Newsletter Archives

  • How to use your Gmail account for more than just Gmail

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    ISSUE 19.42 • 2022-10-17

    SOFTWARE

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    With the Gmail website or app, you can add access to non-Gmail accounts.

    Those of you who have a Gmail account likely use the Gmail website or app to view and work with your Google email. But both the site and the app are more versatile than you may think. With either one, you’re able to add a non-Gmail account, such as one for Outlook or Yahoo. Here’s how this plays out.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.42.0, 2022-10-17).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • How to use Vivaldi for your email and calendar

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    ISSUE 19.37 • 2022-09-12

    SOFTWARE

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Beyond its role as an alternative browser, Vivaldi will help you access your email, contacts, and calendar — all in the same place.

    Those of you in search of a simple but effective desktop email and calendar program probably tend to look at dedicated programs, such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, and even Windows Mail. But instead of turning to separate programs for these features, you may want to consider one that integrates directly with your Web browser. And for that, Vivaldi is worth checking out.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.37.0, 2022-09-12).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Vivaldi as a Web browser

    SOFTWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    If you’ve never heard of Vivaldi before, I’m not surprised.

    Although its use is growing, its share of the Web browser market lags behind those of the “brand name” browsers — Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

    Lance Whitney’s excellent explanation of the features of Vivaldi, in the lead article in this issue, focuses on how the software can be used as an inexpensive replacement for Outlook. This brief article is about using Vivaldi for its native function, Web browsing.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.37.0, 2022-09-12).

  • Thunderbird: A worthy alternative to Microsoft Outlook

    SOFTWARE

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    If you find the Outlook email client too cumbersome or complicated, Thunderbird is a simpler yet robust email program worth trying.

    I’ve used Microsoft Outlook as my desktop email client for many years. That’s partly because I come from a corporate IT background with a company that was a Microsoft shop. And it’s partly because I subscribe to Microsoft 365, so Outlook is part of the package and integrates with the other Office apps.

    But that doesn’t mean I’m a huge fan of the program.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.34.0, 2022-08-22).

  • Beyond Compare is beyond comparison

    SOFTWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    A good utility program can greatly improve productivity. A great utility program is often indispensable.

    One capability that has always been essential, especially to developers, is file comparison. Surprisingly, few utilities existed to perform that task. I remember printing core dumps in octal from a machine that had crashed and comparing them, visually, to a dump from another, working machine. And I mean on paper.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.29.0, 2022-07-18).

  • Choosing the right email program

    SOFTWARE

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Whether you use a Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android device, there are a number of options for email clients other than the usual suspects.

    The email program you use depends to a large degree on the type of device or operating system you use. On a Windows PC, you may turn to the default Windows Mail client, or to Outlook if you subscribe to Microsoft 365. Those of you who own an iPhone or iPad will likely fire up the built-in Mail app. And most Android users probably stick with Gmail.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.28.0, 2022-07-11).

  • We live in an app world

    This morning I went to our local lab test location to get a blood test done. Normal medical checkup for cholesterol and all that. The first time I went there you had to book the appointment ahead of time, walk up to the desk, tell the receptionist your appointment, they took your health insurance card, any payment, and then entered the testing information into the system. When you got to the technician to collect your blood, they just confirmed your name, information and took the blood (all the while I’m looking straight ahead to not look at the needle).

    The next few times I went, they recommended downloading their app, booking the appointment ahead of time and even checking in for your time slot via the app. The next time I went there was a check in kiosk where you could indicate you were waiting and then when it was your time the receptionist called you to the desk, took your insurance information and entered the testing information into the system.

    Fast forward to today, as my stomach was rumbling (fasting, you know), I walked into the diagnostic lab. Instead of two receptionists greeting us, there were two serve-yourself kiosks. You indicated you were there for an appointment, it asked you to place your drivers license in the scanning slot where it took a picture of the front and back of the license, it then asked you for your insurance card and took a copy of that. You were then called when it was your time and this time the technician was the one that collected the co-pay and entered the needed test into the system.

    My drivers license and medical information is now digitized into computer system. Years ago it would have been a paper copy of my information in a file. There are two less employees and less help for anyone who isn’t computer savvy. If you don’t have a computer to book an appointment, good luck.

    Now mind you, I’m the person who has Amazon Alexa’s in my house so when it’s Christmas time I can say “Alexa, turn on Christmas” and the Tree and all holiday lights go on the house in unison, but even I thought removing the two receptionists and moving their role to two computers is a bit much.

    We may live in an app world, but we still need people. Even if someday computers have artificial intelligence, they will truly never replace people.

  • Software gems: Paint.net

    SOFTWARE

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Besides having a very interesting history, paint.net is a useful program.

    Paint.net has an unusual origin. It was written as a senior project by a computer science student at Washington State University, Rick Brewster. His project was to write a better version of Microsoft Paint, the ubiquitous program that has been part of Windows since the dawn of Windows.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 19.03.0 (2022-01-17).

  • Photoshop Elements: Fun with pictures

    PHOTO EDITING

    By Lincoln Spector

    Special effects aren’t limited to Hollywood movies anymore — or professional photographers.

    Today, with some help from image-editing apps, even a snapshooter can perform photographic tricks — place yourself somewhere you’ve never actually visited, turn black-and-white into color (and vice versa). With the right tools, almost anyone can cleanly remove people from a photo — without cropping! (Are you paying attention, Match subscribers?)

    There are dozens of photo editors to choose from, but I’ve been using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements for longer than I can remember. It’s the cheaper and somewhat less powerful version of the classic Photoshop. It’s rare that Elements lacks a tool I need … but then I’m not a professional graphic artist.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.16.0 (2020-04-27).

  • Comparison: Affinity Photo, GIMP, and PaintShop Pro

    PHOTO EDITING

    By Nathan Segal

    These days, it’s likely you spend more time managing and editing digital photos than you did taking the shots.

    Getting the most out of your photos can be a complex and time-consuming task. Which means that it’s especially important that you be efficient and comfortable using your imaging application.

    In this comparison, we’ll take a quick look at the steps needed for common photo-manipulation tasks in three popular editors: Affinity Photo, Corel PaintShop Pro 2020, and GIMP. (Note: I reviewed Affinity Photo in the 2020-04-06 AskWoody Plus Newsletter.) The tasks include customizing the workspace, cropping, image straightening, using layers for blending and image effects, image retouching, adding Text, color correction, removing an image from the background, and RAW-image processing. Let’s get started.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.15.0 (2020-04-20).

  • Review: Affinity Photo

    PHOTO EDITING

    By Nathan Segal

    There are dozens of software packages available for fixing and enhancing bit-based photographs — many of them free.

    Paid packages such as ACDSee, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop, and Corel PaintShop Pro typically offer advanced tools such as RAW processing, masking, layers, and other “pro” tools and controls.

    It can be daunting to pick the best image editor for your needs. Always on the hunt for a better photo-manipulation tool, I took Affinity Photo for a spin.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.13.0 (2020-04-06).