Tag Archives: Gmail

Is Awesome Screenshot Browser Add-on, Really Awesome?

So, is Awesome Screenshot, a screen capture add-on for Firefox 4.0 (which I recently installed), Chrome, and Safari really awesome? If you’re an active Blogger and you have a need to capture web graphics, or you’re the type of web enthusiast who likes to share unique content, then I think you’ll agree that it just might be.

Using Awesome Screenshot by activating its Browser toolbar push button icon

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(which launches the add-on’s toolbar), you can capture a visible part, a selected part, or an entire web page. You then have the option to annotate the screen capture with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and even text.

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Sample Capture

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Saving the image to your Hard Drive, or sharing – by uploading the image to the Pict image hosting site, is a snap. In the following illustration, I’ve uploaded the sample capture to http://awesomescreenshot.com/0879qyp64, which, when clicked, (try it), opens the following.

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This neat add-on doesn’t stop there though. You can share your capture on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Buzz – and even email it with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail.

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Fast facts:

Capture

  • Capture visible part
  • Capture any region
  • Capture the whole page
  • Crop any portion and show crop dimension

Annotate

  • Annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text
  • Erase the sensitive information with blur tool

Share

  • One-click Upload the screenshot to awesomescreenshot.com
    and get a sharable link
  • Hard to guess URL to allow private sharing
  • Share the link to Twitter, Facebook, email etc.

To see  Awesome Screenshot in action, watch this YouTube video.

Compatible with: Firefox 4.0, Chrome, Safari.

Download at: Mozilla, or the developer’s site.

Note: No restart required for Firefox 4.0 add-on.

Just a quick word on Firefox 4.0, which I’ve been running for a few weeks.

Contrary to most of the hype I’ve been reading regarding Firefox 4.0 which attempts to reposition Firefox 4.0 as the “reinvention” of the Browser, it’s simple not so.

Yes, there are major differences under the hood in this latest version, some of which you may find valuable, but in terms of productivity increases, I doubt if an average user will notice. For example, I have a very high end Video Card which Firefox 4.0 is designed to take advantage of – I have yet to see any improvement in performance based on this.

The following type of pseudo scientific testing is misleading, and really just twists reality out of shape – “performance tests on the Kraken, SunSpider and V8 benchmarks, for example, Firefox 4 blew away previous versions of the browser, with performance results between three and six times better.” The test results may be accurate, but unless you can count in milliseconds, I doubt if you’ll notice any appreciable increase in speed.

Nevertheless, if you’re a Firefox user, you do need to upgrade for security reasons. But don’t expect that you’ll be walking into a new and exciting Browser world.

With all the new releases, upgrades, and what have you in the Browser market in the last few weeks, and the accompany trumpeting of “were the best”, “we’re the fastest”, “we’ve got the best technology”, ad nauseam – it very much reminded me of children bragging in the school yard.

It would be helpful for average users if certain tech journalists, and the product developers, stopped trying to “sell” browsers as if they were used cars, it seems to me.

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23 Comments

Filed under Blogging Tools, Browser add-ons, Browsers, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Gmail, Google Chrome, Image Editors, Interconnectivity, Safari, Safari add-ons, Screen Capture Utilities, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Gmail Backup 0.107 – Now, More Than Ever, A Necessity

imageWith an uptime of 99.984 percent in 2010, it would be hard to argue with Gmail’s reliability. Unless of course, you happened to be one of the unlucky few who had to suffer through Google’s recent outage (caused by a software bug update), which included e-mail messages, and other data, disappearing.

Ben Treynor, Google vice president of engineering and site reliability, explained the snafu this way – “Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work …….. getting it back for the people affected by this issue.”

I was amused by the bevy of tech journalist who underplayed the significance of this occurrence – sort of like “What’s the big deal. In the end, all was recovered – back to normal.” But, it is a “big deal.”

Cloud computing, and Gmail fits the definition of a “cloud computing” service – is not without its share of risks. It seems to me, that an absolute reliance on the unquestionable ability of any online storage service to recover from a potential disaster, is foolhardy.

If you’re undaunted by the possibility that Google is not immune from permanently losing your email correspondence, then you’ll see no need to backup your Gmail account.

But, if you’re like me, and you subscribe to a “never say never” point of view, then it would be prudent to backup your Gmail account locally to ensure you’ll have access to important emails – no matter the circumstances. And, Gmail Backup – a free minimalist Gmail backup application will help you do just that, efficiently.

Gmail Backup (which migrated from a commercial application to open source, in September 2010),  is definitely without any bells and whistles, but it does what it says it will do, without any fuss or bother.

The application is designed to backup your Gmail account to a folder on your Hard Drive, and as an added bonus, you can restore back to Gmail.

Prior to using the application, it’s necessary to enable IMAP by clicking “Settings” – “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” in Gmail.

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The application interface is simple and basic, as the following screen capture indicates.

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For this test run, I downloaded 47,142 emails totaling 1.03 GB (that’s 6 years or so of emails), which took  about 8 hours.  The average download speed was an unimpressive 50 KB/s – sloooooow! But, that’s not related to the application – that’s a Google issue.

The application transferred this huge number of emails perfectly. I selected one at random for this test, as indicated by the arrow in the following screen shot.

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Then, I opened that particular email in Thunderbird, to ensure the contents, and the attachments, were accessible.

Gmail Backup Test

Note: You don’t have to backup your entire Gmail account, as I did for this test. You have the option of choosing specific “from”, and “before” dates.

Gmail Backup is certainly not the most exciting application I’ve taken for a spin recently, but it’s basic functionality was impressive.

Not everyone has a need to backup their Gmail account (or agrees that it’s necessary), but if you do, then Gmail Backup is a free solution that’s worth taking a look at.

Note: As with all backups, the local folder should be copied to portable media – just in case.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, and a Gmail account of course.

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Email, Freeware, Gmail, Google, Open Source, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Google Redesigned – Dress Up Your Google Services

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I’m a “skin man”. For example, I’m a big fan of the Firefox add-on Personas Plus, which brightens my dull, boring, “un-skinned” Firefox, with a choice of any one of 180,000 cool designs.

The selections are wide ranging – from bands (All American Rejects, No Doubt, Lady Gaga, Bob Marley, ….), to movies (Harry Potter, Fame, ….), favorite causes (Greenpeace, ….), and much, much more.

So, when regular reader TeX, tipped me off to one of his new finds, Google Redesigned, a Firefox add-on which changes the look and feel of Google services, I had to give it a try.

Supported services:

Gmail

Google Reader

Google Docs

Google Calendar

How It Works:

The extension loads a collection of independently maintained CSS files which are saved to your web browser’s cache. These CSS files then overwrite the default styling used by Google.

The following screen captures will give you a good idea of the “Before and After”. Click on a graphic to expand to original.

Gmail – un-skinned.

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Gmail – skinned.

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Google reader un-skinned.

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Google reader skinned.

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System requirements: Firefox 3.6 – 4.0. The theme also works with SeaMonkey 1.0 – 2.0a1, and Thunderbird 1.5 – 3.2a1pre.

According to the developer, a Chrome extension is in the works.

Download at: Mozilla

Following installation, a restart is required.

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4 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Google, Google Software

Gmail Backup – A Free Minimalist Gmail Backup App

imageGmail Backup (which migrated from a commercial application to open source, in September 2010),  is definitely without any bells and whistles, but it does what it says it will do, without any fuss or bother.

The application is designed to backup your Gmail account to a folder on your Hard Drive, and as an added bonus, you can restore back to Gmail.

Prior to using the application, it’s necessary to enable IMAP by clicking “Settings” – “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” in Gmail.

image

The application interface is simple and basic, as the following screen capture indicates.

image

For this test run, I downloaded 47,142 emails totaling 1.03 GB (that’s 6 years or so of emails), which took  about 8 hours.  The average download speed was an unimpressive 50 KB/s – sloooooow! But, that’s not related to the application – that’s a Google issue.

The application transferred this huge number of emails perfectly. I selected one at random for this test, as indicated by the arrow in the following screen shot.

image

Then, I opened that particular email in Thunderbird, to ensure the contents, and the attachments, were accessible.

Gmail Backup Test

Note: You don’t have to backup your entire Gmail account, as I did for this test. You have the option of choosing specific “from”, and “before” dates.

Gmail Backup is certainly not the most exciting application I’ve taken for a spin recently, but it’s basic functionality was impressive.

Not everyone has a need to backup their Gmail account but if you do, then Gmail Backup is a free solution that’s worth taking a look at.

Note: As with all backups, the local folder should be copied to portable media.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 and a Gmail account of course.

Download at: Download.com

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

4 Comments

Filed under Backup Tools, downloads, Email, Freeware, Gmail, Google, Open Source, Software