GDPR so far

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a lot of my emailers sending me notices. So far, I’ve been able to get off several elists which never produced any usable links.

That’s not what I expected when this went into effect, but, you know: serendipity.

[serendipity: finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for]


Beating the Yankers

The library provides headphones for students.

The students, over time, destroy the headphones. After all, it’s not like they own them, is it?

Now, to reduce the likelihood that the headphones will be attractive enough to entice thieves, I get big clunky “school” style units, which are also tougher (to some extent).

Still, the biggest problem seems to be that users “yank” the cable out of the computer using the cable, and not by grasping the plug. Enough of that and the wiring starts to come loose, short out, and “these don’t work.”

So I’ve seen some tips (Lifehacker post) which offers a reinforcement. It’s a little different, using zip ties and a flexible adhesive called Sugru. [This is not an endorsement, merely a report on actual use. YMMV]

The idea is to first, wrap the zip tie around the cable right before it enters the plug, very tightly. This provides a good grip on the cable rather than the plug. Instead of the flexible cable, the adhesive is going to grab onto the zip tie.

Then, wrap the plug and cable, embedding the zip tie inside the adhesive.

When the adhesive dries, it has some minimal flexibility but is not sticky.

Pulling on the cable, in theory, also pulls on the adhesive which pulls on the zip tie which also pulls on the plug. It should cause the plug and cable to react as one unit instead of pulling the cable out of the plug. Or so we hope.

We usually purchase a dozen headsets annually, and attrition reduces the number over time. Let’s see if this increases the life span of at least the cables on these.



Passwords to go?

(updated 2018.5.10)

ZDNet has a post on how Microsoft is working to eliminate passwords.

“For Microsoft, multi-factor authentication and biometrics is seen as a good replacement for passwords — using a physical key, and/or your face or fingerprint to log into your device instead of a string of letters and numbers.”

So, we have yet another “key” (more like a USB plug) on our key rings, to forget and leave behind someplace plugged into the computer. I work in a library – do you know how often people forget USB flash drives?  Often, despite our warnings.  Some people should just give up and buy a retractable key ring reel for their belt.

Or we have our faces, which have already been counterfeited with photos (and if your photo i.d. is stolen from online, how do you change your face?!?!).

And there’s fingerprints. Better enter all of them, because if you have a bandage on them (oops! hot object!), it’s useless. And the same problem as faces – even easier to counterfeit (does your smartphone sense real flesh? Mine can be fooled with a stylus) and your fingerprints are impossible to replace if stolen from online storage.

This might not be the answer for a while, yet.  Keep working, Microsoft.


Oh, I see the browsers are doing this.

“That’s thanks to an emerging W3C standard called Web Authentication or WebAuthn, which is enabled by default in Firefox 60 and is coming later this month to Chrome 67, and Microsoft Edge. It’s also under consideration for Safari.

By removing passwords, the WebAuthn API will make phishing attacks a lot harder and gives users more convenient authentication choices, including hardware security key dongles such as a YubiKey device, fingerprint readers on smartphones, or facial-recognition systems like the iPhone X’s Face ID.”

I don’t have a dongle, and my staff computer has no camera or touch screen. So the Firefox 60 I just updated to wants me to start logging in to sync all the stuff I can’t use.

No, thanks, at this point.

Ebooks and overlays, backfired

So I celebrated Ebooks and overlays earlier. I didn’t want to mention my underlying fear.

It’s happened.

I have 160 records from vendor B that just overlaid records from vendor A. They have the same OCLC record numbers.

Nuts. I just knew this was coming. OCLC has multiple ebook vendors on the same records, which leads directly to this situation. And it’s not going to improve in the future, I expect.

Now, I could try to keep both on the same record, but all too often one vendor removes records while the other does not. (At present, vendor B is guilty of this more often, but that could change.) Trying to deal with that could end up being more complex and prone to error.

Now, if I duplicate the records and edit them to be exclusive of each other, at some point in the future, one vendor will want to overlay to delete, which means the catalog cannot decide which to overlay – resulting in a a new record being created. I can usually pick these out by looking for new records created during the overlay of deletion records.

But first, I have 160 records to separate. <sigh!>


Ebooks and Overlays

So finally vendor p..q…. has moved to using OCLC record numbers in the 001 fields of their records, instead of their own numbering system.

That means that I can now download records and — for example — overlay records with a notation to delete them. Huzzah! Couldn’t do that without some complex and expensive shenanigans with importing records before, when the numbering system was non-standard.

So, I take the academic collection as a basis and download that with NO overlays – new records must be inserted for all of them.

Then I take the public library collection (and later one for education, when it becomes available) and overlay it, so I don’t have a bunch of duplicate records. Then I remove duplicate fields, such as the 856 links, and get over 65,000 records (so far).

One little glitch. Not all the records used by this vendor are unique — a few (more than a dozen) are the same numbers as those used by a couple of other vendors, so those records are overlaid. Now I have multiple vendor links in the same records.

So, I have to find those records and make copies, and tweak until I have unique copies of the records with separate vendor links. That way, I can remove records from vendor A without losing records from vendor B.

It would have been nice if p..q…. had taken the original record, copied it, and changed it with their own link, and saved it under another OCLC record number in every case. It would have been. They seem to have done that for the most part, but at this time, there are a few little exceptions — and I have no idea why.

Close, people, really close. 4 out of 5 stars.



I needed to replace my vertical mouse.

I had one for several years, one of the earlier Evoluent models which was very effective although very expensive.

At that time, vertical mice were rare creatures so they could cost more.

It’s finally wearing out, so I went looking for a replacement. Now, however, vertical mice have become very popular and lots of brands and configurations are out there.

I liked this look:

but unfortunately, that’s just a design version. I had to settle for the final production model:

While that looks like a track ball for the scroll, it actually works like a wheel. It’s also lighter.

It cost less than a quarter of what the Evoluent did several years ago, even with shipping and tax added.

Windows 10 Creators Upset

Yes, I titled that correctly. Upset.

So, my Lenovo all-in-one desktop is okay, so far, with the Creators Update. Haven’t broken out the Paint 3D yet to try it, but it’s there.

My Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1 tablet, on the other hand, will not rotate the screen any more. It’s landscape, in one direction, only. Since I primarily use this for documents, especially ebooks, this is not acceptable.

So, I went hunting for solutions. Turns out, Windows 10 has caused rotation problems from the beginning. The Creators Update just hit it for my 2 in 1.

I found 

This had a list of 9 things to try. That’s right: NINE. Doesn’t sound simple, does it? Here goes:

Option #1 – Rotate to Landscape (Flipped)

The fix for me was to put my 2-in-1 laptop into tent mode, which kept the device in landscape view except flipped. Once I did this, I was able to click on the Action Center and the Rotation Lock button was clickable. Once I selected Rotation Lock, it was locked in the flipped landscape mode even after I put the laptop back into laptop mode. To fix this, I right-clicked on the desktop and went to Display Settings. Under Orientation, I changed Landscape (Flipped) to regular Landscape.

If your device doesn’t auto-rotate into Landscape Flipped mode, you can try right-clicking on the desktop and went to Display Settings. Under Orientation, and change Landscape to Landscape (Flipped), then check your Rotation Lock button.

Nope. Can flip but it won’t rotate back when the rotation lock button is set to Off. Tried several things but still not cooperating.

Option #2 – Rotate to Portrait

Using the same steps as above, try using Portrait Mode instead of Landscape (Flipped) mode.

Nope. Portrait mode stays in that mode, even with the Rotation Lock off. Leaving it in this mode is a poor alternative; sometimes I need landscape mode.

Option #3 – Reset Your Device

Users have reported that Rotation Lock function isn’t even showing in the notification area on their Microsoft Surface. You can try to reset your device. To do that, follow these steps:

  • Turn off your device.
  • When device turns off, hold Volume Up and Power button.
  • Choose reset and save option and exit.

After you’ve done that, Rotation Lock should now appear in Notification area, and it should work properly.

Not my problem; mine is not a Surface and I can get the Rotation Lock to show, just not affect anything much. Tried it anyway, but no use.

Option #4 – Disconnect Your Keyboard

If Rotation Lock is grayed out on your Surface Pro 3 or Dell XPS 2-in-1 device (or similar device), you can try disconnecting your keyboard. Users have reported that after the keyboard is disconnected that the Rotation Lock button starts working normally.

Not my problem. Disconnecting the separate ergonomic keyboard by pulling the USB link plug didn’t affect the rotation.

Option #5 – Switch To Tablet Mode

Some users claim that problems with grayed out or missing Rotation Lock button can be fixed simply by switching to Tablet Mode. If your device doesn’t switch automatically to Tablet Mode, you can do the following to access Tablet Mode manually:

  • Click the Action Center button in the Taskbar.
  • When Action Center opens, click the Tablet Mode.


  • Open Settings > System > Tablet Mode.
  • Make sure that Make Windows more touch-friendly when using your device as a tablet is turned On.

No, I have access to the Rotation Lock. It doesn’t matter, but it changes settings. I’ve tried the on-screen lock and the button on the side of the laptop; neither unlocks the rotation.

Option #6 – Change LastOrientation Registry Value

  • Press Windows Key + R and type regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
  • When Registry Editor opens, you need to navigate to the following key in the left pane:
  • In the right pane, find LastOrientation and double click it.
  • In Value data box enter and click OK to save changes.
  • If you see SensorPresent DWORD available, double click it and make sure that it’s value is set to 1.

Already set this way. Changed and changed back. No effect.

Option #7 – Check Sensor Monitoring Service

Problems with Rotation Lock and rotation can be caused by certain services, so let’s check if those services are working properly. To do that, do the following:

  • Press Windows Key + R and type services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
  • When Services window opens, locate Sensor Monitoring Service and double click it.
  • Change the Startup type to Automatic and click Start to start the service.
  • Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Tried. No effect.

Option #8 – Disable YMC service

If you own Lenovo Yoga device and you have problems with rotation and Rotation Lock button, you can fix these problems by disabling the YMC service. To do that, you need to follow these steps:

  • Press Windows Key + R and type services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
  • Locate YMC service.
  • Double click the service to open its properties and set Startup type to Disabled.
  • Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Tried. No effect.

Option #9 – Remove Intel Virtual Buttons Driver

It has been reported that Intel Virtual Buttons driver causes problems with rotation and it also makes the Rotation Lock button grayed out. So far, only solution is to uninstall the driver and to do that you need to follow these steps:

  • Open Device Manager. You can open Device Manager by pressing Windows Key + X and choosing Device Manager from the list.
  • Once Device Manager opens, locate Intel Virtual Buttons driver.
  • Right click it and choose Uninstall.

Apparently I don’t have this driver, period. Not anywhere in the list.

Okay, try elsewhere. Lenovo has something for somebody’s later model laptop:

Re: Lenovo Yoga 3 pro 1370 screen won’t auto rotate

‎03-22-2017 04:36 AM

You have to go to registry under:


and change LastOrientation to 0. You have to also remove SlateEnable key.

Interesting – the LastOrientation has reset to 1. I change back to 0. Shutdown and reboot. Nope, still not rotating. Okay, try again and remove the SlateEnable this time around. Shutdown after that – whoops, wants to do an update. No idea if that will help or hinder. Nope – didn’t matter at all.

So, I am stuck with no rotation unless I do it manually any time I need to:

  1. Right-click on display
  2. Go to Display Settings
  3. Under Orientation lock the setting so the choices are available
  4. Change to Portrait
  5. Unlock the setting

Fortunately, I get by with Portrait most of the time on this laptop, but it’s a nuisance. All settings say the rotation is unlocked, but it just won’t work.

Given that I’m not going to use Paint 3D on this laptop, I certainly hope the security updates are worth it. Microsoft has a long-standing challenge of getting one operating system to run on a variety of machines (I see updates are no longer available for some of the Atom processors at this time). Lenovo ought to be popular enough to get a solution at some point, but given that we’re all trying pretty much the same list of things, it might be a long while, if ever, before I see it. It’s not crippling, just a nuisance, but it serves as a reminder that our high-tech variations can work against us.

The odd part is, it initially loads in landscape (the Lenovo logo, etc.) and then switches to portrait. It did that before this update, but it still does that. It just won’t acknowledge the position of the laptop automatically.

Ah, well.  I watched the movie Passengers this weekend. The computers on the spaceship needed human manual intervention as well, so I guess I’m glad over 5,000 people aren’t going to die if I fail to manually rotate my screen.