Using Google Labs in Gmail

I have become a Google fan. It gives you everthing you need… Gmail – The mail cleint, Orkut – Social networking, Google Docs – Google office suit, Google Analytics – To analyze your website, Adsense – To make your website a source of income, and many many more. But the thing is the majority of even do not know how we can fully utilize the Google things. Today, I am going to share the Gmail features which have made me using Gmail more enjoyable and productive.
There are a few additional stuffs I use with gmail which make my using gmail just more useful. First you need to know about Google labs.Google labs has stuff which Google users think it should have :). If you are going to use gmail labs for first time, then go to your “Settings” and acess “Labs” from there.
The Wiki says “Google Labs is a website demonstrating and testing new Google projects”, so just take a note of this thing that Google labs may make your gmail unstable. But I haven’t faced any problem till now.
Now we will begin with the Gmail stuff.
  • Picasa Previews:
    Imagine you have been sent an invitation to view a Picasa Album, but you just want to have a preview of Snaps in the web album before deciding if you actaully want to view the whole album. This plugin helps you just doing that. Enable “Picasa previews in email by Dan, Stanley Mark and Umesh”.
    Enabling Picasa Preview in mail
    Enable Picasa Preview
    And you will be able to see the Picasa Snaps previews just in your mail whenever you receive any invitation from anyone to view their picasa album.
    Picasa Preview in mail
    Picasa Preview in Gmail
  • Google Docs Preview:
    This plugin let’s you view Google Docs directly in your mail. Enable the plugin “Google Docs previews in mail”.
    Enabling Google Docs Preview in mail
    Enable google docs preview
    After this whenver you receive any Google Doc, you will see a “Show Preview” option next to that Doc icon like below:
    'Show Preview' in Gmail
    ‘Show Preview’ in Gmail
    After clicking this “Show Preview” you will be able to directly view thw document…
    Google Doc preview in mail
    Google Doc preview in mail
  • Quick Links:
    Sometimes you get mails which you may need in future, or just want to access anytime. One thing which can help is Google Label, but creating a Label just for a single mail is not a great idea. What you can do is enable “Quick Links by Dan P” like this…
    Enable Quick Links
    Enable Quick Links
    And when you have “that” mail open click on “Add Quick Link” from “Quick Links” widget. A box will pop up confirming to add the quick link. Choose the name for your quick link there and click “OK”.
    Creating Quick Links
    Creating Quick Links
    Now you can access the quick link from the Quick Link widget on left side.
    Quick Links Widget
    Quick Links Widget
  • Superstars:
    How many times have you missed the variation in kind of “Stars” in Gmail. You can just start an item or not star it. Did you miss the functionality of having a graded start system, where you can set Red Star for an important mail, Green Star for a less important mail… Your search ends with this labs feature – Superstars. Go to Gmail Labs, and enable “Superstars by Kai H and Julie W”.
    Enable Superstars
    Then go to “Settings” and choose the Stars you want to use by dragging them from “Not in use” to “In use”.
    Setting up Superstars
    You can remove the Stars you do not want by dragging them from “In use” to “Not in use”. Now go to any mail and click on the Star there and keep clicking till you the appropriate star… 🙂
  • Pictures in Chat:
    This is what I always wanted in chat… This let’s you see the photo/avtaar of the person who you are chatting with. Just enable “Pictures in chat by Dave C” and you are done.
    Phots in Gtalk
    Phots in Gtalk
  • Signature Tweaks:
    Tell me aren’t you annoyed when Gmail places your signatures at the bootom of mails when you reply or forward a mail, normally we all want our Signatures to be placed just below the text we write or above the text of reply/forward. This labs feature let’s you just do that. Enable
    Phots in Gtalk
    Enable Signature Tweak
    “Signature tweaks” by Keith C and Dave C. Now when you reply or forward a mail your signature will appear as:
    Signature Tweak
    Signature Tweak
    Is this what you always wanted… 🙂
  • Old Snakey:
    I remember getting hooked to Snake on my Nokia 3315. With time that old Snakey got lost somewhere in the maze of technology, but I re-found that old snakey hidden in Gmail labs.. Enable “Old Snakey” by Dave C.
    Enable Old Snakey
    Enable Old Snakey
    Now relax, lay back and enjoy your favourite game, but do not forget to enable Keyboard shotcuts for Gmail before that, as you will need to hit “&” on your keyboard to play this game.
  • Right Side Chat:
    I do not like all the widgets stacked up on the left side in Gmail, especially the Gtalk widget. I always wanted Gtalk widget to be on the right side in Gmail, and “Right-side chat” by Emily C just let’s be do that. Enable it from labs page.
    Enable Right Side Chat
    Right Side Chat
  • Mark as Read button:
    You, like me sometimes want to mark some mail “Read” as quickly as possible. So, go and enable “Mark as Read Button” by Mark K from labs
    Enable Mark as Read Button
    Enable Mark as Read Button
    Now, you will see a button like this in your gmail.
    Mark as Read Button
    Mark as Read Button
  • Default Text Styling:
    Do you get irritated by always being forced to format the mail to set your font and colors before sending it. Now all you have to do is enable “Default Text Styling” by Jonathan K from labs.
    Enable Default Text
    Enable Default Text
    Now go to “Settings” tab and set you default font and color. From Now on you do not need to format your mails everytime before sending them.
  • Authentication icon for verified senders:
    This is just one more additional feature which helps you in not getting fleeced by someone on the big bad world of Internet. Enable “Authentication icon for verified senders” by E R…
    Enable Authentication
    Enable Authentication
    And you will be able to see this kind of key icon from certain senders which spammers try to fake.
    Authentication Icon
    Authentication Key
    And you will be able to see this kind of key icon from certain senders which spammers try to fake.
    Authentication Icon
    Authentication Key
    This only works for PayPal and eBay as of now.
  • Send & Archive:
    This feature let’s you archive a mail which you are sending. Enable “Send & Archive” by Pal T.
    Enable Send and Archive
    Enable Send and Archive
  • Undo Send:
    Oh… How could I hit the send button before finsihing it!!! Felt like that sometime? Now enable “Undo Send” feature by Yuzo F and you will never send intended or unfinished messages to anyone.
    Enable Undo Send
    Enable Undo Send Mail
    You will get two options with this feature:
    • Able to cancel sending mail.
      Cancel Sending of Mail
      Cancel Sending of Mail
    • Even if the mail is sent, you will be able to “Undo” the send, but this feature will be available just for a few moments, before the mail is delivered to the receipent.
      Cancel Sending of Mail
      Recall the sent mail
  • Title Tweaks:
    Do you need to switch to the brwoser again and again to know if you have received some new mail? Imagine if you get to know of any new mails from the minimized browser itself… Enable “Title Tweaks” by Fedor K.
    Enable Title Tweak
    Enable Title Tweak
    The minimed browser from your panel will look like this now:
    Title Tweak
    Title Tweak
    Telling you the number of mails in your Inbox.
  • Hide read labels:
    Have you created a large number of “Labels” to manage your mails… And obviously you do not want to all the Lables to take up all the space on left side in Gmail. So enable “Hide read labels” by Damian G & David de K.
    Enable Hide Read Labels
    Enable Hide Read Labels
    Now, only Labels which have unread mails in them will be displayed and others will be hidden which you can access by clicking the drop down arrow.
  • Inserting images:
    Want to insert images directly into your mail instead of sending them as attachments??
    Enable imbedding Pictures in Mail
    Enable imbedding Pictures in Mail
  • Extra Emoji:
    Feel Gmail does not have emoticons for your emotions :), enable “Extra Emoji” by Yuzo F and put your emotions in your mails
    Enable Xtra Emoji
    Enable Xtra Emoji
  • Google Docs gadget:
    If you use Google Docs extensively like I do, you may like this feature which displays a Goole Doc widegt in which your recent Google documents will be displayed. Enable “Google Docs gadget” by Claudia C and Ted C.
    Enable Google Docs Gadget
    Enable Google Docs Gadget
    Google Docs gadget will appear on the left side if your Gmail…
    Google Docs Gadget
    Google Docs Gadget
There is one more feature which is imbedded in Gmail itself but not many people know about it. Suppose you have logged in from some computer and instead of signing out, you just closed the browser and left. What if that computer is not a private but public computer!!! Gmail let’s you to sign out from all sessions other than the current one from the computer you are using. Just got to the bottom of Gmail, there you can see “Last account activity:”.
Sign Out All other Sessions
Click on “Details” just next to it, there you can see from which all IP’s you have logged into your Gmail account in recent past, and there only you can “Sign out all other sessions” and relax.

Non-compatibility between my website and IE8 yesterday…

Yesterday people who viewed my site in IE8 told me that the site is totally screwed up. In the evening I fixed the problem, and now hope that the Microsoft browser will not have any problems with my web site 🙂 .

OpenOffice and Google Docs

How many of you have really wanted to access your documents from anywhere anytime without carrying pen drives and hard disk drives with you every where. Yes, you have google docs for that. But then some people do not want to be connected to the Internet all the time, and not everyone is comfortable editing their documents on line. So what do we do. That is where OpenOffice Google Docs plug in comes in handy. Download the OpenOffice Google Docs plugin from here. Install it using the OpenOffice extension manager.

ext mgr

After installing restart OpenOffice. The OpenOffice quick starter may also be running, so quit from it and restart the whole OpenOffice application. You may have to install and restart the application more than one time, as it took me 4-5 re-installations and 4-5 restarts to ultimately get the Google Docs plugin toolbar :), which looks like the toolbar in the second image:

Ooo GD Toolbar

Click on the first or second icon which are “Export to Google Docs” and “Import from Google Docs” actions. This will open a window for entering your google account credentials. Fill in your login details and then click on the Get List button. Here is the image:

gd credentials

You are done. Next time you have OpenOffice document, upload it to google docs and it is ready to be edited form anywhere. Or just download your google document to OpenOffice and start editing. The OpenOffice plugin also supports Zoho and WebDAV

Configuring custom network driver in openSUSE 11.1

I am here

OK.. we know than we do not to worry about any hardware drivers in Linux as Linux Kernel takes care of all that. But what if we want to install a different driver. What if Kernel does not install the right driver. Recently I had to face this problem. The network card installed on my system is RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (ReaLtek Product) and the default driver Kernel installed was r8169 while the correct driver is r8168.

So here we go about the thing now…

(The below changes have been done in openSUSE11.1, Kernel 2.6.27)

Now, first how to know what network driver you have and what is the correct driver? I can provide you with this script which can help you:; Run this script and the output will be something like this (You will have to run this script as “super user” and answer few questions): V0.6.1.15 (Rev: 1.165, Build: 2009/09/02 18:39:22)
--- Which type of your network connection should be tested?
--- (1) Wired connection
--- What's the type of networktopology?
--- (1) DSL modem <---> LinuxClient
--- On which host is the script executed?
--- (1) LinuxClient
!!! CND0120E: Network card eth0 has no IP address
!!! CND0300E: No dhcp server found on interface eth0
!!! CND0230W: IPV6 enabled
!!! CND0310W: Classic network configuration with ifup was detected. Configuration with knetworkmanager is much easier
--- Go to to get more detailed instructions about the error/warning messages and how to fix the problems
--- If you still don't have success then post the contents of file collectNWData.txt in the net (see for links) and then the nopaste link on your favorite Linux forum.
34: PCI 900.0: 0200 Ethernet controller
Model: "Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller"
Vendor: pci 0x10ec "Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd."
Device: pci 0x8168 "RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller"
SubVendor: pci 0x103c "Hewlett-Packard Company"
SubDevice: pci 0x3061 
Driver: "r8169"
Driver Modules: "r8169"
Device File: eth0
Link detected: no
Driver Status: r8169 is active
Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe r8169"
This is just a filtered output of the above script. Here we can see that the module installed is r8169 which should be r8168.

So first download the driver from your vendor site.

Now that we know what we have and what we need we will proceed further (We will have to proceed all the steps from konsole or similar tool) :

First stop the network and remove the wrong module:

 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; font-weight: normal; text-align: left;"> #stop the network
$ rcnetwork stop

#remove r8169 driver
$ rmmod r8169

Go to the directory where you have downloaded the driver. I had downloaded it my home directory and the downloaded file was an archive file so here are the steps:

 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;">$  cd
$ tar xjf r8168-8.014.00.tar.bz2
$ cd 8168-8.014.00

After that I compiled the code. (This may fail if kernel headers and other standard features of a build environment are not installed)


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;">$ make clean
$ make modules
$ make install

Add the old driver to blacklist and rename the old driver module to make sure modprobe knows not to use r8169, and that depmod doesn’t find the r8169 module:..


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;">$ echo "blacklist r8169n" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
$ mv /lib/modules/uname -r/kernel/drivers/net/r8169.ko /lib/modules/uname -r

Make suse aware of the changes:


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;">$ depmod
$ insmod src/r8168.ko
$ ifconfig -a

Notice the output of “ifconfig -a” and saw how NIC was called (probably eth0 or eth1). Mine was eth0 Then I edited the networks file to add my NIC configuration. Added the below lines of code to my /etc/networks


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;"> # The Ethernet card
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Notice the output of “ifconfig -a” and saw how NIC was called (probably eth0 or eth1). Mine was eth0 Then I edited the networks file to add my NIC configuration. Added the below lines of code to my /etc/networks


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;"> # The Ethernet card
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Then restarted the card:


 #000000; padding: 0.15cm; margin-left: 0.5cm; margin-right: 0.5cm; text-align: left;">$ ifdown eth0
$ ifup eth0
$ rcnetwork start
This should start you networking 🙂

Configure USB Modem EC1260 in Linux Kernel 2.6.27 and below

Recently I bought a Reliance USB stick (So that I can use my Laptop as a truly portable machine). Right now I am using openSUSE 11.1 which uses Linux Kernel 2.6.27, which is I say is obsolete in this world of rapid technical changes (Even though Linux Kernel 2.6.27 is somewhat just a year old).

So when I plugged in my newly acquired USB modem into my laptop… my system could not detect it as a modem, but just as a USB storage device. So what to do!

Here are the steps I took to make my system recognize it as a USB modem.

First plug in the USB device in the system and after 5-10 seconds get the output of “lsusb” from the konsole (or any command line tool you use). Here is my output:

$ lsusb
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 12d1:140b Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 005 Device 002: ID 138a:0001
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 093a:2510 Pixart Imaging, Inc.
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 064e:a127 Suyin Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

On the USB device box it was written that the device was a Huawei one. So the first line from the output is what I need. The part I have bolded is what we need. It is vendor id and device id of the USB device. The product id is “0x140b” and vendor id is “0x12d1”.

Execute the below commands to make system stops recognizing the modem as USB storage device. Before giving out the “eject” command make sure that the device you are ejecting is USB modem. You can use “dmesg” to get this information.

$ eject /dev/sr1
$ modprobe -r usb-storage usbserial
$ modeprobe usbserial vendor=0x12d1 product=0x140b

Now as the device is successfully ejected and we can proceed further.

You will get three devices now:
/dev/ttyUSB0 is the modem, use only this device. /dev/ttyUSB1 is the control channel, /dev/ttyUSB2 is doing GSM checks.
Make changes in /etc/wvdial.conf. Here are my chanages:

[Dialer Defaults]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Baud = 115200
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2
Init3 =
Area Code =
Phone = #777
Username = myusername |With Reliance net connect |
Password = my_password |it is the mobile number of the modem|
Ask Password = 0
Dial Command = ATDT
Stupid Mode = 1
Compuserve = 0
Force Address =
Idle Seconds = 300
DialMessage1 =
DialMessage2 =
ISDN = 0
Auto DNS = 1

Run wvdial and you are connected to the world wide web 🙂

In place of wvdial you can also use kinternet. Just use settings –> configure with Yast –> add modem, and in the modem name put /dev/ttyUSB0

This may seem a lot of work to do, but we can automate this whole process which I will be putting down in my next blog 🙂

This problem has been solved in Linux Kernel 2.6.29 and greater (I am not sure about Kernel 2.6.28).

Have a nice time…

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