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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
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.

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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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Friday, December 18, 2009

Freeing Up Space in Gmail

Are you worried about using up your gmail space quota?

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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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter:
@Rather_Geeky

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.

    2009-12-14_232244 
    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!

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Additional Resources

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

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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter:
@Rather_Geeky

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.

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It looks like this:

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You can type your search criteria here:

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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?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter:
@Rather_Geeky

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?)
    2009-12-03_105727
  2. Go to Settings > General. 2009-12-03_105805
  3. Change the formatting as desired in the “Default Text Style” section.
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  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.

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