Well vs We’ll

For harder works like we’ll on #IOS, a neat trick is to type an extra letter and let auto-correct do something right for once! Try it, if you need to type we’ll, just type welll on your phone and let auto-correct finish it off! Works on a lot of different words.

Unlimited Gmail Addresses

Did you know, if you use Gmail, that you have unlimited email address possibilities?

A often overlooked feature of Gmail is that you can add a + symbol at the end of your address (before your domain) and then any additional characters and still receive those messages.

This is super handy when you want to say sign up for online forms and services and then auto organize their emails by using an email filter, or just use temp addresses and then auto delete them at a later date.

Try it yourself! You can turn john_smith@gmail.com into john_smith+junkmail@gmail.com  or any other combination you can think of! Works with Google Apps domains too, so you can turn mary@mydomain.com into mary+shopping@mydomain.com

Auto reply to messages in Gmail

Gmail has a great out of office reply, but every now and then it can be really helpful to respond to selective messages with a precomposed reply. This is especially useful if you use the Gmail + trick.

Gmail does not have the ability to auto reply in a filter by default, but if you enable the “canned responses” lab you can then use them as auto replies!

I won’t go into extreme detail on how to setup. But the basics are this:

  • Enable the “canned responses” lab.
  • Compose a new mail message and set it up exactly as you want the auto reply to look.
  • Click the “More” arrow to the bottom right of your new message window.
  • There will be an option for canned responses where you can save this message as a new canned response.
  • Once you have created some canned responses, you can now use them in a filter to auto reply to any incoming message!

A month with my Pebble smart watch

I have been wearing a Pebble smart watch for about a month now and thought I would share my experience. Overall I love it, when it works, which is not at all Pebble’s fault.

I had been wearing a large mens watch for a few months before I got my Pebble so the first thing I notice about my Pebble was how light it was. All of my metal watches of the same size are about 4x heavier. It is sleek enough, but I quickly chucked the plastic band and slapped on a NATO strap.

The Pebble works like this — any notification you would normally get to the lock screen of your iPhone or Android will go to your watch instead. This is the true beauty of the Pebble and it’s mildly life changing when it works. There are also a handful of “apps” and “watch faces” you can install to do extra features but that is all secondary to the notifications.

Now whenever I get a text, iMessage or phone call l it shows up on my watch as long as I am within about 30 feet of my phone. For other notifications like email or Instagram it only works sometimes because Apple’s implementation of sending notifications to the Pebble is half baked. Text and phone messages are spot on, but everything else is spotty at best. Hopefully this will be improved in IOS7.

So here are a few observations from my first month:

  • I noticed how frequently I used to pull my phone out of my pocket to see what “was happening” when it would buzz/ring.
  • I used to always have my ringer on otherwise I would miss notifications and now that my wrist buzzes, my phone is almost always on silent.
  • I can leave my phone in my pocket, backpack and still get my notifications. Super useful on my bike!
  • My phone battery lasts longer because I leave it on the charger more since I don’t need it with me to get notifications.
  • I used to use my phone as a watch and pull it out just to see the time. Half of the time I would forget it before I put it back in my pocket and have to do it again. Now I look at my watch.
  • I LIKE wearing a watch to tell time / date.
  • Glancing at a watch while driving is much faster/safer than looking down at my phone.
  • Using the music controls on the Pebble to control music in my car is also much safer and nerdier!
  • Some of the Pebble apps are slick like controlling a presentation from your watch!
  • If Apple would improve the notification system and it was more reliable, I would very rarely have my phone in my hand.
  • As a runner, the Runkeeper Pebble app is RAD! This gives me hope that many new awesome app integrations will come out soon.
  • If Apple does make a watch, and it is anywhere near as good as a Pebble but tied at the OS level, it will be another market changer.
  • Wearable tech is really useful when it works.
  • I charge my Pebble in the morning when I shower. That is enough to keep it fully charged.

I am a nerd, I have a bird.

And she has a webcam! Meet Emma, our new (and mildly annoying) house guest who has made her home on top of our garage door opener, rendering it unusable.

Being a geek, at least the kids can get some educational value out of her visit with the webcam (which also has night vision IR, of course). 


Not sure if Emma and baby will make it, she gets pretty jumpy when we open the garage door. For now I have disabled the opener and we just slide it open by hand so the chain doesn’t move that she is sitting on. Guess we will park outside for a few weeks.

She has one egg so far that was just laid yesterday. We have to close the garage door at night, but we will do our best to open it as much as we can to let her eat and let in dad who hovers around the garage when it’s closed.

Search your terminal command history

In terminal on Mac OS X you can press the UP Arrow to cycle through your previously used commands.

This quick hack will make it so you can type part of a command first and then press the UP Arrow to cycle through only the commands that match what you typed. Way more useful!

Make a text file called .inputrc with the following 4 lines and save it in your home folder (~/). Then just re-launch Terminal and happy typing!

"\e[A": history-search-backward

"\e[B": history-search-forward

set show-all-if-ambiguous on

set completion-ignore-case on

Make it bigger, smaller, normal.

In most Mac applications you can “zoom” your window or document to make it’s contents larger or smaller on the screen. This is super helpful when you want look more closely at something or even present content on a TV/Projector for others to see and fill the screen. You can usually look under the “Window” or “View” menu to see if zoom options exist for that app.

I see a lot of people do this on accident too in their browsers and not realize why their pages look so strange. So here are the zoom commands for your web browsers to help you out the next time you find yourself in need of making something bigger or smaller.

  • Command & + will make window/document content larger
  • Command & - will make window/document content smaller
  • Command & 0 will always return to the default size

Freebie: Retailer packaging recycle program

Being in IT I get a LOT of boxes each week. I do my best to recycle all the boxes and packaging appropriately and I am always amazed at how bad some companies are like CDW or Amazon at wasting packaging materials (do I really need all that padding for diapers?).

I am also very aware at how bad some individuals are about recycling and many areas in the country that don’t even have the option. So to help with this problem there is certainly work to be done by both the retailers and the customers. But I had an idea which probably exists already but I am to lazy to look.

Please retailer X take this idea and do some good with it.

Why don’t one of you larger shipment based retailers institue a “recycle back” program. The first time I order with you, send me a “recycling box” that has pre-paid return postage. Whenever I have enough of your boxes and packaging material collected from future shipments, I load them all into this pre-paid box and ship them back to you.  You can be responsible for recycling the materials correctly and I can get some sort of discount or account credit for my participation.

And now that I sent you that full box, feel free to send me another empty one! I am sure there are a lot of other, better, great ideas out there. But I thought I should write this one down before I forgot it!

Reopen closed browser tabs super quick!

One of the many reasons I like to use Google Chrome as my primary browser is because it allows me to reopen tabs I accidentally close! This also is another case for using tabs, instead of windows, when surfing the web!

In the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox you can press Shift & Command & T on your keyboard and reopen the last tab you closed. You can keep doing it over and over and it will continue opening tabs in the order they were closed!

In Safari, you can always use the trusty Command & Z keys (Undo) to reopen a tab if you close it. But alas, you can only do the very last closed tab and only right after you close it.

Quickly hide/show/grab files on your desktop

How many times are you in an application and need to see/grab/drag a file to/from your desktop? Most people I know proceed to dragging tons of windows out of the way so they can “see” their desktop.

There is an easier way! By default, the F11 key on your keyboard will quickly “move away” all windows and show your desktop. Depending on your setup, you may have to also press the Function (fn) key and F11 together.

However I find it easier to use a hot corner! If you open your System Preferences and go to either the “Desktop & Screen Saver” OR “Mission Control” settings, there is a button for Hot Corners where you can assign what happens when you drag your mouse to the corners of your screen.

There are a lot of useful hot corners, but “Desktop” is one of my favorites. I make it my lower right hand hot corner. Example: I am in my email and need to attach a file. I move my mouse to the hot corner to show my desktop. I click and start dragging the file I need and while dragging I put my mouse in the hot corner again which will take me back to my email. But now I have the file being dragged so I can drop it on my email to attach!

Sounds complicated, but in practice, it is very fast and much easier than clicking through lots of windows to find your desktop!!

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