Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Those Pesky "Request to Access" Emails from Google Docs...

Many of the participants at Google Summer Camp this summer, and Google After Hours last spring, took time to create or improve their Google website. One of the things that makes Google Sites appealing is how easy it is to embed or link Google documents, calendars spreadsheets, etc on your webpage. Teachers use this feature to link their course syllabus or lesson plans that can be quickly updated in Google Drive and live synced with your Google webpage.

Since starting or improving your Google Site this summer, you may have received emails like this requesting access to a document:

These emails are most likely coming from students or parents, but may also be coming from other teachers wishing to view your lesson plans or posted assignments. What this means is that you skipped a step. Even when your website is public on the web, all of the documents retain their sharing settings, so if you have the document set to "private" then no one can access the link or open the embedded document. Simply changing the sharing settings in Google Drive will stop these emails from clogging up your inbox. 

Follow these steps to ensure that your documents are viewable, but cannot be edited by people visiting your website.

1. Click the Share button in the top right corner of your screen. Click Advanced in the Share with Others box that pops up.

2. In the Advanced Sharing Settings Window, click "Change"

3. Click the radio button next to "Anyone with the link" and then make sure it says "can view" at the bottom. Hit save and you are on your way to less email clogging up your Inbox.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about this process, give Sarah (x2216) or Cara (x2587) a call in the Tech Coach office.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Browser History, Cache and Cookies, Oh My!

You may have heard of cache and cookies related to web-browsing and thought, while craving a sleeve of thin mints and a glass of cold milk, what in the world does that mean? Put simply, when a web browser is used to access the internet, that web browser, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, saves a little bit of the information from the website you are visiting. For example, if you frequently visit a webpage that contains a lot of images, your browser may save some of the images so that the webpage can load faster. Cookies and cache are also what are used to autofill your username and password on some websites.

What happens when you visit the same sites over and over again is that your web browser may try to access cached data that has timed out. That makes your browser think that you are signed in already, but the website things that you need to sign in again. This can cause a multitude of problems with the access to the site that can cause problems like blank pages, pages that look like a bunch of colored text, etc.

Periodically clearing your cache and cookies can help with this. Honestly, this is not something that I remember to do on a regular basis on its own, but it is one of the things that I try when troubleshooting a problem accessing a web page. The instructions are below, inserted from: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95582

Delete all your data

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Tools.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove.
  5. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything.
  6. Click Clear browsing data.
You can choose any timeframe for deleting cache and cookies, but generally I choose "the beginning of time." You will also have options for what types of browsing history to clear. I generally choose the top 4 boxes and that solves the problem most of the time.