Category Archives: tools

Automatically Managing Attachments with Gmail & Dropbox

I mentioned earlier in the year I am focusing on reducing the overall amount of traffic in my inbox, and at the same time the amount of time spent managing my inbox.  In my work life IBM Connections Files has greatly reduced the number of attachments received in email, and the ones I do receive are simply dragged and dropped into Files using the Notes Sidebar plugin.

In my personal life no such luck, I still get quite a deal of attachments in email, and I have found a pretty good system for dealing with them using a combination of Gmail,, and Dropbox.

Using rules in I have automated some common scenarios where I receive attachments, and have them automatically saved to Dropbox.  For example in the rules below in the first I have identified a couple of frequent senders of documents, which are saved straight to Dropbox where I can simply open them (and rarely do I have to go back and open the original email).  The second rule is even simpler when my Mom sends me a picture it is automatically saved to the appropriate dropbox folder. also supports integration with Box, Skydrive, and Google Drive.


One of the things I have been looking at recently is the volume of email I receive how to cut it down.  No this is not a email is evil we must stop using it post, rather a focus on using it more efficiently.

There are two problems I am trying to solve:

1. Keep my inbox manageable and clutter free

2. Reduce the number of notification I receive on my phone (turning email notifications off altogether is just not an option)

To accomplish this I am taking a few specific steps

1. Unsubscribe: When email comes in that I don’t want instead of just deleting it I am taking a second look at it.   While it is easy to simply delete the email and move on, many emails have valid options to remove yourself from the list.  Many of these emails are probably even things I asked for, years ago.  Instead of taking the one second delete option I am taking the 5 second is there a way to unsubscribe that looks legitimate.  If there is I am taking the time to remove myself from the list.   I have been doing this since the beginning  of the year and 10 days in I am definitely seeing an impact on the volume of mail I receive

2. Cancel: I have already documented my addition to trying new services, if it is Beta I am in, and while I definitely tried to cut down on that in 2012 I still signed up for my share of new services which just love to remind you via email to use them, or what new features they added.  Instead of deleting these now I am looking at them more carefully if it is a service I use I am editing my preferences to opt out of notifications.  If it is a service I don’t use I am cancelling my account.

3. Rules: There are some emails I don’t want to eliminate altogether, but don’t want the constant notifications and traffic in my inbox.  A good example is a community yahoo group.  I want to know what is going on in the community, but it is a high volume list, and I don’t need it in real time.   A simple mail rule puts it straight in to a folder to be looked at when I feel like it.

4. Create your own: I am playing with Pushover as service that lets you create your own notifications.  One example of this is my daily backups of my blog.  It runs every day and was sending me an email, now instead of email a simple PHP script sends a pushover notification.  You are probably asking ‘What is the difference?’ well for me there are 2 differences.  First pushover allows you to send your alerts to multiple devices or point specific alerts to specific devices so while an email generates an alert on my phone and my iPad, I can specifically push my backup alerts to my phone, and not the ipad.  Second when I feel like I can simply delete all on my pushover notifications, they are not mixed in with emails I might want or need.  Time permitting I would like to do more with Pushover and IFTTT to manage notifications and cut down on how many I receive daily.

Have any tips on managing email? feel free to leave a comment.

Managing your Files in the Cloud Made Simple with Otixo

I find that I have files stored in a number of places these days, Google Docs, Dropbox, Amazon S3, box, and Picasa to name a few.  A while back I came across Otixo which allows me to access all of them in one place, and move files between the services all from one dashboard.  Here is how Otixo explains their service:

(wouldn’t it be nice to see IBM Connections Files, and IBM Smart Cloud on their list of supported services?)

Otixo also supports WebDAV access to your account, allowing you to see all your configured services as a mapped drive in Windows, great for uploading or moving files between services.

Otixo has free and paid plans the only difference between the two being monthly bandwidth limits.


A Built in FTP Client Who Knew?

I have been using Notepad++ for years now, it is the Swiss Army Knife of text editors.  It supports text, html, css, php, sql, java, javascript, python, and xml just to name a few the list goes on and on.  It also has a ton of features that I use all the time. 

Notepad++ also features plugins, and comes preinstalled with a few.  The other day completely by accident I discovered that one of the plugins is an FTP client.


The highlighted icon brings up the NppFTP plugin allowing you to open files from a remote location, edit them, and save them back all in one move. Wish I had known about this a long time ago, makes me wonder what else is hidden in Notepad++ that I haven’t discovered yet. 

A list of available plugins is here one of these days I really need to go through it and see what else I can add to Notepad++.

If you have a Notepad++ tip of your own feel free to drop it in a comment trust me it will be appreciated.

Best ifttt Recipe

If you have not heard of or tried ifttt (if this then that)it is definitely worth a look, the possibilities of what you can do with ifttt are endless.  You can create your own actions or use pre-built “recipes”.

So far the most useful recipe I have found combines ifttt and dropbox, using the Queue Downloads Remotely recipe.

Once enabled this allows you to e-mail a link to a download to ifttt and a few minutes later the file is in the specified folder in your Dropbox account.


This is very useful if you are behind a firewall that might block specific downloads (assuming of course you can access dropbox), or if you want to download a file from a mobile device for use later.

There are other things I am using ifttt for, and I have ideas for other tasks, for some reason this is the one I find myself using the most right now.

Using ifttt? If you have found or created any good recipes please share them in a comment.

Spool a Better Way to Build a Read it Later list

I mentioned Spool on Twitter a few days ago, but the more I use Spool, the more I like it.  I had been using Instapaper for saving things to read later, but I have switched over to Spool.  The big difference is Spool brings all the content off line, including pictures and videos, in to an easy to read/view format.  No internet connection no problem if you are using Spool the content is local on your device.  Watch their video, and sign up for their beta this is a great tool.

Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android, as well as browser plugins to easily save items for later.