How to delete a blank page at the end of a Word document

I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a blank page stuck in the end of my Word documents and fought endlessly to get rid of them. Well today I figured out what’s going on and how to do it.

Word can stick a final paragraph in, especially after a table, and that’s what ends up on that last blank page. To get rid of it:

  1. Click on the ‘file’ tab then go into your options and in the display area make sure ‘Show all formatting marks’ is checked.
  2. Select the marker for that final paragraph
  3. Right click on the selection and click ‘paragraph’
  4. In the ‘spacing’ category set both the before and after spacing to 0
  5. With the paragraph marker still selected click on the font size and type 1 (it’s not on the little dropdown list of font sizes you can select so you have to type it in).

This has fixed it for me many times – but not always. If that doesn’t work, you can still see where that final paragraph marker is that is forcing the last page to show up so then you can try things like making other paragraphs on the last page smaller or make the bottom margin a bit smaller.

It’s easy to protect yourself from today’s biggest online threat: Phishing safety tips.

One of the most common ways cybercriminals attack their victims these days is phishing. In fact, in the first three quarters of 2015 the Anti Phishing Working Group reports the total number of unique phishing sites was 630,494. So while it’s increasingly common, the good news is it’s beatable, and it’s fairly easy to protect yourself.

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a kind of identity theft. By using fake websites and false emails, these criminals attempt to steal your personal data – usually credit card numbers or login information for financial sites.

Criminals gain this information by sending you links to sites that look like sites you trust, like online banking or social networks, and then steal your data as you enter it in those fake websites. The most commonly spoofed sites are PayPal and Amazon, but banking sites and other retail sites like eBay are also commonly used sites.

Protect yourself.

Be wary of emails asking for confidential information, and especially financial information. Legitimate organisations will never request sensitive information via email, and banks will tell you to go to their site yourself and login, rather than clicking a link in an email.

Don’t get pressured into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information. Be sure to contact the merchant directly to confirm the authenticity of their request.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

  1. Guard against spam. Be especially cautious of emails that come from unrecognized senders or ask you to confirm personal or financial information over the Internet and/or make urgent requests for this information.
  2. Only communicate personal information by phone or secure web sites. Pay close attention to the URL – the web address in your browser. If you see anything you think is unusual give them a call.
  3. When conducting online transactions check to see that the site you’re on is secure. Look for a lock icon on the browser’s status bar, or an “https:” URL whereby the “s” stands for “secure” (rather than a “http:”)
  4. Never click on links, download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. Only open email attachments when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender. If you’re not sure, ask the sender before opening.
  5. Pay close attention to emails and read them carefully. Watch for the warning signs like subject lines that seem odd, spelling or grammatical errors, and even a sender address that seems odd.
  6. Never email personal or financial information, even if you are close with the recipient. You never know who may gain access to your email account, and email may not always be completely secure.
  7. Be wary of pop-up windows, and never enter personal information in a pop-up window.
  8. Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been made since you only have a certain amount of time to report fraudulent charges to your bank or credit card company.

Lastly, remember that phishing isn’t always done by computer. Beware of phone phishing schemes as well – never divulge personal information over the phone unless you make the call. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.

LinkedIn presentation

Thank you to the Information and Volunteer Centre for having me out to take part in their Executive Director Bootcamp. I had great time talking with the participants, and wanted to share my presentation with them. It is below, along with a few great resources. And of course, I’m always happy to chat about social media by email, or on Twitter or of course LinkedIn.

Presentation slides (right mouse click on PC and choose “Save Target As.” or control+click and save the file on Mac)

LinkedIn specific

General social media

  • www.socialmediaexaminer.com – Maybe the best source of detailed, practical information about all aspects of social media available on the internet today.
  • blog.hootsuite.com – Another great source of often quite detailed information, especially around social media strategy and planning.

So it is not lightly that I say I might just have to find a new hobby. We bought an iPad and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed reading on it. The ability to have several books with me at all times, and the much lower price of the books was very attractive. There was also the fact that I could keep copies of those books on my iPhone, meaning I’d have them with me whenever I had 5 minutes to read.

Over time, though, I’ve found some limitations that had me back in the bookstore. The iPad was heavy, it�s very hard to read in bright light, and its high price means you have to be very careful with it.

But then we bought a Kindle. When Amazon introduced a wi-fi version with a $139 price tag I was intrigued. Though I found the iPad difficult to read for long stretches, the convenience of having all your books with me at all times almost outweighed the drawbacks.

Having used the Kindle, I’m now completely sold on dedicated e-book readers. They have all the advantages of the iPad, and address many of its limitations:

  1. Almost perfect screen. The Kindle’s electronic paper display (EPD) looks strikingly like reading a printed page. It is remarkably easy to read and very easy on the eyes, even for long stretches – especially with the ability to adjust fonts to suit the reader.
  2. Non-reflective screen. Anyone who has ever tried to read an iPad outside in bright light knows it is very hard, and almost impossible for long stretches. The Kindle’s screen, however, isn’t reflective and is very easy to read in these settings.
  3. Very lightweight. One of the real knocks against reading the iPad for a long time is that at over a pound and a half it is heavier than even the longest hardcover books. The Kindle, however, comes in at just over 8 ounces, or less than the weight of most magazines.
  4. Ridiculous battery life. The Kindle’s battery life is reported to be over three weeks (!) without needing a charge. The iPad’s 12 hours seems almost embarrassingly paltry next to that.
  5. VERY cheap. At just $139, it will pay for itself fairly quickly just in the amount we save in lower ebook prices as compared to traditional books. Plus that puts it into the realm of devices I’d take with me to the beach, for example, where it might get broken or stolen. Not so for the iPad.

Usability is the best investment most organizations will never make

A price tag well into five figures is no longer uncommon for a small business trying to build a website. Many medium sized businesses tag another zero on the end of their bills – yet even larger companies with even bigger budgets are often reluctant to spend a small fraction of that to ensure that their sites actually work.

A small but growing industry has been screaming for attention, but is still not getting the respect they deserve. Usability experts have spent years studying how people use the Internet to determine what works and what doesn’t, and even though their invaluable insights are available for a fraction of what it costs to create a site, the vast majority of comapnies never bring one in.

What is truly amazing is how much is spent on websites that look pretty and have fantastic information, but simply don’t work.

Sites like Jakob Nielson’s useit.com provide a staggeringly long list of mistakes that can cripple the usability of a site and make it impossibly difficult for visitors to use.

We’ve all seen these basic mistakes hundreds of times:

  1. Inconsistent menu options on different website pages
  2. Search results that don’t indicate where on the site the results are found.
  3. Navigation elements too close to advertising (and are therfore not noticed by visitors)
  4. Too many navigation options that make site navigation very confusing
  5. Text links that don’t change colour when they have been visited

The list goes on and on, but the point should be obvious by now – there are a lot of ways to screw up the structure of a website if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So the next time your organization is creating or revamping their website, be sure that the company you hire has a usability expert on staff, or bring in your own.

Blogging your way to improved sales: The top 10 tips for starting a small business blog

Microsoft has confirmed that they are downloading Windows 10 to users machines without their consent

Microsoft confirmed today that they Windows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in and without notifying users. An article in The Inquirer quotes Microsoft as saying:

For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.

In other words, ask for it or not Microsoft is going to drop a 6gb file on your machine – whether or not you have the room for it, and regardless of what kind of internet connection you’re paying for.

So my question is, after watching people lose their minds when Apple automatically downloaded an album of free music, how did they think this would go? Did no one there think that pushing a giant operating system image to people’s computers without notification wouldn’t upset people?? Arguing that this will be more convenient for users doesn’t come anywhere near justifying the hubris of this move, and Microsoft has done their reputation a great deal of easily avoided damage.

Instead of saying you care, Facebook now allows you to actually make a difference

facebook-donate-button-hed-2015Remember #Kony2012? What about #Haiti after the earthquake? Still shivering after the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? If you’re closer to home here in Alberta, did you put a blue ribbon on your Facebook page to show your support for #EPSStrong?

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Social media has tremendous potential to raise awareness for important causes, but being aware of something isn’t the same as doing something about it. Well now instead of adding that ribbon to your profile picture Facebook allows you to do a whole lot more.

Yesterday the social giant launched a “Donate Now” button charities and other organizations can plug directly into their Pages.

As Adweek reports:

Users will find a “Donate Now” button atop their news feeds, similar to the social networking giant’s option to help contribute to ebola containment and treatment efforts in November 2014. However, unlike that effort, which sparked some complaints of Facebook putting the onus of donations on users, the social network is now specifying that it will match $2 million in contributions.

Clicking the button (or donating via Facebook’s Nepal recovery landing page) will pop up options of contributing $10, $25, $50, $100 or a custom amount to the International Medical Corps, which is operating mobile medical units to treat the critically wounded and dispense medicine.

“Together we can help urgent care reach the people who need it,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his personal wall. “Thinking of all of you who are there and all of you who have relatives and friends in the affected areas.”

Facebook has allowed some charities to use the button in the past, but it is now rolling it out for wider use by charities.

Why does this matter? It means trendy campaigns where people show their support for a cause should finally fade away, replaced with campaigns that actually involve people helping out and making donations. After all, people on social media are never hypocrites.

Facebook changes news feed again; may have huge impact for marketers

Just when Facebook was starting to make things easier for marketers to get their content seen on people’s news feeds they’re changing the algorithm again.

A blog post from earlier today announced changes to the news feed that are on the way, and it’s pretty clear they could have huge implications for marketers. The changes are:

  1. Multiple posts from the same publisher will now be allowed one after another if the user doesn’t have much other content.
  2. Content posted directly by “friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links” will be higher up in News Feed. They also say, “If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed.”
  3. Stories about people’s friends liking or commenting on a post will appear lower down in news feed or not at all.

The first change shouldn’t impact too many marketers significantly since most Facebook users have enough content to fill their timelines, although it may give a slight boost to those who post frequently.The second two, however, sound like they will make it much harder for marketers to get into your news feed.

Facebook has always had a struggle to make the news feed interesting enough that users still want to go to the site, while at the same time incorporating enough paid and marketing content that they turn a profit. Only time will tell for sure what these changes will mean, but it does sound like getting content into people’s news feeds will be much harder before too long. Which might make news feeds more interesting for users, but will almost certainly result in more revenue for Facebook as companies realize it is easier to just pay for sponsored posts that force their way into the news feed.