How to hide accept cookies messages from websites

Last year, a new law forced websites to be more up front about how they store and use your data. The law is great but the accept cookies messages get annoying after a while and to be perfectly honest, not many people are reading them. Some websites will show you the accept cookies message no matter how many times you visit. The message only goes away if you sign in to the website and accepting or dismissing the message isn’t enough. If you’re tired of the seeing the accept cookies messages, you can install an add-on or an extension called I don’t care about cookies and hide them all.

Hide all accept cookie messages

The I don’t care about cookies add-on/extension is available for both Firefox and Chrome. Once you’ve installed the add-on/extension, you won’t see any more messages asking you to accept cookies.

You should know that this add-on/extension will not automatically accept cookies for you. It’s only hiding the messages. This means that if you’re visiting a website that needs to save cookies, it won’t work as intended unless you accept the cookies.

The add-on/extension does have a whitelisting option so you can use that when you need to accept cookies from a website. To whitelist a website, click the add-on/extension’s icon next to the URL bar and from the context menu, select the ‘Disable extension on website’ option. You may need to reload the website to execute the change so if you’re in the middle of something like filling out a form, do what you can to save your progress.

To add websites enmasse to the add-on/extension’s whitelist, click it and select Options from the context menu. This will open the whitelist that you can add domains to. Enter one domain per-line and click the Save Settings button at the bottom.

In case you want to use this add-on/extension in incognito mode for Chrome you will need to enable it from the extensions’ page in Chrome. By default, Chrome doesn’t allow extensions to run in a private browsing window. Firefox on the other hand will allow all add-ons to run in private browsing mode.

If you’re using a browser other than Firefox or Chrome, and you want to hide the accept cookies messages, you can try using an ad blocking extension that can also block certain elements on websites. It’s a long shot but it might work if you find an extension that is sophisticated enough to do the job.

Read How to hide accept cookies messages from websites by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check if you were affected by the Facebook photo bug

If Facebook is still around in ten years, it is possible that the company  will gloss over 2018 when writing its own history. This has not been a good year for Facebook in any sense of the word and that’s not even because profits were down somewhat. Facebook’s reputation has taken several hits after its poor practices with respect to user privacy came to light on several occasions. It prompted many users to want to delete Facebook. Despite all that, the company still saw fit to launch its video chat device Portal. Things seem to keep getting worse with the recent Facebook photo bug that exposed users’ photos to apps.

Check Facebook photo bug

Facebook recently had to disclose (read: admit before someone else told on them), that a bug caused photos to become visble to third-party apps. These photos are photos that normally these apps weren’t allowed to access. Specifically, the photos that your shared to your Facebook story were exposed. Facebook stories expire after 24 hours and per this bug, the apps that had access to them were able to keep the photos past that period. If you’re wondering whether your photos were exposed, you can check here.

If your photos were indeed exposed, the page will tell you what to do though, the page isn’t very encouraging for users who weren’t exposed to the bug. The page says it is ‘Instructing developers to delete the photos’, which is nice but what’s to say the developers will actually delete them or not take any back up before deleting them?

The bug is only two weeks old but it is concerning nevertheless. Facebook stories aren’t exactly a popular feature but that doesn’t mean people don’t use it. The fact that it’s not very popular is the only reason the number of affected users is comparatively small.

As with any security breach involving Facebook, it’s a good idea to review which apps have access to your Facebook account, and what information they have access to. The year is almost over so if nothing else, add this to your end-of-year social media cleaning and remove all apps you don’t use or apps that seem to need more information than is necessary.

Our Facebook ID has become a default sign in option for loads of apps and services. This was a good thing until Facebook began to exploit it. It might be time to go back to signing up for services and creating actual accounts for apps instead of clicking the ‘Sign up using Facebook’ option.

Read How to check if you were affected by the Facebook photo bug by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to screenshot YouTube videos [Firefox]

Screenshot tools are absurdly common both for the desktop and for browsers. In fact, you can even find tools that let you take screenshots of your desktop and entire websites from the terminal/command prompt. If you have a very specific screenshot need i.e., you need to screenshot YouTube videos, and you need an easy way to do it that other tools don’t give you, you can try the YouTube Screenshot Button add-on for Firefox.

Screenshot YouTube videos

Download the YouTube Screenshot Button add-on, and then visit YouTube. Select a video to play, and next to the closed caption button, you will see the ‘Screenshot’ button. Click it to take a screenshot.

You will see the Firefox download file dialog box which gives you the option to open the image or to save it. This is where the add-on shines. It saves the screenshot with the same name as the video that you’re taking a screenshot of, and it will also append the time from the video that the screenshot was taken on to the name.

The add-on saves screenshots as a PNG file however the file is in fact a JPG file. If you try to open it, it likely will not open unless you change the file’s extension from PNG to JPG.

The size of the screenshot depends on the size of the video player. The add-on works in all three video player sizes including the full screen player. It doesn’t work in the PiP mode but for all other player sizes, the Screenshot button will be there.

If you’re having trouble figuring out the best size for the player and the Firefox window, it’s best to take a screenshot in full screen or, you can resize the Firefox window to the correct resolution. As for the little bug with the file extension, there’s no option to change the file extension when you download files through Firefox’s download box. Your only option is to rename the file after it’s been downloaded. If you have an image viewer that can correctly display the file even if the extension isn’t correct, you don’t have anything to worry about but most image viewers will likely throw an error.

You can use IrfanView to view these images. It not only detects the correct extension for a file, it can also fix it. All you have to do is allow it to make the fix and it will take care of the rest.

Read How to screenshot YouTube videos [Firefox] by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check if Xbox Live is down or not

Xbox is a popular gaming platform and Xbox live is a service that you can’t really avoid. It’s owned by Microsoft so even if you don’t play games on an Xbox, you can’t really escape it though Xbox live may not be as unavoidable on a PC. Xbox live may be a great service but like all services, it’s prone to technical problems where it may go offline. If you’re unable to sign into Xbox, or are having other problems with the service, it might be because Xbox Live is down. Here’s how you can check.

Xbox Live – down or not

Since Xbox and its services are a Microsoft property, you can imagine how slow a response there normally is and when there’s a response, it normally only acknowledges a problem with the service without giving you too many details. If you need to keep a close eye on the service, consider using a website called DownDetector.

There’s no shortage of monitoring services for Xbox but DownDetector offers you a live coverage map which, in case of regional and/or intermittent outages, is more useful. The web service lets you view a history of outages and it also has apps for Android and iOS, and an Alexa skill.

By default, it will tell you if there’s currently an issue with Xbox but if you want to see a live coverage map, click the little thumbnail next to the 24 hour graph depicting outages and how extensive it is.

The indicated areas have problems with Xbox live. You can use the zoom in controls to zoom into parts of a map and see if your particular area is also affected.

Often, the outages can take a long time to actually show up and be acknowledge however, if it’s a global outage you can expect a quicker response from Microsoft. Regardless of how quickly an outage is acknowledged, it is nevertheless fixed as fastest possible. The Xbox is an exceptionally popular platform and Microsoft pushes it onto its users even if they’re using a PC so it’s highly unlikely that resolving an outage will take too long.

If you’re having problems with Xbox live, and there are no detected outages in your area, you might need to troubleshoot your device as well as your internet connection. It’s also a good idea to make sure access to the service hasn’t been blocked on a router level. ISPs aren’t going to block access to the service but other users who can access your router might have made the change for whatever reason.

Read How to check if Xbox Live is down or not by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create and share collections on Facebook

Facebook added a bookmarking feature a few years ago to both its web and mobile apps. This feature, known as ‘Saved’ allows you to save anything from links, photos, pages, to places and events. It’s useful for when you need to recall something. After 4 years, the feature is finally being updated. You can now selectively group items from your Saved list into collections. You can then share collections on Facebook with your friends and invite them to contribute to them as well.

Collections on Facebook

You can create and share collections on Facebook from both the desktop web version and from the apps.

Facebook Web

Visit Facebook and from the column on the left, click Saved. On your Saved page, you ought to see a New Collection button. Click it, give your collection a name, and you’re done.

Once you’ve created a collection, return to the Saved list and you will see a ‘Add to Collection’ button next to every single item in the list. Click it, select the collection you want to add the item to, and it will be added to the collection.

To share a collection with a friend, and invite them to add items to it as well you’re going to have to go to the Facebook apps. The collaboration feature has not been added to the web interface.

Facebook app

Make sure your Facebook app is up to date. Open the app and go to the hamburger tab. Tap Saved, and on the Saved screen you will see a Create a Collection button. Tap it, name your collection, and you can start adding items to it.

Collections on the Facebook app are far better designed compared to the web interface. You can add collaborators from the collection’s page by tapping the Invite button, and you can add items to it by tapping the Add Items button. On the app, you can add items from your Saved list and also from outside it.

This feature is going to be handy. The Saved list allows you to retrieve pages and posts you’re interested in and Collections will allow you to collaborate with your friends if you’re planning an event e.g., a lunch.

It certainly beats sharing links and pages over a chat thread where you have to constantly scroll through it to find something. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how many friends you can invite to a collection or how many items can be added to one.

Read How to create and share collections on Facebook by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter