Tag Archive: keyboard

Sep 08

Google Chrome Tip #3: Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard ShortcutsGoogle provides many keyboard shortcuts to move around and work with Google Chrome. For a complete list, you can always jump over to the Google Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts page. In the mean time, read on to see a list of the keyboard shortcuts….

Here is a list of most of Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts:

Window and tab shortcuts Window and tab shortcuts

Ctrl+N Open a new window
Ctrl+Shift+N Open a new window in incognito mode
Press Ctrl, and click a link Open link in a new tab
Press Shift, and click a link Open link in a new window
Alt+F4 Close current window
Ctrl+T Open a new tab
Ctrl+Shift+T Reopen the last tab you’ve closed. Google Chrome remembers the last 10 tabs you’ve closed.
Drag link to tab Open link in specified tab
Drag link to space between tabs Open link in a new tab in the specified position on the tab strip
Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8 Switch to the tab at the specified position number. The number you press represents a position on the tab strip.
Ctrl+9 Switch to the last tab
Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+PgDown Switch to the next tab
Ctrl+Shift+Tab or Ctrl+PgUp Switch to the previous tab
Ctrl+W or Ctrl+F4 Close current tab or pop-up
Alt+Home Open your homepage
Ctrl+O, then select file Open a file from your computer in Google Chrome

Address bar shortcuts

Do one of the following actions in the address bar:
Type a search term Perform a search using your default search engine
Type the part of the web address that’s between ‘www.’ and ‘.com’, then press Ctrl+Enter Add www.and .com to your input in the address bar and open the web address
Type a search engine keyword or URL, press Tab, then type a search term Perform a search using the search engine associated with the keyword or the URL. Google Chrome prompts you to press Tab if it recognizes the search engine you’re trying to use.
F6 or Ctrl+L or Alt+D Highlight content in the web address area
Type a web address, then press Alt+Enter Open your web address in a new tab
Shortcuts to open Google Chrome features
Ctrl+B Toggle bookmarks bar on and off
Ctrl+H View the History page
Ctrl+J View the Downloads page
Shift+Escape View the Task manager

Webpage shortcuts

Ctrl+P Print your current page
F5 Reload current page
Esc Stop page loading
Ctrl+F5 or Shift+F5 Reload current page, ignoring cached content
Press Alt, and click a link Download link
Ctrl+F Open find-in-page box
Ctrl+G or F3 Find next match for your input in the find-in-page box
Ctrl+Shift+G or Shift+F3 Find previous match for your input in the find-in-page box
Ctrl+U View source
Drag link to bookmarks bar Bookmark the link
Ctrl+D Bookmark your current webpage
Ctrl++ Make text larger
Ctrl+- Make text smaller
Ctrl+0 Return to normal text size

Text shortcuts

Highlight content, then press Ctrl+C Copy content to the clipboard
Place your cursor in a text field, then press Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert Paste current content from the clipboard
Place your cursor in a text field, then press Ctrl+Shift+V Paste current content from the clipboard without formatting
Highlight content in a text field, then press Ctrl+X or Shift+Delete Delete the content and copy it to the clipboard
Backspace, or press Alt and the left arrow together Go to the previous page in your browsing history for the tab
Shift+Backspace, or press Alt and the right arrow together Go to the next page in your browsing history for the tab
Ctrl+K or Ctrl+E Places a ‘?’ in the address bar. Type a search term after the ‘?’ to perform a search using your default search engine.
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl and the left arrow together Jump to the previous word in the address bar
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl and the right arrow together Jump to the next word in the address bar
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl+Backspace Delete the previous word in the address bar
Space bar Scroll down the web page
Home Go to the top of the page
End Go to the bottom of the page

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-3-keyboard-shortcuts

Mar 06

iPod Touch Tip #5: Quick Keyboard Entry Tips

iPod Touch Keyboard

Text entry on the iPod Touch's on-screen keyboard is surprisingly easy, but sometimes, it can be tedious to enter numbers, symbols, or special characters. But did you know that there are a few "shortcuts" that you can use to make this kind of entry quicker and easier? Read on for some tips on "shifting" letters, inserting numbers, symbols, and International characters, and making a quick entry correction….

Quick Shift

While typing on the Alphabetic keyboard, press and hold the Shift key, then slide your finger over to the letter you want to shift then release. The letter will be shifted.

Quick Number and Symbol Entry

While typing letters on the Alphabetic keyboard, sometimes you want to quickly insert a number or a symbol such as a comma or period. Just press and hold the Symbol/Number key (.?123) then slide your finger over to the symbol or number you want to insert then release your finger. The symbol or number will then be inserted and the keyboard will revert back to the Alphabetic keyboard for you to continue typing.

International Characters

If you want to enter special letter characters such as those with an accent or grave, press and hold the Alphabetic key you want to accent and a popup showing all the available choices will display. Slide your finger over to the desired choice, release, and the special character will be inserted.

Quick Correction

While typing, if you find that you have entered an incorrect letter but have not yet released the key, you can always slide your finger over to the correct character and then release. The correct character will be inserted.

I hope you find this tip useful in improving your keyboard entry!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touch-tip-5-quick-keyboard-entry-tips

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

Feb 25

iPod TouchReview: iPod Touch 8GB

I've been a long-time proponent and user of PalmOS PDA's, but lately I have become very by Palm's lack of innovation in their offerings. And innovation is something Palm was regularly known for. For example, consider the Palm V, arguably one of Palm's most innovative designs with its sleek form and powerful (for 1999) capabilities. This was an example of a innovation driving the market.

The PDA trend eventually shifted to "convergence" devices like the Smartphone. But despite their popularity, many of us prefer to have separate devices. Over time, Palm's PDA offerings have really amount to permutations of the same old thing. Now don't get me wrong, I love Palm PDA's. It's just that nothing really new has come out to cause me to want to upgrade or consider a device from another company. So another company appears to be picking up the ball and running with it.

The Apple iPod Touch

Enter the Apple iPod Touch….

Read on for my review of Apple's iPod Touch…

After poking around on the Internet and reading articles and commentary on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices, I decided to give the iPod Touch a closer look. The iPod Touch is basically an iPhone without the phone, camera, or Bluetooth. What's left is a solid, elegant WiFi-enabled media player that also happens to run other applications. I've never actually owned a portable MP3/media player, so I was entering uncharted territory. The closest I came was the several PalmOS multimedia PDAs that could play MP3 files and videos, but they were primarily PDA's, and media playback often seemed like an afterthought.

Now, before I go too far with this, I need to clarify one thing. While I do understand that Apple markets the iPod Touch primarily as a multimedia player, it really is (or has the potential to be) so much more. The iPod Touch is a powerful, pocket-sized, OS X-based (derived from BSD UNIX), WiFi-enabled, touchscreen computer that is very well-suited to run and manage so much more than just music and video playback. Having significant experience with many PDA's over the years, I feel that the iPod Touch has the potential to become the PDA that could significantly refine the concept of what is a current PDA. It is this kind of innovation that very well could launch Apple far ahead of Palm. It could very well be the "Palm V for the 21's Century", if you will.

Hardware
The iPod Touch is very sleek and very small. It measures just 4.3" x 2.4"  x .31" (110mm x 61.8mm x 8mm) and weighs in at 4.2 ounces (120g). Yet, it has a very substantial, comfortable feel, though not too heavy. It is solid and does not bend or creak when flexed. The front of the case surrounding the screen appears to be plastic, and the back of the case is metal–mirrored chrome. The chrome back, like on other iPod models, is very prone to scratching, so you'll want to quickly grab some sort of case to protect it. Overall, it is very solid and very sturdy.

Compare this to the Palm V, and you'll see how advanced it is:

iPod Touch     Palm V

The touchscreen is really nice-looking and solid. Unlike most PDA designs where the touch sensors are on top of the screen, the iPod Touch's sensors are under a screen of solid glass. This means that the touchscreen is very sturdy and not as easily scratched as are plastic-based touchscreens. Obviously, glass can still scratch and wear, so simple a screen protector is all that is really needed for decent protection.

With the addition of a simple sleeve or cover and a screen protector, there is no reason why the iPod Touch can't be "front-pocketable". If the pocket you put it in has keys, coins, or other metal objects, you may want a more durable case. In any case, it's so small that you are more likely to have it with you. Also, a word of caution: I personally never "back-pocket" any PDA simply because I don't want to risk damage.

WiFi
Apple's inclusion of WiFi is very well done. The Settings screen that controls connectivity is very intuitive, and also serves as a basic "stumbler" application showing you all avaiilable WiFi Access Points within range, bith open and locked. The settings are quite customizable, and once set to your liking, connectivity is a snap. I have used a couple WiFi-enabled PDA's and the iPod Touch is by far the fastest and easiest to use, and so far, the most reliable. Its integration is seamless.

If I could change one thing about Apple's WiFi implementation, it's that they did not provide any simple way to toggle WiFi on or off. Leaving it on will drain your battery, so being able to toggle it on or off is essential. Yes, you can do it through the Settings screen, but why don't they include a Home page icon that will do it simply and wuickly, similar to excellent the WiFiSwitch application for Jailbroken devices?

And as long as I'm complaining, the my only real complaint with Apple's hardware choices is the lack of an external speaker. The included transducer simply doesn't cut it. Other than some very basic system sounds like some clicks and very soft-sounding alarms, you need earbuds or headphones to hear any real sound. I realize that other iPods don't have external speakers, but this is quite limiting, in my opinion, given the advanced capabilities and potential of this device. How many times have you wanted to play a quick audio or video clip for someone, but don't because you either don't have or don't want to hassle with earbuds? Having an external speaker would really make this so much easier.

User Interface
The iPod Touch's User Interface is very responsive and very well-suited to fingertip navigation. For example, scrolling is not done by the typical tapping or dragging of a scrollbar. Instead, you just use an up or down "flick" gesture on the screen, and the content scrolls–it's very intuitive. And then there's the "Multitouch" gestures that make interaction fun and easy. Doing a "pinch" motion with two fingers on the screen will zoom in where applicable, and doing a "spread" (or "reverse pinch") will zoom you out. In many cases, "double-tapping" will do a quick zoom in, and "double-tapping" again will quickly zoom you back out.

Another nice feature is an automatic "Landscape" mode that rotates when you tilt the device. There is an accelerometer built-in that detects when you tilt the iPod Touch, so when you turn it on its side, if the application supports it, the screen will rotate in that direction to a landscape format. This is excellent for functions as Cover-Flow and Web browsing.

iPod Touch Landscape

Text input is done with an on-screen keyboard–there is no handwriting recognition here. Surprisingly, the implementation works very well with the fingertip. You won't get the speed of thumb-typing on say, a Treo or a Blackberry, but it's quit usable. My fingers occasionally tap the wrong letter, but correcting is easy. The only real shortcoming of text input is the absence of any Cut and Paste functions, though
it is rumored tha
t a forthcoming firmware upgrade will add this.

Software
The
iPod Touch was originally marketed as an innovative media player, but it does include several other applications like a Calendar, Contacts, and Web browser that bring it closer to the PDA world. Here is a brief description of the included applications:

Music
The heart and soul of all iPods is its ability to play music. The iPod Touch really shines with a slick, intuitive interface. Just sync your music files through iTunes, and you can browse by artist, album, song, genra, and more.

There is also an alternate view called "Cover Flow" that takes advantage of the iPod Touch's landscape mode. While in the music app, tilt the device 90° in either direction, and you see a fanned-out cover-art display of all of your albums. Doing a "flick" gesture left or right scrolls through the animated display, so you can quickly navigate to any alnum. And tapping on a cover "flips" it over revealing the songs on that album. Tapping any of the songs begins playback.

My only complaint with Cover Flow is that it appears to sort the albums by the name of the first artist listed on the album, not album name. For single-artist albums, this is a non-issue, but it can be confusing when dealing with compilation albums. I wish there was a Settings option to define how Cover Flow sorts the albums.

On not-so-know feature allows you to control music playback and volume from within any application or even when the device is locked. Just press thr Home button twice in seccussion, and a small music control pad will pop up. Given that the iPod Touch does not have any external volume controls, this is an excellent and convenient solution.

Videos
Like several other iPod models, the iPod Touch will play videos. From short clips to full-length movies, they look and sound great. Videos can be purchased through iTunes or converted using either iTUns or several third-party applications. Browsing the videos is straight forward, and playback offers full control. In my opinion, compared to the Palm OS PDA's I have used to play back video, the iPod Touch leads the pack.

Photos
The Photos application launches displaying scrollable list of "categories" derived from the directories the photos are stored in. Tapping a category brings up a scrollable list of thumbnails. tapping a thumbnail will display the photo full-screen. Like several other applications, rotating the iPod Touch will put it into Landscape mode whci may make some photos easier to see. You can use the "flick" gesture to scroll, the "pinch" gesture to zoom in or out, and double-tapping will zoom in and out. When zoomed, you can pan around. You can also view the photos as a slideshow.

From within the Photos application, you can select one of the pictures to be used as your Lock-screen background. It's a great application store and show off your pictures. Images must be synced through iTunes.

Calendar
The Calendar app is a modest appointment calendar that will sync with iCal or Outlook. It does not include ToDo's or Notes, but as an appointment manager, it works well. I do wish, however, that it would sync wirelessly with Google Calendar.

Contacts
The Contacts application is fairly complete offering lots of fields for your needs. It syncs with iCan and Outlook. I don't use it that mutch, but the UI is very slick and friendly.

Safari
The Safari Web browser is simply amazing. I have used Web browsers on several Palm OS PDA's, and there is simply no comparison. Safari beats them all hands-down in all counts. Pages render quickly and accurately in Safari, and best of all, they aren't proxy-hobbled or stripped pages–they are the real pages. There is no Flash support, but it is rumored that a forthcoming firmware update will add this feature.

iPod Touch - Safari

Of course, on the small sreen of the iPod Touch, many pages are simply unreadable, but this is quickly and easily resolved by the using the iPod Touch's advanced User Interface. First, you can tilt the device into Landscape mode giving you a wider, more readable display. This is all you need to do in many cases. You can also double-tap on any part of a page, and it will zoom that section to fit the screen. Double-tapping again will zoom you back out. The "pinch" gestures will zoom you in and out as well. A "Flick" gesture up or down will scroll in the desired direction, and if you are zoomed in, tapping and holding then dragging will pan the screen. And to select a link, just tap on it. Internal links load in the same page, while external links take advantage of Safari's Multi-Page view. Safari can maintain several open pages, conceptually similar to Firefox and IE7's Tabs, except pages are chosen through a thumbnail-like viewer. It's a very fresh and intuitive way to navigate Web pages.

Obviously, getting the Web pages requires WiFi connectivity, but the pages are still viewable while offline–almost. Safari's page cache seems to be dependent upon available memory, so if you have more than a few pages open, or have one or two large pages open, if you navigate to another application and return to Safari, the pages may be lost. Unfortunately, what or how much is stored is not predictable, so you cannot rely on having pages always available offline. I would like to see Apple provide an enhancement to Safari that would provide for viewing of saved pages while offline.

Also, Safari displays Adobe .PDF file in an excellent rotatable, zoomable viewer, but you must get the file online, as Safari prevents viewing any local files (file:///…) Of course, there is currently no "official" way to store .PDF files locally, so this may not be an issue.

YouTube
I haven't used this app much, but it provides you with direct access to YouTube videos. The interface is solid, quick, and you have full control over playback. You can browse various video lists or search for specific videos. YouTube fans should enjoy this.

iTunes WiFi Music Store
This slick little application lets you connect directly to your iTunes account while connected via WiFi. You can browse and search for songs and albums, you can listen to previews, and you can purchase and download the song or album immediately with the purchase being charged to yout iTunes account. You cannot access PodCasts or Videos through the app, but for music lovers, this should give you what you want.

So, there you ahve the basics of what the iPod Touch is all about. If you would like an even more detailed hardware and software review, jump over to over at The Gageteer's site: http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/apple_ipod_touch for their excellent review.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touchreview-ipod-touch-8gb

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

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

Nov 10

Gmail Tip #56: Five New Features Launched!

Gmail has just rolled out 5 new features to add to Gmail’s arsenal including new Mobile Phone access.

-Gmail On Your Mobile Phone
-Forward all
-Reply on top
-Embarrassment-reducing new message notifications
-Chat while your friends are offline

Read on to see the details of these new features….

Gmail On Your Mobile Phone
Point your phone to gmail.com/app, download it the app, and you can access Gmail on your phone with just a click or two.

Some neat features:

  • It has the same Gmail interface you know and love
  • Your account stays synchronized whether you access it from your computer or the phone
  • You can easily view attachments such as photos, documents and .pdf files

To learn more about Gmail for mobile devices, visit this page: http://www.google.com/mobile/gmail/#utm_source=en-cpp-g4mc-gmnew&utm_medium=cpp&utm_campaign=en

Just be sure to check out the phone compatibility at their Supported Mobile Phone link at http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=50425 Not all phones are supported (mine isn’t.)

Forward all
When viewing a conversation, you can now click the "Forward all" link to forward the entire conversation instead of just one message.

Reply on top
ReplyNow you don’t hacve to scroll all the way to the bottom of a message to find the “Reply” link. Now there’s a Reply button right on top. It also has a nice dropdown menu with many other options. Just click the little dropdown arrow. And don’t forget that if you have Keyboard Shortcuts enabled, you can always press the "r" key to reply.

Embarassment-reducing new message notifications
Have you ever replied to a message only to find out that someone sent a reply right before you? Now, if someone sends a reply while you’re in the middle of reading or replying to a conversation, you’ll get a notification that a new message has arrived. Click "update conversation" to upate the view to see what you’ve missed.

Chat while your friends are offline
If you’re chatting with a friend who goes offline, your friend will be able to see whatever you typed the next time he or she goes online.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-56-five-new-features-launched

May 02

Gmail Tip #51: Keyboard Shortcuts

Gmail’s User Interface is quite usable, but sometimes a mouse just seems to get in the way of efficiency. The Gmail developers have included lots of nice keyboard shortcuts that can really make using Gmail quicker and easier. Read on for a detailed list of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts….

Gmail offers many keyboard shortcuts. To enable keyboard shortcuts, click on the Settings link at the top right of the screen, and click on the "General" tab. Look for the "Keyboard Shortcuts" entry and click on the "Keyboard shortcuts on" radio button.

Below is a table showing the current list as of 25-Jan-2006. Try ‘em out!

(For the most recent version, click here.)


Shortcut Key Definition Action
c Compose Allows you to compose a new message. <Shift> + c allows you to compose a message in a new window.
/ Search Puts your cursor in the search box.
k Move to newer conversation Opens or moves your cursor to a more recent conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.
j Move to older conversation Opens or moves your cursor to the next oldest conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.
n Next message Moves your cursor to the next message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
p Previous message Moves your cursor to the previous message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
o or <Enter> Open Opens your conversation. Also expands or collapses a message if you are in ‘Conversation View.’
u Return to conversation list Refreshes your page and returns you to the inbox, or list of conversations.
y Archive*
Remove from current view
Automatically removes the message or conversation from your current view.
  • From ‘Inbox,’ ‘y’ means Archive
  • From ‘Starred,’ ‘y’ means Unstar
  • From any label, ‘y’ means Remove the label

* ‘y’ has no effect if you’re in ‘Spam,’ ‘Sent,’ or ‘All Mail.’

x Select conversation Automatically checks and selects a conversation so that you can archive, apply a label, or choose an action from the drop-down menu to apply to that conversation.
s Star a message or conversation Adds or removes a star to a message or conversation. Stars allow you to give a message or conversation a special status.
! Report spam Marks a message as spam and removes it from your conversation list.
r Reply Reply to the message sender. <Shift> + r allows you to reply to a message in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
a Reply all Reply to all message recipients. <Shift> +a allows you to reply to all message recipients in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
f Forward Forward a message. <Shift> + f allows you to forward a message in a new window. (Only applicable in ‘Conversation View.’)
<Esc> Escape from input field Removes the cursor from your current input field.

Combo-keys – Use the following combinations of keys to navigate through Gmail.

Shortcut Key Definition Action
<tab> then <Enter> Send message After composing your message, use this combination to send it automatically. (Supported in Internet Explorer and Firefox, on Windows.)
y then o Archive and next Archive your conversation and move to the next one.
g then a Go to ‘All Mail’ Takes you to ‘All Mail,’ the storage site for all mail you’ve ever sent or received (and have not deleted).
g then s Go to ‘Starred’ Takes you to all conversations you have starred.
g then c Go to ‘Contacts’ Takes you to your Contacts list.
g then d Go to ‘Drafts’ Takes you to all drafts you have saved.
g then i Go to ‘Inbox’ Returns you to the inbox.

updated 1/25/2006

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-51-keyboard-shortcuts

May 02

Gmail Tip #48: Reply Without Scrolling

Here’s a simple one. Do you ever find it annoying that in order to Reply to a message, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of a message to click the "Reply" link? While reading a message, simply press the "r" key, and the Reply editing box will open ready for you to compose your reply! Oh, and pressing the "f" key will also open the "Forward" editing box!

To enable keyboard shortcuts, click on the Settings link at the top right of the screen, and click on the "General" tab. Look for the "Keyboard Shortcuts" entry and click on the "Keyboard shortcuts on" radio button.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/gmail-tip-48-reply-without-scrolling

Apr 17

PDAs: Back To The Basics

A recent article on Palm247.com discussed moving to the Palm Z22 as a method of simplifying things got me thinking about just how I use my PDA. I have been reading David Allan’s book "Getting Things Done" (GTD), and it has prompted some serious pondering about the fact that so many things in my life are simply way too complicated. I’m trying to make "simplicity" my new mantra, and one area of complexity that I have noticed is my use of my Palm PDA. Read on to see how I have simplified by PDA use by embracing a more simple PDA

I am a long-time user and proponent of PDAs with my first being a Casio "Zoomer" PDA way back in 1993.

{mosimage}

The Casio Zoomer was an amazing PDA that was unfortunatly overshadowed by the Apple Newton’s popularity. Interestingly, the Zoomer had an optional version of the Graffiti handwriting recognition software which was later incorporated into all PalmOS devices.

In 1996, I next purchased Palm’s original Pilot 1000 sold by US Robotics:

{mosimage}

"In the day" the Pilot 1000 was a stunning, amazing device. Its power through simplicity reigned through quite a number of succeeding Palm’s models. But then something happened: feature overload. Along came color screens, expansion slots, MP3 playback, photo and video capture, video playback, Bluetooth, WiFi, phone integration, internal hard drives…the list goes on.

I then progressed through these PDA’s:

Palm iii Palm Vx Sony NX70V
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Palm Tungsten T3 Palm Tungsten C
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While the added features are certainly high on the cool scale, I consistently find that I’m simply not using most of these extended features. Some features are certainly quite useful, (I find a nice color screen to be nuch more readable than the original monochrome screens) but I find that most are simply not "essentials", and I never use them.

So this got me thinking about what features do I really need, and what features are just "fluff" that serve as nothing but distractions? And that’s important to me, because I find myself very easily distracted "by the device" instead of actually productively "using the device." In trying to achieve more simplicity, I decided to choose a device that would provide the functions I need while providing few extras so as not to be distracted from real productivity. So, I decided to take the plunge and convert from the gee-wiz, feature-laden Palm Tungsten T3 to Palm’s latest "entry level model", the Z22.

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So far, I have no regrets!

I’m not going to review the Z22 here–I’m covering that in greater depth in another article–but I am going to explain how some of the Z22′s features (or lack thereof!) are turning out to be very useful and productive.

Size

The first item of note is the Z22′s size. Wow! This is the smallest PalmOS PDA (save the wristwatch version) and I really find it stunning. Everything is proportioned nicely, and it looks very slick (kind of "iPod-ish".) It fits in my hands very well, and it is very front-pocketable. The simple fact that I can easily pocket the Z22 means that I’m more likely to have it with me, and I’ll be more likely to use it productively. While I was never ashamed of proudly sporting a large, belt-clipped PDA, being able to comfortably pocket the Z22 certainly draws less attention, and really reduces the overall Geek Factor.

Memory

The next item of note is the Z22′s limited memory. While 20MB can certainly hold a lot of data, coming down from a T3 with 58MB of space and my added 256MB SD card was difficult. The Z22′s 20MB seemed, at first glance, paltry. But let’s remember my goal: Simplicity. Over the last decade, I have amassed a large collection of PalmOS applications, so this presented an excellent opportunity to re-assess just what applications would be useful, productive, and non-distracting. The end result is that I now have all of the applications and data that I need with over 3MB free space to spare! I’ll detail my setup below….

Screen

The final item of note is the Z22′s screen. After owning several high-resolution PalmOS PDAs, I thought that reverting back to a 160×160 screen would be huge step backward. It turns out that I was dead wrong. The colors render just fine, and I can very easily view all the information I need to view in any of the installed applications without any problems. No, I won’t be showing off high-resolution photos or videos, but remember the goal of simplicity. I simply don’t a high-resolution screen to be productive with it. My only real complaint is that there is some "bleeding" on the screen, and text is definitely not as sharp as a high-resolution screen, but it is very functional, and surprisingly pleasing to look at.

As a side note, I do want to address PDA "protection". Out of the box, the Z22 comes with no case or screen cover. I’ve always been a proponent of PDA cases, so I purchased Palm’s Air Case. The Air Case is a clear plastic case that completely covers the Z22, and has a "flip" cover on the front. It’s made of the same material from which they make safety glasses, so it offers great protection, especially when in your pocket. You can read a more detailed review of the Air Case <>. This combination really can’t be beat for form and function.

Applications

So what do I have installed? Remember that my goal was to strip back all of the superfluous stuff that caused me distractions and prevented me from being really productive with my PDA. So, I assessed that I had, and came up with the following list of applications that I find to be functional and useful:

ZLauncher
(Zhangzhe Technology)
While this application could go somewhat against the "simplicity" concept because of its actual complexity, it provides form and function that I really like, and it integrates some essential tools that I find indispensible (notably, file management.) Its rich feature set, though complex, can be tailored down to a fairly minimal view that is functional, pleasing, and doesn’t distract.

Hi-Launcher
(RNS::)
I purchased this popup launcher long, long ago and haven’t used in a while, but on the Z22, I’m finding it to be invaluable! I assigned it to "trigger" when pressing the Contacts (right) hard button, so I now have one-touch access to my most-used apps. No more fumbling with the stylus to launch a quickly-needed app. This really more than makes up for the limited number of hard buttons on the Z22. Regardless of what launcher app you use, I highly recommend this one! UPDATE: This is an essential. I use it daily, and it has proven to be a true gem of an application!

PIM
(Palm)
Surprisingly, I find the native PIM applocations to be exceptionally useful. I have been a long-time user and proponent of Pimlico Software’s DateBk, but I find that the installed PIM applications have evolved into surprisingly robust applications that do almost all I need. For example, the Calendar’s "Agenda" view provides an at-a-glance list of upcoming appointments and pending Tasks which, though concise, looks great on the 160×160 screen.

LifeBalance
(LlamaGraphics)
This is a very interesting application that I am demoing. When I first looked at this program, it was confusing and not very useful to me–I just didn’t get it. But after finally understanding the GTD methods, this application makes total sense. In fact, its execution is really how Palm’s Tasks application should work. I’m still demoing it, so we’ll see where I go with it long-term….UPDATE: I find that though LifeBalance is an excellent application (and I really wish some of its functionality could be rolled into Palm’s PIM) I I reverted to using Tasks and Memos to handle things. The main reason is synchronizing: Having everything sync with Lotus Notes or Outlook keeps things consolidated and simple. Having to maintain data in yet another Windows application reduces my productivity.
.

MyBible
(Laridian)
I installed the KJV and Life Application Notes files, and they take up a HUGE amount of space–over 9MB! But, it is important to me to have this, so I’m willing to devote the space.

mNotes
(Common Time)
mNotes is essential for syncing the Z22 with Lotus Notes at work. For Outlook users, other excellent solutions exist.

Note Studio
(Dogmelon)
I am demoing this application to see if it will be useful for me for taking and maintaining notes. It provides a simple interface with a Wiki-like structure that could me manage notes efficiently. It’s kinda pricy, but its power through simplicity might prove very userful. UPDATE: I decided that maintaining memos works just fine. Though I do Wish that Memos had wiki-like links, in trying to simplify, it’s a level of complexity that I simply don’t find useful at this time.

Other Applications
I also have several other useful applications and some small games to kill time when I’m waiting in a line or trying to fall asleep. (Come on, you have to have some diversion!)

The Benefits

I find two main "features" that will benefit me in moving to the Z22: Design limitiations and size. Accepting the imposed design limitations has made me re-think how I use a PDA. It’s no longer the photo-displaying, video-playing, information grabbing, gameing, wireless data repository behemoth that I used to have. It’s now a lean productivity device that I can use and trust. And because the Z22 is so easily pocketable and easy to use, I’ll have it with me all the time, and I’ll be more likely to use it.

I am hoping that combining these benefits will give me a device that I can truely consider to be my "trusted place" to keep my thoughts, ideas, tasks, actions, etc. You see, one of the key GTD concepts is to get all of that "stuff" you constantly think about, dwell on, and juggle around in your head, out of your head and into a "trusted place" so that you don’t have to waste time and effort keeping track of it all. For me, a solid, simple PDA just might be the technical solution I have been looking for. Of course, being successful with GTD concepts means understanding that the solution is never in the divice or method itself, but how you implement and actually use it.

Conclusion

While I cannot say that the Z22 is the solution to simplification, I can say that in moving to the Z22, my PDA use has become simpler and easier–and I like it. I believe that "power users" should take a step back from time to time to assess just what they really use in their PDAs. I think they would be surprised at what is useful and what is not. And at under $100.00, it’s not that steep a price to pay to try out a Z22.

Update: 2006-04-18

I received an email from Mike Rohde of rohdesign.com , and it seems that moving back to more simpler PDAs just may be a new trend! Check out Mike’s article about how he transitioned from a lost Zire 72 to a Sony Clie N610C.

If anyone has any stories of their own about intentionally moving to simpler PDAs, let em know, and I’ll add a link here to your article!

Update: 2006-12-11

I’m really liking the Z22, and I find that I’m simply not craving the bells and whistles I used to have. Yes, there are times when I miss my Clie’s camera. Yes, I sometimes miss the Tungsten C’s keyboard. Yes, I miss the SD card memory expansion. And yes, I do wish it had a high-resolution screen. But you know, the Z22 really gives me what I need, and I don’t find its simplicity limiting. And I’m still amazed by its excellent pocketablilty.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/palmos-pda-tips/pdas-back-to-the-basics

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