Wavebox for productivity wins

Wavebox intro

I was using Wmail for a while since I got a little fed up with using Gmail in Chrome, it was good but sometimes I found it zapping resources. I tried using Evolution, Thunderbird and a few other native email apps but missed some of the nice things Gmail does and supports. So when I first saw Wmail I thought I’d give it a try even with the slight skepticism from some around Electron.

So impressed with Wmail, that I donate to the development for it. It wasn’t long till they got in touch and said they were moving to Wavebox and as a nice extra I would get a year subscription to Wavebox pro.

The things I love about Wavebox is being able to hook up multiple gmail accounts including drive, contacts, calender, etc. Trello works great as does Slack (but I opted to keep the slack app for now). But the killer is being able to hook up any site you like. For example I use Mastodon and WordPress (the official linux app locks up a lot). I was tempted to setup Evernote and maybe laverna, standardnotes, a few other things but this will do for now.

The Verge seem to agree too

Its pretty great and the ability to add almost any site is pretty useful, especially with the lack of Linux support for some things. Yes you have to pay for the pro features but its worth it.

There is also a misconception that I won’t pay for software and thats rubbish. Its about the terms, for example Wavebox is actually open source but the terms of what you pay for are fine with me.

How to copy contacts from Windows phone to Android, without going crazy

Nokia Lumia 635 and HTC Desire 635

Short answer: Setup a Microsoft Outlook account on the windows phone, sync everything to it then export a CSV of all the contacts on a laptop. Login to your Google account on the laptop and import them all. Sync that google account with the Android phone.

My painful experience

My dad has had a Nokia Lumia 635 for a while (over a year). He wanted to upgrade his ageing Nokia and went into Carphone warehouse to get a upgrade. The sales person must have rubbed their hands (I felt they took advantage of my dad saying he wanted a Nokia) and sold him a Nokia Lumia with Windows Phone on it. I was pretty pissed about this because my dad already has a google account, chromebook and my mum has this and a Samsung android phone.

On Boxing day we went back and looked into buying him out of his contract. This was fine and he choose a HTC desire 626 as it had a big screen and didn’t cost anything to his contract. After taking it home, I set it up for him and boy did the fun start.

Some quick things… I’m running Ubuntu on a laptop, my parents have a chromebook, we all have google accounts and we now all have android phones. My parents are not technical and mainly use text and voice. They have broadband with wifi in the house plus a chromecast I bought a few years ago. The Nokia couldn’t connect to any wifi unless it was open with no security/encryption (I tried many ways to get this working but it seems to be a common fault, which requires a total wipe!)

Nokia Lumia 635

I plugged the Nokia into my Ubuntu laptop then copied everything off it I could see. Then copied it to the HTC phone, I also turned off my WPA security on my Nexus 5x phone to allow the Nokia to actually connect to the internet without using my dads low 4g data usage. Then setup his google account which I set to sync everything. When trying to sync contact information with the google account nothing would sync. I had my laptop open with the google account so I could see what was syncing and what wasn’t. I tried forcing the sync and Windows phone kept forcing me to sync with Outlook.com. In the end I setup a temporary outlook account and synced everything with that. I could see things syncing correctly on my laptop screen.

I thought with both accounts on the Windows phone it would now sync but no. So I had to export the lot out of Outlook.com on the laptop as a CSV file then import them into the google account via my laptop. Once syncing, I could setup the google account on the Android phone and everything was good except Gmail automatically creates a group for the imported contacts which I had to delete but keep the contacts.

HTC Desire 820_11

Once that was done, I forced a system update and greeted with the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) upgrade, meaning my mums new phone and dads phones are very similar making the learning experience a little easier between both my parents.

Ultimately I was quite shocked how difficult a simple thing task was. I mean dataportability should be simple and at one point I was going to give up and get my dad to write out all the contacts to a new his new phone. It wasn’t helped by not having wifi access on the Nokia. I did try Bluetooth and sending contacts as emails but nothing quite worked.

I hope this helps others as I was tearing my hair out to get such a simple thing working. No wonder Nokia has dumped Windows mobile and gone Android.

Lesser known Google projects

Google unveils uProxy for Chrome, Firefox to help protect ‘free speech’- @757LiveTech

There seems to be a number of projects Google are developing which don’t get a lot of press attention. Here’s a few which have got me thinking…


uProxy is a browser extension that lets users share alternative more secure routes to the Internet. It’s like a personalised VPN service that you set up for yourself and your friends. uProxy helps users protect each other from third parties who may try to watch, block, or redirect users’ Internet connections.

This project is an experiment in enabling people to provide each other with a more secure and private connection to the internet. At the moment, it is under active development and we are interested in working with a limitted number of testers to help develop the tool.

Yes can you imagine what fun you could have with uProxy and how easy it makes Proxying? Some Tor clients are simple but this could be really interesting as it adds a social aspect. This is fantastic for those trusted connections, such as friends whose ISP’s are blocking certain sites.

Google+ Ripples

I missed this and I’m sure many others did too. But Google+ Ripples visualises how things are shared on Google+. Now this might sound a bit lame as your not using G+ at the moment but the fact Google are sharing this data with the users, is encouraging.

Handwriting comes to Google

Gmail and Docs offer wide language support, however in some cases using the keyboard is less than ideal. Whether you’re a student trying to include a foreign phrase in your paper or an international consultant hoping to begin your message with a friendly local greeting, now you’ll be able to use your own handwriting to input words directly into Gmail and Google Docs with your mouse or trackpad.

Sound good, can’t wait to try this out. Be fun to try it on my tablet

How I work…

Ian @ BarcampLondon5 - Day 1

A survey went around R&D today and after answering all the questions there was a blank area for other comments…

I’m sure I haven’t thought of all the weird software/network combinations that are in use. Please use this box to add any info you think I need to know.

To which I wrote

I have machines on multiple networks…

One on the R&D network,
One on the BBC internal network
One on the plain Internet.

I tend to keep the BBC internal one (running Windows 7 – which I have Admin rights) at work because its useless outside the BBC due to the constraints placed on it.
The R&D one has two profiles on it. One profile is setup for the R&D network and the other is setup to use the plain internet wifi. This means I don’t need to carry around multiple machines just one and user switch profile on Ubuntu 11.04.

The software I use is Thunderbird for email mainly on the R&D network because Evolution (my usual mail client) doesn’t support Socks5 proxies. I tried to get Evolution working because I really wanted to get the BBC network/Exchange calendar working in Evolution but it wouldn’t work without root access!

Its important to have a plain internet connection because I tend to work at home and from different places. The Webmail without the SecureID pass has made life a lot easier but I really would like to have some kind of 2 step authentication. I’ve enabled it for my Google Mail account for example.

I tend to send emails for calendar requests to my gmail, just so I can sync my Google Calendar with my BBC calendar. Google Calendar Sync seems to fail maybe because I have too many items or it might be the two step authentication? End of the day its not as reliable as send it to my gmail.

Its interesting because things are really starting to change and it starts with the change of outlook on the systems people use and work with everyday. Gone are the days of strict control of the employees machines… This surely has to be a good thing?

What is google up to?

Googlemail mobile

What is google up to? That seems to be the question on a lot of peoples lips. A while ago they did a deal with Sony, then bought YouTube with stock (this is the intimate details link). Not long ago Jotspot was bought by Google and now Google have launched there mobile gmail service. Its not that amazing, Plaxo has offered the same kind of service for quite some time but alas only for there paying users. However its going to be secure and free for anyone who has a Gmail account. Its a bit of a bum deal if you live outside north america and don't have a all you can reasonably eat data plan. But as the taoofmac describes, this could be the email for the masses. Once they start pushing calendar, contacts, etc through that same gateway, it will be even more useful. I hate to say it but this is what Plaxo do right now.

Generally Google is doing the loosey joined pieces pretty well. You can certainly see how everything will fit together in the future but right now, there very keen to just develop the pieces. There pieces are not always cutting edge and best of breed but there getting traction and gaining users.

Cheers Miles for a lot of the links.

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