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Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I keep running into times where I am told to create an account for CloudHQ. I tend to be skeptical at first of creating accounts for things that are new. So, I decided I needed to do a little look into what CloudHQ is and decide if I really need an account.

I now understand that CloudHQ is a cloud to cloud management service. I know that is a lot of tech talk. What it means is that since every company has their own cloud service (One Drive for Windows, iCloud for Mac, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc...), it allows them to talk to each other so that you can get all of your "stuff" in one place.

For example, I have a Dropbox account, use Google Drive and iCloud. I also use Gmail. I think it was with Gmail that I was required to sign up for CloudHQ. AHA!  I was trying to learn about Gmail Templates!

The Research
When I want to learn more about something I just go to Google and type a question into the search box. For this I just typed "review CloudHQ" and got 29,100 results. I almost never go beyond the first page of results.

What I learned is that there are other management systems that do what CloudHQ does, but it is the most used. It is a completely web-based app meaning that you do not have to download anything to your computer to make it work. If you want to sync multiple services (let's say Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud) you will have to pay for it, but if you are just pairing two services (Google Drive and Dropbox) you can use the free version.

The free version is enough for the average user. They make money especially by working with companies who use it so that their employees can be more effective at their jobs. I guess signing up for a free service is OK for me.

This review from 2013 is where I learned most of this information:

Another article that was helpful was from 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The End of Windows 7

windows 2007 will no longer be supported by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This sounds like a long time from now, but it will sneak up on you. Many people that I know kept Windows 7 because they did not want to switch to Windows 10.

Here are some things to think about:
1. Your budget - start now to save money for a new computer ($500-$1000) or the upgrade to Windows 10 ($119 for the home version). You can stick with Windows 7 for a while, but since it is not updated you will be more likely to get a virus or have problems.
2. Which software you use often - It is possible that software that works on Windows 7 will not work on Windows 10. If you just use email and a browser, like Chrome or Edge that is no problem, but if you have any special software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom you might have to upgrade your software also.
3. Mac or PC - If you are thinking of getting a new computer this is the age old question. Often people who use Macs are totally convinced that they are the best and people who use PCs ( any computer that runs Windows) are convinced that they are the best. Now is the time for you to start exploring and trying different computers at Best Buy or wherever.

Now you have time to think about all of it and decide what you want to do. In 2020 you will be getting reminders and risking a virus. Your computer will still work and maybe you will be OK, but it is better to be safe.

To find out what Operating System you have now click on the Windows Icon in the bottom left corner of the screen (the start button). Type Computer into the search box. When it comes up Right Click on Computer. Then click Properties. Look for Windows Edition for the version of Windows that your computer is running.

This article was inspired by this article:

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Track changes is helpful, but what I am really amazed with lately is Google Drive. I am on several boards and on committees that use it. It is a GREAT way to share documents so that multiple people can comment or edit a document without messing up what someone else has done.

When you go to you have to sign in with a Google account. You can get one even if you do not want to use gmail. Go to and either get a gmail account or sign up with your own email address.
signing up for a Google Accountsigning up with your own email

New Google Doc

Once you have a Google account and sign in to Google Drive you can start a new document or go to a document that has been SHARED with you.

shared documents
The person who creates the document is the owner. They can share it and set the permissions for each person who it is shared with.

If you choose File - Version History you will see who revised the document, what they did and when it was done. If you don't like the revision you can return to a previous version!

It is even great when you just want to share documents, but you don't want anyone to change them. When you share the document you just mark that everyone should VIEW only. They will not have the rights to change anything, but can view the document at any time.

This is becoming a very popular way to share documents on a committee or board.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


overflowing mailboxEmail is a curse of our society. It is totally necessary, sometimes we like it, other times it takes WAY too much of our time and energy.  This article has a few recommendations for making the use of email smoother. 

When you are in a hurry glance through your messages and mark those that are important and need to be dealt with by putting a flag or star on them. It depends on which email program you are using if it is a flag or a star. Gmail uses stars and many others use flags. Later you can easily sort your mail by the flags or stars and go through the important messages when you have more time. 

When you are doing your sort if there is a message that you can answer with a quick reply do it!  That way it gets out of your inbox and is dealt with. If you get advertisements that you don't want to see immediately scroll down to the bottom of the message, find the tiny print that says UNSUBSCRIBE and unsubscribe from their list. Most vendors want you to be happy and will immediately take you off of their list if you only ask. If you do it right away you can keep your inbox from filling up with unsolicited ads. You will have to keep up with it since there are always new ones, but it is easy if you do one at a time. 

After writing a message in Outlook  go to File > Save As… > Outlook template, or search for preset Outlook templates that cover the most common ones. Then, click on Items > Choose Form… > User Templates when you’re ready to put that pre-saved form to use. 

screenshotIn Gmail there are two ways to do this. The older one is called Canned responses. If you want to use this first you need to enable it. To do that go to Settings (the Gear icon) and choose Advanced. Then find Canned Response and enable.

settings menu

To use it you compose an email message and after you have written everything except the "to" line (also delete your signature, so it does not appear twice) then go to the three dots in the bottom right corner of the window. Choose Canned Response and then new canned response. It will be saved and ready for the next time you choose Compose and have a new message. Then you can click on the three dots and choose Canned Responses and you will see the email you wrote in the list.

There is a second possibility, but it involves signing into another service and I am a little wary of that. It may be just fine, but I want to do a bit of research first. Here is how it works. In Gmail start to compose a message. Then click on the little icon at the bottom of the compose window that looks like a document. This will connect you to something called CloudHQ. It is more than I can write about here, but if you sign up for it you will have access to lots of templates and be able to create your own and access them right from a message. I will write more about CloudHQ in another post.

There are two ways to make finding past email messages easier. You need to find the best way for you, but once you have set it up and use it you can save huge amounts of time. 

  • Create folders and for the messages that you may want to find again have a good system of saving them. Archive or delete all the rest of your mail so that your inbox can be fairly empty after it has been read.  In most programs when you create a new folder it is on the left side and you can just drag messages from the right and drop them into the correct folder.
  • If you use Gmail I have found that the search function works really well. What I do is to archive almost all of my read messages. They are compressed then and saved in a very small format, so my mailbox does not get jammed. When I need something I just do a search and so far it is finding what I need!
Sometimes you have time to write something, but do not want to send it right away.  In Outlook you can choose Options > Delay Delivery > Do not deliver before. In Gmail there is an add on called Boomerang that allows you to designate when you want a certain email sent.