Digital Inspiration Technology Blog How to Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists and Junk Newsletters in Gmail

Unroll.me is a free online service that lets you easily unsubscribe from email newsletters and other bulk messages in Gmail. You, however, will have to grant complete access to your Gmail mailbox and to your Google Contacts for Unroll.me to automatically remove your email address from various mailing lists.

This morning, it was revealed that Unroll.me is silently scraping your Gmail mailbox and selling the data to Uber. Maybe it is hidden somewhere in the terms of service that the app can share your data with other companies but who actually reads the fine print. If this worries you,  here’s a simple guide on how to block the app from accessing your Gmail emails in future.

Christian Heilmann’s tweetFeature request for Gmail: automatically find and follow the unsubscribe link in all highlighted emails – prompted me to build an automated system for unsubscribing your Gmail address from the bulk senders. Here’s how it looks like:

Unsubscribe from Gmail Bulk Messages

How to Unsubscribe from Email Newsletters in Gmail

What I have now is a simple Google Script that parses the content of bulk emails and finds the unsubscribe link. If an unsubscribe link is found, the script opens the link and your email is automatically unsubscribed. In some cases, the bulk sender would require you to send a message to a special email address to unsubscribe and our Google script can do that as well.

The big advantage is that don’t have to grant access to your Gmail account to any third-party service and you can add subscription emails to the unsubscribe queue from any email client including desktop and mobile apps. Let’s get started:

  1. Click here to copy the Gmail Unsubscriber sheet to your Google Drive.
  2. Go to the Gmail menu in the sheet (see screenshot above) and choose Authorize. All the script access to your Gmail account. It is an open source Google Script that runs in your own Drive and not a single byte of data is shared with anyone.
  3. From the same menu, choose Start and pick a name for your Gmail label (the default is Unsubscribe). Save your changes

The Gmail Unsubscriber program is now initialized and running in the background. You can now apply the Unsubscribe label to any email message in Gmail and you’ll be automatically unsubscribed in 10-15 minutes. Everything is logged in the Google Sheet so you know what’s happening behind the scenes. Give it a try!

Also, the solution works everywhere – you can apply the label to unwanted subscription newsletters on the Gmail website, mobile apps for Gmail on iPhone & Android or even third-party email clients like Microsoft Outlook (move the email to the Unsubscribe folder) or Apple Mail.

How Gmail Unsubscribes from Mailing Lists

All legitimate bulk email senders include a List-Unsubscribe field in the message header that contains an URL or email address for unsubscribing from a mailing list. Here’s a screenshot:

List-Unsubscribe Header in Bulk Emails

You can view these details by opening any bulk message inside Gmail and choosing “Show Original” from the menu. In other cases, the unsubscribe link may be included in the message body with the anchor text like “click here to unsubscribe” – the script is smart enough to recognize all such links, it opens them for you and removes your email address from the mailing list.

John Naughton: How Facebook became a home to psychopaths | John Naughton

The man who shot dead an innocent 74-year-old, then posted his confession on Facebook Live, points up a worrying trend on social media

The old adage “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. A while back, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a service that enables its users to broadcast live video to the world. Shortly after the service was activated, the company’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said that the service would support all the “personal and emotional and raw and visceral” ways that people communicate. Users were encouraged to “go live” in casual settings – waiting for baggage at the airport, for example, or eating at a restaurant.

Note the phrase “raw and visceral”. Facebook Live has already broadcast a live stream of a young disabled man being tied up, gagged and attacked with a knife. In March, two Chicago teenage boys live-streamed themselves gang-raping a teenage girl. And around 40 Facebook users watched the video without reporting it either to Facebook or the police.

Think of digital technology, in the form of certain apps and services, as the Psychopaths ‘R Us channel

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John Naughton: Move Fast and Break Things review – Google, Facebook and Amazon exposed

Jonathan Taplin reveals how just three companies subverted the internet’s utopian ideals

The internet, defined as the network switched on in January 1983, is now 34 years old. When it began, it was a gloriously decentralised, creative, non-commercial system that evoked in many of its early users utopian hopes about liberation, empowerment, creativity and sticking it to The Man. In those heady days, only a few sceptics wondered how long it would take for capitalism to get a grip on it. Now we know: it took only 21 years.

Opinions vary about the timing, of course. For my money, the critical year was 2004, the year Google had its IPO, Facebook was launched and the business model that became known as “surveillance capitalism” really got a grip on the network. This is the model that provides supposedly free services to users in return for “consent” to mine and exploit their personal data and digital trails in order to target adverts at them.

Related: No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there | Rutger Bregman

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John Naughton: Forget driverless tech – white-van man will keep on trucking | John Naughton

The prospect of fully automated road deliveries from Amazon et al seems appealing, but it’s far from inevitable

On holiday in Venice recently, I found myself thinking a lot about driverless trucks. This may seem strange, because there are no trucks in Venice. Instead, everything is delivered by boat. At 6am every morning, for example, a large, broad-bottomed boat turned up and moored outside the small supermarket across the bridge from our hotel. The driver (or should I say captain?) then used the onboard crane to lift out heavy pallets of bottled water, boxes of provisions etc on to the quayside. Delivering the necessary supplies in this way took at least 30 minutes, after which he gunned the engine of the boat and headed off to make his next delivery.

Later that particular day, walking along the Grand Canal, we came across another large boat, this time emblazoned with the logo of DHL, the international couriers. The boat was piled high with cardboard boxes and two guys with clipboards were trying to sort out what needed to be delivered where. It was clearly a slow and painstaking process.

The trouble starts when the vehicle has to leave the motorway in order to reach its final destination

Related: Self-driving cars will only work when we accept autonomy is a myth

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Digital Inspiration Technology Blog Using WhatsApp as a Private Store for your Documents and Notes

WhatsApp is a perfect messaging app for staying in touch with friends and family. It is super-fast, works on nearly all phones (including desktop computers) and Facebook has no plans to charge WhatsApp users.

You have been using WhatsApp primarily for text messaging and calling but there are a couple of other interesting uses for WhatsApp that will help boost the utility value of this app even further. Other than communicating with the external world, you can also use WhatsApp to:

  1. Capture and save ideas, notes, voice memos, scanned documents and everything else in you own private storage space that is accessible from everywhere.
  2. Quickly transfer web links, documents, screenshots, and other files between your computer and phone without having to sign-up for another service.

whatsapp-group.png

The idea is simple. You create a new virtual contact inside WhatsApp and, everything that you wish to capture privately, you can just share it with this virtual contact.

It is not possible to send WhatsApp messages to your own number but there’s a simple hack to get around this problem. Create a new WhatsApp group with just a single participant – you. Here’s how:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone and create a new group.
  2. Add any contact from your address book to this group. Give your group a name and save.
  3. Now go to the group in WhatsApp, tap the subject to view the list of participants.
  4. Tap and hold the lone participant in this list and remove them from the group.

That’s it. What you now have a private store in WhatsApp that is visible only to you and accessible from the web (desktop) and your mobile phone.

If you wish to transfer a document from computer to phone, open web.whatsapp.com on the computer, send the file to this group and it will instantly become available on your phone. There’s search built-in so you can easily find messages by keyword later.

Thank you Sidin Vadukut (blog, books, twitter) for this useful tip.

Digital Inspiration Technology Blog Google Can Remember Things for You

How do you remember important things that you think you might forget? Some rely on their brain to memorize information while others prefer  writing things down on post-it notes. There are ton of digital note-taking apps – from Evernote to Trello – that can also help you remember anything with ease.

There’s another interesting option from Google that you may wish to explore for remembering things. It’s called Google Assistant, the voice assistant app that is now available on newer Android phones. If you don’t have one, you can still use Google assistant inside the Google Allo app that is available for both iPhone and Android.

google-remember-things.png

Let Google Remember Things for you

To get started, say “OK Google” to launch Google Assistant on your phone and then say “Remember ..” followed by information you would like Google to remember. For instance, you could say:

  • Remember my favorite color is blue
  • Remember that my registration number is Z1234
  • Remember that I parked the car in the 2nd level
  • Remember that my hotel room safe code is 6666

You can launch the Google Assistant anytime later and ask Google for information that was previously stored.

How to ask what Google remembers?

You could say something like “What did I say about my favorite color?” or “What’s my registration number?” If Google is unable to understand your question, you could say “What did I ask you to remember” and it will show a list of 5 most recent things you’ve asked Google to remember.

google-assistant.png

How to Clear Google’s Memory?

If the list has grown big, you can also use your voice to instruct Google to forget things it remembers. You could say “Forget what I said about my favorite color” or say “What did I ask you to remember” and tap the “Forget #” option to erase any of the listed items from Google’s memory.

 

Digital Inspiration Technology Blog How to Easily Switch between Multiple Google Accounts

Lots of us maintain multiple Google accounts for a variety of reasons. Maybe your day is mostly spent inside Gmail and Google Calendar associated with your work account but you prefer to store files inside Google Drive of your personal Google Account.

Google does make it easy for you to sign-in to multiple Google accounts simultaneously so you don’t have to log out of one Gmail account to check emails of the other one. Simply go to http://ift.tt/1QPMLv5 and sign-in with the other Google account inside the same browser session.

Sign-in is Easy, Switching Accounts is Difficult

One you are logged in, click your profile image in the upper right and select any Google account from the drop down to switch to that account.

switch-gmail-accounts.png

The default account, the one that appears on top of that list, is the one that you signed in with first. Thus, if you type mail.google.com in your browser’s address bar, you’ll always be taken your Gmail account. If you need to set another Google account as the default one, you’d have to sign-out of all existing accounts and sign-in first with that account.

That’s obviously too many steps for users who have to constantly juggle between multiple accounts. So here’s a simple URL trick that will help you switch between Google accounts quickly.

Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Accounts

Go to the Gmail website and press Ctrl+D (or Cmd+D on Mac) to bookmark the Gmail website.

gmail-bookmark.png

Click the Edit button to modify the bookmark. Here add ?authuser=email@gmail.com after the last slash(/) symbol and append the shortcut to the bookmark name as shown below. We use the short “gw” meaning Google Apps for Work Gmail.

gmail-multiple-signin.png

Repeat the steps for all your other Gmail accounts.

You can now type gw in the address bar to quickly launch your work Gmail account even if that account may not be your default Google account.

If you are a keyboard ninja, shortcuts are a much faster way to do things that using your mouse to click a bunch of menu items. The trick works with all Google Apps services including Google Drive, Contacts and Calendar.

http://ift.tt/2phT8CI
http://ift.tt/2ohfxeQ
http://ift.tt/2pi6AXq

You should check out the most important Google URLs.

John Naughton: Why Silicon Valley wants to thwart the grim reaper | John Naughton

Google’s billion-dollar belief that it can crack the DNA code to immortality reveals a dangerous mindset

‘In this world,” wrote Benjamin Franklin, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This proposition doesn’t cut much ice in Silicon Valley, where they take a poor view of paying taxes. What’s interesting is that they are also coming to the view that perhaps death is optional too, at least for the very rich.

You think I jest? Well, meet Bill Maris, the founder and former CEO of Google Ventures, the investment arm of Alphabet, Google’s owners. Three years ago, Maris decided to create a company that will “solve” death. He pitched the idea to Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page and, according to a lovely piece by Tad Friend in the New Yorker, Brin, who has a gene variant that predisposes him to Parkinson’s disease, loved the idea and Page declared that Google should do it.

Related: Live forever: Scientists say they’ll extend life ‘well beyond 120’

To computer folk, DNA is just code, and code can always be hacked. Bingo! – immortality beckons

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John Naughton: Apple: dead in the water, or on top of its game? | John Naughton

One commentator recently described the iPad as ‘done’, but he didn’t mean that it was finished

My eye was caught by a headline in the Register, an invaluable online source of tech news and opinion. “Clearance sale shows Apple’s iPad is over. It’s done,” it read. This was a quotation from a piece by Volker Weber on the latest product announcements from Apple. “iPad is the biggest news,” he wrote, “and it says: the iPad is done. Apple is just refining the components, but there isn’t much they can do these days to make yet another super-duper Earth-shattering innovation here.”

Since I was reading this on my iPad Pro, which is probably the most useful electronic device I have ever owned, it came as a bit of a shock. But in fact Volker was really just articulating a truth about digital hardware, which is that the evolution of all such products (and a good deal else besides) follows a sigmoid curve.

Related: Apple updates iPad line and launches red iPhone 7

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John Naughton: Why American farmers are hacking their own tractors | John Naughton

A black market in pirated engine software is growing as manufacturers use digital copyright law to impose expensive repair bills on their customers

John Deere is a large corporation that makes tractors. They’re green, big and powerful and they don’t come cheap. I’ve just noticed a nearly new 6175R model for £77,500 plus VAT, for example. That’s £93,000 in real money, so imagine how proud you’d feel if you were fortunate enough to own one of these magnificent machines.

Well, it depends on what you mean by “own”. If you mean you can do what you like with your new tractor, think again. This is because your splendid machine is now controlled by software that comes embedded in the vehicle – and John Deere controls the software. “If a farmer bought the tractor,” a Nebraskan farmer told the online magazine Motherboard, “he should be able to do whatever he wants with it. You want to replace a transmission and you take it to an independent mechanic – he can put in the new transmission but the tractor can’t drive out of the shop.” Instead, a Deere technician has to drive to the repair shop and plug a connector into the tractor’s USB port in order to “authorise” the new part. And the cost of this rigmarole? Why, a $230 fixed call-out charge, plus $130 an hour on top.

Nobody likes laying out 100 grand for a piece of kit that suddenly becomes an expensive paperweight

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