27 December 2012

Keep your Google Contacts Up to Date!



You have several incomplete entries in your Google Contacts. Some entries are missing phone numbers, others don’t have any mailing address associated with them while in the case of close friends and family members, you don’t even have a record of their birthdays.


How do you get this missing information from contacts and complete your address book?


You can always send them an email or make a phone call and fill-in the missing details manually or there’s a new and better alternative – you can ask your contacts to directly update their own records in your Google Contacts.



Ask Friends to Update your Google Contacts


It works something like this. Your selected contacts are sent a unique URL that points to a web form. They can fill-in the missing data, press the Submit button and all that information is directly added to your Google Contacts. Simple.


To get started, go to your Google Contacts and create a new group (let’s call it Personal). Now put one or more contacts into this new group – all these group members will get an automatic email from you requesting them to update their own records in Google Contacts.


Next open this Google Script and follow these steps:



  1. Choose File -> Make a Copy to create a copy of the script into your own Google Drive.

  2. Update the values of NAME and GROUP variables with the actual values.

  3. Go to File -> Manage Versions and Save a new version.

  4. Go to Publish -> Deploy as Web App, choose “Anyone, even Anonymous” under “Who can access the app” and click the Deploy button.

  5. Go to Run -> Initialize to authorize the script. Choose Run -> Initialize to run the script.


That’s it. All your contacts who are part of that particular Google Contacts group will now receive an email from you (screenshot A). When any of these contacts update their details through the form (screenshot B), you will be notified of the change via email.


Update Google Contacts

Screenshot A: Your friend gets an email requesting them to update their contact information.



Google Contacts Form

Screenshot B: They can fill the form and their details are added directly into your Google Contacts.



The project is created using Google Scripts and the entire source code is available online. If you ever wish to disable the Google Contacts form, open the same Google Script in your Google Drive and unpublish the web app (under Publish -> Deploy as web app).


Also, this version of the project request essential contact details like Mailing Address, Mobile Number, Skype ID, etc. but you can easily extend the script /web form to include additional fields like Anniversary date, Company name and so on.


Tweet this Share on Facebook




Digital Inspiration @labnol This story, Keep your Google Contacts Up to Date!, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 26/12/2012 under Google Contacts, Internet.



25 December 2012

Process Explorer – The Most Powerful Task Manager Replacement [Windows]



process explorerLet’s be honest, the Windows Task Manager isn’t that great for understanding and managing the processes running on your computer. Even on Windows 8, where it’s much-improved, the task manager can’t come close to the power of Process Explorer. It’s part of the Sysinternals set of tools that Microsoft purchased – and for good reason. They’re among the most powerful system utilities for Windows.


In addition to its power, Process Explorer is also flexible. It’s available from Microsoft as a single .exe file. That makes it a portable app you can throw on a USB drive and run on any computer.


Understanding The Processes Running On Your Computer


Perhaps the greatest thing about Process Explorer – from a power-user perspective – is the way it helps visualize the processes running on your computer and their relation to each other.


The task manager included with Windows is a bit of a mess, displaying all running processes in a flat list. It works if you’re hunting for a specific process by name, but it doesn’t give you an overview that really helps you understand what’s going on.


It’s particularly messy if you use multi-process applications like Google Chrome – what if Google Chrome was misbehaving and you needed to kill all its processes? The Windows Task Manager doesn’t make it easy.


process explorer


Process Explorer helps make much more sense of this. The most obvious improvement is the hierarchical tree of processes – we can see the main chrome.exe process that launched all other Chrome processes and understand what Google Chrome is doing. If we wanted to force-quit Google Chrome entirely, we could right-click the top chrome.exe process and select Kill Process Tree. If we wanted to hide all these chrome.exe processes so they didn’t clutter the list, we could click the minus icon to collapse that part of the tree.


process explorer download


Other improvements also help make this list easier to understand. Each process has an associated icon, a description, and a company name. These descriptions and names may be blank – it’s up to each program to provide this information.


Color-coding helps, too. Processes colored blue are your own processes, while processes colored pink are system services. Your desktop processes will appear under explorer.exe near the bottom of the list, while services will appear under services.exe near the top. This helps sort the process list so you aren’t sifting through system services while viewing the processes running on your desktop.


To view which colors correspond to which types of processes and customize the colors, click the Options menu and select Configure Colors.


process explorer download


More Features


Process Explorer is packed with features, including all the ones you’d expect from the Windows Task Manager. You can right-click a process to kill it, change its priority level, or set its CPU affinity and force it to run on only a specific CPU. We won’t focus on all these features – we’ll focus on cool things you can do with Process Explorer that you can’t do with the Windows Task Manager.



  • Search Online: This feature is present in Windows 8’s new task manager, but it showed up in Process Explorer first. You can right-click any running process in the list and select Search Online to quickly search for it online. This can help you understand exactly what the process is and where it came from.

  • Detailed Process Properties: To view information about a process, right-click it and select Properties. If a process is automatically starting with your computer, Process Explorer will tell you where it’s configured to do so. If a process is hiding in the background, you can click Bring to Front to view its window (assuming it has a visible window).


process explorer download



  • Detailed Resource Usage Information: Process Explorer exposes many more ways of visualizing resource usage. In addition to system-wide resource usage graphs, you’ll find per-process CPU, memory, and disk usage graphs in a process’s properties window. You can also see a graph of GPU (graphics card) usage – either per-process or system-wide. To view system-wide resource usage data, click the View menu and select System Information.


process explorer for windows



  • Unlock Locked Files: Have you ever seen a message saying a specific file or folder is in-use by a process and can’t be deleted or moved? This is often to prevent files that are legitimately in-use from being modified, but sometimes programs continue locking a file even when they don’t need it. To see which program is using a file, you can click Find and select Find a Handle or DLL. Search for the name of the file or folder and Process Explorer will tell you which process is “locking” the file. To remove the lock so you can delete or move the file, right-click the handle itself and select Close Handle.


process explorer



  • Find a Window’s Process: Not sure what process a specific window belongs to? Click and drag the target-shaped icon on the Process Explorer toolbar over another window on your desktop. Process Explorer will show you which process the window belongs to.

  • Replace the Windows Task Manager: Love Process Explorer and wish the Windows Task Manager was this awesome? Just click the Options menu and select Replace Task Manager. Whenever you open the task manager – either by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Escape, right-clicking the task bar and selecting Start Task Manager, or pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete and clicking Start Task Manager – Process Explorer will appear instead.


process-explorer-replace-task-manager


Process Explorer is listed on both our Best Windows Software and Best Portable Apps pages because it’s an amazing tool. If you’re looking for another third-party task manager replacement, you may also want to check out Process Hacker or System Explorer.


What do you think of Process Explorer? Do you prefer another task manager replacement? Leave a comment and share your favorite tool!


The post Process Explorer – The Most Powerful Task Manager Replacement [Windows] appeared first on MakeUseOf.



22 December 2012

Facebook Begins To Roll Out Drag N’ Drop Photo Uploads For Posts [Updates]



Photos are becoming an integral part of Facebook. So is the way we use them. Facebook is apparently keen on making the photo experience smoother and the roll-out of a drag and drop feature could be a start. Facebook is introducing the drag and drop functionality to the publisher box from where we post our status updates and shares. Normally it takes about six clicks to upload a single photo and publish it on Facebook.


The new feature cuts it short to a single drag and drop, and also allows you to upload multiple photos in one go. Usually, publishing multiple photos require one to create a photo album and then share it across with the network. Now you can expect to publish a post with multiple clicks with one drag and drop. This new ‘expected-soon’ update receives a thumbs-up for user friendliness. The feature is being gradually rolled out and is not apparent yet in all profiles.



There is no official word on Facebook’s blog, but Inside Facebook also reports that this feature is also available for Timeline cover photos and also as an option in the Message box.


Give us a shout if you see it on your Facebook profile.


Source: Inside Facebook


The post Facebook Begins To Roll Out Drag N’ Drop Photo Uploads For Posts [Updates] appeared first on MakeUseOf.



Google Chrome – A Fantastic Replacement For Mobile Safari [iOS]



Do you use Chrome on your computer to browse the web? A lot of people do, as it is one of the most popular web browsers out there. It runs fast, and it offers a user-interface that many people feel comfortable with. The Chrome Webstore is filled with some fantastic extensions that help make the browser even better. I myself am an avid Chrome user on my PC and Mac, but I take my love of Google Chrome to another level, because I have also completely replaced mobile Safari with Google Chrome for iOS as my browser of choice.


Chrome on iOS offers a fantastic browsing experience that fits in the palm of your hand. Most of the features you expect to see from the desktop version of the browser make an appearance in the iPhone and iPad app. It has an interface that I find easier to use than mobile Safari, and with a couple of simple jailbreak tweaks, you can not only make the it default browser in your heart, but the default browser in your phone too.


Even if you aren’t jailbroken, Chrome is still worth downloading for browsing the web, because it’s just that awesome. In terms of quality, it is right up there with Mercury and Maxthon in terms of quality.


Features


As you can probably guess, Chrome for iOS allows you to browse the web on your mobile phone. Of course, it does a lot more than that, as it offers a lot of features that are quite useful for anyone. It is especially useful for people who use Chrome as their web browser on their laptop or desktop. It uses your Google account to sync your bookmarks, so you can pull them up on your phone at any time.



My favorite feature of Chrome on iOS is that is syncs your open tabs across devices. So if you have a website open on your desktop, but need to leave the house suddenly, you can simply go to “Other Devices” on the new tab screen and you will see all the websites open. Simply tap one, and it will open it in your Chrome browser on your iOS device. This is a great way to get back doing what you were doing before you were interrupted.



The “New Tab” page on Chrome is awesome. Just like the browser on a desktop, you can see your most visited sites, bookmarks and your other devices. This helps you get started browsing quickly and easily.



Chrome also features the ability to open a new tab in incognito mode. I don’t think I need to go into the reasons why this is useful, other than to say that anything you don’t want stored in your history will be private if you are browsing incognito. I will leave it up to you to figure out what you want to do with that.



Some mobile sites don’t give you the option to switch from a mobile theme to a desktop theme, but Chrome has you covered. Tap the menu button next to the address bar, and right towards the bottom you will see “Request Desktop Site.” This will force the browser to get a full version of the website.



Right below the option to request a desktop site is Settings. In here, you choose the search engine (which is set to Google by default). You can also adjust the options for voice search, you can clear your browsing history, change whether the browser saves passwords, and all kinds of other fine-tuning. You can control your privacy options from the settings screen as well.



For people who are accustomed to Chrome on a desktop, you will appreciate that the address bar and the search are one in the same. It’s a small thing, but when you are used to browsing a certain way, it’s a nice little touch that improves the user experience.


Conclusion


If you can’t deal with mobile Safari, and you want a better experience on your iOS device, Chrome is the browser to use. It comes with lots of features, a slick interface, and all the features you expect to see from Chrome. Besides extensions and apps, the mobile version offers pretty much everything the desktop one has. Try it out, and you will be happy you did.


The post Google Chrome – A Fantastic Replacement For Mobile Safari [iOS] appeared first on MakeUseOf.



Write More Good: 7 Free Online Tools To Ensure You Use Proper English



Improper use of English is one of my pet peeves. I’m not a full-blown “grammar nazi” (a colloquialism for someone very strict with grammar) but it does irk me. An exception can be made for those who don’t use English natively, but blatant disregard for the rules of language can be seen all over the Internet – and it can be quite annoying.


Language is meant to convey ideas through a common medium that obeys a set of rules. Ignoring those rules – e.g., by shortening “you” to “u” – may be fine in a private context between two people, but utterly inappropriate in a public context, such as when commenting. At best, it makes one seem juvenile and/or lazy. At worst, it makes one look stupid and/or ignorant.


Not convinced? See Jejemon for an example of how extreme it can become. Fortunately, there are a lot of online tools dedicated to preserving the integrity of the English language. Here are a few to help you out.


Dictionary / Thesaurus



An obvious beginning to a list like this, but there is no better place to start when it comes to learning the English language. A dictionary will help you with basic vocabulary, definitions, and spelling. A thesaurus will help you to expand a basic knowledge of English into more sophisticated realms. Both are essential.


With that said, my preferred dictionary-and-thesaurus combo comes from Reference.com. I’ve been using it for years and it has never let me down. The site has a lot of great features like “Word of the Day”, explanations of the history behind words, and games and tools to build your vocabulary.


Online Slang Dictionary



If you truly want to understand the nitty-gritty of the English language, then you can’t subsist on only “proper words”, if you will. Whether at the office or on an Internet forum, you’re going to come across a lot of weird sayings, idioms, and slang that will confuse you – even if English is your first language.


That’s when you can turn to the Online Slang Dictionary. Started in 1996, it’s perhaps the largest repository of slang definitions on the Internet. It’s constantly being updated, so you’ll never fall too far behind in keeping up with the ever-evolving language. This site is especially useful for those who are learning English as a second language OR for those who may not be as hip and young as they once were.


And best of all? Online Slang Dictionary is heaps better in terms of quality than the cesspool that is UrbanDictionary.


Grammar Girl



Even though I’m fluent in English, the language itself has a lot of tricky words and grammar rules that still trip me up from time to time. For example, what’s the difference between “while” and “whilst”? What about “alright” and “all right”? For questions like that, I always use Grammar Girl.


This is one of my favorite websites, to be honest. Grammar Girl is hosted by Mignon Fogarty and she does an excellent job explaining the nuances that go into the trickier portions of English grammar. So if you have a strong grasp of English but want to push yourself beyond the mistakes that most people make, then Grammar Girl is for you.


Pronunciation Book on YouTube



So, using English properly on the Internet is good and all, but what about in real life? You know, when you log off the Web and talk to people face-to-face? How’s your English then? In particular, I’m talking about your pronunciation. It’s no good if you know what a word means if people can’t understand you when you say it!


There’s a YouTube channel called Pronunciation Book that has hundreds of videos on how to pronounce certain words. These videos are divided into categories, like alphabet, days of the week, everyday phrases, prepositions, and more. Surprisingly, this channel is quite addicting.


If you ever get bored and need a break, you can always hop over to the parody channel, Pronunciation Manual . It’s always good for a laugh or two.


HowJSay



Along the lines of pronunciation, we have HowJSay which is more of a dictionary of pronunciations. If you want to know how to pronounce a particular word, this is the site you want. With over 160,000 entries, you’re more likely than not to find the words you need.


The cool part of HowJSay is that it has app versions for both iPhone and Android. If pronunciation on-the-go is what you’re looking for, then this will probably come in handy.


Readability Score



There’s another aspect of the English language – or language in general – that many of us seem to forget, myself included. Readability, or a qualitative gauge at how easy it is to read a particular piece of writing. Have you ever read a Wall of Text comprised of nothing more than run-on sentences and bulky phrases? That’s what I’m talking about.


Using Readability Score, you can take any chunk of your writing, paste it in, and have the website analyze your words according to a number of readability tests. The primary formula – the Fleisch-Kincaid Reading Ease test – will describe, on a scale of 0 to 100, how easy it is to read your writing.


Depending on your grasp of the English language, you should be able to tailor your words according to your audience. Readability Score is a useful tool in learning more on how to use English effectively.


Conclusion


These are just a few tools that deal with varying aspects of English: vocabulary, spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and readability. I’ve only given you a taste of what’s out there. If you search around, you’ll be able to find more websites and programs that deal with these different aspects.


What do you think? Any suggestions for similar websites that you think should be on here? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.


Image Credit: English Text Via Shutterstock


The post Write More Good: 7 Free Online Tools To Ensure You Use Proper English appeared first on MakeUseOf.



8 Ways To Email Large Attachments



Email was never made for large file attachments. Many email servers won’t even accept emails with attachments over 10 MB in size. To send large files via email, you’ll need to upload your email attachments to a file storage and sharing service. The email recipient will receive a link they can click to download the email attachment, allowing you to send gigabytes of attachments without clogging up inboxes and running into size limits.


There are quite a few services you can use here, and most of them are free. Exercise some basic caution when using these services – encrypt any sensitive files (such as financial documents) before uploading them.


Google Drive – Gmail Integration


Gmail now has the ability to attach files stored in your Google Drive to emails. If you use Google Drive on your computer, you can place a large file in your Google Drive folder and it will be automatically uploaded to your Google Drive account.


Click Insert Files using Drive link at the bottom of the compose window when sending an email to attach an already-uploaded file or upload a new file. The files you attach here won’t actually be attached to the email you send, so they won’t take up space in anyone’s email inbox. Your recipient will receive a link they can click to download the attachment from your Google Drive storage.


gmail-insert-files-using-google-drive[4]


SkyDrive – Hotmail & Outlook.com Integration


Microsoft actually beat Google to this feature with its SkyDrive integration for Hotmail and Outlook.com. if you use Microsoft’s online services, the process is seamless. When you try to attach one or more files that are over 25 MB in size, Hotmail or Outlook.com will prompt you to upload the files to your SkyDrive account. The recipient will receive a link to the file instead of the file itself in their inbox.


outlook.com-skydrive-email-attachments


File Dropper – Up to 5 GB per File


File Dropper isn’t integrated with any email program, but it allows you to upload files up to 5 GB in size each. You don’t even have to create an account. You’ll receive a link to each file you upload and you can paste that link into an email to email the file to someone. Files will be deleted if they aren’t downloaded at least once every 30 days.


We loved File Dropper when we wrote about this years ago, and it’s still a great service.


file-dropper-upload


WeTransfer – Quick & Easy Emailing


WeTransfer only allows you to send files up to 2 GB in size and the files are only available for two weeks. However, WeTransfer has a trick up its sleeve – it makes it easier and faster to email these files. While you have to copy-paste your File Dropper link into an email, you can specify your friends’ email addresses and your email message directly on the WeTransfer site.


There’s no sign-up process here, either – WeTransfer is a very quick way to send large files.


wetransfer-email-file


TransferBigFiles – More Features


TransferBigFiles offers a few more features, such as a Chrome extension that integrates with Gmail for easy uploading files. You can also protect your downloads with a password, set a custom expiry date, or get notified when the files are downloaded. You’ll need to sign up to use these features – you can use TransferBigFiles without signing up, but files will expire in 5 days.


If you don’t want to sign up, you’re better off using one of the above services.


transferbigfiles-upload-files


DropSend – Outlook, Windows, Mac, & iPhone Integration


DropSend allows you to quickly send files without signing up, but its most unique features are its plug-in for Microsoft Outlook and the DropSend Direct desktop app, which allow you to quickly email large files from your Windows or Mac desktop. DropSend offers an iPhone app, too.


dropsend-direct-setup


EmailLargeFile – Android & iPhone Apps


EmailLargeFile doesn’t offer a lot of storage space at up to 200 MB per file. Its main distinguishing features are the Android and iPhone apps it offers, allowing you to easily send large files from an Android or iOS device. If you want to email a video or another large file without transferring it to your computer first, give EmailLargeFile a go.


file transfer free for android


YouSendIt – For Businesses


YouSendIt is one of the big names in sending large files via email. After you upload a file to YouSendIt, it will automatically send a link to the file to the address you specify.


Unfortunately, the free version of YouSendIt only supports files up to 50 MB in size. If you’re sending larger files, you’ll need a paid YouSendIt account. You can get a 14-day free trial to try it out, but this option is best for businesses that want more security and control (unless 50 MB per file is good enough for you!).


emailing-with-yousendit


Which service do you prefer for sending large attachments via email? Do you skip the email part entirely and share the files via a cloud storage service like Dropbox? Leave a comment and let us know!


Image Credit: Email with Cursor via Shutterstock


The post 8 Ways To Email Large Attachments appeared first on MakeUseOf.



Say Open Sesame And View More Than 80+ File Types With Free Opener [Windows]



Which is the very first file viewer or editor you go for after a fresh install? MS Office…WinRAR…Adobe Acrobat…a NFO Reader, or any other? For me it’s my web connection because I know that if there’s an emergency, Google Docs Viewer can handle it for me. Some asked our wider community the same question – What is the best universal file viewer? A few worthies were mentioned. I found Universal Viewer to be a bit limiting especially when it comes to media files and even PDF. That made me turn to the one ‘criticized’ in the query itself – Free Opener .


Free Opener has also been recommended by our readers and thus it finds a place on our Best Windows Software list. The brickbats in the query and the bouquet from some of our readers was enough incentive to at least take a look at this file-handling all-rounder. Free Opener is a freeware for Windows.


The Installation



The road to install the free file opener and viewer is a slightly long one. You have to download an installer first – InstallIQ. Free Opener makes it clear that it is supported by other third-party programs that enable it to survive as a free application. Opening Internet Explorer to display an ad for such a program is slightly irritating. Close it and get on with the installation.


Don’t blitzkrieg through the steps because you might inadvertently install something like the Ask Toolbar. Hit one of the two options at the bottom (Decline Optional Software) and forge ahead.



I liked the fact that Free Opener does not forcefully install a menu group under the right-click menu.


The Launch


A vanilla interface greets you when you first launch the program. I have clicked File – File Associations and this is as you get it in the screenshot below:



You would appreciate a “Select All” or “Select None” option here to have more control over the file associations. But that’s missing in action so far and you have to manually go through the 80+ file types. Yes, as we said before – 80+. Free Opener can help you view the following file types: code files, web pages, Photoshop files, images, XML files, PowerPoint presentations, media files, Microsoft Word documents, subtitle files, icons, torrent, Flash animation, archives, Apple pages, CSV files, vCard files, EML documents, and PDF.


Here is the massive list of file types.


The Opening


For all the noise and the build-up, Free Opener is simple in the way it handles so many file formats. Browse to the file you want to open. Click on the file to select it and then click Open. If the file is supported it will open in Free Opener. The real action happens when you open each specific format. All the required controls to manage that particular document are on display with the document. Here’s for example, a Microsoft Word document opened with Free Opener.



You can see all the basic formatting options in the toolbar below the document. Free Opener cannot open multiple documents at one go. But you can open multiple instances of it if you need to open multiple documents in different formats. The memory footprint for a single instance is approximately equal to that of today’s current browsers with a few tabs open, so it’s not something that your computer cannot handle. But yes, it is not lightweight either.


Here’s what an image file looks like in Free Opener. As you can see from the screenshot below, it comes with a few basic picture controls which you can calibrate with sliders. There’s the Crop and Resize option too.



The media player can handle avi, flv, mid, mkv, mp3, mp4, mpeg, mpg, mov, wav, wmv, 3gp, and flac thanks to the K-Lite Codec pack it downloads during the install. The media player is basic, but has some nice touches with video smoothening, audio-video sync, and Direct X video acceleration. Then, you can play your videos in full-screen too.



The Print option is visible for supported file types. Free Opener says – Unfortunately, we do not currently support printing from all file extensions. We hope to support all file extensions in the future.


Try out Free Opener. Is there any file format which you routinely use that it does not include? I noticed that it cannot open DWG (AutoCAD files). But then, that’s a specialized file type. Do you have any other universal file opener or viewer to recommend? We are listening.


The post Say Open Sesame And View More Than 80+ File Types With Free Opener [Windows] appeared first on MakeUseOf.



21 December 2012

Remotely Send Web Pages to your Mobile Device



Remote URL


Framote is new tool that helps you share “live” URLs that can be controlled remotely.


To get started, you can specify any website – say cnn.com – and Framote will create a unique URL for that site. You can share that URL with a group of people and everyone will see the same website on their screens. If you update the underlying website at your end, all the other screens are refreshed automatically.


The service is especially useful for testing responsive designs. You can have the main website on your desktop computer and load the corresponding Framote URLs on your tablets and mobile phones. If you open a different page on your desktop, the mobile screens are updated automatically.


Internally, Framote embeds the source website into an IFRAME and makes an AJAX request to check the actual URL every few seconds. If the source URL has been modified, the IFRAME’s source attribute on the client’s screen is updated almost instantly. The Framote dashboard will also show list of IP address and devices that are accessing your unique URL.


Tweet this Share on Facebook




Digital Inspiration @labnol This story, Remotely Send Web Pages to your Mobile Device, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 21/12/2012 under Web Design, Internet.