Oct 06

I recently received a warning from Google Play Music that they are closing their Music service and migrating it across to YouTube Music. I wrote an article 4 years ago about the advantages of Google Play Music over iTunes. Unfortunately this has come back to bite me as I’ll now need to import all my songs back into iTunes again!

Google offered to transfer all my music for free from Google Play over to YouTube Music. I took them up on this offer, only to discover that ‘Youtube Music’ has ads unless you take up their paid subscription. So I paid Google to purchase these songs, and now I am required to pay a further subscription if I want to listen to them ad free through YouTube Music.

I have a lot of songs in Google Play Music – nearly 2000. Some of these are from CD. Some were purchased though iTunes, some were purchased through Google Play Music. At 0.99c a song that’s $2000 worth of music that I own. I don’t want to have to pay a subscription to listen to it!

Thankfully Google also has the option to download all of your songs. To do this you need to go to a website called Google Takeout.

When you are selecting what you want to export, it looks as if it won’t download the actual audio files (see this screenshot below.) But don’t worry, even though it says ‘list of tracks….in your library’ it will do more than just a list of tracks – it will send you the actual audio files.

You can then choose the compression type (zip) and maximum file size (I choose 50MB).

That’s how to export all your music files from Google Play Music.

A few hours later I received a link in an email to download all my music files:

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Apr 01

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!

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Sep 20

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.

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Feb 07

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Oct 02

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.

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Jul 29

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.

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Apr 29

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.

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Nov 15

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. Continue reading ⟩

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