Posts Tagged Google
The post and spreadsheet provided by Amit Agarwal on How to Create a Mail Merge with Gmail and Google Docs is extremely useful. But for last few days, I have been wanting to send attachments along with the mail merge. I tried many options but was unsuccessful, finally a set of combinations worked for me and I am sharing that spreadsheet so others don’t have to go through the same trouble.
Follow the above provided link for understanding how to use Google Docs for mail merge, after that is working fine, you can use the following spreadsheet. This is the spreadsheet which can be used to add attachments to email. I have an editable column F13 where you will have to provide Document ID. Once you provide the document id, the steps to send emails are exactly same as mentioned by above blog post.
How to get Document ID:
Step 1: Upload the document that you want to attach on Google Docs.
Step 2: While uploading the document make sure that the option ‘Convert documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and drawings to the corresponding Google Docs formats’ is checked. If you do not check this option, your documents will not attach properly.
Step 3: Open the document and go to the URL. You can to use the id value as document id. Example: If URL is
then the characters in bold are document id. Copy and paste them into the F13 box. When you send the mail, document with id will be attached.
I have added another feature of getting the remaining mail count of the day. That can also be accessed from the menu and count is shown above on the spreadsheet.
Update: I have updated the script to provide multiple attachments. Now columns F13 to F17 can contain different attachment IDs, or can be left blank.
I have been using Nexus One for over a month now and it seems right time to do a review. I did not want to review it soon, because as a smart phone it has too many functionalities and all those have to be tested thoroughly before giving a verdict. My main purpose was to fill the void between my McBook pro and mobile browser (iPod touch) during business travel. I planned to use this as replacement for a netbook and it seems N1 fits perfectly into it.
To start with hardware, the most striking feature of N1 is its beautiful screen. N1’s AMOLED touchscreen emits such beautiful colors that its a pleasure to watch videos and photographs. Unlike the iPhone screen, it gives much better contrast and blacks come out really well. One would expect phone to be heavy with a 3.7 inch screen but surprisingly HTC did a wonderful job. If one is transitioning from other smart phone they will feel the difference on how lighter phone this is. First thing that I noticed as soon as started my phone for first time was the snappiness, the reaction time between the action and command. It was brilliant and that is the result of 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor, which combined with 512 MB RAM makes phone very responsive.
At the end of screen we have four soft touch buttons, which come very handy for menu access, going back, reaching home screen and most importantly search functionality. These four buttons are tremendous leap for a multitouch screen phone. One might consider they are not needed when everything can be achieved with multitouch, but to experience the impact one has to use N1 and they will feel the difference. I believe Google took this idea from Palm Pre, but this is a brilliant addition to N1. Then at the bottom we have a trackball, which I do not use frequently. I wonder why would we need a trackball for such a device, might be some functionality but I don’t get it. The only use I have for trackball is its notification light.
Moving on to the Android OS, this is where Google shows its true strength. This phone is not as intuitive to use as iPhone, but by taking that away Google has provided such a wide set of functionality that every day one discovers new features. This OS is power packed with tweaks, shortcuts, and multiple ways of doing things that it takes few days to get used to the phone. But once a person is used to phone, its features look much more powerful then what iPhone provides. Android brings multitasking along with it and that adds a lot of complexity to the system, but Google overcame that with a brilliantly designed notification system. The way notification system is designed, my first reaction to it was, why don’t Microsoft and Apple make operating systems like that. Why have windows and all the complexity when things can be done in a much simpler way.
The phone comes up with a set of preloaded applications from Google, most notable are Voice Search, Google Goggles, Navigation, Amazon MP3 Store, Voice dialer, New and weather app and a browser. All of these apps are very well developed and I tested them in various scenarios and found them to be very useful. Navigation system is brilliantly designed and when first times one see Google maps changing to street view when we reach destination is amazing. Google has used its web services very well and combined a of them together to provide N1 users a perfect experience. Browsing apps also have been made very smooth and aesthetic by a roll down approach, rather then a card based approach as seen in most smartphones. Another good part about the N1 is, integration with Google services. One just has to provide his gmail id and everything is setup for him. Picasa albums are directly synced, Gtalk configured, contacts synced and phone is ready to go. Syncing contact has been revolutionized in N1 – Google takes contacts from Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and phone book and collates them together to provide all the information about the person. So lets say if I want to call X and I open the contact, I will not only get details about his phone number, email address but also his latest tweet, photograph etc. This just makes life so easy and one does not have to waste anytime for fixing contacts, removing duplicates etc.
Moving on to less used features. I rarely use the camera that comes with N1, its a very good 5 Megapixel camera but I have a bias. I do not like any other camera then a DSLR, I just want to have much more control over my settings. Browser – I do not know what browser it is, but I have not used it much. All the services/information I need are provided by apps from market place and direct search. One more complain I have from N1 is low ringtone. That is caused by the placement of the speaker on back side, if the phone is in cover, its very hard to hear the ringtone. One has to replace in built ringtones with a louder one.
Battery life, which is the main issue with all the smartphones is an issue with N1 too. But one can improve the battery life of phone easily. N1 provides a task manager where one can see how much battery an app is consuming and with that information one can kill the applications which are battery exhaustive. By following simple things, I have increased battery life from 1 day to almost 2 days.
Overall, I would give it very high rating. Its a smartphone with very progressive approach and frequent OS updates helps improve its performance. An open market place gives N1 tremendous strength. I get most of my updates/hacks about N1 from few people I listen to regularly. For hacks and increasing productivity on N1 I follow Gina Trapani and Leo Laporte, they give so many tips on This Week in Google that every times I listen to show I end up improving my phone. For applications I rely on Jolie O’Dell and her updates on Mashable.
Part II of The Unfinished Internet. Here Vint Cerf discusses the new challenge, how to extend Internet to different planets and what are the issues associated with TCP/IP that does now allow that.
10:51 AM – Vint Cerf is already here, presentation is up and hall is almost full.
11:01 AM – Introduced by someone from Computer Science department. Widely recognized as father of internet because of his contribution to TCP/IP. Currently holds position of Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. Pioneering work in packeting technology and won many awards,. I believe all information about this is on Wikipedia.
Earlier this year I did a podcast on Facebook platform and why it is attractive. But since then I am losing interest in Facebook’s capabilities and thus this blog post. In that podcast we discussed how Facebook connect/Google connect are going to be used as openIDs and would help build communities around external sites. Those things have not changed but my understanding of social communication had changed.
Everyone indulges in few types of communication – private, public, official and collaborative. As I see, I have better tools for everything that I mentioned. For private communication IM suits perfectly, a one on one real time communication. Public communication can be achieved via Twitter, especially its capabilities have enhanced with excellent clients like Tweetdeck and Seesmic. Twitter also changed the default settings of ‘replies’ going to all your followers, and that has helped in improving twitter experience. Official communication can be achieved via emails and collaboration via Groove, Google docs or Wave. These all makes you wonder the importance of Facebook?
I use Facebook for three purposes – Photo sharing, Social calendar and Social games (yes, I used to play Farmville). Facebook has grown to be the biggest photo sharing site, since it has advantage of tagging people it is attractive but one cannot upload hi-res photos and that’s what bothers me. Secondly, how many photos one wants to share, I think I have hit my limit (not FB’s limit). Social calendar has been a really cool feature and I used it a lot too, but integration of Google Calendar, Gmail and iPhone calendar has worked much better for me. This combination does not tell me who is attending or not attending an event, but if I care about that I can always use email/IM. No comments about social games, they are addictive but scandalous.
My usage of Facebook has reduced drastically, they tried to bring together the experience of IM, but its broken; email, but it has limited capabilities – no forwarding/adding of new recipients, just reply not reply-all, no attachments; calendar, but its not open to exchange (microsoft or other formats); real time updates, but not as efficient as twitter. This does not mean that Google or Twitter has taken market share, it just means that Facebook is losing its capabilities in keeping people at hand. We cannot see it now as it has reached critical mass and growing rapidly, but as I see, people will start (or have started) losing interest in Facebook. Its main strength was to bring people back to site but that seems to be weakening, combined with the advertising fraud, no proper source of revenue, I see Facebook will have to come up with a plan to keep in this business or they will be the Friendster of 2010.
Today we had a chance to be with Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt and former Gov Mark Warner. This was a live blog (but could not be updated that time).
11:31 AM: Mark Warner (MW) and Eric Schmidt (ES) walk into the hall, crowd stand up and applaud.
MW talking about Schmidt/Google, setting up the context for today’s talk. He is explaining how one role of IT was to no one has to move out of city for the job. It has not achieved completely even after tremendous growth in IT sector.
MW: For every election, politicians say this is the most important election and this time we are not lying. (Crowd bursts into laughter).
He emphasizes on four factors that will contribute a lot for winning and competing in this global economy.
1. Education and Innovation should be the top priority.
2. Value add should be innovation capital, US’ value add by innovation to GDP ratio is very low as compared to other countries.
3. Healthcare is most important because it give competitive advantage to individuals as well as industries.
4. Infrastructure should be developed – roads, rails and broadband are three major areas where US should develop. He gives example of how Shanghai has the fastest railway system, talks about US is ranked 16th in world in terms of broadband connectivity.
How we frame all of these together and move America ahead. Talk moves to energy sector, as it will solve a lot of energy related issues as well as generate jobs. More emphasis on energy, one should think about it as national issues rather than Democrats or Republicans issue. Conservation of energy, domestic drilling, and nuclear energy are some topics we should discuss more often. Over a period of 5-10 years by just conserving energy we can change the country. Talk moves to automobile industry and how they can improve vehicles with the help of state governments. He feels some stricter laws, tax exception can help automobile companies in US to innovate and sell.
11:44 AM: ES in center now. He talks about the first politician to visit Google was Gov. Warner because He wanted to know how networks will evolve, how more jobs will be created rather than asking for funding from Google. He was the one who went there to learn, when was the last time when any politician wanted to learn.
11: 47 AM: ES talks about his childhood in Blacksburg. Gone Talks about Lyric Theater and with the wind was his favorite movie. He is telling a story about his brand new red bicycle, he parked it in front of police station (which is just across the street) instead of theater as he thought it might be safe. When he comes out of movie he finds his bike was stolen. He goes to the police station, it’s a crisis my bike is stolen. Officer said, come up to the jail. He opens the jail and bike was in lost and found. There were no prisoners so he kept the bicycle there. Blacksburg is a peaceful town with no crimes.
He says Blacksburg is a small town with great values. One of the most wired places in America and still it has not lost the same touch he felt 20 years back, it’s the same small place and prisoner free jails.
He is talking about MW now. There is a set of policies; his energy plan is the approach we need. He is telling many people ask him the question – why don’t we solve all the problems at once? Is there a way where we can solve all at once? My answer is yes, all problems will be solved if we solve our energy crisis, it will act as stimulus program. It does not only short term problem, but solves long term problem too. It will give us leadership in new technology area. Energy and Communication can be linked together. He gives an example: Imagine a situation where we have a Chevy + battery, we have smart energy grid, a complex algorithm to find out when to charge and when to discharge, it’s an obvious solution and it will saves us trillions of dollars. But we don’t do it!
This is the time somebody should take leadership, Govt should understand run this as business, create jobs, working on energy will lead us to future. This will reduce dependency on other countries too.
Q: How do we solve energy crisis and job problem at same time?
MW: Jobs will be created if we have more power plants. He talks about the smart-energy-grid. If we can create power source, wind, bio, nuclear and then connect it to grid which should transfer energy to more stressed areas. We should grow [some crop to generate fuel].
ES: Solar in south west done right will create a million jobs. Grassland should be used to generate wind power, Eastern Texas has huge potential in that. Here in Virginia we have thermal resources which are not used properly. Combination of smart grid and more power sources will generate jobs as well as solve energy crisis. [He talks about Venezuela]. Oil prices have gone down, why we should let one country dictate us. We should try to solve the crisis on our own and reduce dependency and smart grid is the solution to that.
He moves on how innovation in IT and telecom innovation did not allow Japanese dominance in 90s. A decade ago, 8 out of 10 solar companies were US. But that has changed, now European countries dominate, whose failure is this?
Q: Why do we need government to help energy companies to get into this field, once any organization sees potential in this business they will jump in it?
ES: If we don’t have infrastructure and a company tries to do something. Let’s say they buy some land to generate wind power and they are successful in doing so but they just don’t need energy, they need infrastructure to transfer energy, loans for funding. Many companies have gone bankrupt tried to do so because government did not help. So, government will have to push, organizations are waiting for government to do something, once infrastructure is ready companies will jump on opportunities. He gives an example here: It was ARPA who created network, basic research was done by government and then IT companies like Google grew on that infrastructure.
Q: Education system has fallen behind, European and Asian have gone ahead in math and science education. What should be done to boost math and science education in US?
MW: We lose enormous number of students because they fail in math or science. We have a system in which we put least experienced in weakest or remotest schools. But need to put best teachers in weakest school and improve it. We can have an incentive program for teachers to move into such areas. This program has already started in VA and should not be used everywhere.
We need an education system, which also deals with tech education, not just engineering. High school diploma along with a tech certification to improve number of tech people in the country. Currently out of 80k high school only 10k gets tech certificates. This number should increase.
Why high school has to be 4 year and college 3 years. We should have a program where last year in high school should be clubbed with junior year of college. That will reduce the time period for college education, will keep a kid focused and will reduce cost for students. [This is his plan]
ES: Notices how precise that answer was. We have to solve this problem and agree with Gov’s plan
Q: We have the architecture and technology for white collar jobs to be done at home (telecommuting) and that will solve energy crisis too. Why don’t we follow that approach?
ES: Most people prefer to go to workplace. We like to put all of them together and that improves results. People commute less if offices are put in most dense areas.
MW: We have that as an option but bandwidth is an issue. We do not want to increase density in metropolitan area so we should spread the organization outside where cities, so commute time will reduce for people.
Q: Will Google open some facilities in VA?
ES: We have some connection in VA and we use it.
Q: [She first thanks Eric for her scholarship that she is getting from Google] Geosciences has been essential for energy, oil, dumping nuclear waste etc. Why the budgets are declining in this field when everyone wants to solve energy crisis.
MW: We invested a lot in 2004 (when he was Governor) to graduate student specifically for same reason. I do think government need not pick winners and loser, but try to spur the basic research. Research should be a national priority.
ES: We need more political leaders who understand importance of research (and believe in science – this was a joke and crowd burst into laughter). If you look at business opportunities, the economic value in energy industry is very less, so we need to have a market (we already are) but government should try to do something to push these effort and assure investors, that will increase the cash flow and would be better for research.
MW: There is nothing in between turning off lights and buying a Prius when it comes to energy crisis. We should have ways too and educate people. Japanese have same standard of living and their per capital energy usage is half of ours.
ES: We should reduce organization consumption that should set a standard for all. He gives an example; he went to a conference long back and found out about efforts than an organization takes. He asks facilities team and they have a plan with $2 million (which is very low amount for Google) investment and will take around 2 years for returns. Eric asks them, then why didn’t you tell us this plan. They replied, you never asked us. He says, it’s easy to conserve energy but no one cares about it. We have to increase awareness.
Q: How can Cloud computing help us in energy crisis.
ES: This is first university in US to have all applications online. And this not only is a good example of cloud computing but also tells us how efficiency has increased tremendously. This was not done necessarily to solve energy crisis, but it helps. IT has a role to play in it.
He is talking about how technology has improved over years. We have cell phone, with camera, GPS and camera. We will have knowledge economy and that will give us competitive advantage.
MW: IT should not just be used in few field, they can be used across fields.
ES: Power of IT to be used in healthcare, an individual should have his record which an individual has control over. It can be in electronic format. [I think most people did not get this hint, but I am sure this is in line with the current rumors about Google’s new service – electronic medical record in the cloud]
Q: [A question about how good Android is doing and what is the future]
ES: He talks about technology it has and other details. He tells about how an apps such as bar code reader can be developed, which will find the cheapest rates in the area. [Crowd is pretty excited after hearing this, no surprise this side; this has been discussed on TWiT many times]
Q: What are the barriers in developing public transport infrastructure? Will we have better system as European countries?
MW: We did not have any major infrastructure reforms after Eisenhower. Our aim was to develop some industrial sector and we succeeded in that, but he thinks funding to develop this kind of infrastructure is not possible in near future, State government funding are reducing and there are other issues such as financial crisis which should be taken care first.
[Five more minutes remaining now, there will be one more question. But I can’t sit here, will miss my Statistics class otherwise. It was a nice session, Lyric theater was full and I believe many people were not allowed in. It was good that we came an hour early to stand in queue. I miss my D40 though; a nice photo would be good.]
Disclaimer: Answers and question are not exactly what were spoken, this was my reconstruction.
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Participants : Thej and Veetrag
- Thej @ Nokia Open Lab, Helsinki
- Yammer wins TC50 – Deserving Winner? How different is it from Twitter?
- Google Launches Satellite – what benefits will we have?
- Call Graph – free skype recording utility.
- Motorola MOTO Z9 – first hand experience
Posted by veetrag in Uncategorized on November 1, 2007
Just saw this ‘Click to Call’ feature on Google search. As always I was amazed to see that companies are breaking all limits, in spending money and privacy, to attract more and more customers. Hopefully after this there won’t be increase in spam phone calls.