Gmail Back to Earth – In Search of $, I Suppose…

Image credit: LifeHacker

Image credit: LifeHacker

I’ve been long-time Gmail fan, having used it from the very early days, for almost 5 years now.  The key reasons why I switched and have stuck with the service ever since were the productivity boosters, first of all:

  • Threaded conversations
  • Labels
  • Search

I also must say that for all other Web Office needs I prefer ( and always have) Zoho’s products.  Now, take that with a grain of salt, I do have a bias, since Zoho are is the exclusive Sponsor of CloudAve, my main blogging gig, and before launching CloudAve, I had been a long-time Zoho Advisor. Being an Advisor is a controversial role: sometimes your Clients listen, sometimes they don’t.

I must admit for a long time I was going nuts trying to convince Zoho to throw out most of their email product and radically revamp it to offer Gmail-like benefits, mostly threaded conversations.   Why didn’t they get it?  I was frustrated.  But the two things happened.  I looked at the email (both Zoho and Gmail ) accounts of several people and was surprised that even the Gmail version showed only 1-2-3 items in a thread.  My folders labels are full of threads with 30+ entries each.  I’m a productivity-maniac freelancer, part of a few hyper-active discussion group, but not everyone’s usage pattern is like mine…

In fact I also had to realize that I don’t really represent Zoho’s paying customer base.  Sure, freelancers, bloggers..etc can generate a lot of hype and get enthusiastic about change, but the real money is in those “boring” businesses that are willing to pay, but don’t really want to change.  Corporate employees live in Outlook, whether they like it or not is almost irrelevant, they (or their employers) resent change.  So Zoho decidedly resisted turning everything upside down, staying “boring” for a long while, because this is what customers told them to do.  (Zoho has this strange philosophy about business: they don’t want to be coolest company. Just a profitable one.)

Of course over time they added conversation threads and labels, albeit implemented less radically than Gmail – it’s a mix, you can have either traditional or conversation views, and both labels and folders.   But this story is not about Zoho – it’s about Gmail.  Funny changes are happening in Gmail-land.  They added folders, then improved them.  Not that it makes a lot of difference – while for some it is a religious war, I’ve always said:

All folders are labels, but not all labels are folders.

Really. Read the details here.   And now Henry Blodget reports: Google To Change Gmail, Add “Normal Email” Option Instead Of Just “Conversations”.

OMG!  Is that the End of the World, or what?  Not really… I suppose it’s all about financial realities and what the real world wants: you can be innovator, but if you want to sell, you better listen to your customers.  (For clarification: customers are those who pay.  That’s not me ).   Welcome back to Earth, Gmail!   I for one am happy the “new” old way is just an option and conversations remain, otherwise I’d have to switch again – and switching is a major pain.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Universal, Actionable Search: Zoho’s Improved Answer to “Where’s My Stuff?”

zoho search Search, Don’t Organize

– is the Google mantra, meaning we should stop wasting time filing away information in folders, sorting, labeling it for later retrieval, when it’s so much easier to search / find it.

That is, if you know where to search. Did you discuss that project in email?  Or was it a Document?  A Presentation?  A Spreadsheet?  A Wiki?  Was there a meeting on it that’s in your Calendar?

We’ve finally resolved the issue of universal search on the desktop, but not on the Web.  Google’s productivity tools all have their own search facilities (I love Gmail search) but you have to execute search on an app by app basis.  Even my Android-phone fares better, where I can search within a particular app or all my data.

Surprisingly, Zoho came out with Universal Search before the King of Search (although it would be naive to believe Google won’t catch up…)   The Universal, Actionable Search solution announced today is just that:

  • Universal: working across several Zoho applications, e.g. Mail, Docs, Writer, Sheet, Show, Notebook, Discussions, Accounts
  • Actionable: depending on the context you can edit a document, respond to / forward an email, IM a contact..etc on a single click, right from the search results, without having to launch the individual application.

A nice step towards contextual integration we’ve just discussed recently.

For now Search is either accessible via or by using the search box in Zoho Business – eventually all Zoho Apps will get the Universal Search box.  (I have no information on how it will be implemented, but once again, context comes first: I’d expect the default to be within the specific app, other apps or “all” selectable, whereas in Business, which is Zoho’s  business portal the “all” setting is more logical)

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(Disclosure:  Zoho is CloudAve’s exclusive Sponsor)

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Now Tell the Difference Between Folders and Labels

If you really think about it, there’s not much of a difference.  They are more or less the same.

Folders are a very old metaphor, as old as email and documents are.  Early email systems physically kept folders in separate files, and even when they were no longer separate files, basic functions like sort, search were limited within individual folders.  We got boxed in to physical folders.

The big break away from this, introduced by Gmail’s label concept was flat storage of email with only logical labels – but because labels were no longer physical containers, you could assign any item (email) to multiple folders.

The more traditional “folder-camp” was missing some of the good old attributes: drag-and-drop, nested folders (aka hierarchies)..etc – and lo and behold, little by little they all go it, the final step being the release of nested Gmail folders today.  Now tell me the difference between Folders and Labels.   They are one and the same, Labels are just more flexible Folders.

Actually, and to take this a few steps further, I’ve said before:

All folders are labels, but not all labels are folders.

But of course it’s all semantics … and I don’t want to quote my posts from a year ago … I suggest you read it (yes, shameless self-promo) because in the original post I laid out quite a few concepts for the improvement of folders / labels / tags .. whatever we call them.

I’m glad to see some of those concepts have become reality….

(P.S. Zoho – exclusive sponsors of CloudAve-  have been offering both folders and labels for a while in their Mail service, albeit kept separately.)

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


As Twitter Takes Over IM, We Need Clients with Friendly Nicknames

twitter breakup It used to be Yahoo, MSN or AOL chat. Then Skype took over – it is my default IM system now, despite it’s obvious flaws. But nowadays the fastest way to reach most of my contacts is DM on Twitter.  That is if I can remember their Twitter account names. While @firstnamelastname has become a quasi standard, quite a few users have more cryptic names.

@bhc3, @treerao,  @scottfarkas, @tardate,  @ricmacnz, @nielr1, @philfree, @tardate, @sfishy – how am I supposed to remember all that?

Other communication systems have a “contacts” directory with customizable nicknames  – perhaps it’s time Twitter Clients look at this feature…

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Fun with Google Voice Transcriptions

google-voice I love this service, have been using it ever since the early Grand Central days, and I really hope my Google Voice number is the one and only final phone number.  Among many other benefits, I no longer have to check voicemail, take note of actions required and return the call – it all comes transcribed as an email, and I have a folder (label) just for voicemail.

Unlike some other services, Google does not combine computer power with humans, it’s a purely automated function.  Let’s be honest, transcription quality is quite crappy – but so far it’s been just good enough for me to at least grasp what the key message was about, ignoring the fine details… but today’s message is beyond hope:

Hi old Good Morning Zoli, This is on and I’m calling from. I’ll choose to India. Dot Com. Holly caught dog. G. E. The inquiry from y’all. So I don’t really want and what some P D of the fax of the do get them as P D F of majestic of the trip to the I don’t know if you would about the 05 I send you an email at all. Do you write down and if you can reply to that to dot with all the questions. Doctors needed. Lester guy who for the Isaac. You can also call me back. My number is masked number again is, masked alright expecting a call. Thank you. You have a great day. Bye bye.

Wow. No, Holly caught dog.  Perhaps Mark is right, time to re-check PhoneTag.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Is Video a Crock? It’s Certainly Not the New Holy Grail. Get Off the Screen, Dudes.

Many of you will recognize the title – borrowed from "Enterprise 2.0 a Crock" Dennis Howlett.

Needless to say I was quite interested in his discussion with David Terrar, who is more of an E20 fan.

Hm…hard to watch.  Dennis is too loud while David is barely audible.  I kept on turning the volume up and down, until I quit after a few minutes.  But it’s not just the technical issues.  It’s a long video for the message it delivers, and I hate to admit but it could not glue me to my chair for 8 minutes. 

His opinions and sometimes abrasive style aside Dennis is a great analytical thinker, but he is (as I suspect all of us are) simply more organized, more concise in writing.  Simply more convincing – or thought provoking – and definitely easier to "consume" in writing, than this video-torture.  So now you see where my title comes from.  If Dennis says E20 is a crock, then I say so is video. It’s simply not the best medium for a lot of messages.

But I am not picking on Dennis.  Here’s a video by Allen Stern of the CenterNetworks fame:

Continue reading


Using Picasa on Multiple Computers – The Updated Definitive Guide


My 4-year old how-to guide, Picasa Photo Sync on Multiple Computers has attracted tens of thousands of viewers, and is still quite popular.  In fact too popular, thanks to Google.  I can’t believe people actually read it today and try to follow the advice therein… it’s and OLD post with outdated information.  I’ve long struggled trying to find a better solution… and now that I have it … drumroll … but wait, first things first:

What’s the problem with Picasa?

Picasa is my favorite photo management program, and hey, it’s hard to beat free!  Yes, I believe SaaS is the future of computing, and I do keep many photos online (just canceled Flickr Pro in favor of PicasaWeb), but quick-and-dirty manipulation of large image files en masse is still easier, faster on a local PC.  Or one of the computers I use – if only I could.  It’s hard to believe that Google, an undeniably Web-centric company would create an application that’s designed to be used by one single user and one single computer – that’s stone-age vision, and again, is very antagonistic to being a visionary Web company. 

Picasa does not save your edits in the image file itself, rather it uses a set of system files: picasa.ini files in every photo folder and a bunch of proprietary databases in two hidden system directories.  This is actually a good concept, you can experiment and safely revert back to the original –  trouble starts when you want to move to a new computer, or God forbid access your photos from multiple computers – some of the associated changes will come through, others won’t.  You will soon have multiple versions of the databases and sometimes of the images themselves, and that leads to chaos. 

Early Solutions

The original concept in my previous guide was based on syncing the hidden Picasa databases between all computers involved. It worked for a while… then I started to see corrupted databases, so I abandoned synchronization.  In the meantime wireless home networks became more robust, so instead of redundant chaos, the next best option was maintaining once central Picasa home-base, and accessing it from other computers via the network.  This could quite easily be done by mapping the main computer’s drive as a network drive, say P: (for Photos or Picasa), setting Picasa on all the satellite computers to forget the local Pictures folders and only scan the new P: drive. 

In this setup Picasa still had to index all images it read from the network and recreate a local database on the individual computers, so the solution was quite redundant – but worked relatively well.  Through a succession of new releases Google moved more information on user edits into the per-folder Picasa.ini files, so the system was able to rebuild the database almost completely.  Cropping and some other information was still missing, so you could never be 100% certain you were looking at identical version of your images.  The safest way to avoid confusion and different views of the same photos was to make a policy of only editing images on the “main computer” where they were stored, thus rendering all other networked computers to passive viewers only. 

There has to be a better solution.. one that allows any member of the family (and any user account) using any computer on a network to share the one and only Picasa database – view and edit all the same, with any changes, tagging, editing immediately saved no matter which computer is being used.   Yes, there is one – keep on reading :-)  But first some disclaimers:

  • I’ve tested the solutions below in Windows 7
  • They should work on Vista, too, and I believe there is a logical equivalent under XP, but I’ve never checked it
  • These solutions work for me, but I can not guarantee they will work for you – experiment at your own risk
  • Before making any changes, do back up your Picasa database (both photos and the system data)
  • Even if everything works, there’s no way knowing if a future Picasa release will change it all…
  • I’m not a Windows Guru, and make no claims that this is the best or most elegant solution – just one that works for me
  • I cannot provide individual support – you are welcome to comment / contribute below, and may get a response from another reader, but I can not make promises.

Now, we’re ready to rock and roll …

Sharing Picasa Between Multiple User Accounts on the Same Computer

You may only be interested in the multi-computer setup, but please read this chapter anyway, as we will build on the logic outlined here when we expand to a network setup.

Move your photo library to a public location

By default most photos are stored at user account specific image libraries, with a default path similar to this in Windows 7 and Vista:


You could fiddle around with sharing / security properties to enable other user accounts access this image folder, but moving your photos to the public folder is a much cleaner solution.  The new destination is:


Although the easiest way to move folders is from Windows, it’s always better to do it within Picasa, to allow it’s databases be updated properly.   If you use nested folders, you’re in luck, you can just right click on the top-level folder, select “Move Folder”, pick the new destination, and you’re done.  (If you have nested folders but don’t see them in Picasa, change from “Flat View” to “Tree View” in the main View menu.)  If you have a lot of flat folders, this may be a cumbersome process, but it’s one-time only.

This was easy … now close Picasa and let’s get really started :-)  Two reminders before we start:

  • you’ll need to do all this using an account with Admin privileges
  • backup, backup, backup (your photos and system folders / files)

Move Picasa’s internal databases to a public folder

The internal Picasa databases are originally in two system folders in Windows 7 / Vista:



You’ll need to create a new home for these two folders, for example this:


Now move the Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folders to the newly created PicasaLib folder, so their new locations are:



Well done. Too bad Picasa is still looking for these databases in the old place…

Trick Picasa into finding the new database location

At this point you should no longer have a Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folder in your C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\ folder – if you do, you likely copied them to the new destination instead of moving.  If that’s the case, please delete them now – we can’t have real folders with those names here, since we are going to replace them with Symbolic Links that look just like the deleted folders but will actually redirect Picasa  to the new location.

For the next steps even though you’re logged into a user account with Admin rights,  you will need an elevated command prompt. If you’re like me and can’t remember hot-key combinations, here’s how to get it: Click the Start menu and type cmd in the run box, but do not hit enter. Instead, find cmd.exe at the top of the list, right-click on it, then left-click Run as Administrator.

Now you’re in a command box that reminds you of good old DOS.  Navigate to the original Appdata folder:

cd  \Users\username\AppData\Local\Google   

Now type these lines exactly as you see them:

mklink /d Picasa2  C:\Users\Public\PicasaLib\Picasa2

mklink /d Picasa2Albums C:\Users\Public\PicasaLib\Picasa2Albums

You have just created two entries that look like the Picasa2 and Picasa2Albums folders but actually point to their newly created location.

Update and verify Picasa for each user

Open Picasa, go to Tools > Folder Manager and make sure only the new public destination is selected, nothing else – certainly not user specific libraries.

Repeat the above relocation steps for all other users on the same computer, and check their Folder Manager setting in Picasa.

You’re all set!  All users now have shared access to all public photos, and edits, changes, thumbnails..etc are all maintained in a central database instantly available to all users.

Warning: I have not tested what happens if multiple users try to update the databases at the same time, but I assume it is not a very good idea.  Best practice is probably avoid using quick User switching all, rather log out of one user before logging into another one, but at a minimum, even if you do quick switch, don’t leave Picasa open in two user accounts at the same time.

Picasa on Multiple Computers

This is what you’ve been waiting for…  we’re actually very close, the logic is surprisingly simple: map the drive that has our Picasa library and databases as a network drive, say P, then apply the tricks we’ve just learned doing the multi-user setup on the same computer, but now the symbolic links will point to the public folders on the P: drive, and voila!

Well, almost…too bad there are a number of quirks that we have to deal with first.  Let’s take them up one by one.

Your network layout

If you have a NAS drive, which is for passive storage only, accessed by several computers on the network, than the above solution will work, since you can map the NAS drive to the same drive letter on all computers.  But if your network is like mine, i.e. there is no NAS,  Picasa resides on one of the actively used computers which all others access, then you run into all sorts of trouble.  Here’s why:  Picasa stores the result of your “watched folders” configuration in a plain text file named watchedfolders.txt in the Picasa2Albums folder.  But we’ve just moved that folder to our shiny new PicasaLib to be shared by all instances of Picasa – that means they can not have different “watched folders” set per instances.

The problem is, the “main” computer will consider Picasa storage as its C: drive, while all others have to refer to it by another drive letter, since C: is reserved for their own hard disk.  If you have both P: and C: drives as “watched folders”, all hell breaks loose: Picasa will start copying the folders to the local computers, in the wrong folders, wrong labels, resulting in total chaos (I’ve been there…).  So once again, we’ll cheat: find a way to refer to the central PicasaLib under the same drive letter from all computers.

Re-mapping the “server”

Not a true server, but playing that role in this case: this is the computer that has all the Picasa files and that we’ve just set up for multi-user access in the previous exercise.  We want to use the P: designation, but can’t simply rename our main hard disk, nor can we map it as a network drive, so we’ll apply the symbolic link trick again: set up a link from the root folder to the public folder.  Steps:

Get an elevated cmd prompt (see details above)

cd \   (back to root folder)

mklink /d P  C:\Users\Public\   (create the symbolic link)

You now have what the system thinks is a P folder, and can use it in the Picasa “watched folders” definition.  Which means you need to start Picasa, then navigate to Tools > Folder Manager, and select \P\Pictures as the folder to watch – unselect everything else.  For a few minutes you’ll see heavy activity, and for a while Picasa may show duplicate folders, double the number of pictures you really have, but will eventually sort it all out. 

Setting up the “clients” or “satellite” computers

These are the computers that have no local Picasa information, we just use them to access our main libraries from the “server”.  Ideally we would just map the public drive on the server as a network drive under P: but we’ll run into a syntax problem.  On the main computer Picasa will prefix our watched folder setting, changes \P\Pictures to C:\P\Pictures, which works just fine on the main computer but not on the satellite ones.   Picasa’s watchedfolders.txt does not accept a \\Computername\Foldername designation, it has to look all local.

So we go back to our friend… yes, you guessed it right, symbolic links. But now even this old friend lets us down: we cannot define a symbolic link to a network folder, only a local one. Oh, well, we’ll outsmart the system again, by combining network mapping with symbolic linking: we’ll map the network drive to an interim name first, then link to this interim drive-name.  Steps:

From windows, map the \\MainComputername\Users\Public\ folder as drive O:

Make sure there is no Picasa2 or PicasaLib folder in \Users\username\AppData\Local\Google

Get an elevated cmd prompt

cd \  

mklink /d P  O

cd  \Users\username\AppData\Local\Google

mklink /d Picasa2  O:\PicasaLib\Picasa2

mklink /d Picasa2Albums O:\PicasaLib\Picasa2Albums

Repeat the last three steps for all user accounts that should access Picasa from this computer.  Logically now you would have to open Picasa and changed the watched folders to P\Pictures, but there’s no need: it’s already set up on the server machine and you’ve just told Picasa to pick all parameters and data from there.

In other words, you’re all set.  Needless to say, this only works as long as your “server” is turned on:-) but then all computers on your network will see the very same photos, and all editing, manipulation, face or geo-tags, albums… are immediately updated in the central database and reflected on all computers, no matter where you originate them.

Warning:  as stated before, I have not tested what happens when multiple users access / attempt to update Picasa data at the same time, but I assume it’s not a very good idea.  We’re ‘cheating’ here, Picasa was not designed to work in a multi-user environment, so let’s plat safe: only one computer and one user should access it any one time.


We’ve just turned a hopelessly single-user, single-computer product into a networked one. Sort of. :-)  It’s obviously just a workaround, and…well, read my disclaimers again.

Now, let’s remember, Google isn’t really a PC or local network software company. They are The Web Pioneers. I think the long term solution will be much stronger integration with Picasa Web Albums.  Currently you can mark your folders / albums to synchronize with the Web version, but it’s one way, from PC to Web only.  That’s not what I call full synchronization.  If you change anything in Web Albums, it’s not reflected back to your local Picasa library.  I believe the future is full two-way – actually multi-directional – synchronization, where Web Albums become the conduit between any number of client computers that access Picasa.  It’s not impossible, services like Syncplicity do similar synchronization – Google Picasa has to embed it in their Web capabilities.  It’s time for Google to create the seamless online / offline photo management environment.

(This how-to guide was originally posted as Part 1: the Problem and Part 2: the Solution @ CloudAve)


Goodbye, OpenOffice, Back to MS Office? For All the Wrong Reasons.

No, the World has not come to an end, it’s not me who switched back to The Borg Microsoft.  ZDNet author Dan Kusnetzky did, after 3 years of using OpenOffice:

The open source software had Office 2003 compatibility down pat. The interchange of documents (.doc formatted files) and presentation decks (.ppt formatted files) was easy and I faced only a few complaints. I found that I could address those with little or no effort.

Office 2007 compatibility, however, was spotty at best.  Office 2007 formatted documents (.docx formatted files) demonstrated occasional problems with font and paragraph formatted. Presentation decks were a growing problem – fonts were formatted incorrectly, builds went all over the screen and other formatting issues were constant companions. (See File format blues for more details)

Finally, the tipping point was a presentation where just about everything went wrong:

I created a deck, sent it off for review and learned that OpenOffice had substituted some strange (from an Office user’s point of view) font. Twelve point text came out as 39 point text. Graphic images were not sized correctly either. Builds were strange and exciting in ways that I never had time to analyze or fix.

Dan’s solution was to switch back to MS Office – but then what?

Microsoft’s Office seems to work with just about everyone’s system (if I stick to Office 2003 formatted documents). So, I’m going to install it on my systems albeit reluctantly.

Let me get this straight: he switched back to Microsoft, AND is sticking to Office 2003 formats – but that’s the format he just stated OpenOffice handled perfectly!  No need to change then.  But the formatting problems are not only between OpenOffice and MS Office – they exist between different releases of Microsoft’s product, too, as I experienced earlier, trying to review a startup  CEO friend’s VC presentation. The process involved multiple conversions back and forth between different releases of the same Microsoft product, PowerPoint:

I reviewed and commented on it, and as an aside noted that the fonts and the text alignment were way off on a page.  He did not see the text problem on the version I sent back.  Then came a second round of conversions and emails.  It became apparent that no matter what we do we always end up seeing different layouts – so much for the MS to MS conversion – so we just focused on content, and I sent back the revised version.  It took a while… hm, no wonder, the PPT deck that started it’s life as a 2MB file first became 5, then 7, finally 9 Megabytes.  Wow!

Me and my friend were doing it all wrong, and apparently so did Dan: emailing multiple bloated copies of the same file, never seeing the identical version, when we could have started with an online presentation, collaboratively work on the one and only copy online, see the same and not clutter several computers with the garbage files.  Collaboration is just simpler online.

And let’s not forget the storage footprint issue. On my count, just between my friend and myself, we generated and stored nine copies of this presentation, the last one being 9MB, up from 2.  It’s probably fair to assume a similar rate of multiplication in the process the original deck was created, between the CEO and his team.  Next he sends it to the VC, who will likely share it with several Associates in the firm, and in case there’s more interest, with other partners.  Of course my friend will send the same presentation to a few other VC firms as well, so it’s not beyond reasonable to think that there are at least a hundred copies floating around, occupying a Gigabyte of storage or more.  Oh, and I did not even consider the footprint of this presentation at ISP’s and all hops it goes through.  Not that I ever bought into IDC’s Storage Paradox, but this is clearly a very wasteful process.

All of that could be replaced with one central copy on the Web, represented by a URL.  That’s the real solution, not switching Office packages.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )


Publish Your Blog / Site in 51 Languages

My readers are predominantly English speakers, as evidenced by this distribution chart:

Readers by Language -

I suspect the 87% English-speaking majority may be exaggerated.  It’s based on the browser’s default language setting, which many don’t bother changing.

Anyway, for the sake of the min. 13%, but who knows, perhaps 20, 25% (?) I’ve installed Google’s Translator.  You can do it too.smile_wink Readers then can select a language from the widget,  but the real use case is for visitors whose default browser language is non-English: they will get a bar at the top asking if they would like all content served up in their language.

Machine translation still has rough edges, but it has come a long way, and is generally good enough to give readers an idea of what an article is all about – just forget grammar and style:-)

Here’s an example of this post in a few languages:

arito pumunta kami ulit: Ed Bott points out kung paano marahas ito ay para sa Apple na i-install ang tinatawag na “update” sa iPhone Configuration Utility sa isang Windows computer na hindi magkaroon ng software na ito na naka-install, sa katunayan isa na ay hindi kailanman nagkaroon ng iPhone o iPod konektado sa.

在這裡 , 我們又來了: 埃德博特指出 , 如何荒謬的是 , 蘋果電腦將安裝所謂的“更新”的iPhone配置實用程序在Windows計算機上沒有安裝此軟件,其實一個從未有過的iPhone或iPod connected to.

Ở đây, chúng tôi đi một lần nữa: Ed Bott chỉ ra như thế nào thái nó là Apple để cài đặt cái gọi là “cập nhật” vào Configuration Utility iPhone trên một máy tính Windows mà không có phần mềm này được cài đặt, trong thực tế, một trong đó có không bao giờ có một iPhone hoặc iPod kết nối đến.

(I’m sure it’s right, whatever it says. smile_shades)

Update:  Here’s something I missed, but Sandy Kemsley didn’t:

If you read this, or other Google Translate-enabled blogs in Google Reader, you can set it to auto-translate there.  Neat.

Related posts:


If You Start Your Tweet with @name, Few Will See It

This is so obvious, yet little known – and although Mark Suster warned us all right here at CloudAve, I keep on falling in the trap.  Just today as I wanted to announce yet another great post by Mark, I tweeted this:

@msuster discusses how the Ice Age is thawing for Venture Capital

Big mistake.  Had I written “great discussion by @msuster”, a lot more people would have seen it. Why?   I’ll just quote the key chapter from Mark’s original tutorial:

This is important … If you send somebody a message and you START it with an @name then the only people who will see your message are people who follow you and people who follow the person you replied to.  Most people don’t seem to know this.  For example, if you follow me but not @deblanda an I send her a message starting with an @ then you won’t see it at all.  Anyone who follows both of us will see the message.  If you precede the message by anything, even a dash and a space like, “- @deblanda nice to see you” then everybody will see it.

When does this come into play?  Sometimes I’ll see people who want to make people aware of a blog posting.  They’ll say “@msuster provides great insight into VC valuation discussions – see” .  They might have 2,000 followers.  I have 1,200.  Only the small subset who follow both of us, say 100, will see the message.

So if you’re really responding to somebody and you don’t want all your followers to see it (but you don’t necessarily want to send a private message via DM or you can’t because they don’t follow you) then start with an @.  Otherwise make sure it has text in front of it.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve )