Gotta Be An Easier Way

Using technology to make your life easier!

Archive for the ‘Calendar/PIM’ Category

I know everyone probably has some sort of Google account and if you don’t you have probably have heard about it. But I wanted to make sure that I wrote something about it because it is one of those fundamental online tools that you must tap into and I didn’t want to take it for granted, that and there are so many tools that people haven’t tapped into that add so much to the experience.

Google pretty much owns my life and there is a good reason for that. It’s easy, free, integrated and unified. On top of it I can gather all the Google tools that I use onto one page, my Google Homepage . This is where I have my Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Reader, and many other tools that aren’t even Google tools like the weather, or alternative search engines.

So how do you get a google Homepage? If you have a Gmail account then you already have access to the Google Homepage and ALL of the tools I have listed here and MORE you simply need to login with your Gmail account to access it and it is all FREE!

Let me elaborate on some of the tools that Google offers:

  • Google Docs: Word Processing, Spreadsheet creation, online forms/surveys, presentation/slideshow creation. All of which can be fully private or fully collaborative with several people working on the same document at the same time from the same room or thousands of miles away.
  • Gmail: Email that offers over 5 GB of storage space (It’s space is ever growing as well depending how long you have had it for, I’m up to nearly 8GB), to-do lists, contact lists, Instant messaging, video chat, and many plugins that increase it’s functionality like GTD inbox, Boxbe, and Google Calendar. And because it is all integrated you send some emails right to your calendar like Entourage and Outlook.
  • Google Calendar: Create multiple calendars that you can share with family, friends collegues, co-workers or the entire world if you want. Tap into co-workers (if they are sharing) calendars to help you schedule meetings or events. Break it down into months days or hours. Reminders help you keep track of your life as well.
  • Picasa: An online photo storage site like Flickr. Easily organize, find, and share your photos. (Stay tuned for a more in depth look at Picasa and Flickr coming very soon)
  • Google Reader: A RSS feed reader that allows for sharing and works really good.
  • Blogger: A easy to use blog that integrates into all your other tools, grab photos from Picasa, documents from Docs and populate your blog so others can keep up to date with what you are doing.
  • Google Sites: A no code required web builder that utilizes drag and drop modular design. Easily have a website up and running in minutes.
  • Youtube: yup your Google account automatically gives you a youtube account.
  • Google Maps: A map of everywhere. Get directions and save them to your account so you always have them for accessibility. And check out street view which lets you go down to street level in most major cities in the world and look around as if you are in a car.
  • Google Translate: Translate from language to language. Very Handy. 43 languages supported and counting.
  • iGoogle: Your personalized Homepage of widgets/nuggets/gadgets. Can house most of the Google tools along with thousands of other tools that enhance productivity or just supply fun.
  • and many more like Finance, Scholar, Books, News etc. And they are constantly adding more.

The best part of it all is that it all exists online (but you can have it run off your desktop too if you want) and is accessible from any computer in the world that have computer access.

How can I use this for education?

  • Increase productivity.
  • Almost everything you do can be online and is sharable.
  • Reduce desktop clutter with fewer applications.
  • Give students a free alternative to pricey desktop applications.
  • Most of your tools can be accessible on one web page. It’s your desktop online.
  • It lives online so you have access everywhere and are not tethered to one computer.
  • Collaborate synchronously or a-synchronously online whenever or wherever with students, course co-writers, colleagues or whoever.
  • Set students up to collaborate online, this works especially good with distance courses.
  • View Microsoft Office documents without Microsoft Office.
  • and there is so much more but so little space

So what do /would you use the Google products for?

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  • Comments Off on The all powerful Google! One Homepage to Rule Them All.
  • Filed under: Calendar/PIM, Collaborative, Conferencing, Editors, File Viewers, Office, RSS Readers, Search, Social Networking, Tools
  • Gmail – Simply the Best/Easiest

    I have been using email or a form of email going back to the BBS days in the late 80’s the Kermit based access to the University of Alberta in the early 90’s and then through dial-& and then ISDN access through commercial ISP’s in the mid 90’s up to the broadband access of today. There are very few email servers (Sendmail & Exchange), systems (PINE & ELM) and clients (Eudora, Pegasus, Outlook, Thunderbird) that I have not used on all platforms (Windows, Mac, UNIX and Linux) so this perspective is not coming from a “Johnny come lately” nor does it come from someone who is “religiously” tied to a particular OS or platform.



    I started using Google mail (Gmail) back in 2005 after receiving an invite from a colleague in Silicon Valley. Gmail as introduced in early 2004 and up until 2005 it was being tested by a relatively small group of beta testers. In 2005 you had to recieve and invite from a current Gmail user to get access to the system. It wasn’t until early 2006 when Google introduced an integrated calendar that I decided to give up all my other email system ties and rely exclusively on Gmail. Until a better system comes along I will continue to use Gmail because it is simply the easiest and best system available. Gmails advantages include:

    • Free
    • Web-based – access from anywhere
    • Enormous storage capacity
    • Searchable
    • Integrated
      • Calendar
      • RSS Reader
      • Google Docs
      • Contacts
      • Chat
      • Video-conferencing
    • Development community
    • Hundreds of plugins

    As the resident computer guru in my family and circle of friends I am often called upon to help diagnose and help people solve their problems. This means that I am often called upon to help people out with there Internet problems which are more often than not related to the sending and receiving of email. The sooner I get people off of their POP/SMTP based email and onto Gmail the sooner their (and my) problems go away.

    Gmail just works and is the simplest (you don’t need any training to use it) and most effective email system we have yet. I say yet because I am still looking for something that will be even easier to use and when that comes along I will be using it.

    Just go to and give it a go.

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  • Filed under: Bookmarking, Calendar/PIM, Email/Communications, Slideshow
  • Set up a meeting between several very busy people very easily all with no signup or login. When you want to set a meeting just go one to the website select all the times that work for you from the calendar, add a description of what you want to meet about and send it to everyone you want to have a meeting with. The next person that goes to the website (via the link that you sent them) picks all the times that work for them from the times you initial set. The next person does the the same thing but the only options they have to choose from are what the previous people selected. When everyone has selected an email is sent out with the time or times that work.

    If you want a bit more you can sign up for free to keep track of all your meetings and even sync it with your google calendar or iCal, but only if you want to.

  • Comments Off on “When is good” a timely scheduling app.
  • Filed under: Calendar/PIM