FIXED: Printing sites in FrogLearn

November 11, 2014

Not so much a fix as a hack, but it works, it’s quick and it solves a problem.

Bagel holder  from a CD spindle

This is an AWESOME lifehack!

At Cramlington, we switched on FrogLearn in September 2014 and it’s been a great success so far.  Our teachers have loved the control they have and the flexibility of editing anywhere.

Issue

What they haven’t loved is the frustration that comes with trying to print a lesson plan.

A Cramlington Lesson plan

Pictured: A pretty lesson

Print view

Pictured: a not so pretty lesson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the way FrogLearn generates sites, you end up seeing all layers when attempting to print.

Why print?

One could ask the question: “if all your lessons and materials are online, why do you need to print at all?”

Let’s just say, there are certain bodies out there who like the concept of a printed lesson plan and leave it that at.

I should also add that Frog are aware of this issue and I believe are working towards a fix.

The Solution

I’ve outlined the solution in the video below:

 

  1. Drag to select all the text you want to print
  2. Go to the Print settings in Chrome
  3. Choose Selection only

And that’s it. At least it worked for me. Hopefully it will help you as well.


FIXED: Webpages display correctly without using Compatibility Mode

May 19, 2014

Something strange started happening with Internet Explorer last year.  When IE10 turned up, it seemed like it rewrote the rule book on how the browser displays web pages.   For instance, if you hadn’t coded your font name in your style sheets absolutely correctly, then you had to deal Times New Roman.

Time's New Roman

That’s not what I meant!

Now of course, one should code their style sheets correctly.  But realistically, the rules change too often and there’s just too many pages I’ve built while on a learning curve.  I do not believe anyone can be reasonably expected to maintain and update static pages as browser standards change.

If you disagree…

Good for you.  Well done on having a differing opinion.  This post is not for you.  This post is to help others like me beat the system.

The Compromise

So, if something stops working in the latest version of the browser, you can switch on Compatibility Mode/View.  The problem with this is it displays everything like it’s in IE6/7.   Which means you lose anything clever or fancy.

The Solution

What’s needed is some way of telling IE to use all the bits you have at the time of coding, but don’t change things when you add new features.

And thanks to a long Google search (not having a clue what to search for) I eventually found this:

<meta http-equiv=”x-ua-compatible” content=”IE=9>

This single line of code at the top of a webpage, tells IE to run a webpage as if it is displaying it in Internet  Explorer 9, or 10 (content=”IE=10″) etc…

I love the simplicity of this.  It gives me the freedom to build a site/system however I need to and I know that there won’t be a massive panic when the browser updates and suddenly some bit of jQuery/CSS stops working.


FIXED: Playing MP3 files in Windows Media Player from IE (instead of Quicktime)

February 18, 2013

Preamble

OK, before I start. I don’t want to hear about Chrome, Firefox, Winamp, iTunes or frankly anything else. It’s taken me an absolute age to find a solution to this on the internet and almost every forum I went on where someone was having this issue, there was someone else suggesting they just change browser or media player.

I can’t. We run RM CC4 at school, which uses Internet Explorer 8/9 and Windows Media Player.

If you’re a fanboy (or fangirl) of another set up, good for you. Glad you’ve got the freedom to do so. Now shush, this article isn’t for you.

The Problem

For the rest of us, there’s a really annoying issue if you have Quicktime installed and you’re using IE8 or IE9.  When you click on a link to an MP3 file, instead of delivering the file, the window gets taken over by thew Quicktime logo , shortly followed by a whole page of white with a tiny play bar in the middle.  Not pretty, not flexible and kinda annoying.

Quicktime

You get this followed by…

The Playbar

…this

The Extended Problem

A lot of people blame Apple for this, but I think the blame lies with Microsoft (when you see the solution).  The issue is that Microsoft have changed the way you control what plays what, but the parallels with the old system are still there, so lots of forums and help sites list the old way, which no longer works.

The Solution

Inside Internet Explorer, do to the following:

  • Click on Tools
  • Internet Options (yeah, Internet Options, not Manage Add-ons)
  • Click on the Programs tab
  • Click Set Programs

At this point, a window for the Control Panel opens up .  It looks like, but is not the Default Programs area of the Control Panel.

Default Programs page

  • Click on the Set program access and computer defaults link
  • Check Custom
  • Click on the down arrows

Set access

  • Scroll down to Choose a default media player :
  • Check Windows Media Player
  • Click OK

And that’s it.  At least it worked for me.   Hopefully it will help you as well.

 

 


FIXED: Frog’s Kerboodle widget

December 14, 2012

Kerboodle is an online subscription resource site.  Frog is our VLE.   And Frog’s official Kerboodle widget allows single-sign-on from Frog to Kerboodle.   So no different usernames or passwords to remember.

Kerboodle

Kerboodle’s Frog widget. Big, isn’t it.

Unfortunately, when I downloaded the official widget from Frog, we discovered a really odd issue.  For our students and teachers on Windows XP machines running IE8* the widget doesn’t appear as a button?    The image is there, but that’s it??  My best guess is that some obscure security setting prevents part of the widget code from running.

Boring background bit (and some name checking)

Fortunately, I was at a Microsoft event hosted at the impressive Harton Technology College in South Shields.   Sean O’Shea (@SeanOfTheNorth) from Microsoft had invited me there to have a look at Surface and Office 365 and both are really very cool.   But more about these in future posts.  Frog had a stand there and Frog’s partnership manager Adrian Bantin (@thebantin) was on hand.

Adrian is a really nice guy and when I explained the issue, he sent me the FDP code that sits behind the widget.

Solution

I found a solution.  This might not work for you, but it works for us.  I’ve also sent it to Frog so they can pull it apart and see if they like it.   But in the meantime, this seemed to be the code which caused the issue:

widget.onLoad = function(){

var link = widget.createElement(‘a’,{‘onClick’:’javascript:openKerboodle();’,’style’:’cursor: pointer;’});    

link.setHTML(‘<img src=”http://appstore-misc.frogdev.co.uk/resources/images/uwa/kerboodle/logo.png” /></br>’);  

widget.setBody(link);                

}

Now, I think what’s happening is that this line:

var link = widget.createElement(‘a’,{‘onClick‘:’javascript:openKerboodle();‘,’style’:’cursor: pointer;’});

isn’t rendering in the browser.   But there’s more than one way to skin a cat or in this case call a Javascript function.  Which is what this code is doing.  It’s saying when you click on the image, run the function openKerboodle().

Another way of doing exactly the same thing is:

onClick=”javascript:openKerboodle();“>

This method is more traditional, the code goes inside the body tag instead of inside an onLoad function and most importantly (seems to) work.

Full code

xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”      

xmlns:frog=”http://fdp.frogtrade.com/ns/”      

xmlns:widget=”http://www.netvibes.com/ns/“>    

<head>        

<title>Kerboodle</title>        

<meta name=”frogLib” content=”1.1″ />        

// <![CDATA[
src
=”
// ]]>https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.0/jquery.min.js”></script>

    <script>            

 <![CDATA[

                widget.onLoad = function(){                                   

openKerboodle = function(){                        

 UWA.Data.getText(‘http://www.kerboodle.com&#8217;, function(data){displayHtml(data);});                    

};               

  }

                displayHtml = function(data){                    

window.open(data);                               

}

 ]]>    

</script>

</head>

<body>

openKerboodle();”> http://appstore-misc.frogdev.co.uk/resources/images/uwa/kerboodle/logo.png /> </a>

</body>

</html>

Here’s a link to the text version, just in case the browser corrupts the code.  Make sure you download the file.  For some reason, the code doesn’t show up in the MediaFire browser.

 

 

*Can’t use other browsers.   Please don’t bore me with how wonderful Chrome and Firefox are.   Don’t care, not my department.  We’re stuck with IE.


FIXED: Read-only error on your phone’s SD card

September 4, 2011

Argh! Pants!  Nooooooo!  I’ve knacked my phone!?!?!?!

Just some of the many thoughts that went through my head on Friday when in the middle of a workshop, I went to show someone a picture I’d taken on my phone.   Suddenly the gallery crashed and an alert popped up saying “SD Card Readonly” or something equally terror inducing.

Adding to the panic, all my Apps disappeared, just leaving their names on the desktop with the generic Android logo.  It was like a graveyard.

Trying to calm down the panic, I turned the phone off.  Then turned it on again.   The alert came straight back.  I imagined the chortles of iPhone fans taunting “this doesn’t happen with Apple products”.

Removing the battery and starting up still didn’t fix the problem. 

That’s when I turned to the internet.  And as always, it solved my problem.  Eventually. 

How your parents see you when you're fixing their computer

How your parents see you when you're fixing their computer

What really hapens

What really hapens

Plenty of others have experienced this same panic and the default suggestion is… well let’s not say pig-stupid, let’s use the term over-reaction.    You see in some IT support circles the next stage after “turn it off and turn it back on again” is “format the storage”.  It’s sort of like demolishing a railway line and building a new one next to it just because there were leaves on the track.

All I needed to do was:

  • Plug my phone into my PC and open My Computer.  
  • Right-clicking on the SD drive icon and choosing Tools
  • Then click the Check Now button in the error-checking section.
  • Windows will then scan the drive and correct the errors.

Tools, Error Checking

It’s the same process that happens when you plug in a memory stick that was ejected incorrectly.

Phew, panic over.


Frog and UserPHP (and parents) – solution

June 7, 2011

We run Frog as our VLE and I have to say, it’s great.  It’s certainly the most robust and user friendly platform I’ve seen.

But like everything in life there are niggles.  The biggest gripe of recent months is their FDP and their lack of support for UserPHP.

Not wanting to bore you (too late!) but basically, it all boils down to the way you get extra functionality out of Frog.  Their original concept was a walled garden allowing advanced users the ability to program in PHP (if you know what that is, you’ll understand, if not PHP allows clever things to happen).

Trouble with walled gardens is they tend to have their walls collapse onto next door’s greenhouse.

So, Frog last year annouced a much better concept, UWA code contained inside IFRAMES so they couldn’t damage the Frog server.  Sort of a window box to extend the horticultural metaphor.

This works quite well, except you can’t do much in a window box.  So we kept our walled garden and occasionally had to  repair some broken glass.

The trouble was/is Frog don’t support for UserPHP and their latest update caused us all sorts of problems for our existing UserPHP.  Especially for our parents, who suddenly were blocked from seeing our UserPHP code at all!

On the face of it, this doesn’t sound too serious, but it is.  It wrecked our parents portal.  And Frog Support were baffled.  To their credit, they didn’t completely wash their hands of it, but its stumped them all the same.

Step forward yours truly.  Through a process of trial and error, I’ve found a fix.   If you have lost access to UserPHP for a group of users:

  • Find the new “Roles” page in the Admin Section of the Toolkit
  • Find “Use and Manage pages”
  • Check all the options for user group

Phew, another problem sorted 🙂


Quick tip: Moving non-moveable Android Apps onto your SD Card

May 28, 2011

Just came across this problem recently.  My phone’s internal memory is rapidly filling up and I’ve moved all the apps I could onto the SD Card.  But some, including the biggest, Adobe Air, are unable to be moved this way.

There is a way around this, but the instructions on this site – webkitchen.be – left me a bit confused.  A couple of important steps for the moderate user were left out.

So here’s my version of the same guide:

  • Download and install the Android SDK from here
  • Set your phone to USB Debugging by going to the Applications menu and choosing Development.
  • Connect your phone via USB to your Windows PC.
  • Open a ‘cmd’ window from your start menu –  (in the search box, type ‘cmd’)
  • Mine opened with the following: “C:\Users\GQuince>
  • You now have to ‘navigate’ to the SDK folder in DOS.
  • To do this, type “cd folderpath”  – don’t type folderpath, type the actual path to the folder, eg Downloads\android-sdk_r06-windows\android-sdk-windows\tools

UPDATE:   The latest version of Android sdk has moved the adb program from tools to platform-tools.  New address is Downloads\android-sdk_r06-windows\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools.

  • You need to end up in the tools folder of the Android SDK.
  • Once you’re in this folder, type the following, then hit return:

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

  • adb is the program you’re wanting to run.  The rest are the details telling the program what to do.  This is why you needed DOS to be in the same folder.  Personally, I think this is a crucial step that delayed me about 30 minutes trying to figure out.
  • Once you’ve done this, you can now move almost any App to your SD card.  So far, I’ve only moved Adobe Air, but that has freed up about 16 Mb.
  • I followed the original posters advice, and typed this into the cmd window to reset everything, “adb shell pm setInstallLocation 0“. 
  • And don’t move Adobe Flash, as the internet browsers do need quick access to that.

This is a problem that’s going to disappear quite quickly as newer phones are coming out with much larger internal memory.  But it’s been a huge benefit to me, as I have another year at least with my HTC Desire.

This has worked for me and looking at the original tutorial’s comments, it’s worked for a lot of other people too, but dont blindly do this without thinking first.  I can’t and won’t take responsibilty for you breaking your phone.  Ultimately, if my phone had stopped working, I wouldn’t have known how to fix it, but I know how to use the internet to find out how.  Do you?