Category Archives: Geeks to Peeps

Translating the language of the geek to normal people talk.

How To Transfer Contacts From An Android Phone To A Yahoo Account

One of my high school classmates emailed me recently with a question regarding their contacts on their Android phone. He keeps his contacts in his Yahoo account and wanted to know if there is a way to import his phone contacts to Yahoo. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this.

As Android is Google’s mobile operating system, one of the first steps new Android users take when setting up their phone is to set up a Google account, if they don’t already have one, then associate that account with their phone. This is very convenient as your phone automatically syncs just about every piece of information you enter on the phone, including your email, calendars, photos, AND your contacts. This is great news if you want to get your contacts into another web account like Yahoo as you don’t even need to do anything on the phone to make it happen.

Here’s what you do:

1. Go to http://mail.yahoo.com and log into your Yahoo account.
2. Click on the Contacts tab.
3. Click on the Import Contacts button.
4. Click on the Gmail button.
5. In the fields provided, enter your Google account username and password.
6. Check the box to grant Yahoo permission to access your Google contacts and click continue.
7. Select the contacts you wish to import and click the Import button.

That’s it! Your phone contacts now also appear in your Yahoo account.

Geeks To Peeps: Setting Up My Android Phone, Part Two

Now that we have gone through our Android phone’s settings, it’s time to set up the apps which come with the phone. Many of these are Google related (surprise, surprise), but the functionality they add to the phone, especially when you’re a Google product nutcase like me, give you a device which expands well beyond its functions as a phone and even beyond those of a computer. Imagine a device which handles all of your communication, navigation, entertainment, and work needs, yet is small enough to fit in your pocket. If you own an Android phone, you don’t need to imagine it.

The first thing you need to do is check out the Android Marketplace app. While we are not adding any new apps to our phone at this point, this is where you need to go and make sure all of your current apps are up to date. When you first open the Market app, you will need to accept the Android Market Terms of Service. If you want to read through them all, go right ahead. I’m not going anywhere. Once you accept the agreement, you’ll arrive on the main page of the Marketplace. Almost immediately, the phone may begin downloading updates for all the installed apps. Depending on your connection speed to the Internet, this may happen pretty fast, possibly before you finish reading this paragraph. One of the apps which updates is the Marketplace itself, thanks to a recent overhaul by Google, which makes it much easier to find, install, and update apps on your phone. Once your updates are done, go to the My Apps section in the Marketplace and check to see if there are any apps which did not update automatically. You do have the option to turn on automatic updates for these apps. Just tap on the app in question and check the box for automatic updates.

Now that our apps are up-to-date, let’s start configuring them to our liking. I’m going to focus on apps which are best for productivity (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts) in the next few articles, but there are many other apps which will keep you entertained/distracted/in touch for hours before downloading a single new app onto the phone. If there’s an app which I don’t talk about and you’ d like me to cover, feel free to post it in the comments section and I will talk about it in a later article.

Gmail:
I am focusing on Gmail as opposed to the general Email app as I use Gmail for just about everything, including reading and responding to my work email. As a result, I don’t need to configure anything on the phone to do both personal and work email – the Gmail app covers all of my needs. If you’re a Gmail user, you’re already familiar with using labels, stars, and many of the other functions Gmail offers. What’s impressive is that almost all of those functions are available in the Android app, including the Priority Inbox, which allows you to sort your email by importance, and the ability to send email using another address, such as a work address. Looking at the settings for Gmail, in fact, you can even set your Priority Inbox as your default inbox when you open the app. You also have the option to set up a signature for your email. This will be a different signature from what you have set up on the website and will be the same no matter which address you use to reply, so you may want to make it generic enough to fit both personal and work communications.

If you’d like to avoid accidentally sending or deleting an email, you also have the option to turn on a confirmation message for these and other actions in Gmail. Since it’s easy to accidentally tap the screen and send out that bitchy email you were writing to your friend to the person you were bitching about, you may want to at least turn on this function for the short term and see how you like it. If you tend to use the Reply All option on a regular basis, you can set that as the default when responding to messages so you don’t have to select it every time you reply. Once you’re done with a message and either archive or delete it, you can set Gmail to either go to the next message in your inbox, back to the previous message, or go back to the inbox view. You can also set which labels (folders for you non-Gmail users) you sync with the app, which comes in handy if you’re short on space and only look at your inbox and starred items when using Gmail on your phone.

The final settings we will look at involve notifications. One of the beautiful design choices Android made is how a user receives notifications. With an iOS device, a notification pops up on the screen, regardless of what you’re doing, and won’t go away until you respond to it. If you have more than one notification, they pop up, one at a time, until you’ve cleared them all out. This is annoying as there are some alerts you may want to hold off on responding to until a later time, plus they prevent you from doing anything with the device until they are all cleared. With Android, notifications appear in the top bar of the screen as an icon related to the particular app which needs your attention. When you want to look at the alerts, you just pull down on that top bar much like you would pull down on a window shade. You can then look at all of the alerts, choose which ones to respond to, and leave the rest alone until you’re ready to work with them. When it comes to Gmail notification, you can turn notifications on or off, depending on whether or not you actually want to know every time an email arrives. You can also set a ringtone for email alerts, turn vibrating alerts on or off, and set the alerts to come up for every new message or just when new email in general arrives in the inbox. This kind of notification control is light years ahead of how iOS handles alerts and makes it much easier to deal with the notifications that come into your phone.

As you can see, there is a ton of options which both Android itself and the individual apps offer for customization purposes. While this can be intimidating for a first time user, note that you don’t have to go through all of these settings and change them at the same time, plus you may find the default settings give you the functionality you want right out of the box. Android is a very robust operating system which offers something for every user, and I, for one, find it very exciting to work with. There’s plenty to learn about Android, but I’ll help you out every step of the way until we are all Android gurus.

Geeks To Peeps: Setting Up My Android Phone, Part One

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I’ve purchased an Android smartphone. I’ve been interesting in Android for some time, especially now that I have clients which use various Android handsets. With Virgin Mobile offering the LG Optimus V phone for just $150 out the door, I made a foolish purchase and now have two cell phones in my┬ápossession: My iPhone 4 and the Optimus V.

The iPhone is still my cell phone and, for all intents and purposes, the only phone I use thanks to Google Voice. I don’t intend to start using the Optimus V in place of my iPhone…yet. My first goal is to learn Android inside and out, starting with the built-in apps which come with Android and the Optimus V. It is entirely possible, however, that, through Google Voice and Skype, I could set this phone up to make AND receive calls on, and that leads to my second goal: To completely remove the iPhone from my life and see if the Optimus V can fill the void. First things first, however… Continue reading Geeks To Peeps: Setting Up My Android Phone, Part One

Geeks To Peeps: Gmail On Your Smartphone

I’ve packed away my laptop for the night, so I thought I appropriate to write my latest installment of Geeks to Peeps both on and about a device which many people use to check their Gmail on a regular basis: a smartphone. Specifically, I’m going to focus on the mobile website for Gmail. While I access the site from an iPhone, everything I write about will work for any smartphone.

First of all, why would you want to use the Gmail website when all smartphones come with their own mail app? To be honest, it depends on your phone. For me, the iPhone’s mail app, while functional, is not a very intuitive interface. I haven’t used the Android or Blackberry mail apps, and you may find that those apps are more than sufficient for your email needs. It is worth looking at the web interface, though, and determining what method best meets your needs. Continue reading Geeks To Peeps: Gmail On Your Smartphone

Geeks To Peeps: Boomerang

I truly believe that this is the best thing to happen to Gmail since, well, Gmail itself.

Boomerang is a third party plugin for the Firefox and Chrome web browsers which adds a ton of functionality and productivity enhancements to your Gmail account. If you’re a believer in the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, the Inbox Zero method, or both, Boomerang is for you. If you’re not a fan of either, Boomerang is still for you.

What Boomerang allows you to do, in a nutshell, is resend yourself emails from your inbox. For example, if you have an email from your boss which tells you to perform a task at a certain time, you can have Boomerang send that email from your inbox and schedule it to return at a specific time, serving as a reminder to perform that task. Got a meeting coming up and want a reminder half an hour before? Send that email via Boomerang and schedule it to return to your inbox a half hour before the meeting starts. Its arrival back in your inbox (and the resultant new mail alert), will do the job.

Continue reading Geeks To Peeps: Boomerang

Geeks to Peeps: Phone Calls In Gmail

Google made an announcement today which I am thrilled about: The ability to make phone calls from your Gmail web page, which Google introduced earlier this year, will remain free throughout 2011 for U.S. users.

That’s right. You can make totally free phone calls from your totally free Gmail account. All you need is a (sometimes) totally free data connection. What’s also great about this feature is that you only need to install one plugin to start calling Aunt Matilda from your computer.

Continue reading Geeks to Peeps: Phone Calls In Gmail

Geeks to Peeps: Gmail Chat

In my last Geeks to Peeps article, I started digging into the wonder that is Gmail, looking at the archiving and labels functions and how they help you organize and reference your email. This article continues the Gmail love, focusing on the built-in Chat functionality and how it brings multiple communication methods into your Gmail account.

Chat

We live in a world where chat is as much a part of our online life as email is. It only makes sense, then, that Google has added their own chat application into Gmail as well as a standalone client. The official application is Google Talk and can be downloaded here. The application also serves as a notifier when you receive new email, so you don’t have to keep your web browser open all of the time. My focus for this article, however, is on the embedded chat function in Gmail.

Continue reading Geeks to Peeps: Gmail Chat

Geeks to Peeps: Gmail Archiving and Labels

GmailIf you read my previous Tech Tips Tuesday installment, you’ll remember that I gave you a homework assignment – Set up your own Google account, including creating a Gmail account. If you haven’t done so, please take a couple minutes (which really is all it takes) to create that account. A large part of what we’ll do with Google from this point on will need that account, although there are still plenty of tools, including Google Search, which you can access without logging in.

As you’ve deduced from the title of this week’s post, as well as the fairly obvious logo I’ve thrown at the top of this post, we’re going to start with Gmail. Today’s post will cover the basics (Gmail basics, not email, although there may be some overlap). Over the next few weeks, we’ll start digging deeper into Gmail, looking at features like Gmail Labs and the Priority Inbox. I really could spend an entire 52 weeks of posting on just Gmail, but there are so many other tools under the Google umbrella and I’d like to give them their due, as well.
Continue reading Geeks to Peeps: Gmail Archiving and Labels

Geeks to Peeps: Going Gaga Over Google

Google LogoShow me somebody who has not performed a Google search at least once in their lives and I’ll show you somebody who has never touched a computer in their lives. Google has become a mainstay in our everyday lives. Students Google potential topics for their studies. Sports fans Google their favorite players to find out more about them. Movie lovers Google films before they’re released in hopes of finding even the tiniest tidbits of information about the plot and the stars. Heck, people like me even Google our own names to see what’s on the Internet about us (this isn’t always vanity as this is a great way to discover if you’re a victim of identity theft). Google is on our PCs and our cell phones, in our homes and our jobs, at our fingertips and in our pockets. With how much Google is in our lives, it still surprises people that Google offers so much more than web search.

Continue reading Geeks to Peeps: Going Gaga Over Google