When Wunderlist closed down we’ve been left without a good task manager that easily syncs across Google and MacOS. AnyDo doesn’t have a MacOS app. I can’t get my Google assistant to add a new todo into to ‘Todoist’. Google Tasks isn’t great but it does have the advantage that it is built right in to gMail. So it’s what I’m running with at the moment. Google tasks is available on MacOS but the App is called ‘Tasksboard’. Here’s the convoluted way to get it up and running!
I have four different Google accounts and quite often I find myself in a browser in the wrong account. For example I might be trying to edit my church calendar, which resides in my work Google account, but because I have just been reading my personal mail in Gmail, I am logged into that Google account. In the Chrome browser you can switch accounts by going to the top right and selecting a different account but it’s clunky.
This article below describes how to automatically login to a certain account when you open a URL in a browser. To automate this with a script see here.
I’ve been trying out the world of Android Phones recently with a Google Pixel phone. Overall I have been surprised at how simple and effortless it has been to use my Google pixel phone alongside my Macintosh OS X. I was expecting it to be a lot harder to synchronise the Google phone to my Macintosh computer but if anything I have found it easier than my old iPhone.
Each individual application syncs its own data across the internet between the Google phone and OS X. Everything else gets synchronised by Google. I have found this approach surprising simple. It’s just a matter of finding the best application for each job.
Here’s a list of applications that I have found that will nicely share data between OSX, iOS and Android.
You can mount a ‘Google Drive’ onto you Mac, it’s a neat cloud based storage solution from Google. The Google Drive sits on your desktop. It looks like a regular hard drive and the contents of the folder are automatically available to anyone else who has access to the same Google Drive.
Google Drive is similar but different to dropbox. When you move a file into dropbox the file is moved into dropbox, like you would expect if you were moving a file into a different folder. (The file is not copied, it is moved.) But when you drag a file into your Google Drive it doesn’t move the file, it creates a copy of the file. It’s more like copying the file to a thumb drive.
Because of this difference in the way they behave, Dropbox feels like it’s a folder on your computer like any other folder, it just happens to be shared with others. But Google Drive has a different feel. It feels like a foreign hard drive that is out there in the cloud and you happen to have access to it from your computer. Each have their advantage, and I use both.
Another big point of difference is that Google Drive requires an active internet connection. Last week our internet was down, and I went to access a file in my Google Drive, and I could see it, but not access it without a web connection. Dropbox syncs the 2 folders completely, so they are available offline as well.
We use Google Drive to share documents across our organisation. I use dropbox to share files that I am working on across my own personal computers. I find it really useful to have this distinction in my head. Files that I want to share with other people – Google Drive. Files that I want to share with myself – Dropbox. Of course, you could use these tools any way you want but that’s the way I have found myself using them.
Here’s how to get Google Drive going.
Many businesses have a G-Suite account, Google give them to non for profit organisations for free. A G-suite account includes 30GB of Google Drive space free to each user. It also has a clever permission system where certain folders can be shared with members of teams. So you can set up various teams, put people in those teams, and any files placed in a folder for that team will be automatically shared with the users of that team.
NOTE: This doesn’t work anymore, it’s broken in Mojave, I’ve written an updated article here about the fix.
If you plug an Android phone into your computer the Photos app will open like it does with an iPhone, but it may not see the photos on your Android Phone. This happened to me on my Nexus 5X phone and I needed to give the phone permission to share the photos with my computer. It’s the same for any Android phone.
If you watch TV on your Macbook or iMac here’s a great tip. I’m not sure what happens in the rest of the world, but in Australia when you stream TV on demand from stations like channel 10 or SBS you get between 30 seconds and 2 minutes of ads every 10 minutes or so. The same happens if you watch TV on demand via Apple TV.
But you can avoid those ads! If you watch TV on demand using the Chrome browser in OS X with the ‘Ad Block’ plug-in enabled, all the ads disappear! It completely skips all the ads and just plays the content.