How to: Customize your signature in GMail

Yes.  You can now customize your signature in GMail.  This is a feature that I had been waiting for GMail to introduce.  There were times when I wanted to introduce my services with a few links to content to my clients on Elance, Guru and oDesk, the freelance sites where I am active. One of those Firefox addons that I used was Wisestamp.  The problem with it was if people were accessing mails through their Outlook, Evolution or Mozilla’s Thunderbird or other mail clients they were unable to read my custom signatures.  Wisestamp displays my latest posts when I added my RSS feed to it.

Tip: How to customize your GMail Signature

Customize your GMail signature

You can customize your GMail signatures now.

Click on the image to view large

All you have to do is log into your GMail account (Created an account here if you do not have one) and login.  Click on settings tab that you find on your right top hand side.  There under the general tab, scroll down and you will find the Signature box. Now you will see a rich text editor.  Enter the text like your name, a designation with other contact details.  You can format the text, add links and insert images to add more value to your signatures.

Images You cannot add images from your desktop.  However you can add images from the web.  In case you want to add a logo or a specific picture, I suggest that you upload to your Picasa or Flickr account.  Add tags to the image.  Copy the link to the image and add it in the Web Address URL box that pops up when you click on the insert image icon.  If the image is small and the URL you entered is correct, it shows up almost immediately.  Save your settings.  Now click on the compose mail link and in your mail composing box, you should be able to see your signature in all its glory.  To edit it, you need to go to settings and tweak it.

In case you already have multiple custom addresses, you can create a unique signature for each address.

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How to: Share a Document Online – Tip 1

As a freelance content provider it is but natural that I deal with documents of all sorts.  I open new ones. I save them and share them.  Sharing most of the time involves mailing them across to others or uploading them to an online document management service and share a link or email as an attachment.

During one of those events, I sent across a word file that I created in Word 2010 (beta).  This document has an extension docx.  In the past I did have problems opening documents because of compatibility issues between different versions.  Word 97 loses its format when you try to open it Word 95.  Similarly you will find that a document that you created in OpenOffice looks different in certain respects, when you open it in MS Office word.

During those times there were occasions when I used Abiword or some such RTF tool.  While I was giving OpenOffice’s Writer a spin, I also downloaded a version of the MSOffice Word viewer.   All of them came with their own constraints.

Later I started using the online versions.  I used to upload my documents to Google Docs, or Zoho or to my account on Skydrive MS Office.  I upload my document and then share the documents.  Most of the time I used to send the link across and all the recipient has to do is click on the link and read it.

But in this particular instance I refer to, though I uploaded the document to one of my online document management accounts, I mailed her a copy.  I just wanted to see if she was able to open the document and read it.  She could not open it.  So I opened the Save As dialog box in my Word 2010 Beta and saved it as ‘Word 97 – 2003 document’.  I sent it across.  She could open it.  She said she would read it and get back to me with her review.*

So that is one more way to share your word document.  If you are using a Word 2010 Beta and if you are not sure about the version of the MS Office Word or any other word application the other person is using,  it is best to open a  ‘SaveAs’ dialog box and save it as ‘Word 97 -2000 document’.And then mail it across.

Click to enlarge

Please feel free to tell me how you share you documents.  Thank you.

*In this instance I still am waiting for her review.

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Hyperwords Helps You Interact With Your Words

This is about another addon that is of immense help to those that work with words.  I came across this addon a few years ago.  But somehow during the ensuring browser crashes and OS hopping and upgrades and updates I missed it.  Today I found it again and to my surprise I learned, Hyperwords has a version even for Chrome.  Once you install it and restart your Firefox / Chrome you are all ready and set to go.

Hyperwords Promotional Logo

Hyperwords - an extension for Firefox and Chrome browser

When you are on the net, select any text that you need to learn more about.  You will notice a small icon next to the text.  Hover your cursor on the Hyperword icon and you are shown a few options.  Choose the one that suits you and you are done.  You can do a whole lot of things with Hyperwords addon and the text on the web.  You can translate, email, share, find meanings and synonyms.  It interacts with Facebook and Twitter too.

Click here to learn more on their own demo page.

To see Hyperwords in action on YouTube, click here. It is much more detailed and elaborate.

No wonder there were one million, eleven thousand, four hundred and twenty one downloads when I checked the last time.  🙂

Give it a shot.  I am sure you would love it.

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How To: Customize Your Google Home page

I remember using it with Live Search.  Then Bing happened last year.  And this morning I noticed Google do it.  To emulate is to flatter.  So does Google now.  Google has begun to roll out it’s home page customization and is likely to roll across the world in the next few weeks.

Open your Google Home page and you would notice at the lower left corner the option, ‘Change background image‘.  Click on it and you are taken to the next screen, with options: ‘From my computer, My Picasa Web photos, Public gallery and Editor’s Picks’.  Choose any one of them and your ‘Google Home Page Customize’ is complete.  You would be privy to your own ‘Customized Google Home Page’.

"Google home page"

Google Home page customize options

Click on the image to magnify.

You already have your background pictures, frames and what not. Do you really need it?  I mean do you really need to ‘Customize Google Home Page’? At the end of the day what matters is, does Google deliver what you search for?  Not all that eye candy.  What do you think?  Does customizing your Google home page help? How?

You love Bing because it offers you better pictures?  Does it matter?  How do those pictures help you, on the homepage?

* By the way, this Google Home Page Customization works only on Google.com not on any other country domain, like for example Google.us or Google.uk or Google.ru  🙁

Care to share your thoughts!   Leave a comment, now.

Don’t worry I will not spam you. I promise.  Neither will I share your email id with anyone else.

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Does GMail’s ‘Forgotten Attachment Detector’ Read Your Mail?

Does GMail find attached files and read them?

Were you ever prompted by GMail to check if you have attached your files after hitting the ‘send’ button?  I had that experience many times.  That was then, a few years ago.  GMail then had a ‘Forgotten Attachment Detector’ by a Jonathan K, tucked in, under the experimental features ‘labs’.  One had to enable it.  You do not see that feature under ‘labs’ anymore.

Now, in your GMail, when you compose a mail and hit the send button, it asks you, “‘did you mean to attach files?  You wrote ‘see attached’ in your message, but there are no files attached.  Send anyway?'” , a gentle reminder. I found out something else.  This doesn’t work out all the time.

It is not that GMail reminds everyone that mention a ‘file’ or ‘attachment’ in their message.  GMail responds to only to that phrase ‘see attached‘ or ‘find attached‘ and warns you if you have not, by then,  attached any files.

Even the reminder that it throws up replicates it in the prompt.  Check screen shots I took with those two different phrases.

1 – with see attached 

See attached file reminder forgotten attachment detector

and

2 – with Find attached

GMail Forgotten Attachment Reminder

So just make sure that you use those words and I am sure that GMail would definitely remind you about those so called forgotten files.  🙂

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Browsing Tips: Start Google’s Chrome Browser Always in Incognito Mode

There are times when you are on the move and you want to work on the Internet from a public computer, without leaving any traces.  Reach the shortcut to the Google Chrome browser.

  • Right click on it.
  • Select properties.
  • Once in the properties tab, look for target box.
  • You will the find the short cut path leading to Chrome. exe
  • Leave a space after the “Chrome.exe” and enter a hyphen /dash.
  • Type “incognito” without the quote marks next to the hyphen.  (Make sure that there is just one  single space between the “.exe” and the hyphen () Do not include the ” ” (quote marks).
  • Click OK.
  • Now double click on the Chrome short cut.  It opens in the incognito mode.

Chrome Incognito mode edit

Click on the image for a larger view.

Luca Grementieri, of Javafactory came out with an extension for Chrome.  Once you install the extension Incognito Switcher, a single click on the extension icon opens your Chrome browser into a new ‘incognito’ window.  You can try that too.

Good luck with your private browsing.  Be good, don’t be naughty.  🙂

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Windows 7 Tips: How To Add More Shortcuts To Send To Menu

I picked up this Windows 7 tip, somewhere on the net.

Select a folder or a file, right click and the Send to menu displays more options, than the Windows 7 default.  Look at the picture here.  It is quite useful to me.  I can configure my Send To menu with my personal preferences.

Configure your Send To Options

Learn how to add more options to your Send To menu, from the Geek here.

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How to Shrink Those Firexfox Browser Tabs

Kyosuke Takayama says that he would prefer his Faviconize the way it is and he doesn’t “..intend to add a feature. “stay simple, stay small” in his own words.  Though it is a nifty extension, the last time I checked, it had a download count of 871,611.  Shows it’s popularity.

For someone who has a very small screen acreage, be on her Net-book or laptop or likes to have many browser tabs open, ‘faviconize’ is a wonderful Firefox extension.  It shrinks the ‘tab’ width and makes more screen room.

See the image here:  Look at the space those tabs occupy.

Normal view of Firefox tabs before Faviconize

After installing the “Faviconize” extension, look at the additional space made. (Click on the images for more detail)

Thinner Tabs - after installing faviconize

“Faviconize” shrinks the tab to the size of a favicon the website uses. Kyosuke, thoughtfully added a few options too.  Once installed, under Tools>Extensions> navigate to Faviconize and click on the options.  One of the option is you can set a ‘default’ to a particular site to always open in the ‘faviconized’ size.  The other option is, you set a key board short cut of your choice.

Yes, of course I am using it.

You can add “Faviconze” here.

Download the latest Firefox here.

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Sandeep, take me to this url!

When you are on the net, there are many instances where you come across web URLs that you may visit.  You need to copy the url and then paste it in the address bar opening a new window or a tab to visit that site.  Sandeep Kothari came out with a solution.  He created a Firefox extension for folks like us.  His “Take Me To This URL” does precisely that. Once you install “Take Me To This URL” extension, all you have to do, when you come across a website text link is, select it and right click to show your context menu.  In the context menu you will find, “Take me to this URL”.  Point your cursor at it and click!  Bingo! The plain text URL to the selected website opens up either in a new tab or a window depending on your browser settings.

Click on the image to see detail.

Take me to this URL - Firefox Extension

Thank you, Sandeep for making life on the net easier!  🙂

You can download the Firefox extension “take me to this URL” here.

Download the latest Firefox here.

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Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

This year Solar Christmas Lights are going to spread the message through out the world that festivals do contribute to making this world go green.   During the festive season Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are expected to raise the awareness of people about green and clean energy.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs will also increase the focus on Solar power and hopefully technologies that are involved in harnessing the abundant Solar energy will get a boost.

What are LEDs ?

Solar Christmas Lights are made of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) that consume much less energy than your traditional tungsten filament or CFL light.  They are more efficient compared to the traditional lights that need color filters.

How do they work?

A light sensor when triggered by sun light, activates the solar cells on a controller board, which in turn charge a  battery.  The energy charged battery powers the Solar Christmas Light LEDs.  A bright Sun produces about 1000 watts of energy for each square meter of the earth.  Solar Christmas lights burn brightly for almost up to fifteen hours after a full charge.

Solar Christmas Tree at Rockfeller Center, New York

Energy Efficient

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are energy efficient lights with distinctive look.  They are cost efficient and last longer.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs do not burn out but fade out over a period of time.  Besides a single bulb fading out in a string does not affect the other LEDs.  The energy savings made compared to the traditional lights is quite substantial.

Lasts Long

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs work for almost ten years.  This is almost twice the time of the incandescent bulb.

Safe

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are safer too. Since they do not generate much heat they are safer to hang on the Christmas trees.   Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs come in durable and sturdy plastic cases and do not break easily.  Hence they are comparatively safer and are less risky especially when children and pets are around.

337 words

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