Missing in open

Google Scholar has a useful new feature. If an article was funded from the public purse, and yet not freely published online with the agreed time, then Scholar will flag that the expected public open access version is missing.

However the flags appear on the Scholar Profile section, not as a red flag alongside each search result.

Taking a purely random example, this is what appears on the sidebar of the author’s page…

On clicking through from this widget, one gets a list with the missing papers sorted to the top…

You can see that the OA mandates are usefully itemised per-paper.

Freeware to automatically screenshot every time you click

Free software that automatically takes a screenshot every time you click somewhere with your mouse? You’re in luck, there’s one built into Windows 7 and later. Or there was until the Windows 10 Creators Update, when it was bjorked.

In Windows 7 it was called Problem Steps Recorder (PSR), later just Steps Recorder, and can be found by via typing psr or steps into the Start menu search-box. It automatically makes one whole-screen screenshot per user click, but is limited in the number of screenshots it can make. It’s meant to be a quick tool that helps IT technicians see what a user is getting hung up on, without having to record and send video or launch a Remote Desktop connection.

Slightly more advanced is the Windows freeware Imago Recorder 1.2, which has no cap on the number of screenshots. You do need to manually hack its config file to get full-size screenshots (open imago.conf.xml and change resize to 0). Automatically captures the whole screen only. Although I’m guessing it may be able to capture a region if you delve into hacking the .XML config further?

The freeware Snappy can capture the whole screen on a click, and is a bit more friendly and fully-featured than Imago. I had no success with getting it to repeatedly capture a pre-defined region on a click, only the whole screen. Though it can grab a region in the usual way.

StepsToReproduce 1.0 was freeware meant as a taster for the more fully featured and paid StepShot, later StepShot Guides. StepShot was bought out for the underlying technology in 2019 and since 2020 is no longer available for purchase. However this cut-down freeware still works, and is a rarity in freeware in that it can do more than full-screen… but it appears to be limited to 800 x 600px in its region capture. The cursor being captured was a feature that could not be turned off, as StepShot was meant to be for rapidly producing software how-to documentation. But if you need the cursor gone, then try a temporary ‘one dot’ or thin ‘bar’ cursor that won’t be noticed. The full StepShot could automatically capture a custom region of unlimited size, simultaneously with user mouse clicks (or a looping macro emulating the same).

Beyond that you start to quickly get into expensive/subscription corporate territory.

Those have lots of full-screen screenshots would then need to crop their repeating target-region from each one, by using a friendly freeware batch image-cropper such as Image Tools.

How to extract Windows Explorer thumbnail previews

How to extract Windows Explorer thumbnail previews from a specific Windows folder, using old-school desktop freeware:

1. Install the freeware Q-Dir, a quad-view Windows Explorer replacement. This has a useful “print the folder as you see it” feature, something lacking in Windows Explorer.

2. Use Q-Dir to navigate to your chosen folder. Show the folder with medium or large thumbnails, as you prefer. Then print the folder view to a Microsoft .XPS file, using Q-Dir. The .XPS format was Microsoft’s attempt at a .PDF rival, and all Windows installations should be able to print to it.

3. Now install the little freeware utility STDU Extractor and load the .XPS file you just printed. This utility can extract images inside several formats, including from .XPS files. STDU will show you a preview of the available thumbnails and let you extract as .PNG files or in other image formats. For some reason its batch extract is very slow, but the individual select-and-extract is fast.

For batch processing of a folder with thousands of Windows thumbnail previews, you’re probably looking at an overnight job — due the slowness of batch in STDU Extractor. The workflow is more useful if you just want a few dozen at a uniform size, and without faffing around trying to manually take exactly-sized screenshots. As you can see from the above final-output example, the drop-shadow is also extracted. But neatly so.

What you don’t get is the extracted thumbnail being given the name of the file it represents. So far as I can tell, no such software exists for that sort of extraction.

So long as you have software that gives you Windows Explorer previews for its file-types, the above workflow can work even on files that are not images. For instance, the above test is with an E-on Vue 2016 3D scene file.


Saving the .XPS to .PDF and extracting images from that will not work. The preview thumbnails become fragmented into strips by the PDF printing process.

There are also freeware extractors that will attempt to load the Windows thumbnails .db database in the Windows ../System folder and extract from that. But that’s ‘pot luck’, even if you can get them to open. The above can target a specific folder and a few specific icons.

Release: DocFetcher Pro

DocFetcher Pro is now available and stable in a bugfixed 1.1.x version, as a perpetual free demo (limited to five search results, per search) or for $40 via Gumroad. It’s a leading desktop PC file-indexer and local keyword searcher, which in its freeware version was bjorked last September by a Java update. The maker then took the opportunity to put the project on a pro footing. This version now includes the required Java modules inside the software, so you don’t have to install Java on your PC.

How to ignore certificate errors in your browser

Total refusal to visit a normal website.

This common Web browser problem is usually related to only a handful of sites and is incredibly difficult to troubleshoot, and for most people will be impossible to fix. I tried everything, and I know Windows and browsers inside-out. Nothing worked.

The ‘nuclear’ cure, which works with Opera and apparently other Chrome-based browsers, is then to simply add the following to your browser icon’s launch path. This path is found by right-clicking on the launch-icon and then looking in its Properties path. No more problems, if you add there…

-ignore-certificate-errors

This needs to applied after the shortcut has been pinned to the TaskBar, not before.

The site will now load fine. Tested and working with the Opera browser and theguardian .com

Obviously this will not be the same browser you use for Internet banking, PayPal etc. Or in such cases you will at least launch the same browser from another un-fixed launch icon.

How to block by keyword with uBlock Origin

Google Search is now adding “People also searched for” pop-down panels, placed under individual search results. These often appear on using the back button to go back to a page of former results.

I don’t want any kind of ‘pops’ in my search-results. Block them all in your uBlock Origin filter list, by adding this filter…

The above is also a working demo of how to use an xpath command to block any keyword inside a DIV’s ID. In this case the filter blocks all HTML DIVs with an internal ID containing the letters “eob”. This blocking is not constrained to just these letters, meaning that the command will also block “eob77” or “eob_34”, without the need for a wildcard * symbol. This is required for Google Search, as all the “eob” instances have a number after them.

Archive.org webinar – Controlled Digital Lending

“Frequently Asked Questions About Controlled Digital Lending”, a free Archive.org webinar on 19th June 2021, at 12:00 PM Eastern time USA. Via Zoom.

Even though CDL is used at hundreds of libraries around the world, questions remain about this important innovation in digital library lending. In this session, we’ll be tackling the most commonly asked questions surrounding CDL and answering some of yours.