Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Outlook versus Gmail versus Mail on Android devices.

A while ago I wrote myself some notes on the advantages and disadvantages of Outlook, Gmail and the built-in email client apps on my Android based mobile phone. I thought I'd share those notes in case it helps others.

Outlook v Gmail v mail

- does not show active link for hyperlink address
- if only email client Google Chrome does see it as default. Tries to set up new account. For email links.
- no notification for new emails. Have to use widget instead
+ layout clear
+ don' feel Microsoft scanning all emails
+ Appears to update better than Gmail
- No badge count
- sent url does not create link for Gmail receiving.

+ converts url to link
+ works with Chrome email links
- feels like Google scanning all emails.
- No badge count
- really terribly slow at refreshing. Need to manually refresh by pull down. E.g. deleted items stay shown until sync.

- Crashes frequently
+ Works well as default
+ badge count
- need to disable so other choices shown for mailto links.

Overall I've found none of the three email clients does what I want so it's a compromise. The built-in email client is the client I end up using the most. I also use the Gmail app separately for my Gmail account only. Outlook I've tried but generally end up deleting the app.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Monday, May 28, 2018

G Suite discount code.

I noticed an ad pop up promoting Google's G Suite partner referral program. One of my clients needed G Suite set up for their email as their developer's web host didn't provide email services. There were a couple of options and the client decided to use G Suite. The client is quite happy with G Suite and uses my services to set up G Suite initially and every now and again to set up new accounts or email aliases, rather than having to learn G Suite and the jargon involved.

When I saw the ad and since my clients is happy with G Suite I decided to investigate. Google's G Suite partner referral program obviously offers the partner a monetary reward. As a consultant the client has to know this and decide if they'd like to be referred, or not be referred and go direct to the Google site (without using the referral link) to sign up. That is entirely their choice and makes no difference to me. To me the client's choice is the most important.

However there was a further offer to partners where partners could provide a promo code. Each promotion code provides 20% off the first year on either the G Suite Basic plan or G Suite Business.

I decided to sign up for the Google G Suite partner referral program as it may generate some income, but also provide a discount for those signing up.

For those interested here is the referral link (https://goo.gl/81amsf).

The promotion codes for the 20% discount are:

G Suite Basic Plan           34TDEGCNEF4HLYD
G Suite Business Plan      34KAD9G7KYVAFJA

Before using these codes make sure G Suite is suitable for your needs.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Please be aware the discount voucher code were valid at the time this post was written but they may be discontinued at any point in time by Google.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gallon to Liter Calculator test.

One of things I believe in when developing is testing. One test I'm currently running is for the Gallon to Liter Calculator site. The site has been running for nearly six months now.

The test was to see if I could create a site that was .com instead of .com.au and see if the site would gain traction worldwide, or even just in America. The reason is Australia is a small market and if I could build a website that didn't appear to be based in Australia there was greater potential for more traffic.

The result so far is it has been disappointing financially, but not a total failure. OK, a financial failure but it provides useful information.

As an Australian you'll notice the spelling of liter in the domain name. This is the American spelling and not the Australian spelling. Does it matter? Yes. Not only for the intended audicence but also to Google.

In terms of ranking, "gallon to liter" versus "gallon to litre" has an average position of 12 versus 16.4. So spelling does matter. There's also around five times as many impressions for the liter spelling in Google search results versus the litre spelling.

The site statistics show the greatest number of visitors come from Canada. A check of the position for  the search "gallons to litres" returns the following positions:

Google.ca - 18
Google.com - 18
Google.com.au - not in top 100
Google.co.uk - 18

Using the .com domain has certainly made a difference in terms of not appearing in searches from Australia.

The Gallon to Liter Calculator is a useful tool for converting gallons to litres. It hasn't been a financial success, but it does generate some interesting information.

When testing your website's presence on the internet, if you make a change measure the position before the change, wait until perhaps 1-2 weeks after Google has picked up the change (you can check the cached version in Google for when it was last scanned) and then measure again. You really do have to be patient. Making too many changes at once means you won't know which change made ranking betters and which changes perhaps made things worse.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support

Monday, May 21, 2018

Optus increases price of 100 GB mobile broadband plan.

I was a bit surprised to see Optus increase the price of it's 100 GB plan. Previously the price was $70 per month and the price has now increased to $80 per month.

To be fair when I first saw the $70 plan it only included 50 GB. Optus then offered double data which brought the plan to 100 GB. For a short while in May Optus even offered 140 GB of data for $70 a month.

Today when I checked prices the price has gone up and is now $80 for 100 GB a month. You really don't know what Optus is going to do with their mobile broadband pricing, but I didn't expect to see the price increase.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Turn off push notifications in Safari under macOS.

I have to admit I'm not a fan of push notifications. I think the push notification feature could be pretty useful, but the real problem is more and more sites I visit want to ask me for permission to send push notifications. It's just another nag I don't need. Really, what's the chance I want to receive a notification from the many, any sites I visit. Almost zero.

If however there was a site I followed and let me know they had push notifications that I could sign up for, that's another matter. I'd find that in theory potentially useful. But in time it's possible every site you visit will be nagging you for permission to send push notifications.

Get ahead of the curve. If you're not interested in push notifications you can disable the feature in your browser. In Safari under macOS you do this as follows.

Open Safari
Select Safari (in the menu)
Select Preferences
Select Websites
Select Notifications
Remove the tick from Allow websites to ask permission to send you push notifications.

Ah, peace and quiet, until the next piece of technology is created for marketers to keep us "informed". Don't get me wrong, it sounds like I'm not a fan of this technology but I am. I'm simply not in favour of technology that nags me to do something so often, when I'd rather opt in if I choose to.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
IT support.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Free unlimited mobile broadband for six months on TPG's new mobile network.

Later this year TPG will launch their own mobile network. As part of the launch it appears TPG will be offering six months of free mobile broadband as an introductory offer. After the six months the cost will be $9.95 a month.

The following is a link to the press announcement (https://www.tpg.com.au/about/media.php).

I think this is an excellent offer and felt it would be good to let others know. It's pretty hard to beat free. 

There's couple of details to be aware of though. The coverage is a bit limited at this stage, but if you're in or near the major city areas, the offer could be very useful. The areas covered are listed in the press announcement. In terms of unlimited in TPG's case, this means 1GB a day with no restriction and then if you go over this limit, you'll be slowed to 1 mbps.

The speed of 1 mbps is still OK, but not generally good enough for live streaming. The speed of 1 mbps is around 450 MB per hour. Generally you'd need around at least 2-3 times this speed to watch standard definition TV and more for higher definition. However, if you're steaming to a mobile phone and/or a service that enables you to stream at a lower quality, it's worth giving it a go. If your service allows you to download videos for offline use then you can still watch videos, but you'll just have to wait longer.

In terms of hardware keep in mind you'll need some type of mobile broadband device, which will probably need to be unlocked. An older 4G mobile phone could also be used as Wi-Fi access point. You may also try older 3G devices. I've used 3G broadband devices with SIMS capable of 4G and they've worked, but at slower speeds. As soon as I get a TPG SIM I'll test it out on a range of devices.

I have to say I am looking forward to seeing what TPG's new offers will be. For some people the $9.95 a month mobile broadband plan will be all the broadband they need. No need to pay for an NBN service if your needs are less.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Block all notifications in Google Chrome.

Ever get the feeling there's yet another way to get annoying prompts. For some people those pop-ups that ask you if a site is allowed to send notifications or not is simply another annoyance.

The good thing is instead of saying no to each notification you can simply turn off all notifications. That is notifications will be blocked from all sites.

To block all notifications click on the three dots at the top right in Google Chrome.
Select Settings.
Scroll to the bottom and click Advanced.
In the Privacy and security section click on Content Settings.
Click on Notifications.
At the top there's a slider for the setting Ask before sending (Recommended).
Slide this slider to off.

Notifications will now be blocked. The problem with the Notifications screen is you don't know there's a blocked setting until you move the slide to the left.

Peace and quiet now those pesky notifications are gone. Of course if you like to receive notifications from one or more sites, you just have to respond to each and every site with a no or a yes as you're prompted.

Kelvin Eldridge
IT support.