Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chrome 69 - Part III

This isn't specifically MY rant although I've stubbed my toe on it.

If you haven't already go back and read Part I and Part II.

Chrome 69 logs the user in to Google automatically when they sign in to any Google service.

Adrienne Porter Felt of Google's Chrome development team posted a series of tweets "clarifying" this.

They just made me more confused.

Her "/4" tweet is where I stubbed my toe.
Plus, you now only need to sign out in one place before you share your computer with someone else.
When my wife signed out of Gmail, it signed her out of Chrome and complained loudly about it (post) (

For the time being you can go to chrome://flags//#account-consistency and change this behavior but these workarounds tend to not live long. The flag appears to be broken in Chrome 71 and above.

Here's a post ( from someone who's really upset with the change.

Here's a post ( that's a little bit more middle of the road.
Quietly inserting a forced browser sign-in into Chrome, even though possibly done for good reasons, doesn't add any trust points for Google in an increasingly privacy-driven environment. -

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Windows 10 October 2018 NOT

Microsoft seems to have made a mess of their latest rollout of Windows 10.

Windows 10 October 2018 (1809) dropped on 10/02/18.

Here's a list of the new features in 1809:
  • File Explorer now features a dark theme when Dark Mode is enabled in Settings.
  • You can now name live folders in Start.
  • A new "safe removal" feature has been added that lists open applications that might be using an external GPU connected via Thunderbolt 3.
  • Notifications in the Action Center now feature a fade-in effect when the Action Center is opened.
  • A redesigned snipping experience is present and can be accessed via WIN + SHIFT + S.
  • Snips will now present a notification that will open up into Screen Sketch, which is now a dedicated app.
  • You can now configure pen peripherals to take a snip when pressing a button.
  • The Print Screen button can now be configured to open Screen Sketch.
  • A new "Screen snip" action has been added to quick actions in the Action Center.
  • Copied content can now be seen in a new clipboard experience, accessed with WIN+V, that can also sync to the cloud and across devices.
  • There are now three different modes you can select when wirelessly projecting your screen, and these modes are game, productivity, and video modes.
  • Users upgrading to this release for the first time will be welcomed with a post-OOBE UI that walks the user through setting up new features added in this release.
  • Game Bar has been redesigned with new features including an overview of system performance and more.
  • Search will now provide a download link for programs searched online.
  • You can now use Windows Mixed Reality without a monitor.
  • Storage Sense can now switch files to "online-only" if they haven't been accessed after a certain number of days, saving space on your local disk.
  • Pen users can now ink directly into text boxes by default.
  • Users can now view the real world when using Windows Mixed Reality using a headsets built-in camera.
  • Emoji 11 is now available.
  • Game bar is now accessible via the Apps List in Start.

While it's a long list, there's not really much new in there.

It turns out that many users are complaining that the upgrade process DELETED their personal files, Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, etc.

This problem with the 1809 upgrade had been reported by the Windows Insiders (testers) but Microsoft still released 1809 to the public.

Windows users who clicked "Check for updates" got it instantly.

On 10/05/18 Microsoft stopped the rollout.and advised:
We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating.
If you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files after an update, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT, or find a local number in your area .
If you have access to a different PC, please contact us at (link will vary according to country of origin).
If you have manually downloaded the Windows 10 October 2018 Update installation media, please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.
We will provide an update when we resume rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to customers.

Wow! "[P]ease minimize your use of the affected device" and "please don’t install it."

Take their advice.

And while you've got a little time, now is a good opportunity to practice your backup AND restore.

Incidentally, I've updated my sacrificial laptop to 1809 with no problems.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chrome 69 - Part II

Chrome 69 introduced so many changes it's taking several posts to cover them.
In the Chrome [69] address box's "resting state" -- in other words, when you aren't typing in it or otherwise interacting -- Google now hides the HTTP or HTTPS prefix and strips out website domain qualifiers like the initial "m." that indicates a website geared for mobile devices.
One of Chrome's engineering managers tweeted:
We are exploring ways of drawing attention to the right identity indicators at the right times.
By removing information?

You can still reveal the full URL in Chrome 69 by double-clicking the address in the address bar, and if you copy the simplified address and paste it elsewhere it will display the full address.

You can try this by browsing to

Then double click on

Does the "www" matter?

Chrome now considers the "www" to be a "trivial subdomain". Others are "m" and "amp".

What's "amp" you say? Funny you should ask.

AMP is Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Google's AMP strategy has been fraught with controversy over how these pages are hosted.

Hiding the "amp" subdomain is being seen by some as a way to quell this controversy.

To make Chrome 69 show the entire URL, go to:
Set it to "Disabled". Relaunch Chrome.

These work-arounds tend to disappear over time.

Chrome 70 seems to walking this back some.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Chrome 69 - Part I

On September 2, 2018 Google's Chrome browser turned 10 and Google released Chrome 69.

I'm not picky about subtle UI changes like rounded tabs vs. slanted tabs or even different color palates.

Things that make it harder to do what I use a browser for is what really bothers me.

Chrome 69 took the user icon out of the title bar and put it on the toolbar. When it was in the title bar it showed your first name. In that entry I changed my "name" to "." so it almost didn't show in the title bar. Chrome 69 moved it to the toolbar and now it shows your avatar. And you can't hide that icon like you can hide extension icons.

Chrome 68
Chrome 69

Prior to Chrome 69 when you hovered your mouse over the "X" of a tab to close it, the background of the "X" turned red. That provided a clear indication that you were about to close that tab. Now the background of the "X" turns to white. This doesn't give much contrast on the gray background of the tabs.

Chrome 68
Chrome 69

Notice that this highlighting is completely invisible on the tab in focus as the tab is white.

Prior to Chrome 69 when you opened an incognito window the top left of the title bar had a spy icon. It was a very obvious indicator that you were in incognito mode. Now when you open an incognito window there is a gray spy icon in the toolbar which has a gray background. Much less obvious.

Chrome 68
Chrome 69

I guess I'll get over it but I just don't understand how any of these are improvements.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Zoolz Update

I mentioned that I was using Zoolz a while back.

It's still going well.

I have added a huge folder from my Drobo 5N to Zoolz's Cold Storage capability. I'm now sitting at just over 400GB of my 1TB capacity.

I still haven't played with the Instant Vault storage.

I occasionally exercise Zoolz's restore. My most recent test took about 4 hours to restore. That was for a single file. I don't expect that will grow linearly for a larger set of files.

My next restore test will be for a full folder.

Remember that your backups are no good if they won't restore.

If you've turned on Controlled Folder Access, you need to add Zoolz.exe and ZoolzRestore.exe from C:\Program Files\Genie9\Zoolz2\,

Sunday, September 09, 2018

GDPR Cookies

You know what GDPR is, right? Great, then we can keep going.

One of the most visible results of GDPR is all the cookie notifications you've been seeing.

Here's what's behind all that.
One of the most tangible requirements of the GDPR is in the definition of what constitutes a proper cookie consent, meaning, that the consent has to be:
  • Informed: Why, how and where is the personal data used? It must be clear for the user, what the consent is given to, and it must be possible to opt-in and opt-out of the various types of cookies.
  • Based on a true choice: This means, for example, that the user must have access to the website and its functions even though all but the strictly necessary cookies have been rejected.
  • Given by means of an affirmative, positive action that can not be misinterpreted.
  • Given prior to the initial processing of the personal data.
  • Withdrawable. It must be easy for the user to change his or her mind and withdraw the consent.
But don't just click through those pesky notices. Click on them and wade through them.

It's pretty fascinating what's in them.

Recently I logged into

I got the following notice:

I didn't just click on the bright yellow "Accept cookies" like most people would.

Rather, I clicked on "> Cookie Settings".

Here's what I got:

Look at how much control I had over what cookies would be stored!

I was impressed that the "Targeting Cookies" were turned off by default.

I flipped all the switches to "Inactive" and noticed no degradation in performance or function.

By the way, here's the site referenced in the fine print at the bottom. Somebody is making a lot of money.

Some of these dialogs have actually given me the choice of which partners the site can share my information with.

Here's what I got from the Daily Star.

Don't click on "Continue and Accept All". Rather click on the tiny "here".

On the next screen click on "Continue to partners".

Look at that! They gave me a list of all their "partners."

Click on "Select all" and then on "Reject all"

You're done.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Online Audio/Visual Tools

I like online tools so I don't have to install software. I like free tools because they're, well, cheap.

Here is a collection of online audio/visual tools that I've used.

They tend to disappear over time so if one isn't working any more, drop me a note and I'll tell you if I've found a replacement.

Video Crop

Sometimes I want to "zoom in" a video before I share it. The way I do this is to crop the video just like I would do a still. Like a still, I lose some resolution but it gets the focus where I want it.

Video-Crop is what I use.

Like their web site says "You can find here damn simple and juicy tool for video cropping."

Remove Audio from Video

Especially in my dashcam video sometimes there's audio that isn't appropriate to share. AudioRemover is what I use.

MP3 from Video

When I come across a video, usually YouTube, that I want to extract the audio from and make an mp3, convert2mp3 is what I use.

Audio Cutter

If I have an mp3 that I want to trim down, e.g. for a ringtone, I use

MP3 Volume

To increase the volume of an audio clip, e.g. for a ringtone, I use

I can choose how many decibels I want to increase the volume.

YouTube to MP4

If I want to save a YouTube video, I need to convert it to a format that I can store. I use ClipConverter to do this.

Notice that ClipConverter has a variety of output formats.

Audio to MP3

I have some old audio files (wav, amr, etc.) that I want to convert to mp3s. Online-Convert does it for me.

Anything to Anything

When all else fails, I try CloudConvert.