Another Google Easter Egg….

Have you seen the latest Star Wars movie? Google has yet another Easter egg in its search engine results that you can activate by entering, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” in the search box and clicking the search icon (spyglass) in your Chrome browser:

GoogleEasterEggStarWars2015

 

You will receive the following results:

 

GoogleEasterEggStarWars-22015

 

There are many other surprises related to Star Wars and other themes that you can get review of some at the Independent.

Have a great day!

Monitoring Your Website Automatically

Do you have a website that you would like to know when it is down? Do you have more than one website? Or, are you looking for a thrift solution to monitor your websites? I located many commercial services that offer free versions of website monitoring services, but I wanted something that was simple to use and open source. One such method was developed by Amit Agarwal lagnol.org which uses Google Scripts on your Google Spreadsheets account. It checks a website every five minutes and alerts you when its down via e-mail.

Here are the steps I used to install it to track my websites :

  • Sign-in to your Google account using your Gmail or Google Apps login.
  • Click here to copy this Google sheet into your Google Drive.

GoogleDrive-UptimeMonitor-1

  • Type your website URL’s in cell B2, separate each URL with a comma if you are entering more than one site (I added “-test” to one domain name to test it out), and your email address in cell B3.
  • I did not wish to receive alerts by text message, so I left cell B4 as “No”.

GoogleDrive-UptimeMonitor-2

  • Click on Website Monitor menu in your Google Sheets toolbar.
  • Click Initialize and you’ll get a pop-up asking for authorization.
  • Grant the necessary access.

 

GoogleDrive-UptimeMonitor-3

GoogleDrive-UptimeMonitor-4

  • Go to the Website Monitor menu again and choose “Start Website Monitor” to begin the monitoring process.
  • Close the Google Sheet.
  • You will receive an email when the site is “down” every 5 minutes until it is restored. Each “down” result will be logged in your spreadsheet with the date.

Google notified me of the of following error after a few days of running the script:

Service using too much computer time for one day

 

I opened the script labnol.gs and updated the following code by changing the 5 to 30:

This is the maximum number of time for it to run. Then, saved the update and restarted the script.

I’ll keep you all posted if any new messages are received.

Too Many Adds?

Do you search the web and visit a page only to find it is either loading slowly because it has too many adds? Or, do you find it has more adds than content? App helpful app or browser plugin I use and recommend is,  Adblock Plus.  It is an open source project which has improved my experience on the web by removing the adds that are too abundant on some websites. Furthermore, it blocks tracking,  banners, pop-ups and video ads making your online experience more pleasant.

 

Most of all it’s free and very reliable!

Have a great day!

Gmail Send Delay Settings

Have you ever found yourself typing an email and wishing to send it at a later time? You can save it as a draft, but that would require a few steps of saving it as a draft and returning later to manually send it.

Fortunately, there is another Google script that can automate this for you. Here are the steps for setting it up:

  • Click Google link to access the Google script page.
  • Click the page link and you are redirected to a new page.

GmailDelayOne

  • Click continue button to authorize script.

GmailDelayTwo

  • Click Allow and you will be re-directed to a configuration page.

GmailDelayThree

  • Configure,  the settings in the and click Run Now.

GmailDelayFour

  • Return to your Gmail and draft an email. You will include the future date/time for it to send, then save it as draft with the “GmailDelaySend/ToSend” label. This step is not necessary but it helps to test it out before using it.

Now,  you are setup to write emails when you have some time and Gmail will send them at your designated time.

Is your Gmail inbox filled with old messages?

I enjoy using Gmail because it’s free, has a large amount of storage, and you can make scripts to keep your inbox tidy,  but you don’t need to be a senior developer to create one. Here are some steps to create your own script to maintain your inbox.

  • Log into your Google account.

EmailScriptOne

  • Go to Google Scripts and click on Start Scripting to create a blank project.
  • Click on Untitled project and give it a name.

EmailScriptTwo

  • Copy and paste the following script in the Code.gs tab (copy over default myfunction) :

  • Update the  delayDays to the number of days messages are to be removed from your inbox.
  • Save. It will create a “Delete Mail” label that you can use to assign an email for it to auto delete from your inbox.
  • Set trigger through Resources>Current Project’s Triggers> Add one now to run it daily.

EmailScriptFour

 

EmailScriptFive

Now, you can label an email after reading it for your helpful script to keep your inbox tidy and free of old messages.

Hints to Reduce Spam from Your Contact Form

 

Restrict Links in Messages

Use the following to enhance your default configuration to prevent links being added to your contact form:

Add A Preview Step

Have you ever wondered why you might review your message on a contact form? Simple adding an additional step can prevent a spam because many spam bots are not able to complete it.

Add Anti-Spam Fields

What is “2+2”? What color is the sky on a clear day? Have you ever answered a simple question on a contact form? Spam bots often target many sights and are unprepared to answer simple questions, therefore, they are unable to send their spam.

Bot Trap

Add an invisible contact form using via CSS style to have spam bots  try to fill out it out, which will prevent submission when they try to fill it in. This field is created with a type “trap” in the contact form configuration.

Captchas

Sign up for an account on reCAPTCHA, then generate a public and private reCAPTCHA key for your domain, and put the keys in the contact form configuration

 

Special thanks to Stephen Ostermiller for his helpful blog!