Tag Archives: links

IT tips #21: Drag your most-used sites on to your links bar in a browser

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I’m sure nearly everybody knows about this, but today’s tip is just a nudge to actually do it: if you have sites that you regularly visit – Facebook, email, the news, an online calendar, Amazon, favourite shops, etc. don’t waste time looking them up in your ‘favourites’. Next time you’re at one of those sites,  just drag the address into the links bar of your browser. Get rid of all the crap ones that were pre-loaded there first, so you’ve got room.

There’s a quick video below of how to do this in Chrome, but the procedure’s the same in every browser I’ve come across:

  1. Delete unwanted links from the links bar (or bookmarks bar as it’s called in Chrome) by CTRL-click  (Mac) or right click (PC) and selecting ‘delete’ for each unwanted link. This makes space for your own links.
  2. Go to  one of your favourite/most used  pages such as your web email account or Facebook, for example
  3. With the mouse, grab hold of the ‘favicon’ (the small image immediately left of the address) and drag it down to an empty space on the links bar. The cursor will turn to a + sign when you’re correctly positioned. Note: if you can’t see the links bar, it’s probably because you’ve opted to remove it from view – so go to the ‘View’ menu and make sure that the links/bookmarks bar is ticked.
  4. Let go of the mouse button (i.e. drop)
  5. Right-click/CTRL-click and edit the name of the link you just dropped  to something short and memorable (so you can get more links in the bar). I use initials – i.e. Metafilter becomes MF
  6. Next time you want to go to one of your favourite sites, just click on the icon in the links bar

NOTES

  • You can re-order the links on the bar by dragging them from left to right
  • If you have links to several pages on the same site, you can create a folder on the toolbar and drop all the links to those  pages into that folder.
  • If your links bar starts running off the right hand side of the screen, delete some links. There’s no point in a links bar where you can’t see the links.

IT tips #17: How to force a YouTube video to start at a particular time point

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Let’s say you want to send someone a YouTube clip or embed it in a post, but the bit that you want them to see is right in the middle of the clip. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just link straight to that part of the clip? Well you can. All you have to do is this. There are two different processes here: sharing a link on something like Facebook, and embedding in a webpage. Both processes are shown below.

Sharing a link 

1. Find the place in the video where you want it to start, and pause the video there.

Click on “share”

share

2. Another menu opens up. Click on “share” and make sure that the box is ticked that says “start at.”

share-start

 

3. The time in the box will be automatically updated from wherever you paused the video – that’s why you have to pause it, because otherwise the time in the box  keeps changing as the video plays. You can manually type in the time, maybe adding or subtracting a second or two if you didn’t quite pause it in the right place.

4. Copy the code and paste it into your Facebook post. Be sure to make a space and press return after the link – this seems to be necessary to cause the video to be embedded.

Embedding 

1. Temporarily turn on “text” mode (not WYSIWYG or “visual”). In WordPress it looks like this (click on the “text” tab”

visual

2. Note the time  that you want the video to start.

3. Convert the time (minutes and seconds) into seconds – so if it’s 2’36, that’ll be 156 seconds

4. Click on “share”

share

 

5. Another menu opens up below. Now click on “embed”

embed

6. In the embed code, right before the final double quotation marks after the link, add ?start= and then the number of seconds, e.g. ?start=156 if you want it to start at 2’36”.

Example:

Embed code: <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/sy5K4YtpNsk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Embed code with start time: 

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/sy5K4YtpNsk?start=156″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

7. Paste this into the place where you want the video to appear in your page.

8. Turn “visual” mode back on (just because it’s easier). A greyed-out screen will appear where your embedded video will be (it will only show up when you preview the page, or publish it).

Legacy instructions

I’ve revised the information above on January 9th 2015  because the previous method (see below) seems now to be obsolete – but leaving it, in case the legacy method is useful for any reason. I’m borrowing the method from this external post, but simplifying and slightly amending it to fit the way it looks on my screen.

Make a note of where the section starts that you want your friend to see

  1. Copy and paste the YouTube link into the email/Facebook, Twitter, whatever it is
  2. Before you press ‘send’ , add the following straight on to the end of the link:

#t=[number of minutes in]m [number of seconds in]s

e.g. if you want to start this clip of the Avengers episode at 17’08”,  the point where it all gets rather camp  at a place called ‘Terpischorean Training Techniques’, you’d add #t=17m8s to the end of the YouTube link, or

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdNy9oWqeKI#t=17m8s>

which will give you this:

Another way to do this is to press  ‘Share’ then select ‘Options’, then tick  the check box next to ‘Start at’.

 

IT tips #14: Use Delicious to store and access web links anywhere

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You might think that having a website is all about self-promotion, but the reason I got a website in the first place was to solve a particular problem: I wanted to access my favourites or ‘bookmarks’ from any computer, not just my personal one. I created a page of useful links related to my work (it’s still there, though it’s not as useful any more) so that wherever I was working, I’d just browse to that page on the web, and could feel instantly at home.

I don’t use it any more because Delicious does it much better. You create a free account, and then whenever you come across a page that you like, you store it in Delicious. You can tag the links in multiple links, search them, make notes on them, and share them, as well as seeing who else in the world has saved the same link. This is a great way to find out about more sites in your field of interest.

Delicious is just one of many ‘social bookmarking‘ sites, but I like it because it’s clean, useful,  relatively free of advertising and geared towards people who take bookmarking and research seriously.  One of the things it’s been most useful for is collecting up sites that offer free sheet music. If I didn’t occasionally return to Delicious to look at my own links, I’d forget about all the places I’ve found over the years.