August 31, 2006
Refreshing Internet Explorer
While alternative browsers are all the rage, the practical reality is that many organizations use Internet Explorer as their main browser. One reason is wider compatibility with the plethora of web sites and their embedded multimedia. However, have you ever noticed that sometimes a particular web site just won't load or update properly, and doing a Refresh (F5 or Refresh button) just doesn't help?
You see, contrary to its plain meaning, the standard Refresh feature may not actually refresh content by pulling it down from the web site. Instead, it checks the temporary copy of the web site it just downloaded to your hard drive (the local "cache"). Sometimes the cache gets messed up ("corrupted"), and IE dutifully keeps trying to load that messed up copy. Also, most offices have a proxy server to allow shared Internet access to its users, which may also have a stored copy of the web page.
In some cases, it helps to delete your local browser cache on your hard drive, which takes six mouse clicks (Tools, Internet Options, Delete Files, Delete all offline content, OK, OK). Not difficult, but somewhat annoying. Another option is to force IE to do a full refresh by grabbing a fresh copy of the web site:
Simply press CTRL-F5 or hold down the CTRL key while clicking on the Refresh button in IE's toolbar.
In my experience, most people simply don't know about this second refresh feature. It's in the IE online help, but who reads that anymore? (Okay, I do.) Those who update web site content should also find this very helpful. There's been a number of times when I've updated LawTech Guru, pressed F5 to refresh, and nothing happened. CTRL-F5 did the trick. Quite refreshing.
August 20, 2006
Wisconsin Lawyer: Finding and Using RSS Feeds
A lot of legal professionals read blogs. However, except for the tech-savvy, many still don't know how to use RSS feeds and readers to make this task easier and more productive. So if you're relatively new to RSS feeds or would like to pick up more web resources for finding legal content in RSS subscription form, read on. Bonnie Shucha just published a good RSS primer in this month's Wisconsin Lawyer. She's the head of reference at the U.W. Law Library, Madison, and past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin.
Bonnie does a nice job of explaining RSS and how to use it in plain language, its pros and cons, and more. Some of the legal feeds mentioned have a Wisconsin flavor given its readership, but several others covered will have broader appeal. For instance, while many use Technorati to search the blogosphere, Bonnie tells us how to use Yahoo!'s Advanced Search for limiting its results to RSS feeds, very nice.
I found the link to Newspapers with RSS Feeds a worthwhile visit (courtesy of The Media Drop, but note there's an updated list). Also noteworthy is her mention of Current Law Journal Content from Washington & Lee Law School Library, which searches a whopping 1,236 law reviews and journals and has some RSS feed capabilities. Check out Bonnie's other links to make your search for online legal content a bit easier and fruitful. The WisBar site also republishes prior Technology articles from the bar magazine.
If information is power, then savvy use of RSS feeds is a must-have to tame the information overload beast.