Just Browsing (cont…)

Sometimes it feels like the internet is conspiring against me. Maybe I have it coming after all the glib remarks I’ve made over the years.

In any event, today Chrome decided to stop working and instead offered to ‘kill pages’ – all of them!  Sounds a little harsh considering it’s Chrome’s fault it can’t read ’em.

Reluctantly I reverted to Firefox, which decided the Flash plugin hasn’t been updated in a while and thus I shouldn’t be allowed to watch video.

All I want to do this afternoon is watch one webinar. Chrome tells me I need to contact a network administrator to change my proxy settings in order for it to update itself.  Firefox tells me it failed to update the flash plugin with no further information.  If I could find a network administrator who wasn’t busy with bigger issues…

Now I’ve resorted to reading transcripts instead.













Rant over.


I Used F4

I don’t like spread sheets.  Actually, that’s a lie, I do, I really do.  I just wish I was a capable of using them to their full potential.  Ask me to change the colour of a cell, I can handle that, but Pivot tables? What? Computer says Noooo.

Today I got bored of hitting Insert…Row a million times so I Googled ‘how do I insert multiple rows’.

I cannot believe Microsoft still (after how many years?) hasn’t given us the option to choose how many cells we want to insert.  Why is it only one at a time? Or is it just me…?

Anyway, the internet is full of useful people with useful solutions to boring problems.  From the Productivity Blog at technet a blogger (Suzanne100) provided a good workaround for copying cells and inserting to the location you need them.  There were also some helpful comments.  My favourite and the one I will use the most going forward is to go about it the usual way (right click + insert row), then just hit F4 as many times as you like to repeat the operation.

One of these days I will take some time to learn Excel properly.  Until then I shall probably remain a bit of a muppet:


But I don’t know how to code

Lately I’ve been learning about search engine optimisation (SEO) and the many ways you can make your website more appealing to the likes of Google.  They say, quite rightly, that the best way to do it is simply by being relevant and trusted by people looking for information on the topic you publish about.

Still, there are things you can do in the background that are worth noting.  In particular: linking. If lots of people have a link on their site to yours it tells Google that, ‘I trust this person, therefore so should you’.  Google accepts this and ranks your blog higher in search engine result pages.

Of course, this can be done nefariously, either by paying for links or by having fictitious sites link to yours.  This is called black-hat SEO, is unethical, and Google penalises sites which use such practices.

One of the ways you can combat this is by adding a rel=“tag” to the code behind the link.  When Google’s bots crawl your site they see the link and that you have taken the time to further identify how this link is relevant (or not relevant) to you.  Rel=“tags” are used in many ways, one of the things Google is pushing at the moment is authorship tags.  If you are registered as an author with your Google Plus account, and have a headshot online, Google will pick that up and put your smiling face next to your articles in any search results you pop up in. Neat idea.

The opposite of all this is rel=“nofollow”, which is a tag you can put on a link that tells Google, ‘for whatever reason, I do not trust this link and/or I don’t want you to attribute any authority to this URL just because I have a link to it on my site’. Google respects that wish.

The rel=“tags” have further expanded.  Have a look at how easy wordpress makes it for you to identify the relationships you have to your links:

I often find the prospect of manually inserting code quite confusing, frustrating, and always a little bit daunting. This handy widget has the added benefit of being easy, convenient and safe for those of us who are code-shy.

It’s a big scary internet out there, but here are a couple great SEO sites if you want to learn more:


Now go forth and Link!

link from Zelda

It’s Not ‘Just Browsing’ Anymore

This morning I unwittingly (read: pre-coffee) clicked on a Sponsored Tweet, which led me to a YouTube video/commercial for the new Internet Explorer 11.

There have been 11 iterations of IE, I hear you ask? Apparently so.  Who knew?  Probably Microsoft, but I think everyone else just forgot about it, right after they downloaded Chrome or Firefox on their new Windows machine.

The real problem Microsoft has is no one wants to learn how to use a new browser.  People just want the one they’ve got to work better.  Unless, of course, Microsoft has completely reinvented the wheel here, but I somehow doubt that.

Back to the drawing board, please.

Self-deprecating might work when flirting with a love interest, but when one of the largest corporations in the world tries it, well, it just feels slimy and insincere.

image from Tahnee.org

image from Tahnee.org


I have to put this blog on a brief hiatus.  In addition to my work here at TSL, I also serve in the Army Reserve.  Part of my commitment to the Forces means going away for training. This time I’m off for 20 days of climbing mountains somewhere warm (it will not be anywhere near as fun as that might sound, unfortunately).

So, I will leave you with this picture I took on a recent deployment to a very hot and sandy place as a reminder that learning opportunities can be found everywhere, in everything.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.