Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Drag and Drop Attachments with a Firefox Add-on

The ability to drag and drop attachments onto an email message is a feature that is often missed by people switching to Gmail.

But, there’s hope! A Firefox add-on easily expands the functionality of Gmail to include a drag and drop feature.

To enable this, you must be using Firefox (an alternative browser that is just as safe as Internet Explorer).

Click here to jump to the add-on page.

Install the add-on. (You will be prompted to restart Firefox.)

Now, when composing a new email, simply drag and drop one or multiple files into the grayish area above the body of your email (such as right above the subject line).

Click on the image below to see a larger picture.

Click to see full size image.

Now, your attachment(s) will appear as being attached to the email.

Much handier than clicking the “Browse” button if you are often attaching files from a window that you already have open.

Additional Resources

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Embed Multiple Google Calendars

I just learned a neat trick about embedding more than one google calendar (overlayed) on a page, such as a Google Site.

This could be useful for example to display your classroom due dates and school holidays, if you are an elementary school teacher with a Google Site.


Note that all calendars you want to display together would have to have the same permissions so that viewers could see them. (ie: You couldn’t combine a calendar set to private and one set to public and expect people to see both.)

Find out how to do this here, in the Google Calendar Help.

Additional Resources

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Monday, December 21, 2009

Email Backups from Gmail (w/o Outlook)

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free software to let you access your email from your desktop, even when gmail is 'down'.

Sad to say, gmail occasionally has down time. Not sure what to do when that happens and you still need to access your email?

Typically, while web access may be down, access via imap or pop is still available. (What this means: You can still get your email while using software on your computer, even while gmail is ‘down.’)

Thunderbird (by Mozilla, the maker of Firefox) is a great (free) option, with lots of new features in every release.

Lifehacker has a great suggestion: use Thunderbird as “a dedicated offline email client, as well as a more convenient and powerful online inbox aggregator—allowing you to manage everything from your regular email accounts to Google Voice, Google Wave, and other non-email inboxes with a little setting up.”

Forget Outlook and Windows Live Mail. Hello Thunderbird.

Read more about this concept here:

Make Thunderbird 3 Your Ultimate Online/Offline Message Hub

Additional Resources

Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Friday, December 18, 2009

Freeing Up Space in Gmail

Are you worried about using up your gmail space quota?


The following post from lifehacker gives some great tips for keeping your space quota down. (Even though the post is older, the advice is still sound!)

How to Free Up Space in Gmail

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Useful Firefox Add-ons: Copy Tab to New Window, Open URL From Clipboard

I stumbled upon a few new Firefox add-ons that address functionality I have long been interested in.

  1. Simply define new tab settings with NewTabURL.

    You can access this add-on here. It allows you to specify what to do with a new tab. It’s pretty simple, but very cool.

    The feature I am most excited about is the ability to automatically open a link that you have copied in a new tab, as shown in the image above.
  2. Move or copy an existing tab to a new Window with OpenInWindow.

    This add-on adds two new options to your menu when you right click on a tab. This functionality is standard in Chrome, but it’s great to see it in Firefox too!


Additional Resources

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?

All About Firefox Add-ons (and Why They Are Awesome)

Not sure what an add-on is? Basically, add-ons are tools or features that you can ‘add-on’ to Firefox (which is an safe, alternative browser to Internet Explorer) to extend the program’s functionality.

They are free, easy to disable if you decide you don’t like them and some can be pretty darn handy.

There are a number of existing posts (and there will be future ones too) about Firefox add-ons, so feel free to get familiar with them.

Here is how they are described by the FIrefox Add-on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page:

What is an Add-on?
Add-ons let you add features which aren't part of the standard application. Themes change appearance without changing functionality. Search Plugins and Dictionaries/Language Packs add additional search engines and language support. Extensions add more extensive features to the browser; some add simple toolbars while others can add a wide range of new features.

Are add-ons easy to install?
Yes! Add-ons are very easy to install. They're generally much smaller than a normal application and download very quickly. If you don't like one, they are just as easy to remove or disable. Also, if an update is available for one of your add-ons, Firefox will inform you and let you upgrade with one click.
How do I manage an add-on?
In Firefox, go to "Add-ons" in the Tools menu to manage Themes and Extensions. If your Extension has special options, you can see them in the Extensions section of the Add-ons window. From here, you can also disable and uninstall add-ons. Dictionaries are installed as Extensions. Search Plugins can be managed in the Search Bar.

Add-On Examples

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Declaring Partial Email Bankruptcy

I have over a hundred labels in GMail, so my left sidebar was really useless. Therefore, I enabled the hide read labels Labs feature:

I love this because now I only saw those labels that have unread emails. Pretty handy if you have your filters properly setup (more about that on a later post). However, as I did this I discovered I had a few labels with hundreds of unread emails (mostly due to my migration from Outlook to GMail). How could I automatically mark as read all those emails without browsing painfully page by page selecting All and then mark as read? After doing this for 30 minutes like a drone, I decided to do the obvious and search on Google: "gmail mark all messages as read". And I found this great article in lifehacker. Which led me to a great discovery: You can use advanced filter terms on the filter window, which I could use to isolate all unread messages within a specific label and assign them to a new filter:

Following the directions in the lifehacker article I was able to mark as read all my old email archive and now I have a clean and efficient inbox (more on that to come).

2009-12-11_103715 Want to contact Antonio Montoya, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email: antonio@monari.com

Twitter: @Antonio_Montoya

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Day in the Internet (Some Stats)

Here are some interesting internet stats. How many of the 210 billion emails sent out every day come from your email address?

A Day in the Internet
Created by Online Education

Are You Missing Out on Gmail Search Options?

At times, I wish I had an easy way to search for email based on specific criteria without having to remember how I’m supposed to type my criteria in the search box.

Examples: all mail that I have received in the last week. Or from a specific person AND with attachments.

Until a few minutes ago, I had totally forgotten about the “Show Search Options” link that lets you toggle a simple but powerful search tool in gmail.

Open the Search Options by clicking on the ‘Show Search Options’ link to the right of the gmail search box.


It looks like this:


You can type your search criteria here:


In this example, I want to see all emails from “antonio” that were sent to me in the last week. Note that I do not have to specify the actual email address, although I could if I wanted to. I have just typed the first name of my contact. If I have several contacts named Antonio, it will show emails from all of them at once. Note also that I didn’t have to type the specific date. I used the keyword “today.”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to using the Search Options tool.

Additional Resources

Note: If you can’t see the screen captures well enough, click on any one of them to open up a larger version.

Tip from Jenna Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Specify a Default font in Gmail Messages

This is a feature that I (along with many others) have been waiting for.

In times past, you couldn’t always rely on your recipient seeing your email in your desired font: such as Arial vs. Times New Roman unless you changed it in each individual message. (Gmail to Outlook correspondence was especially aggravating in this respect.)

A new lab feature allows for specifying a default font.

Here’s how you can get it.

  1. Enable the ‘Default Text Styling’ lab. (Forgot how to enable a lab?)
  2. Go to Settings > General. 2009-12-03_105805
  3. Change the formatting as desired in the “Default Text Style” section.
  4. Save your changes.

Update: When using the auto-insert feature of the WiseStamp firefox add-on for custom html formatted email signatures, your default text as specified in this lab may be overwritten. I’m still working out the details.

Read more about this lab on The Official Gmail Blog.

Images too small in the above post? Click on a picture to view it larger.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Display Google Calendar and RTM Tasks Side by Side

This new gadget available from Remember the Milk displays your tasks next to your calendar.


Here’s a close up:


Previously, you could add your RTM tasks as a shared calendar, but it wasn’t very pretty.

For Google Apps Users (not a personal account), add this gadget by going here and following the directions under “Add to Google Calendar for Google Apps Users.”

This would be a lot neater if you could click on a day and just show all of your tasks for that day, but for now, this is a neat solution for visually reminding you of what’s coming up.

This is very similar to the RTM Gadget for Gmail Labs. I tried that, but prefer the Firefox extension (better visibility and easier to edit existing tasks with inline editing). You can see both and compare for yourself here.

See Also

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cut Down on Gmail Clutter with MinimalistGmail

If you are looking to make your gmail inbox a bit more zen, check out this Firefox add-on.

What it is: MinimalistGmail, a Firefox add-on

What it does: Allows you to configure what you see on your screen, such as chat, header/footer, specific buttons, etc.

Looks like:

2009-10-29_103522 2009-10-29_103535

Interested? You can always test it out and then disable the add-on if you decide you don’t like it. (Not sure about add-ons? This might help.)

To install this add-on, you must be using Firefox as your browser. You can find more information and download it here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

11 Years of Google in 2 Minutes {Video}

This video shows a Google timeline. (Side note: Ever wonder why Google is called “Google”? This shows why.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

PureText Allows You to Paste Text Without Formatting

If you often want to paste simple text (without formatting such as font, color, etc), try using this small application that creates a keyboard shortcut and allows you to do so.

It’s called PureText.

Read more about it and download it here.

Export Your Google Docs to a ZIP File

Google Docs has released a new feature that allows you to backup documents.

For those of you that worry about security or access to your files stored ‘in the cloud’, this is a neat feature.

Read more about it on this lifehacker post.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Google Calendar Features: Hide, Snooze


For those of you who are fans of snoozing and hiding events, Google Calendar now has a few new features.

Read this post from lifehacker for more details.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shortcut: Duplicate a Google Chrome Tab


For those of you using Google Chrome (a browser alternative to Explorer and Firefox that is made by Google), this tip from a lifehacker post may be helpful.

Duplicate a Google Chrome Tab with a Shortcut Key

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Formatting Your Email Address – Did You Know?

Gmail account names (anything to the left of the @whatevercompany.com) are pretty forgiving.

It doesn’t matter if you include a period in your email address. Gmail handles j.baze@mycompany.com the same as jbaze@mycompany.com, and the same as j.b.a.z.e@mycompany.com.

For standardizing purposes, you should keep your email address the same (especially in a corporate setting). But, it’s good to know the capabilities and flexibilities of gmail.

Monday, October 19, 2009

PhraseExpress Video Intro

The music in this video is cheesy, but it gives a brief overview of a few useful PhraseExpress features.

I’ll have some more advice soon about how I’m using this free software to type less and get more done.

Here’s a list of features.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Google Docs Previews: New in Google Labs

You can now preview google docs that are attached to an email.

Enable the lab named “Google Docs previews in mail.”


Then, you can preview the google doc while viewing the email. Pretty handy.


Forgot how to enable a lab?

Find out more here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Gmail is Great {Video}

Here is a short video overview of some practical and helpful standard features in gmail.

Firefox Add-On: Snap Links

If you often open multiple links (for example, when performing a Google search and viewing multiple results), you can open several links at the same time in separate tabs using a Firefox Add-on called Snap Links.

What it does:

Allows you to drag your cursor to ‘draw a box’ around links (using your right mouse button, for example) and open them all in new tabs.


It also features configurable settings that you modify by going to Firefox > Tools > Add-ons > Snap Links > Options.

Pretty handy if you often open multiple links from a search window, such as Google. In my case, I often search the Salesforce.com community and this allows me to view multiple posts related to my search criteria at once, rather than clicking on each of them one at a time.

Note: At this time, Snap Links is an ‘FF3 Unsupported’ Add-on (which means that it is essentially in beta for the newest version of FF). But, I installed it and it seems to work just fine.

Click here to view and install the add-on.

Not using Firefox yet? Read more about it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shared Folders: New in Google Docs

Now Google Docs allows shared folders instead of just shared documents. Great for collaboration!

More information can be found on this lifehacker post:
Google Adds Shared Folders to Docs

New Gmail Lab Feature – “Got the Wrong Bob”?

Gmail now has a lab feature that inconspicuously warns you when you address an email to a first name that occurs more than once in your often-used contacts.

More information can be found on the official Gmail Blog.

New in Labs: Got the wrong Bob?

Note: I had to test this out a few times before it would work. The key to testing it is to create a new email addressed to 3 people that you often email together. For one of them, choose the wrong name (same first name but different last name). Then, you should see the message.


Forgot how to enable a lab?

Enabling a Lab

Labs are nifty add-ons to google mail and calendar. They add functionality that you can enable, test out and then continue using or disable (if you decide you don’t like it).

No software updates to install. Just click ‘Enable’ and you’ve got it.

Here’s how:

Once in gmail, click on the green beaker in the top right corner of your screen.


Find the lab(s) you want to use and click “Enable.” You can later click “Disable” if you no longer want to use the lab.


Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen.


That’s it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Want to type faster? Demo of PhraseExpress Coming soon!


I’ll be putting together a demo of PhraseExpress, my newest software love, soon.


  • Html templates for use with web-based email
  • No more typing the same text over and over again
  • Custom variables included in boiler plate templates
  • and more!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What is Twitter?

You may have heard about Twitter and wondered what it is. (In fact, you might have noticed my tweets on the right side of this blog, above the search.)


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets.

Twitter’s fundamental question is “what are you doing?” This can be in its most simplistic a one or two word answer, but when developed, this is a tool that lends itself to developing understanding and potential for starting collaboration.

Here is a simple explanation from commoncraft (my favorite explainers).

This shows how twitter works for personal use, but similar principles apply in business settings. To understand what twitter can do for business, read this.

Organize Your Desktop with ‘Fences’

If you habitually store often-used files and shortcuts on your desktop, the following free software might rock your world.

It’s called “Fences” and it allows you to easily organize your desktop in a way that helps you find what you need more efficiently.

See how it works in this video:

More information can be found here.

You can download fences here.

I am a big fan of this software. It’s neat that I can simply double click on my desktop to show or hide all of my icons. Sometimes, hiding them all can make my brain a little less cluttered. It also makes my desktop look more professional during screen-sharing presentations.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How do you ‘undo’?

Gmail offers a Lab called “Undo Send.”

Today, I made use of this handy feature at least 3 times; once when I accidentally sent an email to the wrong person; another time when I clicked send before I was really ready to; and then again when I realized my grammar was a bit off.

You can find it by clicking on the green beaker at the top right of your screen, enabling it and then clicking “Save Changes.”

Then, when I click Send, I see a note popup under the thread of the email I just sent. (Assuming I didn’t click “Send and Archive.” If I did, the note would appear at the top of my screen.)


Then, you can customize how long it gives you to realize your mistake. Go to Settings > General > Undo Send. I give myself 10 seconds, just to be safe.


Yet another way to prevent those “d’Oh!” moments.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More than You Ever Needed to Know about Searching in Gmail



If you are now accustomed to clicking “Archive” for emails that you no longer want to see in your inbox, you are probably aware of how powerful the gmail search is. You may have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of results or wondered how to filter your search results to find that one email about that one thing.

Discover the ins and outs of using gmail search by reading this article: http://email.about.com/od/gmailtips/qt/et_find_mail.htm)

Why You Should ‘Remember the Milk’

 I Love RTM.

First, what is ‘Remember the Milk’ (RTM)?

RTM is a task- and time-management web application. It allows you to manage tasks from any computer as well as offline.

Here is a visual tour of what you can do with RTM.

You can access RTM via:

  • Blackberry
  • iPhone
  • Gmail
  • Firefox
  • Any web browser

Personal Note: It took me (Jenna B.) about 2 weeks to fully adjust to using RTM to manage my tasks and to stop writing things down on my standard sticky notes. But, I’m glad I took the time. I’m syncing with my BlackBerry and using the Firefox add-on with gmail to manage my tasks. And now, after several months, I must admit that I’m in love. I’m committed to RTM. I’m ready to go dress shopping and hire caterers.

Here is a solid overview of RTM and what you can do with it, provided by lifehacker.

Clean Up Your Sidebar by Hiding Labels

Since I have 55+ labels, they used to take up a lot of room on the left side of my inbox.

If you want to clean up your sidebar and allow more room for other things (like chat and add-ins), you can hide certain or all labels from appearing on the left.

Go to Settings > Labels and choose Hide All or Hide on individual labels.

Now my sidebar looks like this (a little cleaner).

I can still click on one to show all emails with that label by clicking on the little arrow next to the number of labels and selecting a label, like this:

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