One click fixed it


Fortunately, I guess, I was up earlier than normal this morning. I grabbed my MacBook Pro and headed to the rec room to do some reading like I do every morning. Long time readers know that I play browser roulette on my computers to try and stay on top of things.

This week, I’ve been using the Brave browser. I’ve been intrigued with all the good press about how it blocks advertising and protects your privacy online. They’ve also launched their own search engine at: https://search.brave.com/

It’s also Wednesday morning so part of what I’ll be doing is reviewing the notes for the voicEd Radio This Week in Ontario Edublogs show. Rats. I’ve had difficulties with the Google Document and the Brave browser. It works fine under Windows but on the Macintosh, things get jumbled and centring doesn’t work.

Yuck!

In the back of my mind, I thought that there must be conflicting with the browser and the way that it works with my extensions. So, I tried opening the document in a Private Window with no extensions and the problem followed.

Rats.

It’s got to be some sort of incompatibility with the browser itself…or…maybe…

I had Brave’s Shields up to block advertising and I just happened to notice this.

I’ll take complete responsibility for this. This fine print was probably there all along on the Shields button and I either didn’t click or didn’t notice. Shields said it was blocking on tracker. I toggled to allow that one tracker through and … voila!

I’m passing this along just so I don’t forget about it should I run into an issue in the future and as a quick fix if you’re having the same problem.

I’m still at a loss to explain why sine the blocked item was a link to the Play store.

Google Maps


There were a number of Google Maps stories that I took a look at this morning. I think that this feature will be interesting when it gets rolled out.

Google Street View now shows historical images of locations

I use the historical feature all the time. The latest was to resolve a debate – who did we buy our first digital television from? We know exactly the location but the owner has passed and the location sells flooring now.

The best the two of us could come up with was his first name – Don.

When I got home, I used the history feature to look way back and found the Google Street View image.

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As soon as we saw the Turner sign, we both slapped our heads, “of course”. We’d been in there a number of times and learned so much. While that television is gone, there was a part of the sale that remains. He always mounts a digital antenna when he sells digital televisions. It’s amazing how many additional channels are available for free over the air around here.

I’m a fan of the ability to look back in time. One of the things that I do regularly is roll back the image of my old house and see what it was like when Mom and Dad lived there. The people that bought the house did a remodel of it.

One of the articles in this morning’s read that had me really interested was this one.

Google Street View Turns 15: Here are the Most Popular Locations in Canada

From the list of the top five places in Canada that had been viewed in Street View, I remember visiting five of them – in person and through Street View.

  1. CN Tower, Ontario
  2. Horseshoe Falls, Ontario
  3. Casa Loma, Ontario

You’ll have to click through to see the other two! I was surprised that the Parliament Buildings didn’t make the list.

Of the most viewed businesses, I could recall only looking for one.

  1. Kim’s Convenience

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done more. When I’m planning to visit somewhere, I’ll use Street View to help me plan things.

Are there places that you think should have made the list?

One of my favourite activities was inspired by ZeFrank and I did it and blogged about it. Can you believe it was 12 years ago?

Congratulations to Google Maps on its 15th anniversary and millions more innovations. It’s still hard to believe that I’m old enough to remember paper maps from the service station and looking for road signs to take me where I want to go!

The good old days


Remember the first steps on Social Media? For me, it was back in 2007. Social Media and the Internet were still young and most of the content was actually good. Fast forward to today where you pretty much have to fact-check everything that you read. It’s our reality.

Now, one of the lessons of the internet is that nothing ever goes away. You can always find it. It’s just that often it takes some fancy work to actually find it again.

The problem is that there is so much stuff available and search engines typically make the assumption that what you want is new and most recent. It’s not a bad assumption but isn’t always true.

Some times you want to go back….way back. That might call for a song like the one from the Jimmy Castor Bunch but we’re not going back that far!

It happens to me all the time. I remember something from years ago so I search and then just go back page by page until I hopefully find it. Oldest Search solves that problem for me.

It’s designed to go way back and start there and work forward.

The results come from Google which knows and stores most things. Yes, there are ways to get Google to go way back but it does take a little work. Oldest Search just assumes that you want the oldest results.

I thought this implementation was kind of neat and it certainly stole some time from my current work to take a look at things from the past.

VoteThemAllOut


A big shout-out goes to Peter Beens for creating this project and keeping it going for us. He’s written a program that scrapes polling data in advance of the upcoming provincial election and shares it with us.

He makes no attempt to hide his political feelings and provides his thoughts as to we should vote for, by riding.

Of course, when I saw his first announcement of this project, I had to check it out and see what he’d done. Secondly, I had to look at my riding (Essex) to make sure that he’d tagged a former student Ron LeClair as the person to vote for around here.

Then, I took a tour around the province looking at riding where I’d lived in the past. You can check out the data in the spreadsheet that he’s created.

https://bit.ly/37Xtdsi

I thought that the whole effort was a terrific exercise in what you can do with data that’s freely available. Now that the current government has dropped its budget, you know that we’re going to hear all kinds of political activity leading into the June election.

Peter, if you’re reading this, it would be an interesting exercise to do a snapshot of the polling before the election call and to compare it with ongoing opinions as the campaigning begins.

Thanks for doing this.

When it’s on the other foot


I’ve been a fan and use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. If you’re new to the concept, it’s a feature that, when you log in with a new computer or a new browser or something, you enter your login and password and then the service wants a second way to prove that you are who you say you are.

For me, I’ve always opted for the service to send me a text message containing a code which I then put into the browser and the service is then happy to let me in. Another technique that is handy is the Google and/or Microsoft Authenticator app. There probably are others.

I like the sense of privacy and security that it brings to my account.

Over the Christmas weekend, I got a little nervy and tried a Beta feature on one of the browsers on my phone. It seemed to be kind of neat and appeared to work well and do what it says it does. I also have my phone reboot itself first thing in the morning just to keep it fresh and as fast as it can be.

Only, this time when it rebooted, the phone went into an endless cycle of rebooting itself. It would only get so far in the booting process and then give up and reboot. Uh oh.

I grabbed my computer and sure enough, I wasn’t the only person who had ever had this problem so I followed the steps and managed to get it to boot into Safe Mode. That seemed like a good thing. After poking around, the phone suggested that I should reboot to get back to normal and the rebooting restarted. Another launch into Safe Mode and out returned me to the rebooting so I went back to the article and the suggestion was to restore the phone back to factory settings.

All in all, it’s not a bad idea. I don’t know about you but I tend to accumulate stuff on my devices and periodically go on a cleaning binge. This seems to do it all in one shot. And, it did. I couldn’t believe how quickly the restored device booted and was waiting to do stuff for me.

As I logged in, I knew that I was in trouble.

The first block came with Google. It wanted me to verify it with 2FA. If you own an Android phone, you know how it’s kind of important to be able to get to your Google account. I suspect it’s the same way with an Apple device. I’ve been trained for this moment. I just get a text message and then … Wait!

The text message would go to the phone which I was restoring. You’ve got to be able to log in to get it. I did have another old phone handy that I could maybe switch the phone card into but I was in enough trouble to begin with and didn’t want to make it worse.

Fortunately, Google anticipated actions like what I had done and there were “other” ways to prove that it was you. That’s good; the bad part was that a lot of them required a working phone. There was one option to use the Authenticator app. A quick download and I had it on the old phone and it started generating numbers, none of which would work on my mid-boot phone.

Now, I was starting to get a little worried and did some mental math and figured that I might be in line for a phone upgrade anyway. There was one more intriguing option.

It’s available in many sites that use 2FA and that was to use one of the backup codes that I got when I registered. Pfffft. Like I kept those. On a whim, I went to my PC and did some searching to find out how to find these codes. It was actually pretty quick, easy, and straight forward. It’s all described here.

It worked well for Google and then my next step was to reload the applications that I’d lost and reauthenticate. The process was actually fairly quick and simple, if not tedious.

My big takeaway here was to RTFM and not just enough of the manual to get through the first step! I definitely had used the 2FA for browsers but it never dawned on me that I’d end up going the other way on this.