Don’t get fooled by Fake News! A useful tip

I really didn’t want to put Fake News in the headline of this post, but really that is what this post is all about. How to use a reverse image search when you are on a mobile device, so that you can spot a Fake News story.

Recently a friend shared a Facebook story that just didn’t add up. The photo was of a man in hazmat style suit purportedly cleaning up an oil spill in North Dakota. You can see a version of the photo at the top of the article. The story implied some type of conspiracy that was preventing news of the oil spill from being covered.

A Reverse Image Search told a different story

This didn’t make sense to me, especially as I had been following news of an oil spill that was not on the scale shown by the photo. However a few minutes with a reverse image search showed the picture had been taken in China, and had nothing to do with North Dakota. This made the rest of the story even more unlikely.

Performing your search

A reverse image search is easy to do on a mobile device although iOS users need to download the Chrome browser app first.  Sorry, but Safari doesn’t support Googles image search file upload.

With that in mind here are the steps to performing your reverse image search:

  1. Save a copy of the photo locally, this might mean taking a screenshot depending on the posts’ privacy settings. Here you can see the photo I used. Note that the poster changed the photo to Black and White in order to make it harder to search. Didn’t work though!

    Altered version of original oil spill clean up photo
    Black and White photo of oil cleanup effort – altered from original
  2. Open Chrome and go to www.google.ca

    Either google.ca or google.com will work
    Either google.ca or google.com will work
  3. Click the Images link on the page to go to Image search. Currently that link is in the top right corner of the screen.

    Google Image Search, showing Camera
    You are in Image Search, when the camera icon is in the search bar.
  4. Click the Camera icon to see your options for searching using an image file.
    Google image search options
    Google Image search options. Search by pasting the URL of the image or by uploading the file.

    Choose the Upload an Image tab.

  5. Uploading an Image
    Uploading an Image

    Click the Choose File button.

  6. You will be offered a choice of taking a new photo or going to your Photo Library. Select your photo library, and locate the image you saved previously.
  7. The file is uploaded automatically and the search is performed.
    Reverse Image Search Results
     Reverse Image Search Results initial screen

    Make sure you scroll down the page looking for the Pages that include matching images.

    finding pages that include matching images
    Reverse Image Search – Pages that include matching images.

    Reverse Image searches are amazing

Frankly, I was astounded that the image was located even after it had been changed. Reverse image searches are a powerful tool! Whether from malicious intent or the desire to give a story emotional impact, there are all too many posts on the net where images are misused. Don’t be fooled.

WebGenii Supports Redcliff Youth Soccer

Looks like Christmas has come early this year! Here’s a shot of the bags that WebGenii Consulting will be donating to the Redcliff Youth Soccer Association this year.

Pretty fancy, the zippered front pouch is sized to hold a soccer ball.

drawstring soccer bag
Backpack for youth playing soccer in Redcliff

Let me challenge other Redcliff business to step up and support their community organizations!

A little bit of history – lost … and found

Excel has been around for decades, so it isn’t surprising that there are many features tucked away under the hood. What is surprising is when a useful feature is lost and only careful archeology can bring it back to life.

Excel 4.0 had a rudimentary macro language, mostly using excel formula approaches to building functionality. This was replaced by the VBA programming language. But there are still useful little items tucked away in this early language that haven’t been replaced.

One of these is Get.Cell.

Get.Cell had a boatload of switches that allowed the user to pull information about the cell formatting and contents and most of these have been replaced by the Cell and Type functions in Excel.

But one piece of information that Cell and Type can’t tell you is whether your cell or cells contain formulas vs values and sometimes this is a very handy thing to know at a glance. For example, if you build a spreadsheet using formulas to estimate amounts; but then start to drop in values as more concrete information becomes available.

In this situation I like to format cells containing formulas differently from the cells containing values, so that I can see at a glance where my estimates are. Its’ handy to have the formatting change automatically, so I don’t have to remember what my rules are weeks or months later.

This is where Get.Cell shines. The syntax I’m going to use is

=GET.CELL(48,A1) – where A1 is the cell I’m going to reference.

The trick here is that Get.Cell is NOT entered in a cell, but instead as a named formula. After creating the named formula, I can reference it while applying conditional formatting. In this way, when the type of content in the cell changes the conditional formatting automatically updates.

Using a named formula in Conditional Formatting - dialog box
Using a named formula in Conditional Formatting

Where does one find information about the Get.Cell function? Not from Microsoft or at least not easily from Microsoft.

Try this post https://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/20611-info-only-get-cell-arguments.html   to see the possible switches for Get.Cell

 

 

PowerPoint 2016 – a change in Guides

I noticed this improvement to guides in PowerPoint 2016 the other day.

If you apply your guides while in Master View, you can’t inadvertently move them while in Normal View. This is great! And consistent with the way objects behave between normal and master views.

By the way – guides applied in Normal View, can still be moved around in normal view. Like I said – consistent!

A handy coupon app

Those foot long cash register receipts drive me crazy (I’m looking at you PetSmart), and it’s even worse when you have to save them for a month or more to take advantage of the coupon printed on them.

I’ve recently come across an app  – SnipSnap, that addresses this problem. You take a picture of the coupon and it reads the barcode and saves the coupon details. My bulging wallet is going to get some relief.

A couple of caveats, the app is prone to sudden crashes when deleting coupons. Also, it is finicky about the light conditions and quality of the receipt, so try to photograph as unwrinkled a receipt as possible. Even so, it is worth a try.

Updates to the Prairie Rose School Division Calendar

I keep a google version of the Prairie Rose School Division school calendar. This is for my own use, and is not maintained by Prairie Rose. However, you are welcome to subscribe to it. Having a subscription calendar certainly makes life easier!

Prairie Rose has published their school calendar until June 2019.

If you are interested in my previous posts about calendar sharing you can check them out here:

 

 

Highlighting the Current Year

Here is a version of a spreadsheet that I’ve been using for a couple of years to track and plan capital purchases. A number of people review this spreadsheet and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to read the spreadsheet. You’ll notice that the Budget year is highlighted in green and items being purchased in that year are highlighted as well. This is accomplished with our friend conditional formatting and the following spreadsheet functions:

  • ADDRESS
  • ROW
  • COLUMN
  • MATCH
  • INDIRECT
  • ISBLANK
Spreadsheet with automatic highlighting
Capital Budget Spreadsheet – note the row and column (year) highlights

This spreadsheet makes use of a helper column of formulas. Rows where the value equals TRUE are highlighted.

The Helper column holds formulas
The Helper column holds formulas

Cells give a value of TRUE when there is a value for that row in the Budget Year selected in cell A1. You can see that 2017 has been selected as the Budget Year and that rows 9 and 20 have a value for that year and are highlighted as a result.

This is the formula that returns the value

=ISBLANK(INDIRECT(ADDRESS(ROW(),MATCH($A$1,$F$2:$AU$2,0)+5,3,TRUE)))=FALSE

Working from the interior of the formula outward.

MATCH($A$1,$F$2:$AU$2,0)

This looks for a match between the value in A1 and the Budget year headings which start in cell F2 and go to AU2 (the year 2033, which is incredibly optimistic – but that is another story). MATCH returns the number of the first item in that array of cells that matches the value in A1. This is why even though there are two columns for every year (a Budget column and an Actual column) MATCH will only return the Budget column, as it is the first value to match.

So the result of MATCH($A$1,$F$2:$AU$2,0) is 9

However, if I actually want to capture the column I need to to add 5 to compensate for the fact I have 5 columns (A-E) before column F and the year headings begin.  This is why I’m adding 5 in the formula.

MATCH($A$1,$F$2:$AU$2,0)+5 =14

In the next step I use ADDRESS and ROW to capture the address of the cell I’m testing.

ADDRESS(ROW(),14,3,TRUE))

ROW() captures the value of the row of the cell where the formula is written. If the formula is in A3, then row() returns 3.

ADDRESS turns the cell address of the referenced cell (not its’ contents). In our example; ADDRESS(3,14,3,TRUE)=”$N3″

The ISBLANK function in the next step has a bit of a hiccup with that “$N3” string, so we use INDIRECT to convert that string to something ISBLANK can understand.

Finally, ISBLANK is used to test if there is a value in the referenced cell or not. If there is nothing in the cell ISBLANK = TRUE.

If ISBLANK = TRUE, then the last portion of the formula looks like this: TRUE does not equal FALSE, so the result of the formula in cell A3 is FALSE.

I could have put that formula into the conditional formatting dialogue – but for clarity and ease of working I choose to make the helper column instead.

In the conditional formatting dialogue I’ve used the following formula =$A3=TRUE

I’m using a simpler version of the formula in the conditional formatting dialogue to highlight the year.

=MATCH($A1,$F$2:$AU$2,0)+5=COLUMN()

In this case I find the column number of the year and test to see if it matches the column number of the current cell. If it does then the cell receives a green highlight fill.

Cell A1 uses Data Validation to offer the user a nice drop-down list of years.

PowerPoint – Making a Mask

Creating a mask effect in PowerPoint is easy, once you’ve located the Shape Combine command. You can add this command to the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar.

Below, you see it being added to my toolbar.Adding the Shape Combine Command to the Toolbar

Adding the Shape Combine Command to the Toolbar, alternately look for the Combine Shapes command as more options are available.The command will not be active until there are two shapes selected. Below, I’ve created a blue rectangle and a red oval. The oval shape will be cut out from the rectangle.Blue rectangle with red oval positioned for the cut out.

Blue rectangle with red oval positioned for the cut out.You may prefer to add the Combine Shapes command instead. More options are available as you can see below.

Select the shapes you wish to combine.
Both shapes are selected, so the Combine Shapes button is active

The result of the Shape Combine command, a rectangle with an oval “hole: in the center.The result of the Combine Shapes Command

The result of the Combine Shapes CommandOnce the mask is created, you can dress it up. Below, I’ve changed the fill to an image of a leafy forest floor.The forest floor has a hole in it.

The forest floor has a hole in it.Now I can layer whatever image I wish (in this case a frog) under the mask. You can animate the layer underneath the mask. Can you image a wheel of creatures rotating into the viewpoint in the center of the mask? That would be great for a talk about ecology!

Can you spot the frog?
Can you spot the frog?

 

Add a Google Calendar to a Facebook Page

 

Adding a public Google Calendar is a great way to present activities in an easily shared fashion.

To add a Google Calendar to your Facebook Page, you will first need a Facebook Page (not a personal profile page) and a Google (Gmail) account.

Create the Google Calendar

Make a public calendar. This can be an existing calendar or one created for this purpose.

Make the Calendar Public

After the calendar has been created, click on the drop-down arrow beside the calendar name and choose Calendar Settings. The Calendar Details page will open.

Click the Share this Calendar link.

The checkbox turning on Public Access
Making a Google Calendar Public

 

Enable the Make this calendar public checkbox.

Click the Save button.

The calendar view will be displayed.

Customize the Calendar HTML Code

Return to the calendar’s details page.

Click on the drop-down arrow beside the calendar name and choose Calendar Settings. The Calendar Details page will open:

finding the HTML to display the Google Calendar
Locate the Embed this Calendar section

Scroll down the page and find the Embed This Calendar section.

Click on the Customize the color, size, and other options link.
A new window or tab will open, the Google Embeddable Calendar Helper:

Google Embeddable Calendar Helper
Google Embeddable Calendar Helper

 A preview of your calendar is visible. You can change the title, default view and other elements of the calendar. The view will update to show you what your calendar will look like when the changes are applied. If you do make changes, be sure to press the UPDATE HTML button to ensure those changes are reflected in the HTML.

Be prepared to copy and paste the HTML code. However, do not do so yet.

Add the iFrames Tab app to your Facebook Page

From your Facebook page go to https://www.facebook.com/StaticHtmlThunderpenny/

Click the Use App link on the left hand side of the page.

The Static HTML: iframe tabs page will appear:

view of Thunderpenny app installation page
Static HTML: iframe tabs, Add Static HTML to a Page

Click the Add Static HTML to a Page button.

The Add Page Tab window will open:

Add Page Tab dialog box
Choose your Facebook Page to add the Page Tab too.

Click on the drop-down Facebook Pages Button and select your Facebook Page.

Click the Add Page Tab button.

You will be routed to the Set Up Tab view. Click the Set Up Tab button.

Follow the instructions in the index.html area

Copy the HTML code that you customized previously for your Google calendar into the index.html area.
Replace the instructions with your code (or the instructions will appear along with your calendar).

The Static HTML customization window.
The Static HTML window. Paste your calendar code here.

Click the Save & Publish button.

Name the Tab

From your Facebook Page, select Settings.

Finding the App Settings after installation
Return to Settings to Name the Tab

Click on the Apps category on the left.

Apps that have been added will be listed on the right.

From the Static HTML: iframe tabs app section, click on the Edit Settings link.

The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box will appear:

The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box
The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box

Enter the name of your calendar in the Custom Tab Name: text box.

Click the Save button.

Click the OK button.

You can also add an image that will appear beside the link on the right hand side of your page.

Additional Ideas

Now the App code has been connected to your Facebook page, additional tabs can be added. Any piece of embeddable HTML code can be used. For example; on-line catalog search code. To add additional tabs, return to the page Settings and select Apps.

Click the Go to App link for the Static HTML: iframe tabs app.

The app will walk you through creating an additional tab.

Woobox has an app called Tweet Feed for Pages, which will embed your Twitter feed into a tab on your page. The concept is similar to embedding a Google Calendar. Woobox’s app will walk you through the process of adding the tab.