in my mail but there they are once the comment is published.  These people manage to create a link in their comment on a normal word like "Thanks", Links in comments are never useful in my opinion.

The comment is made just to increase their website's ranking in Google Search. Blogger (and most other blog services) add rel="nofollow" to all links in comments, so search services won't index the link anyway. 

Blogger gives only the option of deleting a comment, not editing it. I found this page explaining how to remove links from blogger comments: http://www.mybloggerlab.com/... I do not promise these techniques will work in the future.

1. If you are comfortable editing the template, just add this code to the style tag: .comment-content a {display:none;} 
2. If you use an old template that formats comments using an id named comments, use this code instead: #comments dl dd p a {display: none;}

3. To remove the link but display the text, add this code to the template right below the body tag:
<!--Remove Comment Links -->

Blogger.com - please add a setting to prevent links in comments!

April 3, 2017: 
Today I had a request to remove a "link" to their business in a comment.  Apparently the solutions above no longer worked.  It took some searching but when I went to "edit" the post, on the right side I noticed was "Options". Under "Reader comments" I selected "Don't allow, hide existing". This removed the entire comment. I didn't touch "Backlinks" as I didn't want to break my own links in the post.

January 04, 2017

GPS Navigation Offline & Free

Most Android devices have Google Maps built in. I was amazed to discover you can download and store maps for a city or even larger region, and use them for turn-by-turn voice navigation when you are offline. (You should store your maps on an external SD card, as the files can quickly eat up your storage.)

Offline navigation is useful if you have poor reception on your mobile - or don't have a data plan at all!  Before you head out on the road, toggle to “Wi-fi only” to prevent connecting to online maps and use the maps stored on your phone instead. Your phone will function as it normally does.

* The first time I tested Google Maps offline, it wouldn't let me enter an address that was a house number on a highway number. Maybe there's some secret trick to make it work. So I just found the highway on the map, tapped about where I thought the address was, and proceeded with turn-by-turn voice navigation. Close enough - and what do you want for free?! About 8 years ago, an offline GPS navigation app cost me $80.

Google Maps Blog: https://blog.google/products/maps/get-around-town-little-easier-with-new

July 16, 2016

Windows 10 upgrade on my HP laptop

Well I finally upgraded to Windows 10.  Although I am already familiar with it's oddities on another pc, I am finding all sorts of problems.  System settings are all over the place, with old windows from Windows 7 to new ones designed for a touch screen. Sometime they even link to each other, sometimes not.  So here is my current list - I'll probably create a help page for the PDQ Library after I collect more.

Windows 10 Upgrade Tips
    1.  Customizing the date-time display in Windows 10
    2.  Microphone not compatible with Windows 10
    3.  Getting the Start Menu Back

1.  Customizing the date-time display in Windows 10

I prefer date-time stamps on files in Windows Explorer to look like this:
    16-07-16 3:06 pm

Click the Sth3art Menu (wWindows key), then Settings gear icon, then choose Time Date.
Time & Language window opens with Date & time already selected.
Click Change time and date formats
    Under Short date select "yy-MM-dd".
    Click back arrow to return to Time & Language
Under "Related settings" click Additional date, time & regional settings
    Under Region, select Change date, time or number formats
    In the Region window, the Formats tab is already selected.
    Under Short time select "h:mm tt" then click Apply at the bottom.
    Click on the Additional settings button at the bottom.
    In the Customize Format window, select the Time tab.
        Highlight the AM dropdown and type am then the TAB key.
        PM is now highlighted, so type pm then the TAB key.
        Click OK on all open windows and close them.

2.  Microphone not working in Windows 10

Click the Start Menu and the X key at same time to open the Control Panel. Select Sounds from the list.

On the Recording tab, right-click on Integrated Microphone Array (on my PC) and then click Enable - you should now see activity in the volume bar if the mic picks up any sound.

Next click the Start Menu then Settings then choose Time & Language.

From left of windows select Speech then under Microphone click Get Started to start the mic calibration.  You can now record sounds and use Cortana if you wish.

3.  Getting the Start Menu Back

If you've used Windows 7 for years, your Start Menu was probably organized into many folders and sub-folders.

If you upgraded from Windows 7 system and chose to "keep your existing programs and data", your old Start Menu is still there.  The "new" Start Menu still has your old folders and all the shortcuts in them -- but mashes them into the All apps list ALPHABETICALLY.  What a mess! To get your old Start Menu back in a form you can actually use, just add it to the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen as a "new toolbar".

First check out all the Start Menu locations to see which one you want to use.  Note: Replace XXX with your user name before using it. Copy each path in turn by typing Ctrl+C and paste it by typing Ctrl+V to open the path in Windows Explorer. Use Open in the File menu, or just paste into the address bar at the top.

"C:\Users\XXX\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
"C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
"C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"

Copy the path of the folder you want to use (the quotes are required since the path has a space in it). To use the Programs subfolder, add "\Programs" to the path.

"C:\Users\XXX\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs"

Right-click on the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen and select Toolbars, then select New Toolbar...  In the window that opens, paste (Ctrl+V) into the Folder box.  The name Programs (or Start Menu) will appear in the Taskbar immediately left of the System and Notification icons.  When you click on the double chevrons to the right of the name, your menu of folders and programs will appear above it. Hover or select a folder to see its subfolders through the tree structure you so carefully created.

December 15, 2015

Christmas, Sailors and the Interwebs

I recorded some audio clips for Freesound years ago, and had forgotten until I got some feedback. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" : http://www.freesound.org/people/boater/sounds/3069

"Hello Sailor" was used by quite a few people - even in a music mashup which was quite hilarious. Listen to "1 H8 teh Interwebs" here: http://macidol.com/jamroom/bands/12339/

Rogers Mobile can be as inefficent as any Government

Once a year I try to pay Rogers for pre-paid phone service, and it's always an adventure. I'm supposed to be able to pay for one year of service using a credit card online. 

When I went to "Billing" in my online account to top-up my service, the website clearly showed my credit card was not "valid", even though I updated it months ago. There was no link anywhere to update my credit card expiry date.   

So over to spend another 10 minutes in Web chat, where "Jim" finally tells me that he has no access to pre-paid accounts. He tells me to phone Rogers. Since I've had various dead ends in their phone menus in the past, I asked him for the exact route to talk to the human who can fix this. That saved me at least another 10 minutes. 

I finally talked to someone on the phone, who not only was able to update my card's expiry date, but agreed to make the payment from my pre-paid credit instead of the credit card. Of course, only a human on a phone can do that too. So half an hour trying to pay them ended up saving me about $100.  Since I was now on a roll, I asked her why my pre-paid account no longer provides billing details online. So she agreed to send me (at no charge) a list of my calls and charges by - believe it or not - Canada Post!