Strovek Writes


Showing posts with label Google Apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Apps. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting Organized

I found a need to come up with a system to help me remember. Over the years, the process has changed but the goal remains the same. Since moving to an Android phone I have been using GTask. 


GTask is a third party app build using Google Task (since Google did not provide an app). It works well to help me track my task, to do list and provide reminders for follow up. Calendars are useful to track your schedule but it is not convenient for task that require follow up or use as reference. I can easily create a task from my GMail.

GTask is simple and easy to use but provides text only fields.

I decided to explore Google Keep.


Initially I used keep as an enhanced version of gTask so I do not need GTask anymore. A few things I like about Keep are:

  1. I can now attach a photo to the entry. It provides a convenient way to use certain cards like Starbucks, Domino’s privilege card.
  2. Entries are available without network. I do not subscribe to mobile data all the time so it is great to have access while offline.
  3. Every line entry can be easily changed to a checklist (toggle on and off).
  4. Tagging is simple. It makes it convenient to categories my entries into
    1. reminders (usually one off task like shopping list).
    2. follow up (usually projects or task that require multiple follow up).
    3. cards
    4. checklist (items to think about when I make decision such as buying shares, or buying items).
    5. completed
  5. Once completed, I can easily archive it so that my list do not become too long and cluttered.

Recently, I started to explore Evernote (free version)


There are similarities between Evernote and Keep, probably because that is where the idea came from.

I like the following features in Evernote:
  1. There are two ways of organizing entries:
    1. Books
    2. Tags
  2. It is easy clip a web page and make it an entry in Evernote. Before that I would share the page in my Facebook page or create an entry in my blog with notes attached.

However, I have some concerns (which may not be valid):
  1. Would I lose my web clip note if the original web page disappears?
  2. I am unable to see my notes when I am offline (unless I upgrade to a paid subscription).

I intend to use both Evernote and Keep for the moment since there are features I like in both apps.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Android Phone Mobile Data Leak

I recently noticed that my android phone was incurring data charges (while I was not on data plan). Initially, I thought it might be due to a virus, rogue app or some setting I may have accidentally activated.

In order to trace the issue, I started removing apps from my phone, but the data charges kept happening. On the first day the charge was RM5 but subsequently it ranged between 2 cents to 20 cents. In order to stop the hemorrhage, I activate a one month plan. The one month plan was RM 30 for 30 days, but the unknown data usage had already cost me RM 15 without any benefit to me.

I also tried resetting the phone to factory mode, but found that the phone automatically restored some of the applications that were still installed - great feature, but not when I am troubleshooting this data leech on my phone. Resetting the phone helped in resetting the data counter and allowed me to see the amount of data consumed. It was the background data were incurring the cost of my mobile data. The foreground data was primarily from wifi.

Other things I tried was to restrict all background data. The bleeding continued, but I noticed that all the data consumed by the system. At the end, I finally concluded that Google Now was the data leech.

I was unable to confirm my finding earlier (because of the mobile data subscription) but its been one week since my data subscription ended and I have not seen any strange mobile data usage.

My primary concern is that the phone was still incurring mobile data usage even though the mobile data was turned off. Good thing I was not travelling. If I were, then I may incur roaming data cost as well.

I am surprised that Google Now does not respect our setting of keeping the mobile data off. So for now, I will do without Google Now. It was fun to use, but should respect our settings.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Microsoft Still Have Competitive Edge

I have used Libre Office and Google Drive for most of my work at home. However, there are times I find it necessary to return to Microsoft to get things done. The alternatives do not seem to be able to get the right functionality.

SkyDrive Excel ribbon

I do not know if this is due to pattern or because the developers of alternatives do not know how to do it. The one option is the ability to copy and paste banking data and recognize the balances as numbers instead of text. Google Spreadsheet can’t do it, Libreoffice also failed. The balance column consist of the currency sign, in my case MYR and the comma delimiter. I found two products that recognize them instantly and both products are from Microsoft. They are Microsoft Excel and Skydrive version of Microsoft Excel.

The Skydrive version of Office provides very little functionality compared to Google Drive but this is one function that works well.

I also found that Microsoft provides me 50 Gigabyte for free compared to 15 Gigabytes from Google. However, Google do not count document created in its native format against the 15 Gigabytes. I do not know if they will change that policy in future but this offsets the difference between the two options.

As for the comparison between Libreoffice vs Microsoft Office, I am still a lot more comfortable with Microsoft Office. The interface is more intuitive. This could also be due to the pattern restriction.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Google Maps Navigation Is Now Available in Malaysia

I just found out that Google Maps Navigation has been enabled in Malaysia even though it is not listed as the list of countries with this feature enabled. The version of the application I have on my phone is 6.14.4 but I am running it on Android 2.3.5.

Personally though, I prefer Waze. This is why I prefer Waze over Google Maps Navigation:
  1. Waze uses less data compared to Google Maps.
  2. Waze provide more information - other Waze users lets you know of traffic jam, obstacles etc.
  3. The voice on Waze sounds better.
  4. You have more options and configuration in Waze.
I read in another article the features of Waze is already incorporated in the application in some countries. I just have not seen in here in Malaysia.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Google Platform for Management Part 2

Google platform provides a rich set of tools for management. In Part 1, I focused on Gmail, Task and Calendar. I shall continue with other tools and how it complements my activities as a manager.


Google documents strength is in collaboration. It is very easy to create either a Document (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel) or Presentation (Powerpoint) and collaborate with either your team members or people in remote locations. I indicated the MS Office equivalent in parenthesis for those who are more familiar with the Microsoft suite of tools.

Grouqp.jpg By mohusni

When you share the documents, you can either give others the right to edit the document, comment on the document or just view the document.  In a meeting, the attendees can edit the document and everybody else in the meeting can view it. Comments can also be used to raise questions and highlight items for others to respond to.

Each collaborator can activate a setting to trigger to inform them of any changes in the documents. That way, they do not have to keep checking for changes in the document.


Forms can be created to collect feedback or perform surveys. These forms can then be sent or embedded into websites. The information submitted through these forms are automatically collected in a spreadsheet and the information automatically compiled for you.

This is an excellent way to get feedback from your customers or group members. Examples of the uses include:

  1. Service level from your business partners.
  2. Feedback on training courses attended.
  3. Feedback on events carried out for the team.


You could easily create group calendars for your team members to update their holiday plans, or other activities. This is a great way to inform everyone in the team and to coordinate leave. Companies usually create resource calendar for booking rooms and equipments.

You could also write a simple script to collect information from these calendars and populate into a Spreadsheet for analysis.

Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is useful to get quick updates from others. By default all instant messages will be recorded and filled in the chat label. This in turn can be turned into task or used to send follow up emails.

Part 1 Gmail, Calendar and Tasks
Part 3 Google Site/Blogger