Tag Archives: gmail

I Just Deleted 11,005 Emails and I’m Thrilled!

Caveat: Email systems are very personal! My system may not be appropriate for you. Read thru this article as an example of what can be done, not a set of rules to follow.

I use Gmail as my universal inbox. ALL my mail is collected there. Gmail automatically sorts my mail into 3 categories: Primary, Social, Promotions, and Updates. It’s been doing this for a couple years now and it does a really good job of recognizing the different content. I know that, if I delete emails in the Social category – I’m not deleting anything in Facebook, Google+, RVillage, LinkedIn, etc. I’m just deleting the emails that notify me of new content there. It doesn’t take long for the Social category to build up. I try to clean it out regularly, but it still had built to 647 messages. The Forums category had 59 and Promotions had 10,299. Following the steps below, I deleted them all in just a few minutes.

The more my email messages build up, the more  messages I  miss. I watched Steve Dotto’s webinar on Email Overload, and got motivated to do some inbox cleaning. It’s time to get out the hatchet!

Delete All Email in the Social and Promotions Category

You can learn how to set up your inbox with these categories by reading the official help page on Gmail Categories. Over the years, I’ve watched what Gmail automatically categorizes and, anytime it’s wrong, I just drag the email to it’s proper category. It’s gotten to the point that Gmail is near perfect in sorting my mail. I am confident there is nothing in my Social or Promotions category that can’t be deleted.

  1. Click on the Promotions Category Tab
  2. Click the checkbox at the top left – that will select all the messages currently visible (usually 50 or 100)
  3. Notice the message that appears at the top in blue letters ‘ All 102 conversations on this page are selected. Select all 10,299 conversations in Promotions.
  4. Click the link to “Select all 10,299 conversations …”
  5. Click the trashcan. BOOM! The entire category of Promotion messages is EMPTY. They will remain in your Trash for 30 days, then gone forever.

Read more about how Delete works in Gmail in the official help page: Delete or recover deleted Gmail messages.

Repeat the steps above for the Promotions Category.

Archive All Email in the Primary Category

To learn about Archiving messages with Gmail, see the official help page: Archive or Mute Gmail messages.

The only emails I have left are in the Primary category. I really should look at all of them, respond to the important ones, manually delete the ones I don’t need, archive the ones that I’m done with but want to keep forever. But right now, I am just determined to have an empty inbox! I can follow the same steps as above, just changing the last step. Instead of clicking the trashcan to delete – I click the archive button. image Boom! My inbox is empty!

Why Archive?

Archive means the messages are gone from my Inbox, but they are still stored in Gmail and I can search for something at any time. For example, as we travel the country we present our seminars at RV Parks, clubs, and senior centers. It might be many years before we’re in that area again and I want to find the emails from our last visit. For example, as we’re planning a trip in Oregon, I may remember that we did some seminars in Albany – that’s all I remember! I’d like to contact whoever that was and let them know when we’ll be in the area. I can search Gmail for “Albany” and it comes up with 47 emails containing the word “Albany” going back to 2010! It only takes a minute looking at those 47 emails to find the one I need.

Your Important Emails – Starred

To learn about starring emails, see the official help page: Star emails in Gmail.  There is also an Importance marker that is an automatic thing, see the official help page: Importance marker in Gmail.

When I see an email  that I need to respond to, I mark it with a Star. At any time I can see those messages marked with a star by clicking on the link in the left sidebar for Starred. Even if they’re Archived, they will still show up as Starred. That’s my real inbox! Those are the emails I need to handle. Everything else is empty!

For more about using Gmail see Episode 259 Gmail: 3 Game-Changing Features.

A Map of Visited States

Map of Visited StatesWould you like to have your very own map of visited states?  Many travelers include this as part of their email signature, or in their blog posts or on Facebook.  It’s easy and free by going to http://epgsoft.com/.  Just choose ‘Visited States Map’ and ‘Create Map.’  You should now see the choice of Visited States, Visited Provinces, or Visited Mexican States.  Just click the one you want.

If you have visited lots of states, it’s easiest to click on Select All, then click on the states you have not visited to clear them. You also have the choice to select states by name, select none then add the states you have visited.

When you’re done selecting the states you have visited, select a map size – small, medium, or large – and a file format – GIF, JPG, or PNG. Any of the formats should work, I prefer PNG. Now click on Create Map.  You may want to share your map on Facebook! But, if you want it for your email signature, you should “Download Map”


Make your own Map

If you find that you’ve missed some states, or selected some by mistake, you can click the Edit Map button.  Once the map looks how you want it, you click the Download Map button.  Navigate to the folder where you want to store it and click ok.  Now the map is a picture on your computer that you can use like any other picture.

How about the World?

If you travel the world and want to have a map of visited countries, check out http://douweosinga.com/projects/visited.  It works similarly to the visited states above except at the very end.  Instead of saving an image file, you get html code to put on a blog or website.  It also only uses one color.  I find for a world map that one color is better anyway.

Using your Visited States Map in your Gmail Signature

If you use Gmail, you can include your visited states map as part of your signature.

  1. Open Gmail.com on a computer
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right and settings
  3. Select General and scroll down until you see Signature
  4. Choose the email address
  5. Use the editor box to type your signature
  6. Click the Insert Image tool: image and Upload, Select a File from your Computer, locate your map, Open
  7. That’s it!

Which Webmail Service do you use?

We use Gmail as our universal inbox for all our email addresses.  We think Gmail (Google Mail) is the best way to go.  When I read the latest post from Bob Rankin, I decided to pass it along to you all.  I’ve been reading Bob Rankin since the Internet began and he is always full of good information.  This article, “Webmail Smackdown: Which is Best?”




This might be a good time to review some of the articles we’ve written about Gmail in the past:


#05 Email Synchronization. What Does This Button Do?

Here is Episode 5. There are show notes below the video which document what was covered and include timeline points, so you can watch just what you want. If you are not a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch Episode 5 video on YouTube, but you won’t get the documentation. Become a member.

  1. Beginners’ Lesson: Synchronizing Email
  2. Jim’s App of the Week: Pandora
  3. Viewer Questions
  4. Review Questions

Continue reading →

February 2013 Newsletter: Blogger for Clubs, Protect Your Email, Genealogists

Geeks on Tour

Monthly Issue # 64 February 28, 2013                           www.geeksontour.com
Newsletter ArchivesBecome a MemberFacebookAll Videos  ‘ Subscribe

February was for Computer User Groups


As I write this, we are at Club Med in Port St. Lucie, Florida attending the FACUG 2013 Technology Camp as speakers.  It’s a beautiful property and we’ve had great weather. 

We’re speaking on our topics of Technology for Travelers, Smartphone Overview, and Smartphone Photography.  I will admit that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the delicious food here though.  It’s all included and it’sreally good!

Just in the month of February, we’ve given 14 presentations to different clubs around the state of Florida.  From a Smartphone presentation to the Riverside RV park’s computer club to Safe Computing for the Boca Raton Computer Society and Picasa, Blogger, and Photo Story for the Central Florida Genealogical Society.  It’s been a whirlwind of a month.

User Groups are a great way to continue learning about technology.  The Ass’n of PC User Groups can help you find a User Group Near You .

On a personal note, we had the sad task of attending funeral services for Jim’s Dad this month.  He was a wonderful man, leaving the family with lots of great memories.  We expect to be traveling to Arlington sometime in April to attend his military honors funeral.

Calendar: Coming up in March

TechnoGeek Learning Rally

Registration is still open for our third TechnoGeek Learning Rally in Bushnell, Florida March 26-30.  Come learn about lots of technology to enhance your RVing lifestyle!  Geeks on Tour Members get a 20% discount.  Hey!  That’s another reason to Join Today.  The rally is 5 days, including 4 breakfasts and 3 dinners.  There is an optional 2-day pre-rally focusing on smartphones, and an included 2 days post-rally Homework Help.

If it looks like we’re in your area, contact us to come to your RV park!  See our Frequently Asked Question: How Can I Get the Geeks to Come to My RV Park?

For more details, see our website Calendar . 

Like us on Facebook

Q&A Forum

Some Geeks on Tour members tell us that the Q&A forum is worth the entire cost of membership!  Here are some of the topics that have been discussed this month:

  1. PIcasa: Deleted a Folder from Picasa in Error
  2. Android: FoxFi and PDANet+
  3. Streets and Trips: Using S&T map in Blog
  4. Picasa Collage into Blog
  5. Picasa Notification on my Android
  6. Picasa: Drawing a line or arrow
  7. Google+ Unlimited Photo Storage

RV Around Iceland!  Chuck Woodbury’s not kidding. 

Read about it in the current issue of RVTravel.

Use a Blogger Blog for a Club Website

Using a Blogger Blog for a Club WebsiteWe spend a lot of time teaching people how to use Blogger.com to keep a Blog. We define a Blog as a website with dated entries displayed in reverse chronological order. They are usually used as a journal. We keep a log of our travels on our Blog, as do many other RV travelers.

The reason blogs are so easy is because you use a web-based program like Blogger.com to make them. These are completely free.

What I want you to think about now is using the blogging software to create a club website.

Read More

How to Make Your Email Hacker-Proof!

ImageI’ve been hearing a lot of people lately saying, "My email has been hacked."  What does that mean?  If your email has actually been ‘hacked’, it means that bad guys have obtained your username and password, probably thru some sort of phishing or just by hacking away at it with password-guessing tools.

They’ve been able to get into your email account, pretending to be you, read your email, gather any useful information they find in your profile, and copy all the contents of your contact list.  Most often, they use this information to send spam to everyone in your list.  It will look like you are soliciting all your friends for money.  You really don’t want this to happen!  This article will give you some tips and, for Gmail users, I’ll tell you how you can make your Email hacker-proof with 2-tier verification.

Read More

Genealogists Need Picasa, Blogger, and Photo Story too!

ImageJim and Chris, of Geeks on Tour, presented a full day of seminars for the Central Florida Genealogical Society on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

We taught our standard topics of Picasa, Blogger, and Photo Story but with a focus on old family photos and stories, instead of our normal travel photos and stories.  The day was quite a success with many appreciative genealogists soaking up the information.  We had several offers from the group to teach us about genealogy!  So far we are resisting.  But we did learn a bit about how they want to use their pictures and blogs.

Read More

Become a Geeks on Tour Member! And learn from our online library of Tutorial VideosFacebook, Picasa, Photo Story 3, Smartphones, Streets & Trips, Google Earth/Maps, Blogging, Boot Camp Class, Vista/Windows 7, Internet on the Road, Safe Computing only $7/monthly $58/yearly or $68 one year = access to ALL videos plus the Forums. Click here to Join

That’s all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please visit our forum. If you like this newsletter, please forward it on to your friends! If you received this issue forwarded by a friend you can subscribe to get your own copy delivered to your in box – it’s free. To see the archives of past newsletters, go to https://geeksontour.com/category/newsletter/.

Happy Computing!

The Geeks on Tour website is an online learning library for Travelers who want to learn to use their computers for managing digital photos, making blogs, using maps and other online resources. Anyone can watch our free videos, read articles on our Computer Tips for Travelers Blog, sign up for our free monthly newsletter, or Picasa weekly tips. A small fee makes you a ‘member‘ and you can then view any of our 200+ video tutorials on these subjects in our Learning LIbrary.

Geeks on Tour


Geeks on Tour


Use Gmail for One In-Box, Multiple Addresses, and Devices

Here’s the question: Can you look at your email inbox on your phone, your computer, and your iPad/tablet and be seeing the same thing?  Can you delete an email while using your phone, and it will be gone when you look at email on your computer?

If you answer ‘Yes’, then all is well.  If not, then you’ve got some work to do.  It’s called device independence.  Your email experience should be the same regardless of what device you’re using – phone, computer, or tablet.  It can be done and it should be done.  There are many ways to do it, we think the easiest is by using Gmail for your inbox.  Yes, that means you have an email that ends in @gmail.com, but it doesn’t mean you have to use that address.  You just need to use the Gmail software for your aggregate or universal inbox.

  1. Get a Gmail account
  2. Use the Gmail software/App for your inbox on all your devices
  3. Configure Gmail to ‘fetch’ all your other email address messages.  It’s best to do this using your computer, but the end result will affect all devices that use your Gmail account.
  4. Configure Gmail to Reply using whatever email address a message was sent to.  For example, if I receive an email sent to odie@geeksontour.com then Gmail will reply and my recipient will see that my reply is From odie@geeksontour.com.  This way no-one need know that you’re using Gmail.  It is just your tool for creating an integrated email experience.
  5. Make sure that each device is synchronizing. (Android: System Settings->Accounts and Sync)

You can set up the Gmail program to fetch your other email and collect it in your Gmail inbox. You can also set Gmail to automatically label the fetched email so you know where it came from.
Using the ‘Fetch’ method means that people will continue to email you using your other address (e.g. @geeksontour.com) and Gmail will make your responses be *from* your other address as well. Gmail will just be acting as your mail center for all the address you have set up.

The image below is a screenshot snippet of Odie’s Gmail inbox. In Odie’s case, his Gmail account is fetching his @aol.com address, his @geeksontour.com as well as his @gmail.com email. Notice the highlighted ‘labels’ telling what email address each message was sent To. Only two messages – the Confirmation Required and Ask Bob – have no label, meaning it was actually sent to his @gmail.com address.

When he replies to a message, it will be ‘From’ the same account as it was To.


Geeks on Tour Newsletter, December 2010

Geeks on Tour

2010 in Review

Other than a brief flight to Las Vegas for a software conference, we’ve had a quiet December in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with friends and family.  At this time of year – we like to reflect on the last 12 months.  The easiest way for us is through pictures.  Here is just a small sample of photos showing you our life this year.  Mouse over the slideshow and you will see controls to manually go thru the pictures.  You can click anywhere on the pictures to go to the full-size Picasa Web Album.  And, if you want even more details, you can go to our personal blog and click on the monthly archives.

Wow!  What a year.  We sure hope you had a good one too. 

If you’re interested in learning how to create a slideshow like the one above and embed it in your blog or website, here’s the free video on Embed a Picasa Slideshow in your Blog.  Note: it’s one of our older videos – one thing that has changed is the link on Picasa Web albums is now on the right of the screen rather than the left; click ‘Link to this Album’, then ‘Embed Slideshow.’

2011 is shaping up.  You can see our complete schedule on our website.  Here are our first scheduled appearances for the year:

  • Jan  23-30: Holiday Travel Resort, Leesburg, FL
  • Feb 2-6: FMCA SEA rally, Brooksville, FL
  • Feb 8-10: Florida Grande RV Resort Webster, FL
  • Feb 12: Brevard Geneaological Society, The Great Outdoors, Titusville, FL

Other Articles this past month
So you don’t miss out on anything, here’s a list of other articles we wrote this past month.

Our Technology of the Year for 2010

In looking back over the year, certain computer gadgets and applications stand out.  We don’t pretend to watch the entire industry (and anyone who does must have a team of 100s to help them!) – these are the products that have affected our lives and amazed us this year.

We use our new Droid phones for connecting computers to the InternetDroid

There is no question but that our new cell phones are the most life-changing device to enter our world this year.  We have the original Motorola Droid from Verizon.  They are SOO obsolete now with the Droid X, Droid 2, Droid Incredible, Droid Pro and more all coming out after we got ours. 

You really shouldn’t even call this a cell phone, many call it a ‘Smart Phone.’  I like the term coined by David Pogue – ‘App Phone.’  You see, this is a computer with thousands of applications available.  The fact that it also makes phone calls is truly secondary.  Because the Droid plays music, it replaces our satellite radio; because the Droid has built-in GPS, it replaces our Garmin, because the Droid has a camera and it is always with us, it often replaces our other cameras; because the Droid is a book reader, it replaces our Kindle; because the Droid has unlimited Internet, it replaces a data card for our computers.  The list is seemingly endless.  Our Droids have become so valuable to us that, if we had to choose between our Spouse and our Droid … it might be a close call!

We’ve written several articles on the Droid throughout the year, and we set up a special forum on our website just for Droid.

Gmail and Google Calendar

gmail-cloudsOne of the reasons that our Droids are so valuable to us is that we can read our email and watch our calendars with them.  Because we use Google’s tools, all our email and calendar items are ‘in the clouds.’  Nothing resides solely on any one device.  Gmail collects all our email from a variety of addresses, and Google calendar tracks Jim’s schedule, my schedule, and our business schedule.  This information is synchronized automatically with our laptops, and our Droid phones. 

If I want to add an item to our business calendar, I will see any appointments on Jim’s and my personal calendar.  Once I add that item, if Jim picks up his phone – or computer – or even someone else’s computer, and looks at his calendar, he will see the appointment I just made for us.

As for email, there is no way I can keep up – period!  But, the combination of Gmail and my Droid at least gives me a fighting chance.  While I’m sitting in the Dentist waiting room, or while I’m a passenger and Jim is driving, I can be browsing my inbox on my phone, and deleting any garbage I see.  When I get back to my computer and open my Gmail inbox, I am seeing the exact same inbox as on my phone – the deleted messages are in the trash.  If I need to, I can respond to email on my Droid, but I prefer the computer for that.

Here are some of our articles on Gmail.


wp-logoWordPress is a free website-maker, but it is so much more than that.  You can create anything from a simple blog type of website, to a full-featured business ecommerce site.  WordPress is the Legos of the Website builder world.  You can put together anything you want if you understand how the pieces fit together. 

I started building websites somewhere around 1999, I used Dreamweaver.  I thought maybe I would become a website designer for hire, and I did work with a few clients.  What I didn’t like was the fact that, if the client wanted anything changed, they had to get me to do it.  I believed that clients should be able to make their own changes, but teaching them how was just TOO much.  I’ve tried various techniques, but none were easy.  Until WordPress.  All new websites we’ve made this year have been using the WordPress platform.  Even our Membership Website: www.GeeksOnTour.com, we have re-created at www.GeeksOnTour.com using WordPress.  Right now both sites are active and it is probably a bit confusing, but we are committed to the path of WordPress and eventually the .com site will just forward over to the WordPress-only .TV site.

We *LOVE* WordPress!  And, we’re not alone.  According to Trends, there are approximately 640,000 websites that are built with WordPress.  If you want a website, look no further than WordPress.  We have offered one seminar on WordPress, you can download the WordPress Seminar Handout here.  We are not offering that anymore for two reasons, 1) there is already a LOT of help available for WordPress on the Web and 2) It is still too complex for most travelers’ needs.  We want to keep our focus on the simpler stuff.  The easy and fun software that help travelers plan, preserve and share their travels.  We think Blogger fits that bill much more than WordPress.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) our own websites keep us much too busy to do client work, but the fact that we are now using WordPress means that we can do so much more with our own sites.  Rather than managing our self-programmed membership system, we are now using a WordPress plugin called WishList Member.  There is a large community of businesses that use this plugin, and we can get lots of support and ideas from them.  Expect big things from our website this coming year … thanks to WordPress!

Streets and Trips Megafile

streets-megafileThis item is included in order to show that it’s not always brand-new or grand inventions that make a difference in our lives.  Sometimes it’s an old one that has just improved in a small but oh-so-useful way.  We’ve been using Microsoft’s Streets and Trips software to plan our routes ever since we started living in our RV in 2003.  And, we’ve known for many years about special data files for places like hot springs, wineries, or membership campgrounds.   Until now, finding and loading the information from those data files has just been too cumbersome to make it worthwhile. 

The folks at Microsoft took the time to compile all those data files into one ‘MegaFile’ and added some software features for displaying just the data you want.  Now, rather than taking 10 minutes to find, load, and use a particular data file, the data we want is always available and it just takes one click to show or hide it as we’re traveling down the road.  I credit this megafile with allowing us to find one of the best stops of our entire summer – Saratoga Hot Springs in Wyoming.

Discuss this in our forum.

imageWe’ve added a topic to our Forums specifically to discuss your picks for best technology of 2010.  If you’re a Geeks on Tour paid member, please visit and leave your comments.  Even non-members can view the forum to see what’s going on.


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