Tag Archives: Google

Goodbye Chrome, Hello Opera

Opera BrowserIn my last post, I talked about how I was going to look at the tools I use and diversify them a bit as I have come to rely on one company, Google, for nearly everything I do.

And that’s not good.

So, since a large percentage of my time is spent online I figured the logical place to start is with my browser. I’ve been a Chrome user almost since the day it came out. I’ve enjoyed the tight integration with their other products and the speed at which is runs but it’s also the basket that holds all the other eggs so out it goes.

With Chrome off the table I looked at the other possible browsers out there. I crossed Internet Explorer off the list right away as I wanted to maintain a certain decoupling with my operating system and as I work in Windows most of the time I also decided to cross off Safari as well (that whole Apple vs. Microsoft thing).

Next on my list was Firefox. Before my days as a Chrome user I was a Firefox user and spent many hours toying with the different extentions and add-ons, constantly tweaking it. I’m also concerned with the way that Firefox has hogged memory in the past (like Chrome does now) as I typically have a lot open on my desktop. So while it stayed on my list for a while and is installed as my backup browser I decided to pass on it as my primary browser.

So, where did that leave me? With a list of off-shoot browsers and the one that I decided to go with – Opera.

If you read the above statement and don’t know anything about the Opera browser, don’t feel bad, according the stats over at Netmarket Share Opera has about a 2% market share – that’s right not a lot of folks are using it.

So why go with the #5 browser in the market? I think it goes back to this older post. In that post I mentioned that I needed to get back to what I enjoy, puzzling things out, solving problems and trying new things. I’ve used all of the browsers mentioned above and had never really tried Opera so I thought I would make a go of it on this switch.

To be honest, as I write this I’ve been on Opera for my personal browsing for over a month now (I still use Chrome at work) and other than a few minor inconveniences things are going well. I’ve had to adjust to not having instant access (via extensions) to some of the services I use but that also made me take a look at those services to determine if I really needed to have that access or use them at all.

Do I miss some of those things? I did at first, but as I use Opera more, adjust my work flows and change up my tools, the pain of those changes lessens.

I’m still learning my way around Opera and haven’t really dug into all it’s capable of yet but I’m peeling back the layers a bit at a time and so far I’m happy with my decision.

So, what browser do you use? Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, something else? Why not share about it in the comments below.

Thanks Sandy, I’m Diversifying Now

Did you ever have one of those moments when you realized that you’ve been sitting in the same place for so long that you stopped caring about moving?

I had one of those moments a few weeks ago when I was sitting in the dark after Superstorm Sandy took out our power. It wasn’t the power outage itself that caused this sudden realization, it was when I went to call the power company and add us to the growing list of houses without power and my data network connection was out.

That’s right the little 4G icon was not there, not even a 3G, and without it my initial call didn’t go through as I couldn’t access the Google Voice system.

That’s when it struck me, not only had I become reliant on Google Voice, but a quick rundown in my head revealed that I am using pretty much just Google products and almost nothing else. The thought process didn’t stop there though, I also realized just how much I’m dependent on that data connection and the need for it to power what I do with my phone.

I have always prided myself on exploring software, figuring out problems and being willing to not “run with the crowd,” and what I began to realize is that I had become the very thing I had been trying to avoid from the word go.

So, where to begin? How about with the immediate need? As soon as I was able to get some kind of data connection up and running I did a quick search and got Twitter updates from the power company to start showing up as SMS messages – no more data connection dependency. It’s a great option and I’m now using it to follow selected brands and individuals, instead of bringing up a Twitter client I just wait for the SMS – it feels more efficient this way and I know I’m not going to miss something.

That was an easy one, the more difficult and potential painful part then started and is still going – moving beyond the Google-sphere I’ve grown accustom to and diversifying my tools and applications.

This isn’t a quest to remove all of Google from my life, it’s about picking a tool that will do the job well enough that I don’t have to use something from Google. Will I still use Google products? Yes. Will I be all in with Google going forward? No, that’s the challenge and the goal.

First up, my browser. I’ve been a Chrome user almost since the day it hit the Internet but if I’m going to break my Google dependency I feel I should start at the core. I’ve been experimenting and trying things out and will post about my choice in the coming days.

So, do you spread yourself around or are you ‘all in’ with just one company? Have you kicked the Google habit entirely? I’d be interested in what you’re using and how you did it.

Use the right email address for that contact group in Gmail

If you’re like me you have a multitude of email addresses, some you use for personal items, some for work, some for specific groups, and, well, you get the picture. You also most likely have put them into different contact groups to make emailing them easier – I’ve done just that but the trick that eludes many is how to set the email address for a given contact group. Here’s how.

  1. Head over to your contact screen – its available from the Mail drop down

    Selecting contacts in Gmail
  2. Select the contact you want to edit (I selected my own contact entry)Select Contact to Edit
  3. Select the contract group you want to adjust the email address for and select the appropriate one.

Selecting the right email for your contact's group

The changes you make are automatically saved and you’ve just made your friend or associate happy by making sure the emails you send to that group go to the right email address.

Add a Manager to Your Google+ Page

So you created a Google+ Page for your group or maybe that website you want to promote and now that things are moving along you realize that you can’t do it all yourself – you need help. So you think about having someone help you out and then you realize that the page you need help with is connected to your personal Google+ account and you don’t want to give your login information to someone else (and who can blame you) so what do you do?

You add a page manager, or two, of 50 (that’s the limit).

What can a page manager do? They can do everything you can as the owner of the page with two exceptions. First, they can’t delete the page, and second, they can’t change the ownership of it. They can however invite and remove others from the manager list so you might want to be careful as to who you make a manager of your page. (There’s a break down chart at this Google help page.)

That being said – let’s add a manager to the page I have for my other blog, ofdiceanddragons.com.

First things first, navigate to your page and in the upper right hand corner click the gear symbol and select, Google+ settings.

Google+ Settings

When the setting screen loads you’ll want to select the “Managers” option that will be seen on the left hand side of the screen.

Select Managers

Now you’ll invite your page manager by entering their email address into the invitation box you’ll see in the middle of your screen and click invite.

Invite Manager

After you click invite an email will be sent to the individual you want to be a manager for your page. It will look something similar to what you see below.

Email to new Manager

They need to click on the “Become a manager” link and then they’ll need to accept the pages terms and agree that they are authorized to manage the page (check the box) and hit accept. (Note: If they are logged into more than one Google account they will be asked which account they want to accept the invitation as.)

Accept Invite

Once they’ve accepted the invite they will be shown in the Manager’s List which appears right above the invitation box.

Manager Listing

That’s all there is to adding a manager to your page. If for some reason you decide that you no longer wish to have the person manage your page simply click the ‘x’ at the far right of the line and they will be removed as a manager and will receive an email stating that.

Hope that helps and gives you a bit more time to enjoy Google+ and less time managing things.

Still want a Chrome Notebook?

If you’re like me you made the attempt to get into Google’s Cr-48 program when they first announced it. They had 60,000 of those notebooks to hand out and if you really are like me, you didn’t get on.

All is not lost however as it would appear that there is another round of chances for those that would like to fill out the forms again. The folks at Google in conjunction with Box.net, Zoho and a few others are giving users of those online services a chance at getting a Chrome notebook.

So if you want to try and take the plunge again check out the post Living on the web with the Chrome Web Store (and the Cr-48!) for the details.

If you decide to give it a shot, I wish you the best of luck.