Posts Tagged ‘Google’


GrandCentral Forgot to Renew Their Certificate

It seems GrandCentral, the Google owned phone number consolidation service, has failed to renew their security certificate.  According to the Firefox connection message displayed when I tried to login, the certificate expired yesterday afternoon.  Maybe they renewed it but the configuration hasn’t hit the server yet?!?

GrandCentral Certificate Expires

GrandCentral Certificate Expires

January appears to be a rough month for the internet behemoth.  Last January, around the same time (January 23rd actually), someone at Google failed to renew the domain which brought it down for several hours after someone else registered it.

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Gmail Adds Mail Goggles Lab Feature

Gmail just launched a new labs feature by the name of ‘Mail Goggles’.  Yes, you read that right…Mail Goggles.  It’s tasked with the job of making it more difficult to actually send those embarrassing emails when you’re sitting behind your monitor inebriated.  I don’t know about you but if I’m out enjoying a beverage (or few) I’m not carrying a computer with me and as far as I know the Labs features don’t work with IMAP.

I guess for those few (maybe there is actually a lot) that have problems with drunk-mailing this could be a good fix but I’d much prefer Gmail spend the time to come up with ‘mailbox rules’ similar to Outlook.  Before people start screaming, yes, I know you can use Outlook with Gmail but I don’t want to have to use it.  With rules, I can easily setup a 1 minute delay on outbound emails.  This allows me to catch that last sentence or add that last recipient that may have slipped my mind as I clicked ‘send’.

You can configure the settings on the ‘general’ tab after enabling the feature.  It’s a pretty quick configuration and let’s you tell Google when your preferred drinking times are and allows you to make it as easy or as difficult as you want.

As I found while I was testing, once you ‘pass the test’ once you can send as many emails as you want without being prompted to take the quiz again.  Apparently, you have to logout and then login again to re-prompt the ‘Mail Goggles’.  At least I had to logout, even when I tried sending messages to a different address.  Maybe it only asks you to verify once every set amount of time?!?

Verdict: Leave this one disabled.


Gmail Adds Mail Goggles - Settings

Gmail Adds Mail Goggles - Settings


Gmail Mail Goggles Easy Settings

Gmail Mail Goggles Easy Settings




Gmail Mail Goggles Difficult Settings

Gmail Mail Goggles Difficult Settings

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Managing Subscription Content [How To]

Wow – once again, it’s been longer between posts than I had ever planned.  Everytime I feel like I’m about to turn the corner something else comes up and turns life back into a ridiculous time-crunch.  Anyways…

I consider myself an early adopter.  I’m currently using Google Chrome (the newest web browser), I’ve been using web-based email for years (I own Outlook and it’s not even setup), I blog, I have a Twitter account, I’ve had Facebook since it was first launched at my school and I read almost all my news online (I’m a fan of Google Reader).  Those are the best examples I could come up with…it’s been a long week.  Bare with me.  But sometimes, it’s nice to have a copy in hand and get your eyes off the computer screen.  With my travel schedule (around 120-140 segments a year) sometimes it just isn’t efficient to turn on the PC and use Google Reader offline with Gears.

The biggest problem I have with my magazine subscriptions is managing the content for reference later.  One of the best features (in my humble opinion) of Google Reader is the ability to tag and ‘Star’ posts.  I currently have 222 starred posts organized under 252 tags…I read a lot.  But, I can’t really do that with an article in a magazine can I?!?  It would be a little inefficient to award an article a gold star (think back to elementary school people) but have to look through each page to find it.

Here are a couple things I do to keep this information at my fingertips:

Summary Emails 

I send summary emails to myself for each issue if there is something worth remembering.  For example, I just finished reading the October issue of Money.  I sent myself an email with the subject “Money Magazine – October 2008″ and included key words such as “retirement locations”, “Roth Advantages”, “Social Security Taxation Formula”, etc.

I have a general tag (SUBSCRIPTIONS) that I apply to each of these emails for easy location later and if an issue is particularly heavy on something I may assign it additional tags.  For example, Money tends to have issues packed with retirement information.  So, at times, I label a whole issue with the ‘RETIREMENT’ tag.

The tags are great but it’s inefficient to create a tag for every possible key word.  By entering meaningful words in the body of the email I can search for them later with GMails built in search functionality and figure out which issue(s) I need to pull for additional information.

Scanned Articles

Sometimes an article just jumps out at me as amazing or there’s just one article from an issue that I’m interested in saving for later.  In this case I’ll scan the article and send it to myself as an image.  Nothing too fancy here folks, my $150 All-in-One handles the workload nicely.  Attach the image, label it ‘subscriptions’, add some key words and an appropriate subject and I’m sure to find it later.  For articles that fall into this category, I often star the conversation as well just to make it that much easier to find.

This allows me to trash the issue (there’s only so much space for storing subscriptions these days) but retain the information.  I don’t even know how many times I’ve pulled up previously read articles for quotes or references. 

The only real downside I’m facing right now is that I have to search twice.  With as much as I read, I can’t always remember where exactly I read something…I have to search.  In order to get the proper results I have to search Google Reader/sort through tags and search GMail.

It’s cumbersome at times, but I’ve found it to be a great way to manage print information so that it’s easy to find when you need it.  Hope this helps!


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Create PDFs on the cheap [Google Docs]

Acrobat PDF creator is one of those applications I think should be free.  In some cases, PDF documents are the only way to distribute documents easily.  There is the fact that not everyone uses the same productivity suite.  There is also the new format change for Office 2007 which makes reading ‘new’ documents on an ‘old’ XP machine difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, Adobe needs to keep the lights on, but they have a whole suite of products to keep them afloat.  Not to mention they have premium Acrobat tools (more than just creating a simple PDF) and the Adobe Interactive Forms suite to keep Acrobat alive and kicking.  Adobe Interactive Forms allow businesses to develop forms that mimic an existing layout that communicate with their backend ERP systems.  This allows the business to implement technology changes with minimal impact to field workers.

I thought I’d share my online PDF creator approach that also fits with my slow transition to an online-only productivity suite.

To get your documents as PDFs follow these few steps:

1) Login to Google Docs and upload your existing document – they cover Word and Powerpoint

Upload File to Google Docs

2) Click on the document to enter ‘change mode’

3) Navigate to File -> Download file as -> PDF and save when prompted

Download file as PDF

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Google Analytics Makes Login Easier

As with a majority of the web-publishers (if you can really call me that), I use Google Analytics to track visitor stats. It’s simple to implement, easy to use, requires almost no server load and best of all it’s free. My only real complaint about the service was that it required me to login again even if I was already logged into other Google services. Obviously not a major issue, I’m more than willing to do that for free access to such a great service, but it was just a productivity buzz kill.

I started noticing the changes Tuesday morning when I logged in and was immediately excited. Google announced the new streamlined login Tuesday night on the Google Analytics blog.

Now to play the devils advocate. I appreciate the change because I hated pausing to enter my password again but I’m not sure why they couldn’t take it one step further and take me right to the main landing page. If it’s for security reasons, I’ve got to say there are other services that use the Google single-signon that I’m more worried about if my account is compromised.

Also, if you visit Google Analytics without being logged into another Google service you now have an additional step. Now, you have to click the ‘access analytics’ button which will determine you’re not logged in and then you have to enter your Google credentials.

All in all, I think it will save me some time because I don’t often visit Analytics first thing (I tend to be an email person followed by RSS reader) but I’m not exactly sure what the engineers where thinking when they ok’d that approach.

Here are a couple screenshots of the new login approach:

Google Analytics Streamlines Login

Google Analytics Streamlines Login

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Google Apps Experiencing Issues

I think I’ve said it before, but just in case you haven’t heard, I’m a big fan of the Google productivity suite.  I use their email, calendar, photos, documents…I think you get the picture. Well, when a few friends and I decided to start an investment club the logical choice for an easy to set-up website was Google Apps for your domain.  It allows us to easily share information, administer users and experiment with things while we decide what we want our more permanent solution to look like.  All in all, it’s worked pretty well and the group members love it.

Tonight, as with most nights, I login to check club activity and make sure things are working smoothly.  I have a lot of faith in Google but based on my experiences at work, a random check up here and there can save you in the long run.

Much to my surprise, I was greeted by a message that said my users may have issues using Google Apps – specifically the email application.  I like that I was warned and luckily we all still keep our own personal email addresses, but I was still pretty shocked.  While implementing the site I read several of the forums and there are a lot of people that use Google Apps for ‘mission critical’ purposes.

I will say though…at least they warn you.  It was nice for them to let me know I may get some crappy emails before they actually made it to my inbox.  I tried to get an image of the problem but I’m on the road (Dallas, TX this week) for work and well…my company issued computer is pretty worthless.  I apologize for its quality in advance.

Google Apps Issues

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