Schedule a Phone Call to Yourself and Politely Escape any Boring Situation

You have been invited to a meeting that would last really long. You cannot say “no” but secretly wish that someone calls your phone in the middle of that never-ending meeting and rescue you from the boring situation.

Well, you can take the help of a human friend or use IFTTT, the versatile automation app available for both iPhone and Android. With IFTTT, you can easily create a workflow (applet) that would simulate a fake phone call to yourself at the scheduled time and help you smoothly exit that meeting.

What’s new then? The phone calling service has been part of IFTTT for some time now but it was earlier limited to the U.S. region only. The latest version of the IFTTT app brings phone calling to everyone outside the U.S. as well. Let’s get started.

phone-call-yourself.png

Schedule an Automated Phone Call to Yourself

Create a free account at IFTTT and enable the Date Time service and the VoIP Call service.

Next, create a new applet and choose Date Time for the “this” condition. The trigger should be set to “Every day” and then choose the time when you want your phone to ring. If you wish to receive multiple calls, you’ll need to setup multiple applets, one per call.

For the “that” action, choose the VoIP call service and specify any text message. The calling service will speak the message when you receive the call. That’s it. Make sure your phone is connected to the Internet else the IFTTT applet won’t run.

Also see: How to Schedule Emails in Gmail

Ring your Mobile Phone on Demand

If you forgot to set the scheduled phone call, IFTTT offers another good option to help exit a situation. You can tap the IFTTT widget on your phone screen and it will simulate a phone call. Here’s how:

Install the IFTTT widget on your phone screen. Next, create a new applet like before but set the “this” condition to IFTTT’s own Button widget. For the “that” action, choose the “Call my Phone” action and specify the text that will play out during the call.

That’s it. Tap the widget on the phone, it fakes a call and you can politely excuse yourself.

Google Domains Go Live in India – The Best Place to Buy Domain Names

Google Domains, if you are new, is a domain registration service where you can buy new domain names or transfer your existing domains from another registrar into the Google service. There’s no official announcement yet but Google Domains are now available in India without you having to use any hacks or proxy servers.

I own about a dozen-odd domains and they have been mostly purchased through Gandi, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and BigRock. Last week, I purchased a new domain reverse.photos through Google Domains and, like most other Google products, loved the overall experience.

Everything is tied to your main Google account so there’s one less set of credentials to remember and the account is already secured with 2-factor authentication.

Google Domain includes intelligent and powerful search that will not only suggest domain names based on exact keyword matches but related words too. So a search for “blue widgets” will check the availability of “blue widgets” as well as “color widgets”, “white widgets” and “blueplugins”.

google-domain-search.png

Google Domains aren’t cheap (see pricing). The average 1-year domain registration fee is certainly higher than what other companies offer but a big advantage is that they do not charge you extra money for making your postal address and phone number private in the public WHOIS database.

There’s no transfer fee if you decide to move your web domain from another registrar to Google Domains but, as per ICANN rules, you’ll have to extend the registration period of your domain for an additional year. This additional year is added to your domain’s existing registration.

The most convenient feature, however, is shared domain management. Just like you can allow external users to access your shared Google Doc, you can add collaborators to domains registered through Google Domains and they can manage the domain on your behalf. You’ll continue to remain the owner of the domain but others can manage the DNS settings or renew the domain on your behalf.

google-domains.png

Google Domains offer a simplified, hassle-free interface for managing domains, includes privacy by default, the pricing is straight-forward and the domain be easily integrated with G Suite (Google Apps) for email. It might be worth considering when you are out to buy a domain for your next million dollar idea.

Get Email Alerts When New Employees Join a Company

Most people use LinkedIn to get email alerts for new job postings that match their interests but did you know that LinkedIn can also help track new hires made by a company? You can easily keep an eye on new employees joining your own company or a competitor.

linkedin-people-search.png
Also see: The Best Email Alerts Services

How to Set People Search Alerts on LinkedIn

Similar to job alerts, you can set up people alerts in LinkedIn and they will send you an email when new employees join the tracked company. You can track new hires by the parent company (e.g., Amazon) or limit your employee searches to a regional office of that company (e.g., Amazon India or Amazon’s Bangalore office).

To get started, open the LinkedIn website, click the search box, type the name of the parent company and choose the “people search” option from the autocomplete list (see screenshot above).

On the search results page, expand the Locations section and check the regions that you would like to track. You can select the country name, city,  geographic region or even make multiple selections.

Next click the “Create Search Alert” button and LinkedIn will send you a weekly email listing all the profiles that have joined the specified company in that week.

linkedin-location-search.png

The service obviously depends on the employee joining the company and he would have to update their existing profile for LinkedIn to know that they have made the move.

The Best SMS App for Android is made by Microsoft

Looking for good SMS app for Android? The Google Play Store lists a gazillion texting apps that can do SMS, MMS, and so much more. The most popular options include Facebook Messenger that has texting as a side feature, TrueCaller that can identify senders and then there’s Android Messages, Google’s own SMS app that also includes audio chats, emojis and location sharing.

I prefer minimal apps that do one thing and do it really well. After testing all the popular texting apps for Android, the one I absolutely love is SMS Organizer from Microsoft. It is a pure SMS app, simple and efficient but with no extra bells and whistles.

Here’s a list of useful features that make SMS Organizer a must-have app for Android.

1. OTP Detection

When you log into a website that requires 2-factor authentication, your bank for example, they send a one-time-password (OTP) to your mobile phone in a text message. You open the message, copy the digits and paste into the login screen.

SMS organizer makes this process a lot easier for you. It detects if a text contains an OTP and give you an option to copy the code directly from the notification menu. No need to even open the message.

sms-otp-code.png

2. Google Drive Integration

Microsoft SMS Organizer can automatically backup SMS messages to your Google Drive. You can perform the backup manually and let the app do it for every day or every week. If you move to a new phone later, you can easily restore your text chats from the cloud.

3. Intelligent Message Sorting

The SMS app automatically sorts your text messages as they arrive into categories like transactions, promotional, and blocked.  So all text messages from your bank or your mobile service provider go in one folder while the bulk message goes into promotions.

sms-organizer

4. Email Like Filters

This is my favorite feature of SMS organizer. You can long-press a text message and it will let you define a filter for the sender of that message. All future messages from that particular sender will be moved to the designated folder automatically.

gmail-sms-filter.png

5. Smart Reminders

If any of your text messages have a due date, SMS organizer will show you a notification when the due date is approaching. For instance, if your credit card bill is due, you’ll be automatically reminded via a notification.

SMS organizer can send reminders for due bills, travel dates, upcoming appointments and more. You can also setup your own customer reminders inside the app and the text of the selected message will show up at the specified date and time.

sms-reminders.png

6. Send Free SMS

You can use SMS organizer to send up to 30 text messages for free every month to any mobile number in India. These messages are sent via the Internet so even if you do not have cellular connectivity, the texts would still go out.

Microsoft’s SMS app is free, doesn’t include any in-app purchases, contains no advertising and all the data resides locally on your mobile device.

You can use the IFTTT app to save your text messages in a Google Sheet or for receiving texts as an email message. PushBullet and AirDroid can be used for viewing and responding to text notifications from your desktop computer.

How to Hide a File in your Google Drive in Plain Sight

The files in your Google Drive are either private (only visible to you) or they can be seen by specific people with whom you have chosen to explicitly share the file. In the case of folders, any file contained inside a shared folder can be seen by all users who have access to the folder.

Let’s consider a slightly different scenario where you have a shared folder in Drive any you don’t want other users to see a particular file inside that folder.

A simple option is that you move the file outside the folder. There’s an alternate workaround as well that will help you easily hide files in Google Drive folders through ‘camouflage’ without requiring any add-ons or extensions.

Hide Secret Files in Google Drive

The trick is simple.

Google Drive allows you to store multiple versions of a file and if you upload a new version of a file, the previous version is preserved as well. The file versions can be of different mime types so you can upload a PDF file first and then replace it with an image or a video file.

The old PDF file would still be available in Google Drive though hidden in plain sight. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

  1. Go to drive.google.com and upload the file that you wish to hide from other users.
  2. After the file is uploaded, right-click the file in Drive and choose Manage Versions.
  3. Choose Upload New Version and upload another file – say an unsuspecting photograph of a building.
  4. Now rename the original file to, say, image.jpg – you can give any file name and extension.

Google Drive will automatically update the thumbnail of the file to that of the most recent vesion. Also, if someone double clicks the file to open it, all they’ll see is an image preview.

This video tutorial describes the steps in detail.

Keep your Hidden Files forever

Google Drive, by default, stores the previous version of any file for 30 days and then deletes them. However, if you right-click the file in Google Drive, choose Managed Versions, select the 3-dot vertical menu and check Keep Forever, your hidden file would be around fover.

google-drive-hide-file.jpg

Here’re a few other things should should know about file version in Google Drive.

  • If you create a copy of the file (File > Make a Copy), the new copy will only hold the current version of the file.
  • If you grant view access to the file to another user, they cannot see the other versions of the file.
  • Versions take storage space. If the original file is 10 MB and you replace it with an image that weighs a mere 2 MB, the file will still consume 10+2=12MB space in your Google Drive.

 

How to Copy a Formula Down an Entire Column in Google Sheets

You are working inside a Google Spreadsheet where a formula needs to copied down to the last row of the sheet. There are several ways to solve this problem.

The easiest approach to copy down formulas is to use the fill handle in Google Sheets. Write your formula in the first row of your spreadsheet, and then point your mouse to the lower right corner of the formula cell.

fill-down-sheet-formula.gif

The pointer changes into a fill handle (black plus symbol) that you can drag to the last row of the sheet. The fill handle will not just copy down the formulas to all the adjacent cells but also copies the visual formatting.

If you need to copy the formulas across cells but sans any formatting, select the cell that contains the formatting and press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard. Next select the range where that formula needs to applied, right-click, choose Paste Special and Paste Formula only.

copy-formula-without-formatting.png

Apply Formula to the Entire Column in Google Sheets

If you have hundreds of rows in a Google Spreadsheet and you want to apply the same formula to all rows of a particular column, there’s a more efficient solution than copy-paste – Array Formulas.

Highlight the first cell in the column and type the formula as earlier. However, instead of specifying a single cell as a parameter, we’ll specify the entire column using the B2:B notation (start from cell B2 and go all the way down to the last row of column B).

Then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter, or Cmd+Shift+Enter on Mac, and Google Sheets will automatically surround your formula with ARRAYFORMULA function.

arrayformula-entire-column.gif
TAX: ArrayFormula(ROUND(B2:B*18, 2))
AMOUNT: ArrayFormula(B2:B+C2:C)

Thus, we are able to apply the formula to the entire column of the spreadsheet with only a single cell. Array Formulas are more efficient as they process a batch of rows in one go. They are also easier to maintain as you only need to modify a single cell for edit the formula.

One issue that you may have noticed with the above formulae is that it applies to every row in the column where you have only want to add formulas to rows that contain data and skip the blank rows.

This can be done by adding an IF contain to our ARRAYFORMULA so that it doesn’t apply the formula the any of the blank rows.

Google Spreadsheet offers two functions to help test whether a cell is empty or now.

  • ISBLANK(A1) – Returns TRUE if the referenced cell is empty.
  • LEN(A1) <> 0 – Returns TRUE if the referenced cell not empty, FALSE otherwise

Our modified Array Formulas would therefore read:

Using ISBLANK(Cell Reference):

arrayformula.png

Using LEN(Cell Reference)

sheet-arrayformula.png

Use Array Formulas inside Column Headers

In our previous examples, the text of the column titles (like Tax, Total Amount) was pre-populated and the formulas were only added to the first row of the dataset.

We can further improve our formula so that they can be applied to the column header itself. If the index of the current row is 1, calculated using the ROW() function, the formula outputs the column title else it performs the calculation using the formula.

=ArrayFormula(IF(ROW(B:B)=1,"Tax",IF(ISBLANK(B:B),"",ROUND(B:B*18, 2))))
arrayformula-first-row.png

Auto Fill Formulas into Google Form Submissions

ARRAYFORMULA functions are particularly useful for Google Forms when the form responses are getting saved inside a Google Sheet. You cannot do live calculations inside Google Forms but they can be performed inside the spreadsheet that is collecting the responses.

You can create new columns inside the Google Spreadsheet and apply the ARRAYFORMULA to the first row of the added columns.

As soon as a new form submission is received, a new row would be added to the Google Sheet and the formulas would be cloned and automatically applied to the new rows without you have to copy-paste stuff.

How to Use VLOOKUP inside ARRAYFORMULA

You can combine ARRAYFORMULA with VLOOKUP to quickly perform a lookup across an entire column.

Say you have a “Fruits” sheet that lists the fruit names in column A and the corresponding prices in column B. The second sheet “Orders” has fruit names in column A, the quantity in column B and you are supposed to calculate the order amount in column C.

arrayformula-vlookup.png
=ArrayFormula( IF(ROW(A:A)=1, "Total", IF(NOT(ISBLANK(A:A)), VLOOKUP(A:A, Fruits!A2:B6, 2, FALSE) * B:B, "")))

In simple English, if the row of the current cell is 1, ouput the column title in plain text. If the row is greater than 1 and the column A of the current row is not empty, perform a VLOOKUP to fetch the price of the item from the Fruits sheet. Then multiply that price with the quantity in cell B and output the value in cell C.

If your VLOOKUP range is in another Google Spreadsheet, use the IMPORTRANGE() function with the ID of the other Google Sheeet.

Please note that you may have to use semicolons in the spreadsheet formulas instead of commas for some locales.

How to Search Videos within a YouTube Channel on your Mobile Phone

YouTube, the second largest search engine after Google, offers extremely powerful search commands but there’s one important search functionality that YouTube is yet to include in its mobile app for both Android & iPhone.

You cannot search for videos within a specific YouTube channel while using YouTube on a mobile phone or tablet. For instance, if you would like to search for Tesla videos that were uploaded on the MKBHD channel, you simply can’t do that from your mobile phone.

youtube-video-search.jpg

This search-within-channel feature has been available for long on YouTube’s desktop website – see screenshot – but none of the YouTube apps have it yet. This is surprising considering the fact that more than half of video views on YouTube now come from mobile devices.

That’s where our mini YouTube search engine can help. Sign-in with your YouTube account, enter a search query, select any YouTube channel that you are subscribed to and it will show a list of all matching videos within the selected channel.

seach-youtube-channel.jpg

The app builds a list of all channels that you are currently subscribed to and prepares a nice drop-down with the channels sorted by name. The drop-down also features the channel icons so it is easier for you to find the channel you are looking for.

Also, if you have multiple YouTube accounts, you can click the “Logout” link to sign-out from the current account and log in to any other account. The app requests read-only access to your YouTube account and does not store any of your data anywhere.

If you are a desktop uses, you’ll probably never need this site but for mobile users, our mini YouTube search engine could be worth bookmarking until YouTube incorporates this missing feature to their native apps.

Related: How to Copy YouTube Playlists

How to Search Google Drive Like a Pro!

You have lots of files in your Google Drive and it can take some effort to find that elusive file you’ve been looking for. For instance, how do you quickly find the sales presentation that James shared with you last week? Or how do you locate a specific resume among the hundreds of other PDF files in your Google Drive folders?

Like Gmail and Twitter, Google Drive supports a plethora of advanced search operators that will help you quickly find the exact file you’ve been looking for. You can use search operators on the Google Drive website and the Drive mobile apps. Chrome users can type drive.google.com in the search bar, press tab and enter the search query.

How Search Works in Google Drive

Google Drive, by default, will return files where the search query matches the file’s title, the content or the file’s description. It can also identify objects inside photos so a search for “birthday” may retrieve images of cakes in your Drive.

google-drive-search-results.png

Drive will also perform a OCR and search for text inside images and scanned PDFs. I have stored a scanned copy of my Aadhaar card in Google Drive. I only remember the first few digits of my Aadhaar number but that is sufficient to locate the scanned image of the card in Drive.

How to Find Files in your Google Drive

You can use search operators to filter your search results in Google Drive.  Multiple search operators can be combined with boolean operators like AND or OR (in capitals) to further narrow down your results and find the exact file or document you’ve been looking for.

google-drive-search.png

Google Drive Search Tips & Tricks

Find Google spreadsheets shared by your colleague James
type:spreadsheet from:James

Find Photos or Images containing photos of cakes
type:image owner:me cakes

Find files in trash that were modified today
is:trashed after:2017-07-28

Find PDF files that are shared with me
type:pdf -owner:me

Find files that are shared with me and added to my Google Drive
in:myFiles -owner:me

Find all folders in my Google Drive that are created by me
type:folder -owner:me

Find presentations that I’ve shared with my secretary
type:presentation to:secretary@domain.com

Tip: You can also use the Google Drive Auditor add-on to generate a detailed list of users who can access your Google Drive files.

Find all files that I’ve recently viewed or added in Google Drive
Click “Recent” in the sidebar or use this link

Bonus Tip: Find the biggest files in Google Drive

Gmail offers the larger_than and smaller_than search operator to find all the space-hogging emails in your account. Google Drive offers no search by size operator buy you can use this special link – drive.google.com/#quota – to sort files by size and the ones taking the most space would be listed at the top.

How to Search Google Drive Like a Pro!

You have lots of files in your Google Drive and it can take some effort to find that elusive file you’ve been looking for. For instance, how do you quickly find the sales presentation that James shared with you last week? Or how do you locate a specific resume among the hundreds of other PDF files in your Google Drive folders?

Like Gmail and Twitter, Google Drive supports a plethora of advanced search operators that will help you quickly find the exact file you’ve been looking for. You can use search operators on the Google Drive website and the Drive mobile apps. Chrome users can type drive.google.com in the search bar, press tab and enter the search query.

How Search Works in Google Drive

Google Drive, by default, will return files where the search query matches the file’s title, the content or the file’s description. It can also identify objects inside photos so a search for “birthday” may retrieve images of cakes in your Drive.

google-drive-search-results.png

Drive will also perform a OCR and search for text inside images and scanned PDFs. I have stored a scanned copy of my Aadhaar card in Google Drive. I only remember the first few digits of my Aadhaar number but that is sufficient to locate the scanned image of the card in Drive.

How to Find Files in your Google Drive

You can use search operators to filter your search results in Google Drive.  Multiple search operators can be combined with boolean operators like AND or OR (in capitals) to further narrow down your results and find the exact file or document you’ve been looking for.

google-drive-search.png

Google Drive Search Tips & Tricks

Find Google spreadsheets shared by your colleague James
type:spreadsheet from:James

Find Photos or Images containing photos of cakes
type:image owner:me cakes

Find files in trash that were modified today
is:trashed after:2017-07-28

Find PDF files that are shared with me
type:pdf -owner:me

Find files that are shared with me and added to my Google Drive
in:myFiles -owner:me

Find all folders in my Google Drive that are created by me
type:folder -owner:me

Find presentations that I’ve shared with my secretary
type:presentation to:secretary@domain.com

Tip: You can also use the Google Drive Auditor add-on to generate a detailed list of users who can access your Google Drive files.

Find all files that I’ve recently viewed or added in Google Drive
Click “Recent” in the sidebar or use this link

Bonus Tip: Find the biggest files in Google Drive

Gmail offers the larger_than and smaller_than search operator to find all the space-hogging emails in your account. Google Drive offers no search by size operator buy you can use this special link – drive.google.com/#quota – to sort files by size and the ones taking the most space would be listed at the top.

How to Search Google Drive Like a Pro!

You have lots of files in your Google Drive and it can take some effort to find that elusive file you’ve been looking for. For instance, how do you quickly find the sales presentation that James shared with you last week? Or how do you locate a specific resume among the hundreds of other PDF files in your Google Drive folders?

Like Gmail and Twitter, Google Drive supports a plethora of advanced search operators that will help you quickly find the exact file you’ve been looking for. You can use search operators on the Google Drive website and the Drive mobile apps. Chrome users can type drive.google.com in the search bar, press tab and enter the search query.

How Search Works in Google Drive

Google Drive, by default, will return files where the search query matches the file’s title, the content or the file’s description. It can also identify objects inside photos so a search for “birthday” may retrieve images of cakes in your Drive.

google-drive-search-results.png

Drive will also perform a OCR and search for text inside images and scanned PDFs. I have stored a scanned copy of my Aadhaar card in Google Drive. I only remember the first few digits of my Aadhaar number but that is sufficient to locate the scanned image of the card in Drive.

How to Find Files in your Google Drive

You can use search operators to filter your search results in Google Drive.  Multiple search operators can be combined with boolean operators like AND or OR (in capitals) to further narrow down your results and find the exact file or document you’ve been looking for.

google-drive-search.png

Google Drive Search Tips & Tricks

Find Google spreadsheets shared by your colleague James
type:spreadsheet from:James

Find Photos or Images containing photos of cakes
type:image owner:me cakes

Find files in trash that were modified today
is:trashed after:2017-07-28

Find PDF files that are shared with me
type:pdf -owner:me

Find files that are shared with me and added to my Google Drive
in:myFiles -owner:me

Find all folders in my Google Drive that are created by me
type:folder -owner:me

Find presentations that I’ve shared with my secretary
type:presentation to:secretary@domain.com

Tip: You can also use the Google Drive Auditor add-on to generate a detailed list of users who can access your Google Drive files.

Find all files that I’ve recently viewed or added in Google Drive
Click “Recent” in the sidebar or use this link

Bonus Tip: Find the biggest files in Google Drive

Gmail offers the larger_than and smaller_than search operator to find all the space-hogging emails in your account. Google Drive offers no search by size operator buy you can use this special link – drive.google.com/#quota – to sort files by size and the ones taking the most space would be listed at the top.