073: 10 Gmail tips to make you more productive.

Hey there do-it-yourself technicians!
Today I want to give you my top 10 tips for getting the most out of Gmail

-Intro Music-

Of course, my first tip is: Use Gmail!

You are using Gmail, aren’t you? If you’re not using Gmail let me know why. Pop a comment down below, I’d really love to know.

Google accounts are free for individuals and quite inexpensive for businesses. See the end of this episode for a special promo deal for your business. If you don’t already have a Google account there’s a video here explaining how easy it is to get one and stepping you through the process. If you have got one head to the Google homepage and then click the Gmail link, or just type gmail.com into the address bar.

My second tip for Gmail is to turn keyboard shortcuts on. These are quick little keystroke commands on your keyboard that you can do to make life in
Gmail faster and simpler, but first, you need to turn them on. To do that in Gmail, go up to the “settings cog” near the top right and then click “settings”, then in that general tab scroll down until you see keyboard shortcuts, and click
keyboard shortcuts on, and then click Save Changes right down at the bottom.

If you Google Gmail keyboard shortcuts you’ll get this giant list of them. A few of my favourites are ‘E’ to archive an email, or ‘V’ to save it to a specific label or folder. I also frequently use ‘ctrl-enter’ to send an email when I finish typing it up it’s just faster than picking up my mouse and moving down to hit Send.

Tip 3: snoozing emails. Email is not necessarily the best place to have your to-do lists. But the reality is many of us are sent things that we need to action by email. And sometimes, when you read it is not the time that it needs to be actioned and you don’t want it to get lost in your inbox. To fix that, we have “snooze”!

While you’re viewing the email that you don’t need until later, click the ‘clock
icon’ up in the top menu bar, or press B if you’ve got your keyboard shortcuts on, and it will give you a list of times that you might want to snooze the email
to, or the option to add a custom date and time. The message will then be
removed from your inbox and returned again at the scheduled time.

If you really need it earlier than that you can go to the ‘snooze’ label over on
the side and see everything in there and when it will be returned to your Inbox.

Fourth tip: Inbox View. By default Gmail breaks your email down into primary,
social, and promotional tabs but there are more options if you go to the settings cog, then Settings, and then the inbox tab. You can add the ‘updates’ tab, and the ‘forum’s’ tab from here, or you can choose another view entirely. A lot of people like the priority view, which you can set from the inbox type link above. This sorts your email into important, starred an “other” option, and everything else.

It also gives you an option to hide any of those categories if there are no emails in that category, in your email at the time. This view might suit some people, and it might not work for others but give it a shot, and see how you go.

Tip number five is a smart reply: If we head back to the settings cog, click Settings, and then in ‘general’, scroll down until we see ‘smart replies’ and turn smart reply on, don’t forget to save your changes! when turned on this gives a
series of answers down the bottom of your email premade for you by Google.
They’re usually only one to five sentences (words) but often sum up a really easy answer to an email with a question in it. When you click on them, in this case, I have three options “sure I’d be happy to” “yes I would be interested”, and “I’m not interested”. I just picked the one that suits my personality best, and click on that. It opens a reply to that person, fills that text in and then leaves the cursor there so you can customize it further. It’s just a great shortcut and will save you that little bit of time.

Tip number six: Labels: now Google is a search company first and foremost, so the fact that they encourage us to search for mail using the search bar at the top rather than finding it in a list of folders is not really that surprising, but for some of us, old habits like putting things in folders die hard. For this, Google has labels, Labels are a nested series of tags that we can put on an email to give
it some context. In this case, I’ve selected all of the emails that have come from YouTube then I go up to the top, and Click the label or press the ‘L’ key if you’ve got shortcuts turned on, and type a new label; YouTube. now I can scroll down in this list on the left and find the label YouTube, Click on that and those three messages are the only thing in that list.

Tip number seven is smart compose: This feature like most of the others are in settings, general tab, and there are two options here for smart compose want to turn it on and then another one for personalization. Basically what this does is look at what you’re writing, and see if there’s away that it can finish the sentence for you, a bit like the predictive text on most modern smartphones. I recommend turning both on and then click Save Changes.

Now, when you compose an email Google attempt to finish your sentences for you just like I do for my wife! (😎) I like it when Google does it, how come she doesn’t like it when I do it? Anyway, when the text pops up ahead of you all you have to do is press ‘tab’ like this and it will complete the sentence for you! Here it goes with the second sentence great little time saver, even if it doesn’t work perfectly all the time. If you don’t like what it’s suggesting you can just keep typing as you were to ignore it.

Tip number eight: Undo sending. We all know that feeling of ‘oh really shouldn’t have sent that email’ or ‘oops I press send before I was finished’
well, now Gmail gives you some grace to unsend those messages. By default, it’s set to five seconds. Cog, settings, general and setting the time frame for undoing send make sure you click Save Changes.

Here’s an email I’m sending, and I press send, and there’s the option down the bottom. I click undo send and it pops back up ready to be edited again.

Tip 9: Signature. Google lets you set up a block of text to go at the bottom of each email you send, this is great for adding contact information like phone numbers and social links to every email you send out. Again we head back to the settings cog, click settings in general, we scroll almost all the way to the bottom to find the big box where we can add our signature block. I’ve designed a bit of a fancy signature which I’ll show you how to do in a later video, but for now, put in your information, then scroll down and click Save. Here it is when you click compose for a new message and all of that is there ready for you at the bottom of the message. You can edit it if you want to and we’ve made it to our last tip.

Tip number Ten: unsubscribing. If you’re getting too many emails one option is to unsubscribe from some of those newsletters you don’t read anymore. I’m not talking about my newsletter obviously you read that and if you don’t get it there’s a link to subscribe here. It’s got lots of little tech tips and news in it.

I’m talking about those other subscriptions, you know the ones that I mean the
shopping coupon site you never buy from, the travel information you signed up to for a trip that you’ve now taken, or the newsletter that you signed up to just go into a competition and you’re not really interested in their product anymore. You can unsubscribe from these by clicking on the unsubscribe link right up next to the From email address at the top of most of these emails rather than searching for their custom unsubscribe that may be buried at the bottom somewhere entire little text.

I hope that was useful let me know in the comments below which tip was your favorite. If you have a business and you’re not using Gmail we’ve also got promo codes down in the description below for 20% off your first year of

The Tech Doctor exists to help you become your own technician and navigate your technology maze. There’s some videos here and here that you may not have seen before, or you can click down here to subscribe or up here to subscribe to our mailing list. Thank you so much for watching and have a great day!!!

072: Reclaiming used disk space with Space Sniffer.

Hey there do-it-yourself technicians! so your computers running out of disk space? The C drives almost full and your systems getting sluggish. What can you do? Space sniffer to the rescue! if your C Drive is seeing red like this, it’s time to free up some disk space.

Having at least 2 gigabytes of free space on the C drive is a must, but it’s ideal to have more like 15 to 20 gigabytes free. There are lots of ways to clear up space. The easiest might just be emptying the recycle bin, or even running Windows built-in it disk cleanup tool, but sometimes it’s your own files that are causing the problem and you simply don’t know where they are. Hunting through all the directories and folders on your machine can be really time-consuming. There must be a better way. There is and it’s called Space Sniffer!

Space Sniffer is a free tool available from my new Doctor’s Favourites page linked here. Space Sniffer scans your entire hard drive or the portion of it that you select, and present you with a graphical display of what’s taking up the most space. You can then drill down to each folder to see what it is there’s actually causing the problem.

Because it searches inside the windows folder it’s best to run Space Sniffer by right-clicking on it and ‘run as administrator’ it then pops up a window asking which drive or folder you wish to scan. This is usually the C Drive but you can choose another Drive or pick a particular folder to scan that on its own. Double-click the C Drive to start or enter your preferred path and click scan. The system will spend a few minutes scanning the drive and showing you the progress up in the top right corner.

Once complete it will display an interactive tile map of the file or folder that you chose, with tile sizes proportional to the size of the file or folder on the disk. On this system, which is my video editing machine, the bulk of the space is taken up with the ‘TD video’ folder that I’ve highlighted here which is the archive and working folder for all of these videos. Over to the right, we have the Program Files folder and the Windows folder while the user folder is down below. There are a couple of big files down the bottom right pagefile.sys and HyberFill.sys that are system files that we really don’t want to mess with! The same likely goes for the windows folder. In the user’s folder, we have a fairly large app data folder which is chrome and all of its bits and pieces usually, as well as a copy of my Evernote database. Some of these I can do more about than others.

To find a folder in the file system you just right click on the ‘folders’ title and click on open, and it will open a Windows Explorer window with that folder’s contents in it. You can also delete files directly from within Space Sniffer by clicking on the file and then clicking the ‘Delete key’ on the keyboard. In fact, you can do everything you normally could with the file just simply by right-clicking on it and selecting one of the items from the context menu that pops up.

I hope you found that useful let me know in the comments below if your gonna give SpaceSniffer a try!

The tech doctor exists to help you become your own technician and navigate your technology maze. Click here to subscribe to more videos, click here to subscribe to our mailing list and get weekly updates, or click here or here to see some videos that you possibly haven’t seen before.
Thank you so much for watching and have a great day!

071: What’s with all the dots? QR Codes Explained, including creating your own QR Codes.

hey there do-it-yourself technicians! Have you seen those square dot patterns attached to buildings and manuals and signs and things around the place? Well, these little fellas are called QR codes and they can be really handy. Stay tuned to find out more!

Quick response codes or QR codes are a type of matrix bar-code that was first designed in Japan in 1994 by a company called Denso wave. Toyota subsidiary that used them to track automotive parts. The design, especially the three big squares up in the corners, allowed for high-speed scanning and scanning at odd angles which were really useful for parts going past on a conveyor belt.

Soon the technology moved past just automation and manufacturing and out into the mainstream. Outside of factories far and away the biggest use of QR codes is linked to URLs or website addresses. Although you can also use them to store payment information, virtual business cards, Wi-Fi logins and much more. One of the great features of QR codes is error correction, which allows them to still be read even if they’re damaged. For that reason, I can stick my face in the middle of a QR code like this, and you can actually still read it although it will just link back to this episode so there’s probably no point scanning it.

So how do you read a QR code? on the iPhone, it’s as simple as opening the camera app and pointing it at the QR code. A box will pop up at the top of the screen giving you the link and you can tap that and off you go. Other phone types require a specialised app which you can find by searching QR code in your app store of choice, although it seems fairly likely it will be added to future versions of the Android camera app as well.

Now that we know how the next question is why? Lots of reasons! for example, I have a heart rate monitor (for exercise) that connects to my smartphone. In the box that it came with are the QR codes to go straight to the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store to download the app that connects them. Really simple. Sometimes QR codes can provide links to online manuals or help forums for devices or even more information about a location on a self-guided tourist walk. I’m currently writing a PC troubleshooting booklet and it will have a plethora of links via QR code to various websites and videos including this one so people with a printed copy can scan their way directly to a link rather than having to type in a web address.

I’ve also seen them used in educational settings where a teacher printed out six QR codes and made them into a dice which the students then rolled and picked a different activity based on which QR code came up top.

Companies in Japan and the USA are even making tombstones with QR codes built into them so that loved ones can scan a link and see a website dedicated to the person who is passed away.

Of course, with technology, there is a downside as well not all QR codes are perfectly harmless, there have been codes found with links to malware that may attack your phone or attempt to send a premium SMS message, costing you money. That said these sorts of issues are very few and far between and quickly shut down soon after they found. So please don’t let them discourage you from using this wonderful technology.

If you want to create QR codes of your own there are a bunch of websites that will allow you to do it for free I use qrcode-monkey.com I like it because it’s free, it allows me to customize the QR code in a whole bunch of different ways, and it’s really easy to use! For a web link, all you do is put in the URL you want to link to create the customizations and hit generate QR code and you can then download the PNG file of the code and print it out or put it in whatever document you need to. – alternatively you can download SVG, PDF, or EPS files with your code depending on what sort of use you want to put them to. Each of those formats will allow you to create giant images without it going weird. There are also tabs at the top for creating a dozen or more different types of QR codes from email, SMS, Wi-Fi, virtual business cards, and Facebook links.

Have you seen a QR code used in an unusual way? Or created one yourself? Let us know in the comments below so we can check it out.

The Tech Doctor Network exists to help you become your own technician and navigate your technology maze. There’s a link down here to subscribe to the YouTube channel,There’s also a link up here to subscribe to a weekly newsletter to find out more about what’s happening in the tech world. There are also some videos here and here that you might not have seen before.

Thank you so much for reading and have a great day!

070: Troubleshooting your System Memory/RAM with MemTest86

Hey there do-it-yourself technicians! If your computer is crashing, glitching or rebooting then this episode might be for you.
Today we look at some tools for troubleshooting system memory or RAM.

Windows 10 comes with its own memory tester. The windows memory diagnostic utility, which you can start by pressing the Windows key and then typing ‘Windows memory diagnostic’ and then pressing enter. In the box that pops up click the link that says ‘restart now and check for problems’ the system will reboot and do a basic check of your system memory. That may be enough but sometimes you need a specialist tool, and that specialist tool for me is memtest 86. There are a couple of versions available for purchase but all we really need for today is the free version which you can get from the link here. Before we download though, there’s something we need to check. Because the test runs in its own environment outside of Windows we need to work out how your system boots, to work out which version of the mem test program we need. In Windows click start and then type ‘system information’ and press Enter. This should run the system information utility built into Windows. We’re looking for a line that says BIOS mode which will look like this for a legacy system, or this for the newer UEFI systems. Without going into detail this is the system that runs before Windows starts, we either have BIOS the basic input/output system or the newer unified extensible firmware interface also known as UEFI. Older systems will run a BIOS, newer systems will run UEFI.

The reason we need to know this is that the legacy or BIOS version of memtest uses the version 4stream while the new UEFI version uses the current version, version 8. As you can see here the current version -which is version 8.2 at the date of this recording- will be used for UEFI machines and you can download that by clicking the green button at the top of the screen. For legacy versions, you’ll have to come down a bit further and you can download different options for burning onto a CD, booting from a USB stick, or even booting from a floppy drive! so pick the version that’s right for your machine and download it.

Once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll need to open the zip archive and extract all of the files, to get to the Installer. Once you’ve extracted the files, you’ll need to run the imageUSB.exe assuming you’re using the USB version which is all that’s available for the UEFI version. I won’t cover the CD and floppy versions here for the legacy one but the legacy USB version is exactly the same. So run the executable, you’ll need to plug in a USB drive of at least probably one gigabyte will be enough, which is tiny so just about any old USB drive will do, but be warned it will completely wipe the contents of this drive so choose carefully. If the USB drive wasn’t in when you started the program you may need to click the refresh disks button over on the right then tick the drive you want and click the write button,First you need to confirm that yes you do want to write it to this USB, then in confirmation that this USB will be completely wiped, and then it will write the USB which will only take a minute or two usually. Now we can just click OK.

For the UEFI version the easiest way to get it started is to hold the shift key down while you click the start button, and then the power, and then restart. The system will bring up this screen allowing you to choose a startup device, and from there reboot and start into the testing. This is what the UEFI version looks like as it runs, and then it will get to the end and tell you whether you’ve got any issues or not. For the BIOS version you’ll have to restart the computer normally, and as the motherboard screen splashes up press the f12 key to choose a boot device, maybe f10 on some machines but it’s pretty standard that at f12. Then select ‘removable device’ and this will allow you to boot from the USB, and start up the mem test 86 program.

The BIOS version looks like this but runs basically exactly the same through to the end. If there are any errors in the RAM on your machine it will display big red warning labels on them. In the end, you’ll get a finishing screen and all going well you’ll know that your machine is free from memory errors. Now testing can take some time, a single pass took half an hour and it recommends four passes, so you’re looking at at least two hours on this machine which has 12 gigs of ram. The machine I was testing the bios version on only had four gigs of ram but still took about 40 minutes to do a single pass,obviously, it’s slower Ram. This version will just keep going looping through and through until you turn it off.

If you do strike errors then we have the next challenge, what do we do about them? If you have multiple sticks of RAM you can shut the Machine down and take them out so that there’s just one left in there and test each individual stick at a time to work out which one’s faulty, and then either return it under warranty if your machines still under warranty, or just buy a new stick. Now might be a great time for a ram upgrade.

I hope that was helpful, please leave a comment down below if you found it useful.

I’d also love you to hit that like button and if you haven’t already hit the subscribe button that’s down here. If you’d like some more tech news every week there’s a button up here that you can subscribe to our mailing list or there are some videos here and here that you might not have seen before. The tech doctor is here to help you navigate the technology maze and become your own technician thank you so much for watching. have a great day!