Setting Up Google Calendar

It took me a couple of years after starting to use Gmail to start actually using Google Calendar and now that I have, I can highly recommend it. It is a fantastic online tool to help keep you organised. It is easy to set up and quite intuitive to use.

1. Setting Up Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar
Once in Gmail click on “Calendar” at the top, left hand side of the page, as indicated by the green arrow.

2. Add Your Personal Information

Setting Up Google Calendar
Complete the required information, making sure you choose the right time zone.

3. The Main Google Calendar Page

Setting Up Google Calendar
You will then be presented with the main Google Calendar page.

4. Changing Google Calendar Settings

Setting Up Google Calendar -settings
Before you started filling in dates and times, head to the settings option in Google Calendar, as highlighted by the green arrow.

5. Changing Google Calendar Date Format

Setting Up Google Calendar -general formats
Click over to the “General” tab. This will allow you to change the date format. Default is US style, so for Australians like myself to avoid confusion it is best to change the format straight away!

6. Changing Google Calendar Time Format

Setting Up Google Calendar -changed general formats
The green arrows highlight options worth changing, the date format as discussed above, I prefer to change the time to a 24 hour clock and to have my weeks starting from Monday. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure you save the new settings.

7. Creating Events in Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar -create event
This will then take you back to the main calendar page. To add your first event you have two choices:

  1. On the calendar at the time you want to create an event simply double click and it will open up an event details pop up box.
  2. Click on the create event tab has highlighted by the green arrow above.

8. Adding Event Details

Setting Up Google Calendar -create event
Once the event details box is open, add all the info about your event. Click save at the top of the box, to add the event to your calendar.

9. Set Up Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar added event
You will then be returned to the main calendar page and your event will be on the allocated date. You will also have a message at the top, as highlighted by the green arrow, letting you know what action has just taken place.

Managing Blog Subscriptions

Amongst other things, I am a moderator at a great forum called Aussie Bloggers Forum. To be a member of this forum you don’t have to be an Australian, but just have an interest in blogging or Aussie culture.

One of the responsibilities that I have in this role is to write a monthly post for the Aussie Bloggers Blog. I thought I would cross post my contribution from September as it is very relevant to what I write about here on Set Up Email Address.

The original post can be read here.

Back in June, Sueblimely wrote a great post on Searching For Blogs of Interest. This post will show you one way in which you can manage your blog subscriptions.

I started my blog in January this year and only really started reading other blogs a month or so before that. To keep up to date with what was happening on my favourite blogs, at first I just saved the blogs to my online favourites and would check them when I went on line.

Then I found the wonders of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is a format which is used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs, news, Twitter and podcasts. A feed (RSS document) contains either the full text of the content or a summary of the content.

The RSS Icon as shown above, is found all over the internet and tells you that this site has a feed to which you can subscribe to. The benefit of RSS is that you collate the content from multiple sources into one place.

You read the RSS content using software called an RSS reader or a feed reader. These can be web-based like Bloglines or Google Reader or desktop-based like in Outllook 2007.

When I first set up a reader I was using the one provided in Outlook 2007. Two major laptop crashes and wiped hard drives which saw me lose my subscriptions to blogs twice, made me look for an online alternative.

I chose to set up an online reader with Google. Since establishing it back in July, I now have over 130 different subscriptions from blogs, news alerts and Twitter. With so many subscriptions if I don’t check my reader for a couple of days, it can easily be then exceeding 1000 items.

Naturally this is a little overwhelming and it wasn’t until I learnt a trick from Ed Dale on the 30 Day Challenge that I found a way to easily manage this volume of items in my reader.

The image below is a screen shot from my Google Reader. Note where the red arrow is pointing. It is set on the default Google Reader setting of Expanded view. While this view is great as you get to see the post without clicking on it to open it, it doesn’t allow for quick scanning.

In this next image below, I have returned the my Google Reader to List View which is how I now use this service. With all my subscriptions listed, I can skim through them quickly, stopping to read those that I want to. Once I have made my way through the list, I click on “Mark All as Read” and I have emptied my reader.

Since making this very simple change to my reader, I have now been able to keep the number of items under control and keep up to date with my blog subscriptions.

Another feature of Google Reader which I love, is that even if I have just as noted above, marked all as read, but realise that I actually wanted to refer back to one of those posts, I can still retrieve the post.

The above image shows a folder that has all posts read. If I want to go back and see a previously read post, I simply click on “View all items” and all previous posts will be retrieved. Effectively they are never really deleted and can be recalled at any time while you are subscribed to that blog.

This is one way to manage your blog subscriptions. How do you manage yours?

Instructions On How To Fetch Email From Other Accounts In Gmail

One of the biggest advantages of using Gmail for me has been having the capacity to have all my email accounts coming into the one spot, which I can access from anywhere that has internet access!

Gmail’s Mail Fetcher can download messages from up to five other email accounts, centralising all your email in Gmail. I have created some step by step instructions with screen images to take you through how you can set up Gmail to fetch email from your other email accounts.

Step 1


Once you have logged into your Gmail account, click on Settings in the top right hand corner.

Step 2


In the Settings menu you have a number of options to choose from. Click on Accounts.

Step 3


From the options in Accounts, select Add another email address.

Step 4


Enter the email address that you want Gmail to fetch mail from.

Step 5


You will need to enter the password to your other email account where the green arrow is pointing. Gmail will fill in most of the information for you on this screen. Depending on what type of email account you are fetching email from, you may need to change the information highlighted with the red arrow.

Step 5


The next screen should say that your mail account has been added. If you want to send emails as well from this account. It is essential that you click yes as indicated by the green arrow and follow the next steps.

Step 6


Enter the name that you would you would like to appear when you send emails from this account.

Step 7


Gmail will need to verify that you own the account which you are adding. Click on Send verification. This will send an email to the account that you are trying to add to Gmail.

Step 8


Check your email account for the verification email. Once received you will have two options:
(1). Click on link in email.
(2). Enter code from email. (In the image above I have entered the code.)

Step 9


Gmail should then take you back to the Accounts tab under the Setting options as illustrated above.

If you have set up Gmail address to move your email account on line and want to still use your other email account as your main email account, you will need to change the default settings.

The green arrow above is pointing to the Make default function. Click that option to make your added account the default email address from which you will send email.

Step 10


If you have multiple email accounts that you use regularly, I recommend checking the radio button highlighted by the green arrow. This will ensure that replies that you send to people will come from the same address the message was sent to.

And that is it! You now have your emails coming into the same place, have a fantastic spam filter in operation and have massive amounts of storage space.

How To Use RSS Feeds To Keep Up To Date With Your Favourite Blogs

By now if you have had a look around Technorati and starting surfing the web using the StumbleUpon Toolbar, you will have no doubt found yourself an amazing number of blogs that you would like to keep up to date with.

In a previous post I gave a very generic introduction to the How To RSS Feeds. Today I will take you through a step by step guide on how to use RSS to subscribe to blogs.

I will use my reader (Google Reader) as an example of how to do this, but the process will be very similar regardless of which reader you choose to do.

STEP 1 – THE RSS ICON

Locate the RSS icon on the blog that you would like to subscribe to. The read arrow points out what you should be looking for. Click on the RSS icon to add it to your reader.

STEP 2 – SELECTING YOUR READER

On this page you will be given a range of web based and other type readers to choose from. For me I simply click on the Google button, which I have pointed out with the red arrow. If you were using a reader in Outlook you would choose the “View Feed XML” option.

STEP 4 – ADDING TO READER

On this page I need to choose the “Add to Google Reader” button as pointed out with the red arrow.

STEP 5 – SUCCESSFULLY SUBSCRIBED

The blog has now been added to my reader. You will note that the arrow on the left points to the Previous Item and Next Item buttons. You can use these to click through the posts that have been added to your reader.

When you add a new blog to your reader, how many items it adds to your reader will depend on what the blog owner has set up for their feed. It is usually between 5 – 10 items, but some may have more. The red arrow on the right points to the number of items that are unread for this blog, which in this case is 10.

STEP 6 – ADDING TO FOLDER

If you look to where the green arrow is pointing you will see a drop down menu titled “Feed Settings”. This allows you to manage your subscriptions efficiently by adding them to folders.

For example some of the folders that I have in my reader are mum blogs, dad blogs, craft blogs, recipe blogs. So when I click on the Feed Settings, I can scroll down and add this blog to mum blogs.

If you haven’t made any folders yet, scroll through until the end of the drop down menu and click on the “New Folder” option and name the folder as you wish. Having folders makes it easier to find blogs, if you are wishing to read one particular one.

STEP 7 – READING NEW ITEMS

When you go back to your reader, you can easily see what blogs have new items. The red arrow points to bolded blogs. If a blog is in bold, it means that there are unread items. The number in brackets, tells you exactly how many items are unread for that blog.

It also will tell you this information for the folder. In this instance Mum Blogs has new items and the actual number is 101. (As you can probably tell, I haven’t checked my reader for a couple of days!)

So now as you are web surfing, for blogs that you would like to stay updated with, just look for the RSS Icon and add them to your reader!

Downloading StumbleUpon Toolbar

Image: Wikipedia

StumbleUpon describes itself in the following way:
“StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it’s a web page, photo or video, our personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.”

To use StumbleUpon you need to download the StumbleUpon Toolbar and install it. During the installation process the StumbleUpon Toolbar will be embedded into your browser. The StumbleUpon Toolbar has different versions for Firefox, Mozilla Application Suite and Internet Explorer.

The simplest analogy for StumbleUpon would be to compare it to your TVs remote control. You can just flick through the available channels and stop and look at what interests you. The Stumble! button on the StumbleUpon Toolbar is just like the channel up button on your TV remote control. You click the Stumble! button and you can flick through websites, photos or videos depending on your settings.

Once you have downloaded the StumbleUpon Toolbar you can then set your preferences for what sort of media Stumble will show you. In the preferences section there are 100s of areas of interests that you can choose to see information on. For example I have currently 21 areas of interest that I have selected to see websites, photos or videos on, which I have copied below:

Activism Australia Babies Children’s Books Country music Crafts Family For Kids Homemaking Independent Film K-12 Education Liberal Politics Parenting Politics Psychology Rugby Sewing/Quilting Shakespeare Sociology Teen Parenting Women’s Issues

This provides me with quite of mix of interests that I can flick through. As you are flicking through these items you have the choice to give them the “Thumbs Up” by clicking that button on the StumbleUpon Toolbar or the “Thumbs Down”.

Clicking on the “Thumbs Up” will save that website to your favourites on StumbleUpon and tell StumbeUpon to show more like this to you. If you click the “Thumbs Down”, you tell StumbleUpon not to show you any more sites like this.

This is the very basics of StumbleUpon. In my next post on StumbleUpon I will explain how you can use the StumbleUpon Toolbar when you are checking out other sites and add them to StumbleUpon with your review.

The How To With RSS Feeds

In this post – Set Up Email Address = Opening The Door To Social Media I spoke about using a service to keep track of your favorite websites and blogs, all in the one spot. Well this is done by the magic of RSS.

The initials “RSS” are used to refer to the following formats:

* Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
* RDF Site Summary (RSS 1.0 and RSS 0.90)
* Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)

Now I am not going to go into too much technical detail about RSS but I will just try to give a brief explanation on what RSS is and how to RSS Feeds for the user.

RSS is a format which is used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs, news, Twitter and podcasts. A feed (RSS document) contains either the full text of the content or a summary of the content.

The benefit of RSS is that you collate the content from multiple sources into one place. At the moment I have over 100 different subscriptions from blogs, news alerts and Twitter.

You read the RSS content using software called an RSS reader or a feed reader. These can be web-based like Bloglines or Google Reader or desktop-based like in Outllook 2007.

It is up to you what feeds you subscribe to and you do so by entering the feed’s link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process.

Your reader will then check your subscribed feeds regularly for new content. If there is new content it is automatically downloaded and then you use the reader interface to read the feeds. If you wish to comment on a blog post or read the full content if only a summary is provided, you can always click on the links in that particular document feed and go through to the original source.

My reader of choice is Google Reader but I am a recent covert from using the one provided in Outlook 2007. I probably would not have thought about setting up a Google Reader except that I set up email address with Gmail.

I have found the experience with Google Reader to be far superior and having learnt a few tricks from experienced users, I manage to keep up to date with my over 100 RSS subscriptions. If I did not use RSS feeds, there would be no way that I could keep up to date with the blogs, new alerts and websites that I like to follow.

Move to Gmail and still keep your old email address

There are so many benefits to encourage you to set up email address using Google’s free email service Gmail, but you might be reluctant to do so because you have a significant amount of old emails stored with your old email address or you don’t want to change you email address.

Gmail has the functionality that allows you to import your old email to your newly set up email address.

If you wish to keep the old email address that is not a problem either! You can use Mail Fetcher in Gmail to regularly check your other account for new mail and then have it all received in the one Gmail inbox.

This allows you to have the excellent benefits of the Google free email system, but still hold onto a well established and known email address.