Feature request for GooglePlay app

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Yesterday I re-installed my android system and apps in my mobile phone.

After that, when I tried to get everything installed as before, I discovered that some of the apps I had installed in the past and were working without a problem are not now in the Play store.

I don’t know the reasons why they have been pulled out of the store, but I think that it would be a good practice for the Google Play app, when searching for updates, to display a warning when an application I have already installed in my phone suddenly ‘vanishes’ from the list of available apps.

“Bad request Error 400” for GMail on Firefox

For the last 2-3 days I had an unusual situation to deal with. Whenever I tried to visit my GMail account using Firefox, the response was:

Bad request
Error 400

 At first I checked with the other browsers (Chrome, Opera and Midori) I have installed on my system. All connected without reporting anything.
Then, my next guess was misbehaving addons, but as I tweeted:

So, what is wrong with #GMail on #Firefox today? “Bad request Error 400” (even with all addons disabled)
— A. P. Tsompanopoulos (@aptlogs) March 22, 2012

Since that approach didn’t helped either, I decided to remove the GMail-related cookies. I used the “Remove cookie(s) for Site” addon and it deleted 78 cookies I had for GMail.

Unfortunately, I don’t know which cookie was the “bad” one, but after deleting them I was again able to reconnect without problem.


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How to hide “Mark all as read” in new Google Reader

With the new redesign of Google Reader (the Google+ look-alike), I’ve noticed a new annoying behavior today.
The “Mark all as read” in now a button that takes and keeps focus. This means that if you press it once with your mouse and, then, go to another group of posts and press space to view the next page, you ‘ll end to mark all posts in that group as read!!! [because the “Mark all as read” button has got the focus]
The easier work-around solution I’ve found is to hide that button and use Ctrl-A Shift-A [edited] whenever I want to use the [main] functionality. I know that by hiding all options I miss the option to mark all older than a date as read, but I can live with this instead of marking as read all posts by mistake.

Since I work with Firefox and use Stylish Stylus, this hiding is easy. Just add a new recipe, name it something like “hide mark all in GReader” and insert the following in it:

@-moz-document url-prefix(http://www.google.com/reader), url-prefix(https://www.google.com/reader), url-prefix(http://google.com/reader), url-prefix(https://google.com/reader) {
span#mark-all-as-read-split-button { display: none !important; }
}

and enable the Stylish Stylus recipe when you want to feel safe.

How to forward a Google+ post to your email inbox

While we ‘re still waiting for the full Google+ API to be available in public, I recently asked in twitter for “an easy way to save GooglePlus posts for later reading or archiving” and this is the solution I found since then:

  • Go to Google+ and create a new circle.
  • Add in this circle one of your email addresses, that has NOT a Google+ account; just the email. In case you don’t have a second email address, either create one or use the plus-enhanced mode of the one you already have (if your provider accepts this mode), i.e. something like username+gplus@email.provider.tld (given that your email is username@email.provider.tld, you should add “+gplus” (or something similar) just before the “@” sign — replace “username”, “email.provider.tld” as appropriate).
  • From now on, when you find something interesting, you have to share it with this new circle and, since the one member of the circle has no Google+ profile, the interesting post will land into your email box.

Update [2011/09/21]: this technique comes handy also when you want a copy of your posts into your email box. You just have to include the “me” circle as a recipient of your posts, along with the other circles or people.

With this trick you don’t need an RSS feed for your posts [although I think that Google must implement this as a feature, IMHO]


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    Re-enabling Google FriendConnect gadgets

    In case you see blank boxes in your Firefox, instead of Google FriendConnect (GFC) gadgets, you can try searching the configuration window of the HTTPS Everywhere add-on. For me, it was the GoogleServices option, which I had to deactivate in order to re-enable the GFC gadgets.

    HTTPS Everywhere Preferences window

    It took me some time and several deactivations and reactivations of my add-ons while trying to find the culprit and I found it.


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    How to share an article from Google Reader to Google+

    Just a quick tip for every Google Reader user who needs to share an interesting article with one or more of her Google+ Circles.

    Given that we have the Google+ share box on the top-right corner of GReader, the simplest way I’ve found is:

    1. grab the URL of the article, by right-clicking on its title and select “Copy link location”
    2. click at the “Share” box (at the top-right corner of the window)
    3. click at the chain icon (“Add link”) and paste the copied URL there; press the “Add” button
    4. select the people or circles you want to share it with
    5. if you want, you can comment on the text-box above the link
    6. click at the “Share” button

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    Google secure search with Firefox

    Google has announced recently the option to search the web via an encrypted, secure channel. For Firefox, this can be accomplished by making some changes, like the following:

    • in a new tab, open “about:config” and search for “http://www.google” (search box is located at the top of the tab area). You ‘ll find “keyword.URL” setting and you can change its value by double-clicking on it. Just add “s” after “http”.
    • open bookmarks by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B and search for “google.com/search? q=” (search box is located at the upper right corner of the window). At first, you can eliminate all duplicates (as I did), then change all “http” occurrences to “https”

    For Google Toolbar users, I believe there will be an update very soon.


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    How many jquery.js files do YOU have in your disk?

    It seems that jquery is the most popular javascript framework among web developers out there. This is not a bad thing, of course. The bad thing, or should I’ve said “practice”, is that almost all developers [need to] use their ‘own’ version of the library and they include it into their plugin/theme/application directories!

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m not (currently) using it to code anything, but yesterday I thought it could be a good start to find the library and check its contents in order to start learning & using it. To my surprise, when I checked into my hard disk, I found 50 jquery.js files (not to mention the 364 jquery.*.js ones)! It looks like a waste of space and a source of possible incompatibilities to me, don’t you think so?

    Just try this command in a terminal:

    locate -i jquery | grep “jquery.js”  | wc -l

    or the ‘full’ version:

    locate -i jquery | egrep “jquery.*.js”  | wc -l

    and see how many files it ‘ll report for your hard disk. If there are more than 10 (as in my case), I’d be worried.

    I believe that all of that mess could be avoided if the developers used the Google-hosted versions of the library and avoided its inclusion into their directories.

    On the other hand, if you are a developer and want to test your source files with a local version of the library, while providing the Google-API one to your visitors, you can use the is_me() [PHP function] to incorporate the appropriate jquery files.


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    Google Wave as a chat web application

    I admit that I’m not using Google Wave as much as I can and the main reason for this is the lack of coworkers/colleagues/friends who are actively using it. The tool must have a purpose, right?

    So, yesterday, I’ve come with an idea to create a purpose for me and the members of one of my sites. Since Google allows me to make a wave public and embed it in a web page, I can’t see no reason not to create a public wave and use it as a web application for chat!

    The benefits for this decision are more than the disadvantages. Actually, I can see only two of the latter: the small number of people who are using it and the fact that it is still in beta version and one can become a member only by invitation by another member [19 May 2010 update: Google announced today that access to Google Wave is free to everyone, given that she has a Google account]. On the other hand, the usage of a public wave as a chat application has the following advantages (at least, for me):

    • Easy setup: Just copy-paste the code from the Google Web Elements page and start using it. Also, there is no need for local storage or a dedicated database.
    • Instant notifications: The members can see the replies of the other members, as they are writing them or even replay the discussion step by step. There are also email notifications for new replies, so (a) there is no need to continuously check the web page and (b) you can react immediately if you detect any abuse.
    • Indented replies: The members can choose to reply to a discussion or start their own.
    • Identified members: There are no anonymous replies (possible spam), albeit the public nature of the wave.

    There may be more, we ‘re still evaluating this solution and maybe there is something I didn’t reckon when I decided to follow this route. I know that there are other alternatives, but you can’t beat the simpleness of this one.


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    Firefox ScrapBook: my locally hosted Internet!

    One of the most useful Firefox plug-ins I’ve ever installed and used is ScrapBook. This plug-in is like an extension to the well-known “Bookmarks” mechanism, with the added bonus that, instead on not only saving/storing the URL address of a someday-might-prove-useful web page, it can save locally the whole page (images included), a snippet of it, or even a whole site!

    Its main purpose is to organize these pages into virtual sub-folders, enabling the user to use them for her research or refer to them when there is a need to, and, additionally, (a) search all of them, in full text (featuring a local search engine), (b) comment on them, or even (c) edit them in order to remove unwanted stuff.

    ScrapBook is an indispensable tool for researchers and casual users alike and I think it should be a part of Firefox distribution.

    On the other hand, if you don’t want to store locally the pages you ‘ve found useful, or if you don’t use Firefox (there is no excuse for that… you SHOULD), there is an on-line alternative solution from Google, Google Notebook.

    You must have a Google account to use this service (who doesn’t have one these days?) and once enabled, it acts the same way as ScrapBook, except that it saves the pages (or their snippets) to Google’s servers instead of the local disk, so they are available from everywhere, provided that you have an internet connection and a browser (and you remember your password of course).

    Generally, I use both of them, each one for slightly different purposes of my research habits.


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