Log My Life

Back in the early 1980s’ when I was a Fortran programmer, it’s a doctrine to document every programs with very detailed comments. Roll forward 15 years, then when I developed the very first homepage of my own in year 1995, I started to log down the changes of my own website and showed those in the front page, with an aim to inform my site visitors the details of the website changes. And gradually, the “logs” included not only website changes, but also news, jokes, events, photos, videos and opinions.

As you may all know, these change logs (Web Logs) later was named as Blog (coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word “weblog” into the phrase “we blog”) in year 1999.

And now I no longer develop programs (except some twists on scripts and PHP programs), but more and more, I am logging my life within the Internet … like a lifelogger but without those geeky devices.

Like it or not, every single day we are logging our lives with dozens of modern day Internet tools and social networks. I did a check lately and found that indeed I am sharing bits and pieces of my life one way or the other, every single day. And treating myself as a use case, here are the tools and services you can use to log your life if you want to, insanely …

  1. Start your usual day with the app Zite (or Flipboard) for iPad and start sharing your selected Internet, eCommerce, Media and Security news to Buffer (Buffer is a service to schedule your social sharings, highly recommended).
  2. For some more important news that shall not be “buffer-ed”, immediately share to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
  3. Throughout the day, browse your Facebook wall and Twitter tweets (with TweetDeck) to see what news you can further share to your friends and followers.
  4. For each place you visit in the day, check-in to FourSquare and take a photo with an aim to share it later to social networks, with or without touch-ups by Instagram. If time permits, record this in the beautiful app Path. In case you will forget where you’ve been, say two years later, you can subscribe to Memolane service to remind you.
  5. Whenever you see some good photos (food, pet, fashion, scenery etc. etc.), “pin” it with Pinterest tool. And for good articles and slides, save it to Dropbox for future reference.
  6. What about books ? Read your ebooks with Kindle and whenever you encounter a good line, share it to Facebook and Twitter again. Of course, don’t forget to tell your Linkedin connections what book you’re reading with the Amazon module.
  7. Then for the slides created in public speeches or presentations, share those though Slideshare. In addition, publish your own “social newspaper” thru Glos.si. And if you want your friends to get a printed copy of your sharings in Facebook, publish it through Yearlyleaf.
  8. With all these social interactions, closely monitor your Klout score to see whether your shall share, tweet and “like” even more …
  9. And about your work, document your career history in Linkedin, VisualCV and Vizify.
  10. Last but not least, keep your views and master pieces in your blog like this tiny little one

So, are you ready to log your life ?

writing

Google+ as the communication platform

First of all, a disclaimer, I am not a big fan of Google … even though I am / was an user of their Gmail, Search Engine, AdSense, Google+, Maps, Earth, Picasa, Wave, Buzz, Lively, Analytics, Webmasters, Docs, Apps etc. etc. I am just a big fan of innovative products, and Google is one (a big one though) of many companies that developed many innovative solutions. For example, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and even Microsoft, just to name a few.

The recent launch of Google+ from Google however make me think twice about what I can do with it. Is it a “social network” to post my opinions, share my photos, chat with friends ? Or is it a copycat of Facebook or Twitter ? Or is it a whole new Internet communication platform ?

It’s too early to answer these questions of course, but just from the way it “Share what’s new” to the way to show the various “Streams” I think it is a new communication platform. Let’s have a look:

One Google+ user, Mike Elgan, posted the following the other day:

Instead of saying, “I’m going to write a blog post now,” or “I’m going to send an e-mail” or “I think I’ll tweet something” you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.

  • If you address it to “Public” it’s a blog post.
  • If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s a tweet.
  • If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it’s a business newsletter.
  • If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.

I can further add / fine-tune the followings:

  • If you address it to your “Company” Circle it’s a company newsletter.
  • If you address it to “Public” and limited it to 140 characters, then it’s a tweet.
  • If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s like a Facebook status update.

Other than sending, the different ways you show the “streams” also means different approaches of modern days’ communication. For example,

  • show the streams from “Friends” circle is like the wall posts in your Facebook, and
  • show the streams from “Following” circle is like viewing an expanded version of all the tweets from Twitter.

And of course, I can do Hangout to have video chats with many friends at the same time, and I can have group messaging with Huddle with mobile apps. Lastly, with the Chrome browser extensions (e.g. G+ Count in Title, G+me and Start G+), the features of Google+ is keep expanding, fine-tuning and advancing.

Let me know how you use your Google+, and here is my Google+ account.

Gmail is getting full, what to do next ?

Six years after using Gmail, my Gmail is getting full … according to the line in the footer of Gmail, I have only 400 MB of free space.

You are currently using 7003 MB (93%) of your 7467 MB.

So, how can I delete the large emails from Gmail ? In other words, how can I delete the large attachments ? Unfortunately, you cannot sort your emails in Gmail by mail size, and you cannot filter the large emails from your inbox as well (so much for a software from the search giant …). I searched the net and the Gmail help center for a few days, and concluded that there are many people have the same problem, but there is no solution from Gmail.

I guess some solutions are on the way from Google but not much time I can wait. I have tried the IMAPsize but it is just too unstable. So I finally settled with the only possible way – use an email client to download the mails from Gmail via IMAP, and manage the large mails from there.

I decided to use Thunderbird and here are the steps …

  1. Download and install Thurderbird – it is straightforward;
  2. First-time start up will ask for your email login information – enter your Gmail email address and the password, Thunderbird will then smart enough to detect the correct IMAP and SMTP server names and ports.
  3. Thunderbird will next start downloading the message headers to your PC. In my case it took a few minutes for over 40,000 emails.
  4. The default view of Thunderbird will not show the email size, add the email size column by clicking the “column” icon in the upper right corner (see the picture below).
  5. Now you can sort the emails by size and determine which emails you want to delete.
  6. Since the Thunderbird only download the message header but not the content, if you want to check the content before you delete the mail then you can click the connection icon in the lower right corner such that it can download the emails (see the picture below). But of course, it will take some time and use up your computer disk space if you have many emails like me.
  7. Now your selected mails are deleted, but those are actually moved to Gmail Trash folder only.
  8. So, logon to your Gmail again, go to the Trash folder and empty it to reclaim the space.

About an hour later, I reclaimed some 600 MB of space already. Not bad !!

Update 1: After some of these exercises, I decided to give myself a break / treat – just purchased 20 GB additional storage for US$ 5 a year. No more worry …

What is Google Wave ?

Yes, I got the Google Wave account (Thank you … you know who you are). The “wave” concept is not difficult to understand and the application is not hard to use, but the big question is what can I do with it ?

Here are two videos about Google Wave and also one great example of using this powerful (?) tool … believe it or not, movie script writing. Enjoy !!

Oh by the way, my Google Wave id is michael [dot] yung [at] googlewave [dot] com.

Google Profiles – your own online reputation management

I think many of you understand the importance of branding yourself in Internet. You will probably detail your professional profile in Linkedin and Visualcv; share your hobbies / interests in Facebook and Myspace; express your views / opinions in your own blog; and voice your ideas in your Twitter page.

However, one thing is very difficult to control … that is, the search result of your own name in Google. First, there may be many people sharing your same name. Secondly, you may also find some bad / nasty stuff in the search results – some belong to another you with same name, some belong to you but are just crude exaggerations (from your point of view, of course).

And now, there is a solution of that Google search problem – also from Google. Last week, Google gives you more power to control how you appear on Google products – the Google Profiles. In their words:

A Google profile is simply how you present yourself on Google products to other Google users. It allows you to control how you appear on Google and tell others a bit more about who you are. With a Google profile, you can easily share your web content on one central location.

In your profile, you can include information like your name, where you are working, where you studied and obviously, your “About Me”.

If this new service can really deliver what it promises, the SERP shall show your tailored profile (the face you want to show to other people). The downside of that of course is you have one more online real estate to manage.

So have I created my Google Profiles ? You bet.

Google Profile

Twitter Mania

So there is a rumor that Google is in negotiation to acquire Twitter. I think it is a great news, as the service will soon be more stable and the search will be more powerful. But to Google, why do they want to buy Twitter ? I don’t think Google really care what I am doing, thinking … as an individual, but I do think there are lots of companies want to know what the Internet users are doing and thinking … collectively. And they want to know these information in real time, they don’t want to wait. And that is why the Twitter platform and its search are so powerful. If I were Google, I would acquire Twitter, just for that.

Here are four examples I recently encountered, all because of my twits:

  1. I twitted that I was evaluating three websites A.com, B.com and C.com the other day … a few days later, both A.com and B.com followed me (I assume they want to know my opinion). And of course, I told myself that C.com was not doing good enough in collecting customer feedbacks.
  2. I modified a small program for WordPress and then I twitted about it … a few days later, the program developer followed me and asked what had I done – such that he could put in the change in next version. And he did !!
  3. Shortly I mentioned some technical keywords in my twits, a few recruitment firms followed me and asked me to follow them to get the latest job information.
  4. Last night, I twitted and asked for comments of a web site service … within an hour, I received a direct message from that web site and had a follower from that website’s competitor. Amazing, isn’t it ?

So, don’t use Twitter just to twit “What are you doing?”, but also use it as a tool to express your views, to collect other people’s views, and to spread your friends’ views (by re-twit) … all in real time.

Have you twit lately ?