Screen capture


It was a feature to the Opera browser that I knew was there but didn’t actually use.  If you read my weekly newsletter yesterday, you’ll already know that I used it then.

I’ve always used tools like Jing or Shutter (with a great deal of success and happiness) so had never bothered to even try this feature out.  My bad.  I mean – I have the browser open already, why not use a feature that’s baked into it?

ScreenCapture

Clicking the little camera starts the process.

Capture

There is a fulls screen capture mode but I doubt that I’d use it much.  Instead, a selection appears in the middle of the screen.  Note that their are eight pull points where you can resize the image as needed and then you just “Capture” it.

Snapshot

Next stop is the editor so that you can doctor the final image.

Of course, there is the standard arrow pointing feature but look across the top at the tools.  I could take a picture with my camera and insert it into the image.  Why I’d ever want to do this escapes me at the moment but it’s nice to know that it’s there.

There are a couple of handy features though.

  • Blur – sometimes it’s important to blur part of the image like you’ve captured personal information and want to make it unreadable
  • Emoji – there’s actually a nice collection of emoji just a click away if you want to insert one, or two, or three, or more.  (I’m pretty conservative so I just inserted one above!)
    Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 7.45.53 AM

What impressed me was how quick it was – not that my old way was a huge time suck.

But, I just like to poke around with new things and this did indeed impress me.

If you don’t have Opera installed, you can download one for Linux, Macintosh, or Windows from here.

Quickly find a Wikipedia article


I was intrigued by this Google Chrome extension.  (It also installs in Opera).

As in the “About” function, it only does one thing…

My immediate thought about a use for it is to check essay content if you suspect that a bunch of text has simply been copied and pasted from the Wikipedia.  Of course, content can certainly be legitimately used within writing provided that it’s properly referenced.

Further than that though, Qikipedia is Open Source software and so clicking on the “View Source” like directs you to the source for the project.  It’s good reading for the programmer in you.

You can find the extension on the Chrome Webstore here – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/qikipedia

A feature I didn’t know I needed …


… until this morning, that is.

I turned on my computer and booted it into Linux Mint to do some work and the Update Manager reported that there were a number of updates.  This isn’t a new thing.  I always apply the updates and then go about using the application.  Generally, life goes one and the promise that the developer has “fixed some bugs or tweaked something to give better performance”.  Quite frankly, I just go along with the claims; I don’t spend hours testing them out.  I just figure things get better.

One of the updates was to the Opera Browser.  So, I let the Update Manager do its thing while I did something else.  When it reported that life was good (i.e. everything installed), I opened Opera.  A new tab opened which doesn’t always happen but that’s OK.  It shared that there were some updates.  The cryptocurrency issue was still at the top but I decided to do a quick scroll anyway in case there’s something really different.

And there was.

About half way down, I saw this.

Selection_001

Those reading this blog know that I would have to stop in my tracks and try it.  I literally sucked in my breath.  This is amazing.

I can’t think of the number of times that I’ll be in the middle of reading a long, scrollable article and then wonder who the author was.  Or some key point at the beginning.

My technique is usually to grab my mouse and roll the cursor to the top.  Or do the same thing with my trackpad.  Of, if I’m connected to this external keyboard and using Windows or Linux, just tap the Home button.  For the Macintosh, Home has a different meaning.

Regardless, I’ll admit there are times when I lose track of what I was doing.  It’s like walking into a room and then forgetting why I was going there in the first place!  But now, I can just tap the tab to go to the top and then tap again to return to exactly where I was.  This was built just for me.  I just didn’t know that I needed this feature until I got it!

Add this to the list of amazing things that Opera has added – cryptocurrency protection, Turbo Mode, free VPN, in-browser adblocking, sidebar, …

For me, this is big.  What about you?  How long before other browsers copy this feature?

Cryptojacking


I’ve always been pretty good about keeping my software updated.  These days, it’s important to keep that web browser updated too.  After all, it may be the most used piece of software you have.

In the beginning, it was just to be able to have the collection of the latest and greatest features.  Then, it become a matter of getting rid of bugs.  All of these are admirable things.

The latest concern though, is Cryptojacking.  It’s the process of visiting a website that elects to run code on your computer to make money on the other end.  Scientific American has a good description of the process in this article.  Is Your Computer Secretly Mining Bitcoin Alternatives? A Guide to “Cryptojacking”

Of course, the best course of action is to make sure that you’re running the latest version of your web browser.  That’s what got me going with the blog post yesterday You’re never alone.  Presumably, if you’re running the latest and the greatest browser with appropriate extensions in place, you’re OK.

How OK?

You might be interested in running your browser against this website.  Cryptojacking Test.

Now, I guess open disclosure is everything and the site displays the Opera logo.  Recently, Opera has been advertising the fact that it actively blocks this sort of action in your browser.  Plus, there’s a download link to get a copy of Opera!

Hopefully, I’m safe.

crypto

Whew!

The site reported that 68% of its visitors were safe so either a) we’re getting the message or b) Opera users are checking out the site.

If that doesn’t make you want to make sure that your browser is up to date, I don’t know what will.  It also makes you wonder – what’s the next big thing that’s going to come along?

I also wonder about situations where computers are imaged by IT Departments once or twice a year.  If you’re not protected by running the most current version of the browser, could an entire school or district be targeted for this sort of activity?

 

Less Switching


You know, just when you think your web browser has all the features that any sane person could ever want, something else comes along.

That’s what happened with the newest update to the Opera browser.

I’ll confess that when I get a message that “XXXXXX has been updated”, I seldom check out what was updated.  Usually, it’s security or some feature that I don’t have an immediate use for and I guess I just have just got lazy.

However, the latest version of Opera caught my attention because it directed me to a really colourful webpage after the download.

And, it includes a feature that I didn’t see coming and now that it’s here, I wonder why it took a browser this long to include it.

One of Opera’s nice features is the sidebar.  I keep mine pinned to the side of the screen and have typically used it to quickly get to downloads, open my Personal News, and to access Speed Dial.  But look at what else is there now!

opera_sidebar.png

If you’re into Icons, you should recognize Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram at the very top.  The significance?

There’s nothing that I find more frustrating than doing something in a browser and then getting a notification that I have a new message.  Of course, if I had any willpower, I’d just wait until I’m done doing what I’m doing to check it out.  But, you know what they say about curiosity.

Until this release of Opera, I’d have to leave the tab I’m in and head over to the tab which generated the notification.  No longer!  I just tap the application icon in the sidebar and the conversation pops over my existing workspace.  No more switching.

I was pleasantly surprised with how functional this is.  First of all, the overlay is more colourful and has a bigger font.  That’s a good thing.

But the ability to get at it without switching over, typing a response, and then switching back has been the biggest timesaver I’ve run across in a while.

Give it a shot and see if you don’t agree.  I wonder how long it will be before other browsers copy this feature.