Tag Archive: Gmail

Feb 26

iPod Touch Review: “January Upgrade” Applications

Apple released a firmware update (v1.1.3) providing some system tweaks and bug fixes, but it also came with a controversial upgrade that included 5 additional applications and some enhanced system functionality. What made it so controversial was that Apple charged $20 for the applications and enhanced functions. Some of the applications are simple, and some are full-featured, but they all add excellent functionality. I think they give us a great taste of what is to come. Read on to see the details of these new applications….

Here is a brief rundown and commentary on the new applications and enhancements:

iPod Touch - Mail

Mail

This is a surprisingly feature-rich and very useful POP/IMAP/Exchange multi-account email client. I use Gmail, and it auto-configures, connects, and syncs to my Gmail account very well. What's most useful is that it maintains a (user-selectable) number of messages offline, so you can read, reply to, and manage these messages while offline. All changes or sends get updated the next time you go online. Though it is not without its quirks, it is a very solid application. To me, one of the most useful feature is that the Mail app will download and let you view a number of attachment types including .PDF, Word, and Excel files in a viewer component that provides Multitouch zooming, panning and screen rotation. Can't wait for an eBook application to be developed? Just Email yourself a document, and you can read it offline.

iPod Touch - Maps

Maps

This is an amazing application. It is a standalone Google Maps application that has some offline capabilities. You can view the map, satellite, and hybrid views as well as traffic if (available.) It uses Multitouch to zoom in and out of maps, and you can search for destinations as well as define routes. And once you have a route set and downloaded, you can easily and quickly step through the route while offline. It displays the route text as well as the map surounding each route point. Though Maps only provides for one offline route, it's still a very elegant and impressive application.

iPod Touch - Notes

Notes

To me, this one application was worth the price of the cost of the upgrade (with a couple minor caveats.) Being able to quickly and easily add information into the iPod Touch on-the-go is very important to me, and is an essential PIM component. The Notes application is simple, yet very functional and fun to use. Its animation, though not necessary for function, was unexpected and is very pleaseing. Editing uses the fingertip keyboard entry, but it's very usable.

So far, I only have two complaints with the Notes application: The first one is minor–I would like to be able to control the sorting of the notes, specifically being able to sort alphabetically. Notes are sorted by last modification date which is really not a big deal, but as you get more and more notes, this could become cumbersome. My second complaint is that Notes does not sync with anything through iTunes. The files may be backed up, but they are not editable or accessible. I think this is a huge oversight on Apple's part, and I hope that Apple releases a version that will sync with Outlook or some such. (Hmmm…how about WiFi syncing with Google Notes?) I'd also like to see it optionally sync to and from .txt text files through iTunes. Being able to enter notes on a computer using a real keyboard is really essential for long text entry, and could leverage Notes as an extremely useful reference tool.

iPod Touch - Weather

Weather

This slick little weather application is simple: Define one or more locations, and when you open the application while WiFi is connected, it pulls in the current and forecasted weather conditions for the location. The weather data comes from Yahoo, and is presented in a very clean graphic format.

iPod Touch - Stocks

Stocks

This little application will let you define several stocks to track, and like the Weather application, it will go out onto the Internet via WiFi and pull in the latest stock and index quotes with corresponding graphs.

Web Clips

This is an integration enhancement that lets you save a Bookmark of a Web page in Safari as an icon on your iPod Touch's Home page. This means that, for example, next to your Calculator icon, you can have a tappable link directly to the CNN home page. It works on any Web page, and makes access to your desired Web pages a snap.

Customized Home Page

This system enhancement lets you move around and order the icons on the iPod Touch's Home page. It supports up to nine pages of icon groupings, so you can more logically organize your applications and Web Clips. You can also customize what icons appear on the Dock.

Bottom Line

So the bottom line is that Apple has provides some excellent applications and enhancements. Is it worth your $20? That completely depends on your needs and wants, but for me, it was well worth it.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touch-review-january-upgrade-applications

Dec 04

Gmail Tip #65: Colored Labels!

Gmail now lets you define colrs for specific labels.

In the message list, any label that has a color assigned will display in that color. Labels with no color assigned will display as they always did. Here is an example:

To assign colors to a Label, click the Label selector on the left of any Gmail page to display the Labels. Hover your mouse to the right of the Label, and a small triangle will appear. Click it, and a color selector will appear. Select a color, and all messages with that Label will display the Label in that color.

  

As an added bonus, you can quickly and easily rename the Label using the new "Edit name" menu selection. Just be careful to double-check

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-65-colored-labels

Oct 24

Gmail Tip #64: Gmail Rolls Out IMAP!

Gmail has finally rolled out its long-awaited IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) compatibility enabling users of such email clients as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird, a host of others, and even Apple’s iPhone to now take advantage of IMAP instead of the more limited POP connection.


Google is rolling it out, and it needs to migrate to many accounts, so it may not be available on your account yet. To enable IMAP, click on the Settings link on any Gmail page, and look for the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab. Click that, and follow the instructions in the IMAP Access section. For some general Gmail help information on IMAP, click here. This help section contains configuration information, FAQ’s, and troubleshooting links–very useful. You can also find a list of supported IMAP client applications here. Also, here is a link to Google’s official blog announcing and explaining IMAP.


This really raises the bar for Gmail by opening up more and more of its functionality to client apps. POP has served many well for Gmail, but this opens the door to many more uses, especially for some mobile devices.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-64-gmail-rolls-out-imap

Jun 22

Gmail Tip #63: Gmail And Your Blackberry

Stephen Swire, a GmailTips.com visitor, sent me some information on how he uses Gmail with his Blackberry. Though I do not use a Blackberry, I thought I’d pass this along as Blackberries are becoming more and more popular. If you have similar experiences, or other suggestions, let me know, and I’ll post ‘em!

(Note: Stephen uses his blackberry with a personal email account, not an enterprise server. -Jim)

"Here are two ways I’ve just started using Gmail to enhance my Blackberry:

(1) in order to have a running record of all sent messages, (a good business practice for me) I set up a BCC of all sent messages to a Gmail address.

(2) I find that there are some attachments which can’t be opened on the blackberry (for example, some .PDF files download but fail to open.) Also, if I want to forward an attachment, it usually arrives "corrupted" in the recipient’s mailbox.

My solution to both issues is to direct my domain and personal email addresses to a second Gmail address, place the Gmail quick access icon on my blackberry desktop, and use this on an as-needed basis either to forward an attachment directly from my Gmail account, or as a reader for some attachments."

Thank you Stephen for your input!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-63-gmail-and-your-blackberry

May 24

Gmail Tip #62: Enhancement: “Univeral Navigation Bar”

Google has recently enhanced some navigational features across most of
its offerings by providing a recognizable and (somewhat) consistent
"Universal Navigation Bar" at the top left of every page:
 
 
 
This feature
lets you quickly move to other Google applications with ease (and
without having to remember the URL!) Read on for a brief description of
the new interface…
A source at Google explains that the Universal Navigation Bar will show its "nearest neighbors". This means that, depending on what Google page you are on, the choice of links will differ, presenting you with "related" Google offerings. For example, on a Google search results page, you’d see links to "Images" and "News", because those are related search offerings. On the other hand, if you are in Gmail, you’ll see links to Google’s "Calendar" and "Documents" applications instead.
 
Here is an example of the Universal Navigator Bar as seen in Gmail:
 
 
 
Here it is as seen on the main Google search page:
 
 
 
It’s great to see that Google is continuing to enhance, tie together, and better integrate its products. 

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-62-enhancement-univeral-navigation-bar

May 24

Gmail Tip #61: Enhancement: Attachment Size Doubled to 20MB!

 
Gmail announced today that it has doubled the allowable size for attachments from 10MB to 20MB. Now you can start sharing more of your home videos, large presentations, and files! Note that  because of the way email attachments are encoded, the maximum size of the file you send (which can vary from file to file) may be actually less than 20MB.

 

Congrats to Gmail for continuing to improve its offerings!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-61-enhancement-attachment-size-doubled-to-20mb

Apr 18

Gmail Tip #60: Deleting A Message And Moving To The Next

This tip comes from a question asked by a site visitor, Daree: "I was wondering how you can delete an email and advance to the next email in your folder. Currently when I delete an email I am reading, it takes me back to the inbox. Yahoo has this option but it seems that Gmail doesn’t offer it from the Settings link at the top." The function that Daree asks for is not specifically available, but there is a partial solution–more of a workaround, actually. Read on to learn how to at least get close to this functionality….

First, you need to have "Keyboard shortcuts" turned on. To do this, click the "Settings" link in the upper right of your Gmail screen, and look for the "Keyboard shortcuts:" section. Select "Keyboard shortcuts on", and than click the "Save Changes" button.

Now, while viewing a message, simply press the "#" key (that’s shift-2 on US keyboards) and the message will be deleted. But wait, it takes you back to the list, right? Not exactly what we want. But notice that the message prior to the one you just deleted is now "indicated" by the black arrow next to it. Now, simply press either the "o" key or the "Enter" key, and that indicated message will open up.

While this isn’t exactly the functionality we are looking for, and it does require an extra keypress, the end result is that you are where you want to be, and it is all be done from the keyboard without having to grab the mouse. It also opens up some other (hopefully) powerful functions making things more flexible. For example, to further expand on the above, once you are back at the message list after deleting a message, pressing the "k" and "j" keys will move you up and down respectively through the list of messages. You should notice the black arrow on the left of the list moving up and down when you press those keys. Pressing "o" or "Enter" will opens the indicated message.

Further, if you see a message in the list that you want to delete without opening, you can just delete it using the "#" key…well, almost. In this case, as with using the mouse, the message is "indicated" by the black arrow, but it is not "selected" (ie: the checkbox is not checked) so just first press the "x" key to select the message and the checkbox toggles. You can open it, delete it, archive it, or a host of other things.

Gmail packs a LOT of power, but unfortunately, not all of its functions are intuitive. That said, check out Gmail’s "Keyboard Shortcuts" help screen found here…

http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=6594

…where you’ll find lots of useful (but not always intuitive) keyboard shortcuts.

Finally, if you feel that this functionality would benefit the Gmail community, consider suggesting it to the Gmail developers by following this link:

http://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=suggest

Gmail is very powerful, and comparisons with competing solutions are inevitable. While not all features will ever match up exactly, there are often solutions that can provide similar function.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-60-deleting-a-message-and-moving-to-the-next

Feb 28

Gmail Tip #59: New Feature! Gmail adds POP “Mail Fetcher”

Gmail now lets you to fetch mail from up to 5 of your other, POP-enabled non-Gmail accounts! And once the messages are pulled into Gmail, you can leverage all of Gmail’s great features. (Note that nor all email services support POP access.) As of this writing, Gmail states that this feature is currently only enabled for a limited number of users. They’re working on making it more available soon. Read on to see if you have access to Mail Fetcher, and how to set it up….

First off, let’s see if you have access to Mail Fetcher. Click on the Settings link and click the Accounts tab. If you see a section titled "Get mail from other accounts:" then you should have access. Click the "Add another mail account" link, and a window will open. Enter your email address, and click "Next". Fill in the required information about your POP account, and click the "Add Account" button. You can add up to 5 accounts.

You can specify if Gmail will leave a copy of the messages on the server or not. If you opt not to leave messages on the server, then they will be effectively "moved" to Gmail, clearing off of the server. This means you don’t have to manage email in two places. This is pretty standard.

You can also specify if Gmail connects using a secure connection (SSL).

Now comes the real power! You can define how Gmail will handle the messages once they are received. There are two additional settings that you can optionally configure:

Label incoming messages
If you’d like to automatically label all messages that are retrieved from your non-Gmail account, select this option. You can choose to use the predefined label (set to your email address by default), you can select an existing label, or you can create a new one from the drop-down list. If you are pulling from multiple accounts, this lets you nicely "flag" from accounts they are coming from. And if you decide not to use this option, then all messages seamlessly arrive into your Inbox unlabeled. It is unclear at this time if messages pulled in using Mail Fetcher are processed by Filters.

Archive incoming messages
Mail from this account can be archived directly, without showing up in your Inbox. You may want email from a specific account to be pulled into your Gmail account, but you may want it to bypass your inbox. An example might be a mailing list account. Just have it auto-Labeled and auto-archived, and the messages will nicely show up in that Label view, but they won’t clutter the Inbox.

Finally, once your account has been successfully added, you’ll have the option of setting up a custom "From" address. This allows you to compose messages in Gmail, but have them appear to be sent from your other email account. This is existing functionality, but can now be tied to specific Mail Fetch accounts.

Once set up, Gmail will check your other accounts on a regular basis (the frequency is unknown at this time.) New mail will appear automatically in your Gmail account (the location depending on the settings you defined.) At any time, you can always disable Mail Fetch for specific accounts from the Accounts tab of your Settings page.

Once again, Gmail provides new capabilities that really enhance and improve upon its already great feature set. This new feature is not revolutionary, but it helps make Gmail a more complete solution.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-59-new-feature-gmail-adds-pop-mail-fetcher

Feb 08

Gmail Tip #58: Gmail Now Opened to Everyone!

Gmail, Google’s free Web-based email service, has swept the world, and has become very, very popular. Unfortunately, access to Gmail (and Google Mail in the UK) has always been by by invitation only. But no more! Anyone can now get a Gmail account. Just go to Gmail.com and click the "Sign up for Gmail" link. It’s that simple!

But having a Gmail account means more than just Web-based email. A Gmail account opens the door to many other excellent  Google-related applications and services. By creating a Gmail account, you will gain access to personalize other Google-based applications including Google Maps, Google News, Picasa 2, Google Pages, Google Reader, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, and lots of other goodies.

Admittedly, getting a Gmail invitation has not been a problem for most, but this should open up Gmail to a much larger audience. Oh, and as always, come here for your Gmail tips!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-58-gmail-now-opened-to-everyone

Jan 05

Gmail Tip #57: Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Here’s a quick tip inspired by "garfalk" for you Mac users out there…. Gmail’s Mac key combinations are almost the same for the Mac as for the PC with a couple exceptions. "Shift" clicking on the beginning and at the end will "select all". "Command" or "Apple" (same key) clicking will select items one at a time, allowing you to skip some. Also, "Command" + s will Save a draft. Those who tend to be "keyboard-centric" may find this helpful in reducing mouse grabs and clicks.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-57-mac-keyboard-shortcuts

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