27 June 2015

Wikipedia Available as a Printed Book

The English edition of Wikipedia Encyclopedia contains around 5 million articles and if someone were to print the entire Wikipedia encyclopedia into a book, the size of the printed book would roughly be equivalent to 2000+ volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica (source).

Rob Matthews, a graphics design student from UK, converted 5000 pages of Wikipedia into a printed book in 2012. He downloaded few hundred featured articles from Wikipedia and bound them together in a physical book that was almost 1’7″ thick. Rob’s website (rob-matthews.com) has been taken over by domain squatters but the pictures of the printed Wikipedia book have survived.

wikipedia book

wikipedia printed

While Rob limited his printed book to the featured articles, Michael Mandiberg’s team has a more ambitious plan. They’re working on making the entire English-language Wikipedia in print format. The work has about 7500 volumes, each made up of 700 pages, and you’ll soon be order individual volumes from Lulu.

The project launched at the Denny Gallery this month and visitors to the exhibition can see the process in real time as Wikipedia pages are converted in digital books and uploaded to Lulu. A Twitter bot, @PrintedWikipedia updates when new volumes are added to the book library.

Here are pictures of the Printed Wikipedia project courtesy Wikimedia.

wikipedia printed books

Wikipedia Book Index

print wikipedia

Print your own Wikipedia Book

Wikipedia does include a built-in book creator that would let anyone, include anonymous non-logged users, create ebooks from Wikipedia articles. You can download these ebooks as PDF files or send them to a print-on-demand service like Lulu or PediaPress and have a custom printed book made of your favorite Wikipedia pages.

See more Wikipedia tools.

The story, Wikipedia Available as a Printed Book, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 27/06/2015 under Wikipedia, Internet.

How to Schedule Gmail Messages with a Google Sheet

Have you ever wanted to write an email message in Gmail now but send it a later date and time? Maybe you are sending birthday greetings and would like the email message to be delivered on the exact day. Or you have written an email now but would like to schedule delivery in the recipient’s time zone when the message is more likely to get read.

Microsoft Outlook has a built-in scheduler to help you delay the delivery of email messages. After you are finished writing an email message and hit the Send button, the message isn’t delivered immediately – it stays in your outbox and is sent at the specified date and time automatically.

Gmail doesn’t let you schedule a later delivery of email messages but there are browser extensions – like Boomerang, Sidekick and Right Inbox – that let you specify a future send date for your outgoing email messages. These are however subscription based services that allow you to send only a limited number of scheduled email messages for free per month. The other concern is privacy – you will have to grant read and write access to your entire Gmail account to a third-party to enable scheduling inside Gmail.

Schedule & Send Gmail Messages Later

If you are reluctant to provide access to your entire Gmail account to another service, there’s a good alternative – Google Sheets.

Schedule Gmail Messages

What you can do is compose all the emails that you would like to be delivered later in Gmail, let them stay as drafts and then specify the exact delivery date and time for these messages in the Google sheet. The messages would be delivered automatically at the time chosen by you with Google Scripts.

The Gmail Scheduler is available in free and premium editions. The premium edition lets you schedule more emails, you can schedule recurring emails that are sent daily, weekly or monthly, it allows you to send mails from another alias associated with your Gmail account and you can also opt for one-on-one support.

Features Free Premium
Supports Gmail & Google Apps Yes Yes
Number of emails that you can schedule ~20 No limit
Schedule Recurring Emails No Yes
Change the sender’s email address (Gmail alias) No Yes
Logs scheduling activity for troubleshooting No Yes
Installation Manual (PDF) included No Yes
Support options None Email
Choose Edition Forever Free Premium

You can buy the Premium version using your credit card or PayPal. It is a flat one-time fee (not a subscription) and you can use the program for life. You also get free technical support over email for 6 months.

The Platinum version has all the features of premium and includes one-on-one support over phone, Skype or Google Hangouts for 12 months.

Refunds can be requested within 6 hours of purchase. Should you have any questions, or require customization, send an email at amit@labnol.org or visit our services page.


How to Setup Gmail Scheduler

Scheduling Gmail messages with Google sheets is easy. Here’s a detailed video tutorial (download) that will walk you through the steps for using Gmail scheduler.

Go to your Gmail mailbox and compose a few email messages that you would like to send later. Do not hit the Send button, just let these draft messages stay in the Drafts folder on your Gmail account.

Your draft messages can have rich formatting, you can add attachments, signatures and even inline images. Make sure that you have included the recipient’s email address in the TO field of the draft emails.

  1. Click here to make a copy of the Gmail Scheduler sheet in your Google Drive.
  2. Go to File – Spreadsheet Settings and select your current timezone from the dropdown. The emails will be scheduled in this timezone.
  3. Go to the Gmail Scheduler menu, select Authorize and grant the necessary permissions.
  4. Choose the Gmail Scheduler menu again and select Fetch Messages to import all the draft messages from your Gmail account into the Google Sheet.
  5. Set the scheduled date and time for individual messages in column D of the sheet. You can double-click a cell and use the date picker or you can manually enter the date and time as mm/dd/yyyy h:mm:ss in 24 hour format.
  6. Go to Gmail Scheduler -> Schedule Messages and run the scheduler. You can close the spreadsheet and it will send messages at the specified time automatically.

Please do note that once an email message has been scheduled, you should not edit the corresponding Gmail draft message else it will be removed from the queue. If you wish to edit the draft or need to change the delivery time once the messages have been scheduled, you can fetch the drafts again and reinitialize the queue.

The free edition of Gmail scheduler lets you schedule 10-20 email messages in one go. If you wish to schedule more messages, or if you are trying the schedule recurring email with Gmail, please get the premium edition.

The story, How to Schedule Gmail Messages with a Google Sheet, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 25/06/2015 under GMail, Internet.

26 June 2015

Listen Again in Google Translate

Emanuele Bartolomucci, a reader of this blog, noticed an interesting feature in Google Translate. If you click the "listen" button next to the text you want to translate or the translation, Google converts the text into speech. Click "listen" again and the speed decreases, probably because Google assumes that you are listening again to better get the correct pronunciation.

If you click "listen" the third time, Google goes back to the normal speed. Click again and the speed decreases. The two text-to-speech versions alternate.

I've checked Google Translate's URLs and the second version has the following parameter: "ttsspeed=0.24", which changes the text-to-speech speed.

{ Thanks, Emanuele. }

25 June 2015

Classic Google Maps, No Longer Available

Classic Google Maps has been replaced by Google Maps Lite back in April, but they were still a few URLs you could use to access it. Now they no longer work, so you'll have to get used to the new interface or switch to a different service like Bing Maps or Here.com.

Last week, I had to print some directions in Google Maps and I realized that the classic Google Maps had a much better printing feature. You could include a map for each step or add Street View imagery. The new Google Maps offers two options: print text only or print including maps. There are fewer maps included since directions are now grouped and you can no longer customize each step.

Google's Updated Privacy Policy

Google has recently changed its privacy policy and there's a page that shows the differences. It's not clear if there are actual changes or the updated privacy policy only clarifies some existing features.

The new privacy policy states that information like your name, email address, phone number or credit card could be stored with your Google account, which is not something new. Another change is that the "cookies and anonymous identifiers" section is now called "cookies and similar technologies", which is a broader title.

The following text:
We and our partners use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a Google service, and this may include sending one or more cookies or anonymous identifiers to your device.
... has been replaced with:
We and our partners use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a Google service, and this may include using cookies or similar technologies to identify your browser or device.
Basically, Google removed all the references to "anonymous identifiers" from the privacy policy and replaced them with "similar technologies", which includes anonymous identifiers, but also HTML5 Local Storage, local shared objects (Flash cookies), Web beacons and more. The privacy policy clearly states that Google can use cookies and similar technologies to identify your browser or device. Google says that it uses "these technologies to collect and store information when you interact with services we offer to our partners, such as advertising services or Google features that may appear on other sites."

There's also a new paragraph:
Information we collect when you are signed in to Google may be associated with your Google Account. When information is associated with your Google Account, we treat it as personal information. For more information about how you can access, manage or delete information that is associated with your Google Account, visit the Transparency and choice section of this policy.

Undo Send Graduates From Gmail Labs

After spending 6 years in Gmail Labs, "undo send" is now a regular Gmail feature. You can find it in the settings, bellow "send and archive". The feature is disabled by default, but it's enabled if you've already used the Gmail Labs feature.

So what's so great about "undo send"? Gmail doesn't send email immediately and there's a short delay that lets you undo sending the message, just in case you changed your mind, you noticed a mistake or you picked the wrong sender. There are 4 options for the cancellation period: 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds and 30 seconds.

After sending a message, you'll get an "Undo" link next to "Your message has been sent". If you click the "Undo" link, you can edit the message, save it as a draft or delete it.

"Undo send" has been recently added to Google Inbox for desktop and mobile. Mashable reports that Gmail's mobile apps will also add this feature: "Google said it will roll out the feature to mobile in the future but didn't elaborate on the timeline."

24 June 2015

Send Tweets with Rich-Text Formatting using TallTweets

You can post messages of virutally any length to Twitter using TallTweets. The web app bypasses the 140 character limit of Twitter by either converting your tweet into a PNG image or by breaking the long snippets of text into multiple tweets and sending them all in quick succession. Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood’s biggest star, once recommended it too.

Rich Text Tweets

Compose Tweetstorms & Tweetshots

A new release of TallTweets has just been rolled out and it includes several new features and enhancements. The interesting additions are:

  1. TallTweets now supports rich-text formatting so you can use bold text, write in italics or even mark words with the yellow highlighter. See image tweet.
  2. You can compose Tweetstorms (numbered tweets, sent sequentially) and TallTweets will offer a live preview as you type so you know exactly how the tweets will look like in your timeline. See Tweetstorm
  3. TallTweets has gone international and now supports all languages including Hindi, Arabic, Malay, Chinese and more. In fact, if you use the “tweet as image” option, you can even send tweets in languages that are not officially supported by Twitter yet.

To get started, go the Tall Tweets website and sign-in with your Twitter account. Next choose the tweet style (tweetstorm for text tweets, tweetshot for image tweets), compose the tweet and then hit the Send button.

The TallTweets website is mobile-friendly so you can should be able to send tweets from your mobile and tablets as well. On the technical side, TallTweets uses an HTML5 library to convert text into images in the client’s browser itself.

The story, Send Tweets with Rich-Text Formatting using TallTweets, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 24/06/2015 under Twitter, Internet.

Add Google Drive Files to Google Calendar Events

The latest version of the Google Calendar app for iOS brings a few useful features, catching up with the Android app.

You can now add Google Drive files to calendar events in the iOS app, as well as the desktop Google Calendar site. This feature was already available in the Android app since February and in Google Calendar Labs since 2009. "Event attachments" graduated from Labs and it's now available for everyone (including developers).

If a Drive file isn't shared with all the guests, you'll see a prompt and you can change how the file is shared.

Here's a screenshot from the desktop site (the feature may not seem new if you've used the Event Attachments feature from Google Calendar Labs):

Another feature already available in the Android app is the 7-day view, which lets you see more events at a glance. You can now switch to the 7-day view in the iOS app and customize your calendar with week numbers in the settings.

Google takes advantages of the improved notification features from iOS8 and adds interactive notifications for events, so you can email guests or view the map without having to open Google Calendar first.

Picasa Web Albums, Back to the Future

Picasa Web Albums is fully functional again. The site no longer redirects to Google+ Photos and the search feature works, at least for personal photos and videos. The search feature was removed in 2013.

I thought that Google will discontinue the service and replace it with Google Photos, since Google+ is no longer required. For now, Picasa Web Albums is here to stay and that's surprising.

Google+: Then and Now

Here are 2 screenshots that show the importance of Google+ today and a few years ago. Back in 2013, Google changed the navigation bar and added an app launcher: the first shortcut was for Google+.

Google has recently tweaked the app launcher. The first shortcut is now for "My Account", followed by Search, Maps, YouTube, Play, News, Gmail, Drive and Calendar. Google+ is now the 10th shortcut, right next to Google Translate and Google Photos.

Google Wallet, Rebranded as Google Payments?

A few weeks ago, I posted about Google Payments, a service that could replace Google Wallet. If you open Google Wallet's site, you'll notice that the name of the service is now Payments. There are still references to the Wallet Card and Wallet Balance.

Another change is that payments.google.com no longer redirects to wallet.google.com, but shows the same site.

Google says that "the Services offered by Google Payments are covered by the Google Wallet Privacy Notice. The Google Wallet Privacy Notice will be updated effective June 30, 2015." The link sends users to this page, which is the Google Payments Privacy Notice.

{ Thanks, Kevin. }

Free Google Play Music Radio

Google Play Music is a great music streaming service, especially if you pay for the All Access subscription. If you're not a subscriber, you can only listen to the music you uploaded/matched using Music Manager or the Chrome app and the music you bought or got for free from Google Play.

When Apple launched iTunes Radio in 2013, it seemed ironic that Apple offered a free ad-supported service, while Google had a paid subscription service. Now that Apple Music is ready for launch, it's time for Google to offer the missing free radio feature.

"Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the U.S., giving you a new way to find just the right music and giving artists another way to earn revenue. Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don't have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music."

The free radio feature is already available if you're using the Play Music website and it's rolling out this week to the mobile apps for Android and iOS. It's US-only, for now.

23 June 2015

Can I Upgrade my Computer to Windows 10 for Free?

Windows 10, the latest version of Windows, will be released on 29th July. The new Windows OS has received rave reviews from people who are currently testing it as part of the Windows Insider program but there has been some confusion around the upgrade path. Will you be eligible to download a free upgrade of Windows 10 or will you have to pay for the license?

Free Windows 10

Who Can Download Windows 10 for Free?

This quick flowchart breaks it down in simple English.

If you have a computer that is running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you will get a free upgrade license of Windows 10. If you are running a pirated copy of Windows, or if you have Windows Vista or XP installed on the machine, you’ll buy a new license for Windows 10 and perform a clean install.

The Windows 10 Home license will be $119.99 while the Windows 10 Pro version would cost $199.99.

If you would like to try Windows 10 but without affecting your existing Windows installation, you can join the Windows Insider program, download the Windows 10 ISO and install it as a Virtual Machine using VirtualBox. These preview builds will however expire after some time and the fresh builds are automatically installed as and when they become available.

You can follow the official Windows blog to learn more about the upcoming Windows 10 release or join the Windows Insider program to download and use the Windows 10 beta before it is generally available.

The story, Can I Upgrade my Computer to Windows 10 for Free?, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 23/06/2015 under Windows 10, Software.

Mobile Google Search Tests Oversized Header

I'm not sure if this is a bug or a new Google experiment, but I've noticed a different mobile search interface that uses more space for the header. There's a Google logo, a search box and a list of specialized search engines below the search box. It's based on the experimental interface I've mentioned in a previous post.

If you enable the search tools and restrict results to a certain date range, the new header uses even more screen real estate.

For some reason, this experimental interface is only used when searching from Google's homepage. Chrome's search box sent me to the compact UI.

Google Promotes Privacy Checkup

There's a new promotional message that's displayed when you sign in to a Google account. Google encourages you to use the Privacy Checkup feature from the new My Account page and "take control of your Google privacy settings".

The page lets you "review and adjust what data Google uses to personalize your experience, and update what information you share with friends or make public."

You can choose what Google+ profile information you share with others, manage what you share on YouTube, personalize your Google experience by enabling or disabling features like Web & App Activity, Location History, YouTube Search and Watch History. You can also manage ad settings and opt out of ads based on your interests.

All of these features were previously available, but this is a simplified step-by-step guide, just like the Security Checkup. Google wants to make sure you are "always in control of your data and information".