How to unsend a message in Gmail

If you’re a Gmail user, here’s a tip that could be useful. Have you ever sent an e-mail that you wish you could recall? There’s a way to do that in Gmail.

Undo Send in Gmail
Undo Send in Gmail

You can enable the feature that gives you a few seconds to unsend a message by:

  1. Clicking on the gear,
  2. then Settings
  3. then the Labs tab
  4. and scroll down to enable Undo Send.
  5. Save the changes, and you’re done!

For a 30 second how-to, watch this video.

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Google’s Top Searches in 2013

Sometimes, I’m curious about what other people are thinking. What do they wonder about? What do “normal” people look for on the Internet?

Google has put together a nice visual representation of the year’s top searches. The mosaic of clickable images is like a 2013 yearbook of what people searched for on Google. It’s a fun and interesting way to remember what people were thinking about. Included: the royal baby, Nelson Mandela, twerking…

View Google Zeitgeist 2013.

If you’re in a hurry, watch the Year in Review below. You’ll get a whirlwind review of 2013 in just 90 seconds.

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Alternatives to iGoogle

igoogleI’ve been using iGoogle as my browser start page for years. It’s not that I love Google. Rather, I have something of a love/hate relationship with Google.

But iGoogle has served me well as a starting point for my browser activities. I like the combination of widgets, which allow me to see my mail, news headlines, recent Facebook updates, and local weather at a glance.

Ever since Google announced the retirement of iGoogle (effective November 1, 2013), I’ve been procrastinating the task of finding a replacement. However, since the deadline is now less than 2 months away, I’m actively searching for a new solution.

What will take the place of my iGoogle start page?

netvibesOne possibility is Netvibes. This is a customizable page with similar widgets to those available in iGoogle. Netvibes is catering to iGoogle refugees with a “simple” migration process, which involves telling you how to export your settings from iGoogle and import them into Netvibes.

Connecting to Facebook and the popular e-mail services is easy with Netvibes. Once you create your account, you can populate several dashboards to follow topics you like.

protopageThe next candidate is It is another widgetized start page, but I don’t think it’s quite as user-friendly as Netvibes. For example, the social network widgets aren’t as easy to find and set up. Since I’m a social media junkie, not having Facebook immediately available as a default widget is a bit of a drawback for me.

If you don’t care about seeing your Facebook and Twitter activity on your start page, and just want to read news headlines, Protopage will probably work just fine for you.

The third possibility for me is igHome. After a quick sign-up and test drive, I think igHome is the most like iGoogle. If you’re the kind of user who doesn’t like change, you will probably like igHome.

Out of the box, it has a look and feel very similar to the familiar iGoogle default. Facebook and Twitter are included as default widgets, and it’s easy to connect to your accounts. One thing I noticed about the Twitter widget is that it contains ads. I’m not crazy about that, and may remove that widget and just use my Twitter feed manager instead.

ighomeAnother iGoogle-friendly feature is that igHome includes the familiar link bar that iGoogle has, with links to Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and other Google products. If you’re accustomed to navigating from your home page to those Google resources, you will feel right at home accessing those links from within your igHome page.

I’ll probably go with igHome for a while, since it seems the closest to what I already have with iGoogle. I’m interested in hearing what you think about the alternatives. If you have tried any other browser startpage services, please let me know.

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One Ring… Not THAT ring. Google Voice.

Okay, I know nobody really needs or wants another number to remember. What with all of the account numbers, passwords, PINs, phones, birthdates, and other things stuffed into my mom-fog geek brain, I can’t even shake my head without digits falling out of my ears!

Actually, I was once leaving a phone message for an acquaintance, and when it was time to leave my number for a call back, I forgot it! I forgot my own phone number and had to look it up and call back to leave it in a subsequent message. True story.

Anyway, I signed up for Google Voice a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away…) when it was still in beta testing. A couple of days ago, I finally received my invitation to join, and now I have another number to remember. But this one is cooler than my normal phone numbers.

Basically, Google Voice is a way to manage all of your phone lines through a single number. So if you want people to be able to reach you at all times, you can give out your Google Voice number and have it ring (one ring, get it? haha) all of your other phones at once.

You can receive voicemail, which is automatically transcribed so you can check it like e-mail. You can group your contacts and have their calls routed differently, and record custom messages for different contacts. I’m still getting familiar with the features, so if you really want all of the details, go read about it.

One especially appealing feature of Google Voice is that it’s FREE. The only thing that costs money is using the service to make international calls. Oh, and you can search for your number by area code or letter combination. I got a number that’s easy to remember by making the last 5 digits spell BELLA. Nifty, right?

What do you think? Would you use a universal number with Google Voice? Do you already have one? Or does it sound like just another number to forget? 🙂

Make your iGoogle homepage look less Googley with new video game themes

Even though I’m annoyed by the suspicious pervasiveness of Google in my life, I still use iGoogle as my homepage. One of the things I enjoy about it is that I can customize it with themes. Until now, the typical iGoogle theme has consisted of a big header and a coordinating color scheme for modules and content. Some of the fancy ones are designed by real artists, or change depending on the time of day, phase of the moon, etc.

Today, I was greeted by a message at the top of my page, announcing Gaming Themes for iGoogle! This was very exciting news for me on a Monday morning!

I quickly browsed the of game themes, and found Wii Sports, Mario, Spore, World of Warcraft, and even Galaga!

lara croftI settled on Tomb Raider: Underworld, because I look exactly like Lara Croft (yeah, right), and there are several more I haven’t mentioned (Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Call of Duty: World at War, Donkey Kong…).

The verdict? Two thumbs up! A great cure for a case of the Monday blahs!

Lara Croft artwork from freakygaming

Google search, now with arrows?

Yesterday I noticed my Google search came up with these little arrows and Xs next to the results. Clicking the up arrow is a vote to “Promote” the search result, and clicking the “X” is a vote to “Remove” it.

I’m not sure how I feel about this social option being added to my old, familiar Google search. Somehow, I’ve become comfortable with the ever-changing, mysterious, mighty mathematical algorithm. I like to think that it produces pretty fair results, although there are certainly plenty of people with gripes over Google’s ranking system.

I hope this Promote/Remove system doesn’t turn Google search into something like Digg or StumbleUpon. I’m not an expert on these systems, but I think they can be a bit cliquish, or even fraudulent at times, with voting exchanges and paid Diggs/Stumbles. I still enjoy stumbling, but I wouldn’t depend on it for my search results. Sometimes I want people’s opinions, and sometimes I want a robot’s unemotional, calculated result.

I guess it’s too early to tell what effect this new SearchWiki will have on the Google gamers. We’ll have to wait and see. What do you think? Is this a good thing?

I’m an award-winning Monkeybrain at Squidoo!

im a monkeybrainA while back, I did a post on the Hey Monkeybrain pagebuilder at Squidoo. It lets you host a debate on whatever topic you choose.

To try it out, I made a fun page about how “Google is Evil.” And guess what… Now, that Evil Google Monkeybrain page is in the Top 50 at Monkeybrain debate central! In fact, as of today, it is Number 9!

The Squidoo team sent me this nice Monkeybrain badge to show off, so here it is. If you haven’t tried Squidoo yet, you should check it out. It’s free, easy, addictive, and completely legal!

Hey, have you said “Monkeybrain” lately? It’s kind of fun. 🙂