How to Open Full Screen Compose Box in Gmail as Default

One of the most annoying changes with Gmail has to be the compose mail pop-up box, which floats at the corner of your screen. Google has included a full screen toggle button on the top of the compose box. I personally like to compose mail on a full screen rather than rolling my eyes over to the left corner of my screen every time to see whether I’m typing correctly. I also found it a bit annoying to click the full-screen toggle button every time I compose a e-mail.

Fortunately, It’s very easy to make the full screen compose as a default setting

How it works:

Compose a new mail and the usual compose box would pop-up

CheckClick on the little arrow you will find in the lower left corner of the compose box. Then choose Default to full-screen

Bingo! Now every time you compose a mail you will get a full-screen compose box. If you want the newer compose box, then simply repeat the steps again.

FullScreen

Do drop in your comments.

Notifycon: Shows Notification Count in Pinned Tabs with Chrome

Automatic notifiers are always welcome. Though you can pin tabs in Chrome, they don’t show the updates. We just use them for easy access to the sites.  But what if they offer the notifications as well? Wouldn’t that make things better? For just that reason, here is “Notifycon extension”.  It is a easy and simple extension in chrome that displays the notification counts in the pinned tabs of your Chrome.

How it works:

  • Install the Notifycon Chrome Extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  • After installation, You will be able to see a new icon on your browser’s toolbar.

notify

  •  When you click on that, you will see a small pop-up stating that pin-up is necessary for the extension to work.

pin now

  • Click on the “pin now” button.
  • Once the site is pinned, you can see it in the left corner of the toolbar with the notification count.

final

Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and more are supported. Now you will be immediately notified about new messages and notifications on the pinned tabs.

Chrome fans can also check out 6 ways to customize Chrome’s Startup page.

Do try out Notificycon and drop in your comments.

Link: Notifycon

Find Interesting “Nearby” Landmarks with Wikipedia on Mobile

Wikipedia is a fantastic online resource one can literally spend hours on. Articles on Wikipedia can range from historical personalities, events to even current news. It also has a lot of details on cities and local areas. Especially if that local area is a tourist destination or has something interesting. If you look up Wikipedia on your smart-phone, you could look a new feature called “Nearby”.

Look it up and based on the location data from your mobile phone, it will show you interesting places from around where you are at the moment.

Wikipedia Nearby

The “Nearby” option pulls up not just interesting places, they are also linked to their corresponding Wikipedia article. If you ever wanted to be a local expert on areas nearby your house, look up the locations without an article and you can start writing a Wikipedia article for that local place too.

This is potentially a must use feature of Wikipedia if you are travelling to a different city. Tourists will enjoy this a lot more as it will not just show places of interest but also why exactly they are interesting.

If you visit the mobile page of Wikipedia on your laptop browser, then too you should be able to see the “Nearby” option. But it works best with mobile phones where the location service is most accurate.

Do try out “Nearby” feature of Wikipedia on your phone and drop in your comments and views.

Link: Wikipedia.org

[How to] Unlist Your Phone Number on TrueCaller App

Websites like TrueCaller easily allow people to lookup the name of the person to whom a phone number belongs to. It behaves mainly like a global directory. Truecaller itself has some useful apps too on Android and iPhone. The android app actually displays the name of person if the phone number that you are receiving a call from is not saved in your contacts.

But what if you do not want Truecaller to list your phone number? In the interest of privacy, Truecaller has an option to unlist your phone number.

TrueCaller Unlist

How it works:

  • Visit Truecaller’s unlist page and type in your details.
  • Enter the right captcha and your phone number becomes unlisted.
  • I was surprised that it did not send a confirmation code or something on the phone but then it makes sense. If it does not ask permission before listing them, they do not need to unlist them either.

Though unlisting your number is useful for privacy, TrueCaller can be very useful to get notified of numbers which give you those spammy marketing calls which you wished, you had not answered.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Truecaller Unlist

Insert Your Signature into a Gmail Attachment With a Single Click

Usually signing documents online is a very tedious process. For example, someone wants your signature scanned on a document. Ideally you have to download the document as an attachment from your email account. Then we take a print out of the document and put a signature on it. Finally, we have to scan the same document and send it back.

HelloSign allows users to do this in an automated way. It works well on Chrome if you add their extension.

How HelloSign Works:

  • First log-in to your Gmail account and also install the HelloSign Chrome extension.
  • Then you will have to create an account with HelloSign. You can also use your Google account to simply sign up.
  • Enter a specimen of your signature and save it.
  • Now when you check your Gmail attachments it gives your an additional option to ‘Sign’.

Sign_attachments_documents

  • This will open up pop-up that allows you to insert your saved signature into the attachment.

Add_sign_hellosign

  • This inserted signature then is saved on your attachment. Send the attachment back to the person who needs your signature on a document.

This works great to insert not just signatures but also your initials. Additionally this is good for the environment as you do not have to take out printouts just to sign a document and scan it to send it back.

Do you know of any other similar services? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Hello Sign Extension

Convert Web Pages to PDF and Send to Google Drive

PDF have survived the the post-PC world. As a matter of fact, I think we will read a lot more PDFs because there will a lot more tablets being sold. Most websites do not publish content that really needs to be saved as a PDF file, but it might be necessary if you want to save a tutorial or a long 5000 word article.

As I accessing my files on different computers I tend to use Google Drive. Here is a handy Chrome extension I came across that converts a HTML page into PDF and saves it to your Google Drive.

HTML to PDF Save Google Drive

How it works:

  • Download and install the “Send to Google Docs” extension on your Chrome browser. The extension will show up a new icon next to the Chrome omnibar (address bar).
  • Now while looking up a website, just click on the icon.
  • The HTML page is converted into a PDF document. It opens a preview within Google Drive.

Some Negatives:

You have to be logged into your Google Account for this extension to work. Ofcourse that means we are not sharing our Google ID and passwords with a 3rd party, so it is not exactly a but drawback.

The files are stored by default in the root directory of Google Drive. Unfortunately it does not have the option of choosing a default folder to send the PDF to.

Also if you like PDF files and search for them try out these 5 tips for searching PDFs online.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Send to Google Docs (Chrome)

[Tip] Block Yourself from Facebook Unless you have Notifications Pending

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends from school and college. It is also a great way to keep track of what is happening in the lives of people you know. But most people generate very little useful information on Facebook. I often find 90% of the updates on Facebook being a waste of time.

Most status update can be about mundane things like describing the weather or sharing jokes which often are not funny and the worst of them all sharing funny cat images. But the social networking website is a very addictive service and often I find myself wasting time on it. For someone like me, who works online this can be a catastrophic distraction. :-P

But I do not want to stop using Facebook completely and wanted to look up a online tool that helped me.

Facebook Nanny is a Chrome browser extension which allows users to only access their Facebook account, only if there is a notification pending.

A popup message shows up telling the user to get back to work and not waste time on Facebook. :-)

Users can also access their own profile on Facebook and messages but not their feeds and lists.

To allow yourself full access to Facebook, either you can login from a different browser, disable the extension or use incognito mode on Chrome.

Are there any other tools you use to stop yourself from spending more time on Facebook and similar sites?

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Facebook Nanny

Use Google+ Hangouts to Share Desktop Screen with Friends!

Sharing your desktop online with a friend is a great way to troubleshoot a technical issue. Chrome has a nice app that allows sharing of desktops using only the browser. Google seems to like the idea of people sharing desktops screens and it even has this feature on Google+.

Sharing your computer screen with friends is useful but with Google+ it can be done with many people at the same time.

Share Screen on Google+ Hangouts

  • Start a Hangout session from your Google+ account and invite your friends to be a part of it.
  • Now at the top you can see an option that reads “Screenshare”. Click on it and you will get a popup of all the windows you have open on your computer.

Now select the window and the screen is shared. This works only to share screen and not give or take control of a desktop. For that the previously mentioned Chrome app is necessary.

Hangouts is a great online tool for video chatting in groups. But allowing screenshare actually makes it into more of a teaching tool. For example someone can share a quick draft of the post he is working on to get ideas in realtime from their Google+ friends.

I do not think this is a new feature but just simply not very popular, even though Hangouts is quite popular. Do drop in your comments.

Related: 5 Things Google+ does better than Facebook!

[Online Tip] Create and Share Short Links that Expire

There are many ways to create content online and share it publicly. One issue is sometimes the content being created is draft version of an article or even an image you are working on. You might not want the URL of such content, indexed by search engines or don’t want it available after a few days.

Ephemurl is a nice online tool that allows you to create short links that expire after a few days.

short_links_expire

Just type in the URL which you want to share and select the amount of time you want the short-link to exist. Lets say you select 5 days, then once you create the link online it will expire after 5 days.

Make sure that the people receiving such a URL that expires, know that it is a temporary link, so people are not unnecessarily clicking on dead links.

If you found using temporary short links useful, you might like to read how to create a disposable email to avoid spam.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: EphemURL

Social Micropayment Program for Bloggers – Flattr

Flattr_micro_paymentBlogging can be frustrating, especially when you are starting out. Most bloggers write posts part-time and manage to find some time to create new content which is appreciated with Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter ‘Retweets’.

But nothing says “I like your post” like money does. And Flattr allows bloggers to contribute small sums to good bloggers they appreciate.

How Flattr Works for Bloggers

  • If you are a blogger, then sign with Flatter. Mark out some money you are willing to be distributed.
  • That money could be as less at 3 Euros (the site has default currency as Euro).

Flattr_Add_means

  • This money is then distributed to other bloggers on whose posts which have the Flattr button and users have shown appreciation by clicking on it.
  • As a blogger, you can also earn money by adding the ‘Flattr’ button on your blog posts. Flattr supports WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and other popular blogging platforms.

I find the concept behind Flattr a very good one. To be honest, it is not a replacement for advertising revenues from blogs but mainly useful for new bloggers to get recognition and some revenue from people who appreciate their content.

Try out Flattr and tell me if you like the concept? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Flattr