Category Archives: Technology

Amazon Echo unboxing and first impressions

Finally, the Amazon Echo

is here. Looks great and at the very least is a very good wireless speaker. Sound is impressive until you crank it all the way up, then it gets a bit too much for the small speakers. Software integration (via an app) is what makes it a great device and I expect for Amazon Echo to only improve over-time in this area.



Windows Task Manager Pronto!

Since [finally] switching to Windows 7 from Windows XP I had been annoyed by the multi-step process to reach Windows Task Manager. In Windows XP you would just type Ctrl + Alrt + Del and the Task Manager would pop-up. In Windows 7 (as well as Vista), however opening the Task Manager with the same shortcut requires a couple of more steps: Ctrl + Alt + Del, wait for screen to go blank and for blue screen to come up and click on “Start Task Manager” button.

Easier approach to open Task Manager directly in Windows Vista or Windows 7 is to just type Ctrl + Shift + Esc, and the Task manager will pop right up just like it used to in Windows XP with Ctrl – Alt – Del.

How To Get Gmail Old Compose Functionality Back

Since Google has finally decommissioned the old compose and switched all users, including business users to the New Compose, many users have expressed frustration about how cumbersome it has become to use Gmail as Email. I was personally affected by this “upgrade” as it diminished my workflow of my business ( that uses Google Enterprise Solutions for hosting email.

New Compose is supposed to resemble an IM (Instant Messaging) experience. Problem is, trying to use it as email (the service I thought I was paying for), especially for business purpose, has become unbelievably frustrating. I won’t list all the problems here as the Google Groups are full of these reports. I would just sum-up that in order for me to access To: (Cc: Bcc), From, Subject fields, I need to perform several clicks. To: field is no longer a plain text field and if you try to paste and edit email strings within it, Gmail pre-formats your text and often misinterprets a person’s name as address. Fields also jump-around and re-size as you compose, making a composition of a business email extremely frustrating as you try to get the work done.

I have actively started looking for an alternative hosted email solution to Gmail. I came very close to switching to Office 365 which looks surprisingly powerful and can accomplish pretty much everything Gmail does and with bigger storage and other more powerful features. The switch however comes at a cost of migrating the entire email, lengthy set-up and learning curve. My frustration with Gmail’s New Compose came to the point, however, that I was willing to invest time in order to obtain an email service that acted like an email and not IM.

Today I was able to find a solution that at least temporarily helps me put my switching from Gmail on hold.

How to get Old Gmail Compose back:

If you are using Chrome browser, you can install an extension called Fix Compose For Gmail that will instantly give you back the old compose features.

I have also tried Classic Gmail Compose, which had a minor bug that Compact view was not really compact. A workaround for this was to re-apply a current theme (Settings > Themes) without further reloading the Gmail webpage.

Both extensions retailed the ability to use Gmail shortcuts and my old workflow is back! My email is email again and not a chat. I just hope Google’s Gmail team will swallow their pride and walk back their “Old compose is never coming back” stance.