Google Apps (now known as G Suite but I refuse to say those words cause it makes me think of Vanilla Ice) and Gmail give you some amazing tools for very little cost and in Gmail’s case FREE. I have used both services since they started and have encouraged anyone else to do the same. They just work.
However there are two consistently annoying aspects of the Calendar tool that, until today, have annoyed me since the beginning. Both of these have to do with creating an Event and sharing them with other people. The huge benefit of Google Calendar is that you can create an event in your calendar and then share that with other people so that it is in their calendar.
Video Calls for Everyone!
The first annoyance is the video call ‘feature’ that Google has on by default.
I guess this is there attempt to promote their Google Plus video hangout service. It mostly serves to confuse people. When they click the video call link thinking there is a video call when it is just a regular phone call. It gets even more confusing when the meeting is in person. “Jenkins, why did you setup a video call for our in-person meeting?”
Danger Will Robinson! External Invitation!
The second annoyance is when adding people to an event who have an email address from outside your company’s Google Apps. When you do this Google pops up a warning: “The following attendees are from outside your organization.
Are you sure you would like to invite them?”
Well let’s see here Google. I just entered that email into the event invitation because I wanted to invite them to the event. So yeah I guess I want to invite them to the event but thanks for making sure I didn’t make that mistake.
For over a decade now I have put up with these settings never thinking that I might be able to turn them off. After getting off a call with a client today where there was confusion about the Video Call button on the invite I Googled
- Sign in to the Google Admin console.
- Click Apps > G Suite > Calendar.
- Click Sharing settings.
- Under Video Calls, uncheck Automatically add video calls to events created by a user.
When you get to the Sharing settings you will also see a check-box for the external invite alert allowing you to disable that ‘feature’ as well.
Of course Google being Google it may take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect.
Everything this guy talks about makes me excited about the future. The vast majority of it is way over my head but that’s not what is important. What is important is that we get out of our day to day thinking about the world and see a larger picture. The video below is 31 minutes long and is worth every minute. Everything he discusses will affect your life in multiple ways regardless of your position in life.
As we pass 2.5bn smartphones on earth and head towards 5bn, and mobile moves from creation to deployment, the questions change. What’s the state of the smartphone, machine learning and ‘GAFA’, and what can we build as we stand on the shoulders of giants?
Mobile is eating the world —Benedict Evans
If you have a company website with a forum or comments section please be sure to review and moderate those sections. You should be doing this at least daily if not more regularly depending on how busy your site is.
2 Big reasons to review and moderate your website:
- Sales – Someone may be asking about giving you money. This is a good test to see if your company is going to be profitable. Take advantage of this.
- Support – Someone who gave you money may be asking about their purchase. This is another good test to see if you will be profitable by preventing refunds. Also people in the sales process may see the interaction here, or lack thereof, and decide to give, or not, you money.
What to do as a moderator:
- Professionalism – Use business language, format, and spell & grammar check anything you put on your website. If you need to brush up on these things google grammar and start reading. There are podcasts and videos galore as well. I like lynda.com for a lot of reasons and their business courses are really good.
- Be Helpful – Sometimes people don’t know what they are trying to say in regards to your product and what they do say may make zero sense. Understand that there is a good chance that they don’t know as much about your product or business as you do and do your best to help them. If you need clarification ask for it. In some cases you can prefill your various forms to ask for important information up front. This helps speed up the resolution of the problem and makes people happy and want to spend money.
- Always try to chime in – The great things about a website is that anyone can access them and participate. There is a chance that you will have customers who visit your website regularly and help other customers with their questions. This can save you a lot of time and effort but you should always review the answer to ensure it is correct. If you need to make a correction do it gently so as to not alienate the helpful customer. If the answer was correct initially it still looks professional to chime in and let everyone know you are around and ready to help as well. This also makes people happy and want to spend money.
- Take control – There is a lot to be said about moderating your website but the most important thing is to always take control of the situation. This is your company and therefore your livelihood. You created it and will be responsible for anything that happens to it. If someone is posting abusive language or just acting strange you need to figure out what is happening and then take action. Github is a software company that allows developers to post their software on it for collaboration with other developers. Their site is absolutely monstrous and requires a team of in-house moderators to set the tone of how people will act on their platform. A few years ago things were getting out of control regarding sexual harassment. Github took the reins and addressed it head on. You can read more about that here – Fusion – How GitHub fixed its problems
If you are going to let customers post anything to your website you are responsible for everything that goes on there. It can be a huge help to your company or ruin it.
This is pretty big news and encouraging. It seems like there is huge potential for job creation here as solar and wind installs go up. Solar doesn’t have as much maintenance but the wind can blow 24/7:
I’m thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices. We were one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly; we signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future.
From – We’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginning
As of Dec 6th, 2016 WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan” is available and in following with WordPress tradition is named for a jazz musician. In this case the team chose vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan:
There is a video introducing the Update made by the WordPress team as well:
Should you update an existing website to WordPress 4.7?
You will probably want to make this update as it is a pretty major one with a lot of cool features including updates to the REST API content endpoints, Custom CSS, user Admin languages, PDF Thumbnails, changes to the editor, starter content for new sites, and more. You can read more here and here.
As with any WordPress core files update you should be testing your theme on a separate server before going live, if you have customized your theme files. There are a lot of things that change under the hood with these and they can play havoc with layouts and other functions.
Word of Warning on Video Headers!
One of the new features in WP 4.7 is the ability to add video clips to your websites header/top of the page. This is the latest thing for all the cool kids. Please please please use this carefully. Video files are huge and will make your site take longer to load especially for anyone on their cell phone. Yes this looks cool but not if it can’t load or eats up their pricey cell phone bandwidth. If you decide that a video header will be helpful to your users then try to get the file to be under 1MB, please.
The cool thing is that the WordPress team took a lot of things into consideration when implementing this. For small screens the video header does not show up by default so mobile users shouldn’t be as affected. It is also only available on the front page by default. They also suggest you have an image matched with the video so that while the video downloads there is something displayed.
If you want to use video headers please read this page.
Go get WordPress 4.7 and see whats new.