Blog filled with:

Technology | Sketches | Photos | BITS

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sketch for my lovely Sister!

After the last two "Techy" Posts on 10 GMail features you MUST know! and Feed me, Google Reader!, I decided to take a break. If I were to continue writing only Tech articles, then I would rather rename my blog (Infact Aju suggested: "Google Tips n Tricks". lol!).

This vacation, all my plans of "Learning Sketching" went flop. The last time I touched those long, green, sketching pencil was more than a month back. Home has made me lazy :| . But finally, I got a reason to sketch!!

26th July, is was my cute sister's B'Day! And here's a part of the Card I made for her! :)

Sketch for Suramya by Rasagy aka RaSh

She loves dancing and singing, hence the dancing girl :)

PS: For those who have been reading my blog, did you notice that this sketch, just like that of BITS Pilani Goa Campus & a Girl (from LP's video), is also a "Pen-Sketch". Guess they are more fun to make :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

10 GMail Features you MUST know!

What's so special about today? My Gmail account just turned 4! Yipee!! From an invitation-only to a 7GB (And still counting!) inbox, Gmail has come a long way. So here are 10 Gmail features which I bet you'll love to check out!

PS: I've already expanded some of the Must-know features. If you've been using Gmail for a long time, then make sure you "Expand" the ones in the end!! ;)

+ 1. Archive, don't Delete!

All about the nice habit of archiving you mails!

+ 2. Arrows ka chakkar!

For those who get irritated by those annoying Forwards, here's a solution!

3. Labels, labels & more labels!

When you'll have such a huge inbox, how about taking out some time and organizing it? Let's say I want to keep all mails related to "TalkOfCampus" in a particular folder (From now on, Label==Folder). On the left-side, just add another Label (say "ToC"). Now check all mails related to it and from the drop-down menu, choose Apply Label.. "ToC". Done! Oh & once you have loads of them, color code them by choosing the Label Style from the drop down!

Manually selecting mails for each Label isn't the best way right? Read more about Filters & find a better way out!

+ 4. *Isssstar* It!

About adding Stars to special mails, and using SuperStars from Gmail Labs to spice them up!

5. Speed up your Search!

So you've been archiving your mails for a long time. And now finding a mail has become a pain, right? Here's some of my common Search Queries:
  • Orkut Scrapbook Notifications :- from:orkut subject:(scrap OR message)
  • All unread, starred mails in Inbox :- is:unread is:starred in:inbox
  • The website someone told me a week back while chatting :- is:chat after:2008/7/9 before:2008/7/17 http
  • Recent mails in the label "ToC", not related to Alpha release :- label:ToC -Alpha
  • Scan of Ticket sent by Dad :- from:Dad has:attachment

Here's something if you are hungry for more! Otherwise, you can always use "Show Search Options" :P :P

+ 6. Using Multiple Accounts - I

Having multiple accounts, and accessing all using one!

7. Filters

Has those Orkut notifications always bothered you? Would you prefer checking those "Daily Jokes" only when you are free, instead of it filling your inbox? Then use Filters! Filters allow you to set up particular actions for a specific type of mails. For ex, I want to keep all my TalkOfCampus related mails in its "ToC" label, and star it automatically so that I'll first read them when I open my inbox. To do this, I go to "Create a Filter" (Next to the Search box on the top). I enter the criteria (Subject: TalkOfCampus) and in the next screen, I choose: Star it, Apply Label: "ToC" and apply. Simple & easy!!

Update: Nishant wanted to know how to prevent Orkut Notifications from appearing in his Inbox. Check the comments to know how to do so!!

You could also use filters to differentiate mails of your multiple accounts. For ex, if I use for subscibing to newsletters, then I can have a filter to mark all mails sent to to Skip Inbox, and Label as "NewsLetter". No more cluttering my inbox anymore!

PS: When you have a mail open, Open the Drop down menu on top Right > "Filter messages like this" to easily add a filter for similar mails!

+ 8. Using Multiple Accounts - II

Sending mail from different email ids without Signing in & out again!

9. Making Multiple Gmail Ids from one Gmail id!

A lesser known feature of Gmail, you can add "tags" or "keywords" to your email id by writing them after adding a + at the end of your id. The mails will still be sent to your original id, but with a different "To:" Address.

For example, for all my old DPS RKP batchmates, I could give them the id as: I'll actually be using to access these mails, but can easily make filters to organize the mails from my old friends sent on this id!

Similarly I can have which I could give to only a few close friends (And make a filter to Star all mails To:

Also, Gmail doesn't recognize the number/position of "." used in a gmail id. So all mail sent to, are sent to the same id:!

+ 10. Keyboard Shortcuts

Throw that mouse away. And if you are also a Laptop user, you HAVE to use this! Plus a new Gmail Labs feature to Customize it too!

What others said:

  • Rijul: Don't forget to use inbuilt Gmail Chat (It has Conference/Group Chat & Cute emoticons!)
  • RG: Check out the Vacation Settings too.
  • Vandith: Other Labs features are also worth a look!
  • Gowtham: Gmail >> Yahoo, thnx to faster loading time & better interface.
  • Nitish: Gtalk Labs now out!

Incase you liked this post, do check out these links:

So those were the 10 Gmail Features you MUST know! How has your experience with Gmail been? Do you use any of the above features? Do let me know!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Feed me, Google Reader!

I've got over 2000 hits on my blog now. Yoy! So I thought better take some panga with the template! And after a day of time-pass, I was able to make a simple edit and learn a lot about Blogger Templates. Oh and the Navbar will come more handy in the future, but u can always try out some effects i coded ;)

This post is basically about Feeds & Google Reader. I've been blogging (Not on a Personal Blog though) for a long time (Check my Profile and see!), and earlier the most difficult thing was to stay updated with the recent posts (And to make sure your readers read posts too.) Since not everyone was interested in opening the blog everyday, posts generally would be left unread for a long time. And then came Feeds!

I'm guessing you know what Feeds are (Also read about RSS on Problogger). In simple terms, "They keep you in touch with the latest changes in a dynamic page". Now to use it, just subscribe to a feed. Ever noticed an Orange colored "Radio Signal" next to the url in the address bar in Firefox? Click and you can subscribe to my Blog feed! It'll appear as a folder inside your Bookmarks Folder with links to the latest posts.

But Feed Readers/Aggregators go a step further. They'll email you whenever a new post is there, or collect all new posts in one place where you can read it later. There are many services that do this. But I prefer Google Reader. Though it doesn't email you notifications, it has a really simple interface. So here are some things that you can do in Google Reader:
  • Adding Subscription: Just Click on the option, enter the Url of the blog, and you are done! Also, you can just type keywords to search for public feeds (EPL? Latest Google Updates? Cooking Tips?). Alternatively you can bookmark a "Subscribe" button, clicking which will Subscribe you to the current page (Blog/Site) you are viewing (If it has Feed Support that is!). To do this, go to Settings > Goodies and then drag the button to your Bookmark Toolbar.

  • Using Feeds: You can easily Rename the feeds & categorize them using Folders. Also, you can "Star" selected posts or "Share" them with other friends in your contact list (Or add a widget to show them on your blog!)

  • Reading Feeds: A very nifty feature is that each post that you read (ie. scroll by) is automatically marked read. This way you can just glance through the "All Items" Section everyday, scroll past boring posts and open those which you like (And then comment on them too!)

  • Notes: Everything you read might not be a blog. Sometimes you might like some random webpage and would like to keep it for reference. Though that's what Bookmarks are for, you can also do it through Google Reader. Just drag the "Add as Note" Button as a Bookmark, and add Notes to sites while browsing!

  • Offline: Yes! You can set your Google Reader to download feeds which you can read later without being connected to the net. Helps when you are in a campus like BITS with high-speed Internet :P
On the other hand, Feeds come with one disadvantage: Traffic. Though it's expected that one will post a comment after going through the feed, many just read posts and don't comment (Well many of you do that even when you read it on the blog :P). Comments allow the Blogger to see how others are reacting to his posts, and does help in inspiring him to write more (Take for ex, Rahul Sir's comment on my last post. Trust me, that's the best thing this blog has given me till now!)

So do use Google Reader (Or whichever Aggregator you prefer), but do let the writer know you read the post! ;)

PS: I would also like to inform my fellow BITSians that our beloved Dr. T. C. Goel, Director, BITS Pilani, Goa Campus, is no more. May his soul rest in peace.