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Bluprint: Getting your forever classes

May 25, 2020

The wonderful Bluprint (ex Craftsy) is closing in the next few months (see the official announcement here: https://www.mybluprint.com/article/letter-to-our-bluprint-customers). I joined when it was Craftsy and you paid for individual classes (I have 60 of them; many I haven’t had time to watch). When Craftsy became Bluprint, it went to a subscription model, but existing customers could still pay for individual classes, which is what I chose to do.

Some time last year they created an app for Android (they’d had one for iPad for a while) so that you could download your classes and watch them offline—great for those long flights to the US from Australia! Here’s how to download for offline viewing on Android: https://help.mybluprint.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021279032-Offline-Viewing. You’ll need to know how to do this to do the rest of the steps in this post.

With the announcement that Bluprint is closing and with no other information yet about access to the ‘forever’ classes we’ve paid for, I decided to see if I could transfer the files I’ve downloaded to my Android tablet to my PC. The problem is that the files seem to get encrypted and hidden and cannot be found in the list of files/folders on my Android tablet. However, purely by accident I found a way to get them—you’ll get an MP4 file for each lesson, but none of the special Bluprint/Craftsy features like captions, chats with the tutor etc. But at least you’ll have the lessons.

NOTE: These instructions are for Android and Windows only. They assume you know how to connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cable and how to view the files on your device using Windows File Explorer. If you don’t know how to do these things, ask someone in your household or a friend who may be a little more tech savvy. Also, I don’t have an iPad or a Mac so I have no idea if they will work there too—you can try, but if it doesn’t work, I can’t help you.

  1. Connect your Android device to your PC and make sure you can see its file system from Windows File Explorer. (TIP: Use a USB [wired] connection—it’s much quicker than Bluetooth for transferring files.)
  2. From your PC, go to the Download folder on your device (NOT the SD card if you have one installed).
  3. If you haven’t already downloaded the Bluprint app to your Android device, do so now.
  4. Open the Bluprint app on your device and log in, if requested.
  5. Tap Library (one of the icons at the bottom of the home screen).
  6. Tap Own Forever Library.
  7. Tap Own Forever Video.
  8. Tap the class you want to download the lessons for.
  9. Following the instructions here, https://help.mybluprint.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021279032-Offline-Viewing, click the icon to download one or more lessons from the class. TIP: When you first start doing this, just try one or two lessons—you can always download the rest later.
  10. As soon as the download starts, CLOSE THE BLUPRINT APP. This is critical—if you leave it open and the download finishes, the app will encrypt and hide it and you can then only watch it via the app. You can close the Bluprint app by going to the list of open apps and swiping it to get rid of it (at, least that’s what I have to do on my Samsung tablet—your tablet may use a different method).
  11. When the download has finished (the little download icon is no longer visible in the notification bar on your device), switch over to your PC and go to the Download folder on your device (see steps 1 and 2). The files are all MP4s and typically have this structure: 00000_99999_video.mp4.
  12. Select the files and copy them to your PC (you might want to set up folders/subfolders for each class on your PC if you have a lot). DO NOT reopen the Bluprint app on your device until you have completed this step.
  13. Repeat steps 4 to 12 until you’ve downloaded all the lessons you need.

Class materials etc.:

Many classes have separate PDF documents that list materials, have patterns/templates/designs etc. You’ll need to download these separately. The easiest way to do this:

  1. Log in to your Bluprint classes via the browser on your PC.
  2. Click Materials under the name of the class.
  3. Click the materials lists etc. from the Download panel on the left of the page.
  4. Save the PDF to the folder/subfolder you created for that class.

Space and data issues:

These MP4 files are BIG, up to 500 MB (half a gigabyte) for each lesson, so for a 7-lesson class, you could be downloading 2 to 4 gigabytes of data. Here are some tips:

  • Do NOT download over a mobile phone connection—instead, use your home WiFi
  • If you have limited space on your device, clear out the downloaded classes from the Bluprint app after you’ve transferred them to your PC. To do that, open the Bluprint app, tap Library, tap Downloaded, tap the top right checkbox near the number of episodes, then tap Delete all. That will delete all the lessons for that class. Repeat for the other classes you need to remove from your device.

Troubleshooting:

If you download a lesson and forget to close Bluprint, all is not lost even though the lesson is no longer in your Download folder on your device. Just go back into the Bluprint app, find the lesson again, and tap the check mark that says it’s already downloaded—you get the option to Play or Delete. Choose Delete. This deletes it from your device and you can download it again. Don’t forget to close the app so that you can grab it from the Download folder before the app encrypts and hides it again.

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Word: Lost your document?

May 23, 2020

I nearly ‘lost’ the 320p Word document I was working on today. And I saw how, in case this helps someone else.

I don’t save to One Drive and don’t have Auto Save turned on, let alone Auto Save to OneDrive. I was typing a comment and must have hit some weird key combination (I was typing ‘et al. 2018’, so nothing there that might have triggered it as far as I know). All of a sudden I get a box come up that tells me Word is preparing to autosave to One Drive. Hmmm… it does it’s thing and I then immediately did Ctrl+s to save my doc, but then I thought I’d better check where it was saving to.

So I did File > Save As, only to find that my save location wasn’t my local drive, but was now OneDrive!

Had I not checked, I could’ve been saving to OneDrive for the rest of the day, and not known, then freaked out when I came back in tomorrow to work on it to find it the latest version in my local drive was from a day earlier, not from when I’d last saved.

Bottom line: If Word saves to OneDrive without you being aware, any future saves of that document are also to OneDrive, not your local drive until you change it back.

I can see why this would be a default strategy, but it could cause all sorts of anxiety if you didn’t know it had happened. So for those who ‘lose’ documents and only save locally, check your OneDrive account for them.

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Change browser bookmarks toolbar to icons only

May 7, 2020

If you’re lucky, you learn something new every day, and today I learned that you can change your browser’s bookmarks toolbar to display just the icons, thus saving space on that toolbar for all the icons that have slipped off the edge because you have too many! Now, you may not want to change them all, but just changing those whose icons you’re really familiar with will free up extra space.

Full instructions for each browser are here: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3182436/how-to-create-an-icon-only-bookmarks-bar-in-your-browser.html

In essence, you right click on the icon, select Edit or Properties or similar, then delete the name and save. That’s it.

If you still need the name because the icon they use is generic [I’m looking at you, Macquarie Dictionary!], then you can always use an abbreviated name—e.g. I use ‘MD’ for Macquarie Dictionary.

 

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Word: Find and highlight hyperlinks

May 6, 2020

Someone on one of my Facebook groups for editors wanted to highlight all instances of linked words, URLs, etc. copied from another document so she could alert the author to them. These links weren’t styled with the Hyperlink style and had no colour to distinguish them from normal text.

There are a few steps to get this right, including changing a setting. Instructions are for Word 365 for Windows, but should work the same for older versions of Word, and possibly Mac versions as well, but I can’t test Word for Mac as I don’t have it. This technique works for any hyperlinked text—URLs, email addresses, linked documents etc.

  1. Press Alt+F9 to turn the ‘show field codes’ option on in the entire document. This is essential. (You can also do this by going to File> Options > Advanced > Show Document Content section, checking the Show field codes instead of their values checkbox, then clicking OK to close the Options window.)
  2. Select a highlight colour from the Home tab > Font group. This is also essential.
  3. Open the Find and Replace window (Ctrl+h).
  4. In the Find field, type ^d hyperlink (Note: lower case ‘d’; this looks for a hyperlink field [^d]).
  5. In the Replace field, type ^& (this replaces what is found with itself).
  6. Click More.
  7. Click Format.
  8. Select Highlight.
  9. Click Find Next, then Replace on the first one found. Check that the hyperlink field code is highlighted—if it isn’t go back to Step 4 and choose a highlight colour.
  10. If you’re satisfied that it works, click Replace All. This will highlight all hyperlink fields.
  11. Press Alt+F9 again to hide the field codes and return to normal text display. (tThis is the same as File> Options > Advanced > Show Document Content section, uncheck the Show field codes instead of their values checkbox, then click OK to close the Options window.)
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Virtual backgrounds for online meetings

May 3, 2020

The rise of online meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc. because so many office workers are now working from home, has also seen a rise in the number of organisations making pictures available that you can use for your meeting background.

Some of my favourites are:

[Links last checked May 2020]

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Get through a recorded webinar faster

April 4, 2020

Tip for getting through a long recorded webinar:

  1. Check if there’s a setting for speed (YouTube definitely has this).
  2. Change the playback speed to 1.25 or 1.5 times normal speed, or whatever is comfortable to you.

The voice and the visuals will be much faster, and you can get through an hour-long recorded webinar in ~30 mins. This is particularly useful when the presenter speaks slowly, or spends a lot of time on one slide.

Obviously, this doesn’t work in a live webinar, just a recorded one, or YouTube videos etc.

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COVID-19 update

March 31, 2020

With all the dramatic changes in the world in the past month as a result of spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and with the restrictions and lockdowns imposed (either by government mandate or self-imposed), I thought it was time to let you know what I’ve been doing to mitigate risk to myself, my loved ones, and my little company. Here’s a summary:

  • I have worked online from my home office since 2007 (with my husband), so my ability to continue working has not changed. I have speedy internet (for the moment at least), and have no other impingements on my day (e.g. no kids to care for or to homeschool). So for me, it’s ‘same old, same old’ and I haven’t had to change any of my work processes to accommodate the new normal. If you need your corporate documents, reports etc. edited, then I’m still here and still working. You can see the list of editing tasks I typically do here: http://cybertext.com.au/editing_levels.html, and testimonials here: http://cybertext.com.au/testimonials.html.
  • We decided to ‘shelter-in-place’ around 10 March, and except for a single post office run (getting takeout pizza at the same time), I’ve been home the entire time. I’ve been fortunate in being able to get home delivery from one of the main supermarkets.
  • Our health remains good, and I monitor our body temperatures every day (results are pretty constant, but it gives us a baseline in case anything changes), and am awaiting the arrival of a piece of equipment that measures blood oxygen levels (again, I need to know our baseline so that I know if there have been changes that might indicate an issue).
  • I cancelled my round-the-world trip that was to start on 8 April and finish on 16 May, which included a speaking engagement at the ACES Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you would expect, the conference was cancelled, and even if it hadn’t been, Australia has now closed its borders, and there are no Qantas international commercial passenger flights in or out of Australia as at the end of March. For the most part, I have received refunds (even for nonrefundable advanced purchases) or partial refunds from most hotels, transport companies etc. (though I’m still waiting on actual refunds from two airlines), and I’m very grateful to those companies for doing so—Hilton Hotels, Rydges Hotel at Sydney Airport, and Ingot Hotel in Perth, you have my business in the future for refunding all my prepaid monies. However, there are no refunds at all from a small, single-person run 5-day residential workshop I was attending as part of the trip (the date has since been moved to October, but I have no intention of being in the US in October), or a 9-day tour in Morocco. The intransigence of the US tour company organising the Morocco tour has been bitterly disappointing and I have no idea if travel insurance will cover the thousands I had to pay by 6 January. That’s a story for another day and in a more personal forum. Suffice to say, they certainly won’t ever get any business from me again. This was my first experience with them and it hasn’t been good.

Stay safe, stay healthy. And wash your hands.