Why Use Gmail (Googlemail) – Five Very Good Reasons

Why use Gmail? Deliverability, spam controls, labels, storage , aliases, multiple email addresses, filters – AND it’s free or very cheap.

At time of writing, I have 63,704 messages totalling 1.79GB and I pay all of $5 a year for an extra 20GB which gives me 36GB total storage for all my Google activities. My oldest message in one of my oldest accounts (I have several) is dated July 2006 (older messages were deleted) and reminds me that I bought a Nokia E70 cell phone (mobile) – which was state-of-the-art at the time. Ah, such memories. All sitting there for over 8 years! An even older email account goes back to 2001.


So, let’s take a look at five good reasons for using Gmail – or you can use it’s full name of Googlemail if you prefer – both work eg joeblogs@gmail.com is inter changeable with joeblogs@googlemail.com.

1. Deliverability. By this I mean your messages getting out to people and also you getting theirs. As with all email systems, you still need to frequently check your  spam box for ‘false-positives’, but most e-newsletters will accept Gmail accounts without question, whereas Hotmail, Yahoo and especially AOL may be banned from most simply because they all bounce too many messages.  This was happening 10 years ago too, when I ran a company newsletter – we had to stop people signing up with AOL accounts.

2. Collect messages from any number of your other accounts and have them all come into one. Use a filter on the other ones – which can be your own domain, another free account or other Gmail accounts. Have them all come into one central email reader. Gmail let’s you set it up so that when you reply it says it’s from the same account the sender wrote to. Very clever and saves a lots of time!

3. Labels are folders, but all in one place. When you want to keep messages of a certain subject, or from a certain person or company, all in one place, you used to have to set up folders and filters. Then go through each folder to read them. Well, Gmail is a bit more clever.  You can set up a label on an open message, then set up a filter for other messages to have that label as well. In your main inbox and All Mail box you will see the label at the top of the message, but you can also go directly to the folder of the same name to see them all. If you want to remove a message from that folder, just remove the label. I find this works very well if there are several members of staff who need to see a particular message, or it has information or questions which need answering by more than one of us. Add a label for each person. They see all their messages in one folder and when they have done their bit, they simply delete their label. Simple.

4. Inexpensive storage space. $5 for 20GB of extra storage space is brilliant. No need to worry about running out of room. The downside is that we all tend to forget to delete messages! My 63000+ can probably be cut down to several thousand if I took the time to go through them all. But it’s quite an historic record of my activities, so I think I’ll keep them there!

5. Integration with your Smartphone/cell phone. To get the most benefit on your Android device, you need to Register with a Gmail/Google account. This has several benefits. Firstly, it’s a continuous backup for your contacts – so no need to worry about transferring them all when you change phones. Register with Google Wallet and you can instantly by app upgrades without too much fuss. It’s great for looking after important documents, photos, music e-books too. In fact, the whole Google experience is a whole book in itself – and not the purpose of this blog post.

There are lots of things which having a Google account can do for you, but eMail is probably the first thing which comes to mind.

There have been reports of Google suddenly closing down accounts without warning. No idea why, but it happens from time to time. I use an email client (Thunderbird) on my pc and all my messages come down to that – as well as on my mobile. It’s a form of backup, so I shouldn’t lose everything if there is a hiccup but it’s also because I work in different ways depending what piece of equipment I’m using.

I’ll be looking at other aspects of email in my next post, but for now, let’s just say that I’m very happy with my 10 Gmail accounts and can’t imagine life without them.

Until next time.


All about email

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to do a series of mini posts to help people with their use of email. I don’t mean setting up or technical stuff, but rather the best way to use it as a tool – especially if you work in a non-tech environment, but don’t really know anything about how to use it.

Oh well, I know what I mean, so let’s see how it goes – just want to sort out this page and I’ll be back as soon as I can.

Here’s a tip to get started





Setting Up A New Computer – The Five Things I Always Do First

It’s great having a brand new computer (PC for short). You can set everything up just the way you would like it. When I set up a new computer, here are the five things I always do first. At the end of the post I will list the programs I currently use on my laptop. (BTW, when I speak of a PC I mean desktop, laptop, notebook – not tablets, and certainly not iPads. MACs or Linux machines).

laptop image

I just recently upgraded my laptop to an Asus X75V – so now is a good time to summarise how I set it up for real.

  1. First and foremost I get my Anti Virus or Security Suite loaded up and running. The two are different, by the way. Anti Virus, is usually just that, whereas a Security Suite does more. Which you get depends on how much you want to pay. I’ll go into details in another post. For this purpose, I really want to stress that getting your AV sorted out as quickly as possible is a must.
  2. Updating Windows and setting it to update automatically. As soon as they leave the factory, PCs are out of date. For security reasons, you must install all the updates which have come through since. Sometimes there will be a lot. The AV program may well prompt for you to do this anyway – DON’T SKIP IT! I just let the system do it’s job before I go on to the next step.
  3. Keeping in touch with the outside world is important to me, so I like to download my email messages to my PC so that I can sort and move them around however I want. Also means that even with our very slow broadband connection, I can do my messages at my leisure. I use Thunderbird as my email client and download from 5 accounts a the moment. So, setting up my email client is number two on my list.
  4. Browser comes next. It may be that this will jumpt to the top of my list, depending on when I do what, but my favorite browser and the one I am most comfortable using is Firefox. I’ll set this as my default and pop on the add-ons I need asap.
  5. The absolutely essential piece of software I must have avaialble straight away is OneNote. This is my project book and comes into my Top Five things I always do first simply because it is so easy to use. 90% of my online biz and non-biz information is stored in OneNote. It’s my personal assistant and has been for years.

So, that’s about it. I would then go on to add all my programs and set up my screens and taskbar, but these five items have top priority every time.

I usually upgrade my PC every two or three years. It provides a good opportunity for me to have a clear out, not install again those programs I have never used, and ring the changes with colour schemes and themes. My desktop looks very different now to what it did five years ago, let alone 30 when I first started using computers in the 1980s!

Do add a comment if you would like to – or if you would like to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what you would like me to cover in future posts. Keep it short so other readers will take an interest too.

Here’s my list:

  1.     Currently using BitDefender Total Security Suite 2014. bitdefender imageThey have a free AV option, but the whole suite is a good price on Amazon. I’ve   tried lots of the freebies, but they all seem to nag me to upgrade too much, or slow my pc down. MS Defender/Security Essentials was also a favourite, but MS are not keeping them updated as they used to,m so not a good choice these days.



  1. I used to have Windows download the updates and just tell me they were there, but then I’d skip running them. Not a good idea. The hackers like to look for PCs which are out-of-date. Better to let the system do it all automatically. The last thing you want is hackers coming in!
  2. Thunderbird is almost as good as Eudora was! Most of my accounts are with Gmail (googlemail), thunderbird logobut I also have some domains which I send to my gmail accounts. My main three I also access on my mobile. Thunderbird is an email ‘client’. I have set it up so that I can reply as from the address the message was sent to (gmail does that too). I don’t like hotmail or yahoo – far too nosey and intrusive with ads.
  3. If you don’t have a favourite browser, do try out some of the alternatives like Chrome. Opera, Firefox. Internet Explorer comes as standard, but with a new pc you are given a choice of which one you want to set as your default.
  4. OneNote (from Microsoft) is bundled with the Office Suites, but you can also buy it separately. onenote logoIt’s very similar to Evernote and Springpad – the latter I use on my mobile as it’s a great way to make quick notes. I’ll be honest – I do have OneNote on my mobile now, but have yet to set it up – the main reason I haven’t is because of the mass of info I keep on it, which I don’t need when I’m out and about.

In a future post I will introduce some of the other bits and pieces I use on my computer which you may find useful too, but for now at least you know the five things I always do first when I’m setting up my computer!


Ten Tips For Setting Up Your Android Mobile

Android mobiles are very easy to use, have a wealth of features – some of which you will find you can NEVER live without – and thousands and thousands of apps (applications) you can try and/or buy. But there are a few things you need to get right to start with. Here’s my top ten:

1. Be careful which Googlemail (gmail) account you set up for your Android account. I’ve put this in bold because it’s one that really bugs me! As an early adopter, this was something which never occurred to me. In short, you need to link a credit card to your Google account so that you can buy apps instantaneously, but as you can also link emails and contacts, you need to consider which account to use. I set up my main, busiest, account and now regret the thousands of contacts which are synchronised with my phone. It’s going to take me ages to sort this out, so I advise you to set it up properly in the first place to save yourself aggravation long-term.

2. Emails are great when they come through all the time, especially if you need to watch out for those important ones and on more than one account. You can set up different ringtones for each email account if you want to, as well as choose whether to synchronise your calendars and contacts.

3. There are some great ways to write using your Android phone. I prefer ‘sliding’ and purchased Slide-It. after trying it out. This allows me to slide between letters and can be very fast. There are different versions of the same thing, so you can easily check them out before you buy them. Lots of different settings you can adjust to suit how you like to use the program.

4. If you do a lot of texting or writing when you are sitting at your computer, you can set up your phone with a wireless keyboard app which will let you write these messages from your computer. Wifi Keyboard is one to look at.

5. Battery life can be poor if you have a lot running, so only have wireless on when you need it, ie at home in the evening.There are battery monitor apps you can get which may be more accurate than the one on your phone.

6. Likewise, only run updates and big downloads when you can use the wifi. You will eat into your data allowance if you do these when you are out and about.

7. ‘Profile’ is another word for how your phone is set up at any given time. For example, at home you may want wi-fi, but not bluetooth. You may want to turn off all sound and vibrate at 10pm and restart it all at 7am. A profile app such as PhoneWeaver (the one I use) can change the settings on your phone according to lots of different ‘triggers’ ie time, place, connection. There are lots you can try for free in the Android market, so try before you buy.

8. Backup your files, data, contacts – in fact anything important – from time to time. If you use Gmail, then your contacts and calendar will be safe enough, but it’s all the other stuff you have. There are lots of apps, but the one I decided to stick with is My Backup Pro. Incidentally, it was this app which alerted me to the email problem in item #1. Try a few and see how you get on. Don;t wait until after you have a problem to realise you didn’t backup!

9. If you want apps like task reminders, or notepads, you need to be sure they don’t disappear when you change phones or have a problem. Some automatically save to the SD card, but if you change to a different brand phone, it may not read the card. Go for apps which use universal formats and you should be all right, but you may need to test a few first.

10. Finally, check how other uses have rated the app before you consider using it. 4 or 5 stars is good, but any less and I’d look for a different version.

That’s all for now. This is not by any means an exhaustive list as 10 ideas is just the tip of the very big android iceberg. Why not add your experiences and ideas too?


How To Publish On Kindle

How to devise, write, edit, publish and promote your own e-book on the Kindle platform – and make a lot of money from it too – using the Kindle Kash course.

This is the first decent course I have come across about getting into the potentially very lucrative Kindle ebook market as a publisher. Kindle Kash is a 10-Part course covering both fiction and non-fiction writing. But it isn’t limited to Kindle – it tells you how to publish to other platforms too, eg Nook and Apple iPad.

Publishing for the Kindle is easy and profitable. You get paid 70% in royalties, listed in the Amazon catalogue and can even set your own prices.

Kindle Kash

However, be warned!

I have bought a few books for my Kindle reader. At the moment I use Kindle on three devices – my laptop, mobile (cell) phone and android tablet. Very soon I will be buying myself a Kindle as I have difficulty holding books these days – I just need to decide which model to go for.

My warning in this – be sure to give true value to your ebook. Value = quality content + provides what it says on the tin + plenty of pages + grammatically correct. Kindle Kash will help you with all this – and more.

Here are two examples from my own experience. Both ebooks were absolutely dreadful and Amazon were very fast to give me full refunds.

No 1.

I wanted to find out more about book-keeping as my daughter asked me to help set up her new business accounts. So, I had a look through the Amazon site and came across a title which looked as if it would give me the advice I needed: A Guide To Bookkeeping. I read the blurb and bought it for the princely sum of £2.21 (approx US$3.50). Frankly, it was beyond awful.

Far from being a guide to book-keeping, it was a spiel about why you needed to do it. Very few pages as well. I read it all in about 5 minutes – and immediately contacted Amazon for a refund. I don’t see it on Amazon any more.

No 2.

How To Shoot a Bow – Your Step-By-Step Guide To Instinctive Archery. Sounds good, and when I checked the content it showed over 350 indexed items, so I thought that for the princely sum of £7.15 (US$11.26) it would be a good read. How disappointed I was! All of 40 pages – I mean screens – and barely 10 minutes to read. Along came another refund and I bought a real book on archery instead. The content was rubbish and it purported to have been written by an expert archer. The grammar was awful, there were loads of typos and content was – well – not anything worth having. I could have done better myself  and I’ve doing been in the sport for just over a year. Even my archery blog has more useful information.

The upshot of all this is that if you want to self-publish an ebook, you really must do it to the same standard as a hard copy book. As well as ‘killer’ content (quality) you must, must, must be sure to have it proofread by someone who knows a bit about grammar and can recognise poor spelling. It’s not enough to use a spell-checker. Make sure you have 3 or 4 times as many screens as a normal book would have pages. You won’t have the benefit of a professional publishing company to advise and fine-tune your literary masterpiece, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing a really good job. Only by this stringent attention to detail will you avoid the dreaded clawback of refunds.

Give, give, give of yourself, your ideas, your expertise and you will have a really good book which will sell time and time again at no further expense from yourself.

So, while you may be able to work everything out for yourself, why not give yourself a headstart and get a copy of Kindle Kash so you make sure you don’t miss anything. Lots of ideas as well as tips to help you develop your ideas and even promote your work of art, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

To find out more about what this program has to offer go to KINDLE KASH by clicking here: KINDLE KASH

I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Until next time.

Advent Vega update availability – kind of review

Here’s an Advent Vega update / kind of review

I am seriously thinking about getting one of these babies.

I have an android mobile (Samsung Galaxy S) and I’m really pleased with it. I’ve downloaded lots of apps – and sadly, deleted very few. But there’s bags of room still.

So, why am I wanting an Advent Vega?

Main reason is to have something different. I was actually trying to get hold of any kind of touch-screen pc a year or so ago, but there were hardly any around. (Certainly PCWorld looked at me as if I was from another planet when I asked about them!)


advent vega

I made do with a Samsung Netbook. Now, I was actually very pleased with this, but it was quite slow for what I needed to do, and when I was looking at web pages the resolution meant that they didn’t look too good – needed to do lots of scrolling and zooming in and out.

About 6 months ago I bought a fairly powerful laptop with a 16.5 inch screen, and this is great for my online biz stuff.

So now I would like to have something that’s more for fun than biz, but which I can still use to do the odd bit of emailing, use in bed without baking my knees, etc. I’d like a change from using a trackball and mouse too.

I have considered the iPad, but it has its limitations. I don’t want to be restricted to the walled garden of Apple apps and I would like a bit more connectivity with it (perhaps the iPad2 will be better). There’s no need for me to spend out on an iPad either, even if it is better; if the Advent Vega is half the price, but not quite as slick, then it’s going to suit my pocket  anyway.

There are LOADS of Advent Vega reviews if you do a Google search, so I’m not going to do that here (I can’t anyway, as I don’t have one). I’ll leave that for the true geeks.

Here are the things I have learnt to watch out for when doing searches for “Advent Vega” and “Android Tablet”:

  • You will be given links to much lesser products which are nothing like the Vega.
  • Be patient and don’t buy from eBay as they are usually much more expensive!
  • You can’t get Vegas anywhere in UK (at time of writing). I am told they will be back in stock soon (Twitter AdventVega).
  • Don’t worry about the absence of flash – there will be a fix for that.
  • Don’t worry that Android Market is not built in – there’s a fix via MoDaCo which  most of the reviews mention.
  • You will be sent to lesser tablets, even on Amazon, which all appear to be just about the same but in fact use the older Android. Look for version 2.2 Froyo at least.
  • Must have the capacitive screen. This lets you use all the latest(ish) touchscreen gestures, especially pinch and swipe (take a look at N-Trig – N-Act multi touch. Resistive screens don’t work this way.
  • Some android tablets are cheaper still, with slower processors and the resistive screens.
  • Gingerbread – I need to check if the Vega will be upgradable to the next Android version which is supposed to be designed with the larger tablet screens in mind.

OK, so why go for the 10 inch Vega instead of, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab?

The Galaxy Tab is about twice the size of my Galaxy mobile, works just as well, it seems, but it’s not quite big enough  to make that much difference. It’s also twice the price of the Advent Vega. Besides, I don’t want a small screen. The iPad screen is about right, the Advent Vegas is just as good in size. Horses for courses.

Will I wait for the next influx of 10 inch tablets? Not sure. If the Vegas come out soon I will be sorely tempted to get one straightaway. That’s just my way!

Watch this space!

More about the Advent Vega android tablet on their website: CLICK HERE