All posts in Technology

EU Cookie Law – what’s it all about?

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The EU Cookie Law has annoyed the hell out of me for the last year or so…it’s a ridiculous law…it turns me (and 1000s others) into a criminal overnight…..brought in by people who don’t understand the implications…..politicians getting involved where they don’t understand….YES this causes me to RANT.

This video should help normal people who don’t speak fluent geek to understand it. You can support the movement HERE.

I’m going to stop now.

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Why Bother with Google Drive?

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Google Drive is getting rolled out to all G-users over the next few months.

The main idea is to align the product with DropBox and SugarSync…….it’s basically Google Docs renamed with a few loooooong awaited features.

If you’re not aware of the whole concept of online/cloud/backup/whatever storage here’s a refresher:

  • you store your files online
  • you install a ‘magic’ folder on your computer, your Google Drive folder
  • any files that you have online appear in this folder
  • any files you add to the ‘magic’ folder appear online
  • any files you edit on your computer will have the changes synced to your online version
  • if you have multiple devices (iPhone, iPad or multiple machines) the changes are synced across all devices
  • you can share files with people and the changes will sync with their version
  • you can access and edit your files offline and sync the changes when you next get an internet connection

the difference between Google Docs and Google Drive?

The biggest difference between Google Docs and Google Drive is the fact that you can store traditional file types (.xls, .doc, .docx, etc) on your machine, edit using the tools you always liked, and share the updated file with your colleagues.

With the old ‘Docs’ you had two options, neither were great:

  • to download the file and re-upload the new version (leading to massive version control issues)
  • or use the terrible Google Docs online interface for file editing
With Google Drive you get the comfort of using your files on your machine as you wish and the benefit of online storage and sharing capabilities.

How do I get started with Google Drive?

If your Google account has been upgraded (something out of your control) you will see ‘Drive’ in the top bar where ‘Docs’ was.

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After you select this you’ll be prompted to install your Google Drive on your machine.

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Once installed you will have a folder appear on your machine which will fill up with the files from your online storage.

In my case the files were very unorganised (something I feel the old Docs interface caused). With the new setup I could clean up my files on my machine and the re-organised setup syncronised to the online storage. This made the OCD geek inside me smile.

Are there any problems with switching to Google Drive?

One of the pains about making the change is that the files you were editing in the old Docs are now .gdoc files and need to be converted. This is simple but if you have a lot of files it could take a while. However, it’s worth the effort – it’s a massive improvement.

If you weren’t previously a Docs user then it’s completely painless and a no brainer…..other than the fact that it’s feeding the monster.

Either way the switchover is mandatory in a few months so you’ve no choice (that wouldn’t be like Google:)

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Is Google Drive any better than Dropbox and Sugarsync?

Not really but if you’re already a Google App user it’s really handy to keep all your online services in one place.

It is way cheaper if you’re considering paying for one of these accounts but the free versions are generally enough for most users.

You get 5Gb (5000Mb) free storage with Drive. This is 3Gb more than Dropbox and identical to SugarSync;’s 5Gb.

With Dropbox and SugarSync you get an additional 500Mb for every person you refer (hence the affiliate links above:). I’m sure Google will release a similar incentive scheme.

Premium users get 25Gb for $25…I think.

I think it’s fairly obvious, but for anyone who’s not aware, this is the definition of cloud storage.

The race for the online storage audience has just clicked up a gear – it’ll be an interesting one to watch!

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3 Reasons Workaholics will love Boomerang for Gmail

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One of the things that all previous Outlook users dislike about Google Gmail is the ability to schedule when you send an email. Boomerang allow you to schedule when you send an email AND it offers the facility for the email to ‘boomerang’ (return) if you don’t get a response within a period of time.

How do I install Boomerang?

It’s probably available for more but I only use it on Chrome. Go to the Google Chrome App Store, find Boomerang and install this. If this is too tricky then Boomerang may not be for you.

What looks different in Gmail?

You now have a ‘Boomerang’ button and a ‘Send Later’ button beside your old ‘Send’ button.

What’s so cool about it?

1.Burn the midnight oil

If you often work late at night it can be  a tad embarrassing sending emails in the early AMs. Sometimes I save to draft but that means remembering the next morning to send your drafts….it also involves getting up before midday (just kidding………well sort of:).

Now you can ‘Send Later’ by clicking one of your new buttons. Using this means you can quickly select one of the suggested times or specify a time by manually entering it exactly. No more clients thinking you need more resources – problem solved!

2. Schedule a reminder if nobody replies to an email.

In the past I would collect tons of mail in my inbox until someone had replied to it. I was too afraid to delete or archive it as I couldn’t trust me memory to remind me to chase them. Using the ‘Boomerang’ feature you can schedule the mail to return if you don’t receive a reply within a specified period of time. The greatest benefit of this is that you can safely clear out the inbox once you have answered staff/client mails knowing that they will ‘Boomerang’ back if the other person doesn’t reply.

There is a certain freedom that comes from looking at a clear inbox that can only be understood by regular email users. It’s like ticking all the boxes on your to-do list!

3. You can pull back messages that haven’t been sent yet.

Using the Boomerang dashboard (the button is located in the top RHS of Gmail once installed) you can return or re-schedule an email. This allows you to pull back email if anything has changed in the meantime – I think we can all find a few handy uses for this in the past!

If you can think of other cool things Boomerang does put them in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list.

Derek.

PS I haven’t proof read this so please point out the typos to me.

Steve Jobs BBC Documentary Video

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This is a unique look at the time and place that Steve Jobs operated in. A great watch and the ful length is up on YouTube – nearly an hour long.

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RIP Steve Jobs

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