A Choice of Simple Tools

My primary requirement for a tool is that it stay out of my way. Ok, so maybe that is requirement number two, right after the requirement of the tool fulfilling its purpose. But honestly, if a tool can perform its required function then the next most important characteristic for me is that it be as non-obtrusive as possible. This applies to simple tools like screwdrivers and hammers as well as more complex tools such as computers and their software.

Simplicity ToolsWhen I pick up a hammer I expect it to be able to drive a nail into a board. I do not need it to have a compass to guide the way or a light to illuminate the path. Such things would only add needless complexity to the device and would thus get in my way. It is the simplicity of the device that makes it both useful and appropriate. The same goes for a screwdriver. Multiple attachments, lights in the body, and fancy sheathing may sound attractive at first, but when I am trying to get a job done those added complexities could actually make the job more difficult. The beauty of simplicity is that it represents just enough. Just enough to accomplish the work – not too little so that you require more time or tools, and not too much so that extra effort is expended.

This simplicity is also how I choose software. I am an Apple fan; there is no doubt about that. But I am an Apple fan for a reason. I will not deny, not in the least, that Windows and Linux may be immensely more configurable than Mac OSX. But that configurability adds a level of complexity that I find in no way necessary. That configurability actually gets in my way. I feel the same way about the Android mobile operating system versus IOS.
Continue reading “A Choice of Simple Tools”

Speaking on DotNetNuke and Google

Michael SpeakingI will be speaking at two different events over the next week here in Charleston. I will be at BarCamp Charleston on Saturday, and the Google Developer’s Group on Wednesday, November 14. The session on Saturday, if voted in that morning, will be an introduction to DotNetNuke. At the meeting Wednesday I will be delivering my presentation on what Google offers for non-profits.

So, if you are interested in DotNetNuke, Google, or would just like to heckle me, please come on down!

Google GMail Email Setup

If you are setting up your phone, desktop or other device to pull in mail from Google’s GMail, the process can have a few problems.  Honestly it is normally quite simple, but if you don’t do it right you can end up locking yourself out and becoming totally frustrated. I would also add that if you have a lot of mail, the initial syncing process can take a very long time and make you think something has gone wrong. So, as with any setup, patience is your best friend.

GMail SettingsBefore attempting to connect your device to GMail, make sure you can get into your mail via the web interface. If you can’t get in via http://mail.google.com then you have bigger issue with your username or password and nothing is going to work until you fix those. So, now that you know you email is working, let’s make sure GMail will let your application get to the mail.

  1. In GMail, go to setting by clicking on the gear icon up in the top right corner. It will drop down and you can click “settings”.
  2. From the settings screen, select the tab labeled “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”.
  3. Scroll down and click on “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”
  4. Scroll a little farther down and click on “Enable IMAP”.
  5. We will leave everything else as it is (unless you know what you are doing and what to change something).
  6. Click the Save Changes button at the bottom.

OK, so Google Mail is now ready to talk to you application, now we need to set up that app. Since there are so many different phone, applications, tablets and other devices I cannot give you the specifics for each one. How to get to email setup should be something the device instructions tell you. But once you are at that setup, here are the account settings to add into your mail application. Be aware that some applications are smart enough to know a lot of this already if you just tell them you are using Google Mail. Continue reading “Google GMail Email Setup”