A neat tool quietly rolled into Gmail

Google surprise: A neat tool quietly rolled into Gmail

There’s something nifty in a popular Google product, even if you don’t know it’s there.

Gmail attachment checker

Despite my not-always-positive views of the Google, overall I do think they are a remarkable company. One of the great value assets is their ability to create really useful software applications.

Gmail, the popular google version of email on the web, aka: webmail, is one such application. In Gmail, when you write an email, and mention an attachment to your recipient, the webmail application checks the message to see if there is in fact a file attached. That way, you don’t accidentally send without the file you intended to attach.

Here’s an example of what it looks like, from inside a Gmail account:

google gmail file attached checker feature

You’ll see a screen similar to this (minus my in-signature cartoon) when you forget to attach a file in your gmail message.

Try it for yourself. Compose a new mail in your Gmail. Write “attach” or “attachment” or “attached” in an email that you send to any of your contacts (or to yourself if you don’t have anything to send anyone). Don’t attach any file. Hit Send. You’ll see the screen get darker and a window pops up and says:

  • Did you mean to attach files?
  • You wrote “attached file” in your message, but there are no files attached. Send anyway?

And then it offers you to “Cancel” – go back to the message to attach the file you want to include, or “Send Anyway” – without an attachment.

Now, it is a little silly to call the “go back to the message” button “Cancel”. Why not just label the button “Go back to message to add attachment(s)” ? or just “Attach” and make it go straight to the file attachment facility? I don’t know. I guess they have a reason for it, like, the software engineers don’t know how to communicate plain English so fluently now that Marissa Mayer has moved over to Yahoo! All the same, it is a brilliant and handy little feature, ensuring a higher quality experience when sending email from your Gmail account.

So there you have it.  If you already use Gmail, I hope that you enjoy this useful built-in feature.  And I publicly applaud Google for this great tiny evolution of webmail. I hope other email and webmail makers include a similar feature in their own applications, sooner rather than later.

OOOOOh look … The IOC is all about the money

The IOC protects its IP rabidly.

It’s not as if you didn’t know, right?

Olympic Flag (R) TM Satire

Would it be as funny if it were not so true?

The IOC wants you to show them the money, baby

The Olympic Games are owned and operated by the International Olympic Committees, aka: The IOC, which is a for-profit corporation. They’re in it for the money.

You can’t exactly blame them. The Olympic logo is world-famous, and they have every right and ability to exploit its value for all its worth, even if it means suing small mom and pop shops and businesses that use the word “Olympic” or use any visual that even approximates the famous amateur sports logo.

While it may not be the realization of the dream of Mr. Pierre de Coubertin, who resurrected the ancient Greek tradition of the ultimate pagan celebration of sports in the form of the modern Olympic Games, it is not surprising that the games are in their current state. The Olympics today are riddled with corruption, devoid of their values, and heading as fast as possible down the same track it is currently on.

To know that the IOC is only getting worse in its plans and actions, is more than a little disheartening to the average sports fan. To the person who barely cares about sports at all, it basically is a death knell into the once most highly prized sporting event in the world.

The London 2012 Olympics ~ A personal foreward

The 2012 Olympics

let the games be gin keep calm meme parody remix

Swig that spirit

At the 2012 Olympics in just a few hours from the time of this article being published, the world watching the Summer games will heard the sentence that starts a frenzy of games, competitions, and events celebrating the spirit of *cough, cough* humanity.

“Let the Games begin.” ~ So goes the traditional opening expression of the Olympics supposedly dating back to Ancient Greece, where the ultimate pagan celebration of sports and competition was born.

Are You Ready for the London 2012 Olympics?

london 2012 olympics official logo low-resolution graphic

Faster, Higher, Stronger

It starts tonight. The London Olympics. The 2012 Summer Games. Where world records have already been broken, before the opening ceremonies. Sound interesting yet?

The opening competitions of the London 2012 Olympic Games started off with a couple of world records being broken at Lord’s cricket ground by South Korea’s Archery Team, one of whose athletes is a legally blind man.

Im Dong-hyun, who is a legally-blind archer, broke his own individual record for 72 arrows while his teammates Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek helped them set a team record for 216 arrows.

It certainly makes for good media fodder, that in the Olympics, anything is possible. It helps the ratings that human achievement pushes itself beyond all known limits, for about three solid weeks in mid-Summer, even if those laser-focused athletes have other personal obstacles, like physical handicaps to overcome.

These Olympic Games got off to a full media blast in the past few months. As the torch made its way from Mount Olympus to London, a great deal of coverage was made about the efforts being made by the host country, England. Great Britain is eager show the world that it provides the best, safest, most pageant-filled “Biggest Show On Earth” celebrating sports in an unprecedented fashion.

This, despite huge failures by the security establishment, allowing for the main contractor to the Olympic Games, G4S, to provide only 70% of the contracted security personnel, with the company being forced to pick up the tab for the cost of the British military picking up the slack. Rest assured, the English will do everything to make these games as safe as possible. Still, it will be a stressful week for anyone involved in the short-term security operations and logistics, especially as they now have to practically improvise about 30% of the security efforts, which would otherwise have been performed routinely, in a scheduled, carefully rehearsed manner.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

These Olympic Games are also happening on the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, where 11 athletes and coaching staff of the Israeli team were held hostage and then brutally murdered by terrorists in the name of Palestine.

This year, there was a public effort to hold a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies in London, to commemorate those lives taken too early, at a previous Olympics. The moment of silence was publicly rejected by the IOC. After all, they did not respect the victims with any moment of silence at the time of the attacks or anytime since then, so why would they succumb to such public pressure now?

In the politically-challenged world of the International Olympic Committee, honoring its own athletes lost in geopolitical conflicts that erupted in their own facilities, is simply not something they wish to do. And let’s not mince any words here: The moment of silence was rejected because the victims were Jews and the killers were Palestinian Muslims, and in the IOC, Jews – and especially Jews from Israel – are unpopular, while the Muslim populations control more than twenty nations of the sporting world’s elite body, even as they are considered outside of the main by the powers that be. Simply put, these two people are not important enough to the IOC to move the IOC to reflect upon its own history.

To be clear, if, heaven-forbid, a team of Americans, British, French, German, Russian, Chinese or Japanese athletes had been so inhumanely murdered at an Olympic event, you can bet your Official London Games Memorabilia that there would be some kind of official recognition of their sacrifice.

Okay, that’s enough ranting about my favorite human sporting event. As the Ancient Greek showman and philosopher said in I, Claudius, “The theatre never was what it was.”

The show must go on

We hope everyone participating in the Olympic Games of 2012 will have a safe and wonderful experience. The games are always memorable, and this year should be no exception to that fine tradition. World records broken by a sight-challenged competitor striking the target with a bull’s eye have assured that. Now it’s time for sports fans everywhere to enjoy a little pomp and circumstance before the meat of the events begins.

Personally, my athletic experience gives me a bias towards rowing, fencing, and the classic track and field athletics. Horribly elitist sports, I know. Well, that was a long time ago.

What do you like most about the Olympic Games? Sound-off below in the Comments section.

Why Real-time Google Analytics is good for your web business

Real-Time Google Analytics Changes

Overview of Real-Time Google Analytics Changes

real-time GA graphicDo you use Real-Time Google Analytics or are you still using the older, static statistics view?

If you don’t know, then first you should know: Google has a free web traffic statistics tool called Google Analytics, or GA, which lets anyone with a website track a vast amount of data, from simple to highly detailed information. And you can view the analyzed data in static “archived” views, or even in real-time.

Well, after months of the real-time option being in beta, Google recently announced that it is moving entirely towards real-time statistics and analytics, down to the second, and they are moving away from static data reporting.

If you are one of the many website publishers who already use real-time analytics, then you are in a good position to remain competitive in the next wave of Internet development and online commerce

If on the other hand this poses a new challenge to you, then never fear. This post should help you prepare for the next new thing, which actually isn’t so next or new at all.

Here’s a quick review of the big features that GA is moving towards providing as the main ingredients of its Real-Time Analytics.

graphic for article about real-time google analytics

Enjoy your trip through Real-time 3D GA data

Real-Time Analytics lets you see all that is going on in your website as it happens. You see the effect of your online ad campaigns right away, including TV ads, or live event ads that engage users on your website.

Multi-Channel Funnels give you deep details on end to end conversion on a monthly view. You can see all the marketing channels where your website was found, and not just the most recent click. This lets you optimize your decision-making about your marketing expenditures and ROI.

Social Reports are helpful for measuring the effect of social marketing efforts and analyze the impact that social media on your traffic and conversion metrics, which is crucial to the majority of business online.

Mobile Reports let you see how visitors on mobile devices and through AdWords mobile advertising campaigning interact with your web site.  View the number of pages they visit, the length of time they are on your site, plus conversion and online commerce insights which help you properly develop and refine your mobile strategy.

Content Experiments let you display various versions of a page to separate visitors, and then it uses a new hi-tech statistics engine that calculates the results of the visits individually, to inform you which one is the most successful version. This is a form of what is known as “AB Testing”, and it lets you get the most out of each new page you create.

Of all of these, Content Experiments can be the single biggest driver of increasing your return of investment, if you would only take the time and make the effort to execute it properly. It is far better to produce half as many resulting pages with proven effectiveness rather than to produce twice as many pages full of ineffective effort and wasted resources.


Read more about the July 2012 Real-Time Google Analytics changes

Google’s announcement about moving to only Real-Time analytics

Google puts nail in the coffin for static analytics – real-time now the only option – Tech Crunch

Tapping into existing resources

Tapping into existing resources

h20 tap color illustration


The web is filled with false promises. It is also rife with useful information, neatly organized it and ready to exploit – in the very best sense of the word. To know how to sift between the great the the awful requires savvy, and an understanding of tapping into existing resources. So many real opportunities fall by the wayside, simply because of a failure of communications between the supply side and the demand side.

Consider the (now) old gripe that these days, all you have to do to find the answer to any question, is to “google” it. While it is not true, it still makes some people feel a certain lost naivete about life. All the same, it should not be misread: You really can find a great deal of information online.

Of course, anyone reading this, already knows that the web has the world’s largest public collection of data ever created by mankind. The challenge is: What do you do with that sort of access to so much knowledge?

Tip: The quality of the life you lead is often associated with the quality of the questions you ask.

Think about that for a minute. If you spend your life asking questions about one subject, you may well end up knowing quite a substantial amount about that subject. If you tend to ask smart, thoughtful, probing questions, you will tend to get responses in kind. If you tend to ask really simple questions and stick only to those, you will tend to get only simple answers back.  This concept is very much what the half-joking phrase “Garbage in, garbage out” expresses, in so many words.

So, how do you know what’s useful and what’s garbage?

How do you know how to ask your questions?

What method do you use to sort out good information from bad information?

If these seem like very basic questions anyone should know, then congratulations. You have a leg up on all the people alive right now that have no idea that these questions about questions even exist.

When it comes to information retrieval on the Internet, you should know these are the very basic free resources most commonly used for all nature of general information processing.


Of these well-known sites:
1) Three (Google, Yahoo, Bing) of them are mainly popular as search engines
2) Two of them (Yahoo and Bing) are essentially merging more and more into one entity.
3) One one of them (Facebook) is (at press time) mainly known as the world’s largest social networking website.
4) The other mainly social media entity among them is Twitter, which, while it may contain vast amounts of time-sensitive useful information, also is the cause for some of the largest amounts of junk information. About half (or more) of all Twitter accounts are believed to be non-human accounts, robot accounts, spam accounts, fake accounts, throwaway accounts, etc.
5) The last one is a major storage database of historical and current content published online.

Note that I am not linking to these above sites, except for The Internet Archive,  because for those other sites, you can typically just type their names into your browser, or probably just click a button in your browser somewhere, to get to them.

Also at press time, about half of the world’s searches were conducted on Google, and Facebook and Twitter amounted for a huge chunk of the remaining half, mostly dwarfing even the largest search engines that compete for a slice of Google’s market share.

What makes these giant repositories of information so useful? Well for one thing, they are free. What’s more, they each offer their own flavors of organizing and presenting information, even if they all have some similarities. Their user experience with their interfaces are built since many years, by professional information designers, webmasters, graphics designers, and unfortunately too many people in board rooms with no clue about design or form or function. Luckily, the people who actually code the site are often much smarter than their bosses who order them to carry out their plans. And so it is that many of the best web sites, are those where the engineers, db administrators, coders, designers, and other technically savvy people actually put together useful resources that anyone can exploit and contribute to, freely.