Tag Archives: customization

Cut Down on Email Notifications with Pushbullet and IFTTT

IFTTT recipe with Pushbullet If you’re anything like me you get a ton of email everyday and while there are ones that you want to look at and respond to there are a lot that can wait until later in the day to deal with.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get notifications just for the ones that you want and not be bothered for those you don’t? I thought so too so I rolled my own notification setup with Pushbullet and If This Than That (IFTTT).

To make this work you need a Gmail account (it’ll work with a Google Apps account as well), a Pushbullet account, and of course an account at IFTTT.

I set things up in my Gmail account first.

  1. Setup a new label to flag those emails you want to be notified of – I used notify (I know, really original)
  2. Create a filter in your Gmail account to add your new label to emails from the specific address you want to be notified of (I also flagged it to never to be sent to SPAM just to be safe),

After that was done I then switched over the the IFTTT website and setup the recipe I needed.

  1. For the trigger I selected any new email that has a specific label, in this case my ‘notify’ label
  2. For the action I choose Pushbullet and then selected, Push a note.

At this point you can select any ingredients you want, in my case I like to know who it came from, the subject of the email, and the body of the email.

Now you might be wondering why I chose to do filtering and labeling instead of just setting up a recipe based on the email address of the sender. To be honest you can do that but then you have to create a new recipe for everyone you want to be in your notification group, by using filtering and labeling I can better control the flow.

If you’d like to use my recipe for this, here’s the link.

For those that have rooted your Android phone, pick up Light Manager and you can setup the notification LED on your phone to flash when your note comes in. With that setup you can then shut off notifications form Gmail so only the important ones trigger the LED.


Choose the tab cycle behavior in Opera

Opera BrowserAs I mentioned previously I’ve move to Opera as my primary browser and like most the more you use something the more you learn about the tool you’ve chosen. In this case it’s the behavior when you use the key combination Control-Tab to cycle through your open tabs.

You can set this behavior from your preferences screen. You can get there from the Opera menu, under Settings -> Preferences or you can just hit Control-F12. Once on your Preferences screen select the Advanced tab and the first option is for tabs.

opera-tab-cycleThe first drop down box allows you to select the behavior you want Opera to have when you click the Control-Tab key combo. The first two options will give you a window that comes up in the center of your browser that will who a list of the tabs you have open – the order is determined by your choice (I prefer the highlighted option). The last one, cycle without a list, is the default behavior you’ll see in most of the other tabbed browsers. With that option you’ll simply cycle through the tabs from left to right.

Wubi is the way to go

So here’s the situation, you’re running a MS Windows based machine and you really want to work in Linux – maybe you just want to check out the environment, maybe you want to test software in Linux as well as Windows or maybe, like me, it gives you a clean break from you daytime work environment and allows you to keep your skills up.

So why Wubi? Here’s my reasoning, your mileage may vary.

1. Build a new machine and load Linux as the primary operating system

The ideal – a separate machine with Linux installed as the default operating system. Unfortunately for me that while I can definitely create this I don’t really have the room to set up a desktop machine for the minimum amount of time I would be using it. Yes, I could install it on a laptop but that would entail actually buying something and I prefer to use what I have on hand. So for now, this option is out.

2. Setup a second partition and dual boot

Another good option and like the one above one taken by many people. The issue I have is that the primary machine I’m using (a laptop) is owned by the company I work for during the day and they really discourage this type of “customization.” So while I could probably do this and have it working, should I need the support of the IT department and they may balk at supporting this configuration. So again, I have to pass.

3. Setup a virtual machine

Truth be told I have done this a number of times with the likes of VMWare, Virtual Box, as well as Portable Ubuntu and Cygwin. All of them are good options if you want to dabble with a Linux based system with minimal impact to the system you’re on. The drawback as I saw it, based on what I’m looking to do, is that you’re still in Windows. If you run into an issue you can just load up something you’re intimately familiar with and get the task done. So while a really solid option I’ll pass for this run.

4. Use Wubi to install Ubuntu

This is the option I finally settled on and so far (I’m only a few days into using it) I’m pleased with the decision. Wubi, for those of you who don’t know what it is, allows you to install Ubuntu in a manner that makes it appear as an application to Windows. This is a nice feature as it makes removal from the system a snap (just remove the program). Once you’ve installed it and rebooted your system you should see a menu screen allowing you to pick the operating system to boot to – pick Ubuntu (the default load for Wubi) and it boots into Ubuntu – slick.

There is one small snag – if you’re running XP you might not get the boot screen, an issue I ran into, but there is a simple fix.

1. Right click on your ‘My Computer’ icon on the desktop or Windows’ Start menu
2. Select ‘Properties’
3. Select the Advanced tab
4. Select Startup and Recovery (Edit settings)

On the screen that comes up there will be a button to click that will allow you to edit the boot.ini file which will look something like:

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)WINDOWS=”Windows XP Media Center Edition” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
[boot loader]
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)WINDOW S

To which Wubi should add the line: c:wubildr.mbr=”Ubuntu”

The issue is that the line can’t be appended to the end and have it work, you need to insert that line before the [boot loader] line so that the system knows about the Ubuntu system. Put the line in the correct space and it works just fine.

So, I’m happy now, I can reboot my system when I get home and load up Ubuntu without issue. It’s a nice change of pace and keep my Linux skills up.

Do you dual boot? Virtual machine it? Could care less about the world beyond Windows? Why not share in the comments?

Oh yeah, I’m entering this post from a Firefox installation on my Wubi installed Ubuntu 10.04.

What I’ve been reading – December 19th Edition

I did manage to get some reading in this week while I cleared the decks for vacation and below are some of the articles I found interesting or helpful. I’ve started to include a few comments on them, let me know what you think in the comments.


What have you been reading?  Add a link to it in comments.

Rotate your desktop background

If you’re anything like me you get tired of staring at the same background image all the time (at least when I can see it) so I thought it would be nice if there was a way to automate it. So I started my search for a way to implement this and in my hunt I came across John’s Background Switchter [via Lifehacker] which at first I wasn’t sure about but after spending sometime with it have decided it need to stay installed.

Download and installation was straightforward and easy and accepting all the defaults got the program up and running in no time. I initially tested it with a directory of space images I have on my drive and it worked flawlessly. So I decided to take it up a notch and try out the RSS feed option.

The folks at Deviant Art have a great selection of images so I pulled the RSS feed for space images into Background Switcher as shown below:

Click image to see full size

Click image to see full size

When the next switch occurred the program grabbed and image from the RSS feed – slick!

Now I get a fresh image on my desktop (currently every 10 minutes) and I don’t need to go hunting for images to increase  my collection for more variety (saving time for other things).

Do you use Background Switcher or another program to change your background? Post your suggestions in the comments below.

(John’s Background Switcher requires Windows and Microsoft .NET 2.0)