Nov 30, 2017

How to Embed the Facebook Customer Chat Widget in your Website

Looking for a simple and free alternative to popular live chat software like Intercom or Zendesk chat? Well, the new customer chat widget from Facebook Messenger is here and anyone can embed these widgets on their website to engage with visitors in real time.

Facebook Customer Chat widget, if you are new, lets people chat with businesses without leaving the website. The widget works on both desktop computers and mobile phones. The business owner needs a Facebook Page and all the visitor needs is a regular Facebook account.

There’s no learning curve or complex installation. The visitor clicks the Facebook icon on your web page, type their message and you (the business owner) get an instant notification on your Facebook Page. If you are online, you can carry on the conversation with the visitor on the Facebook website or inside the Facebook Pages Manager app on your phone.

If you would like to give Facebook Customer Chat a try, go to Digital Inspiration, wait for the page to load and click the Facebook messenger icon in the lower right corner to start a conversation.

How to Embed Facebook Customer Chat

Facebook Chat App

Step 1: To get started, go to developers.facebook.com and click the “Add a new app” button to create a new Facebook app.

Step 2: Give your app a name and click the Create button to get your own App ID. It is simple sequence of digits like 1839871239373637.

Step 3: Go to your Facebook Page, click the Settings tab, choose Messenger Platform, Whitelisted domain, enter the full URL of your website and click Save. You can also enter multiple domains if you wish to embed the same widget on multiple websites.

facebook whitelist domain

Step 4: Get the Facebook Page ID of the specific page that you wish to connect with the customer chat widget. All customer interactions will show in the inbox of this page.

Step 5: We are almost done. Open your website template and copy-paste the following code in the footer of your template. You need to replace the App_ID from Step 2 and Facebook Page_ID from Step 4.

<div class="fb-customerchat" page_id="PAGE_ID"></div>

    <script>

      window.fbAsyncInit = function() {
        FB.init({
          appId            : 'APP_ID',
          autoLogAppEvents : true,
          xfbml            : true,
          version          : 'v2.11'
        });
      };

      (function(d, s, id){
        var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
        if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;}
        js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
        js.src = "http://ift.tt/2cEl5fI;;
        fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
      }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));
      
    </script>

That’s it. Your Facebook Chat widget is now live on your website. If you are not seeing the Facebook messenger logo on your pages yet, clear the cache and make sure the website domain is listed in the domain that you have whitelisted in step 3.

Greeetings and Out-of-office Messages

With Facebook Messenger Chat, you can set a welcome greeting that will show up instantly as soon as a visitor initiates a conversation. Similarly, you can set up an away message that will be displayed when you are unable to join the live chat.

To configure these messages, go to your Facebook Page, Settings, Messaging and update the Response Assistant section.

Note for Adblock Users

Please do note that the widget is served via Facebook. Thus, if you are using any adblock add-on that blocks social plugins from loading, the chat widget may not show up for you.



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Nov 1, 2017

How to Create Personalized Documents from a Google Spreadsheet in Minutes

Introducing Document Studio, a powerful Google add-on that lets you effortlessly generate documents and reports using merge data stored inside Google Sheets. It can also create documents with live data from Google Forms submissions. The generated documents can be automatically sent inside personalized email messages using built-in Mail Merge.

There’s zero learning curve and you can work inside the familiar Google Docs environment. The documents can be produced in PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and several other formats. The generated files are uploaded to your Google Drive, they can be instantly shared and there’s also an option to send files directly to the printer via Google Cloud Print.

The uses cases are endless. Businesses can streamline workflows and send professional looking invoices to customers. A school teacher can print individual exam certificates of every student in her classs. An instructor can generate personalized training handouts for attendees.

Getting Started with Document Studio

It takes 3 easy steps to get started.

  1. Create a template inside Google Docs, Google Sheets or Google Slides and add placeholders, such as or , for merge fields.
  2. Create a Google Sheet with the source data. The column headings will correspond to the placeholders in the template while the rows represent the records.
  3. Install the document merge add-on and follow the wizard to produce the documents. Document Studio will create one document per row in the sheet.

Document Studio includes a WYSIWYG email editor to help you send the merged documents to one or more recipients inside personalized email messages.

If your template is a Google Spreadsheet and it contains any formulas, they are re-calculated and evaluated in the generated document. You can also include unique images, Google Maps, QR Code images and PayPal payment links in generated documents with the help of simple spreadsheet functions.

In addition to document merge, the add-on can also be used for creating documents in real-time from Google Forms submissions.

Watch the video tutorial on YouTube or check the help center to learn more about Document Studio.

automate document workflow

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Oct 10, 2017

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.



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Oct 9, 2017

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.



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Aug 30, 2017

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.



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Aug 29, 2017

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.



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Aug 25, 2017

How To Flash Android (Flyme) On Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

This is a quick guide for how to reflash Fyme OS on Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition. Flyme is based on Android with some redesign along with extras. It doesn't ship with Google apps, but those are easily installable.

You can flash Flyme 5.1.12G or 6.1.0G (released recently), both based on Android 5.1. To see what's new in Flyme 6, check out THIS page. Using the steps below, you should receive future Flyme OS updates automatically, so there's no need to reflash anything manually for any OS updates.


Flash Android (Flyme) On Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition)


Before proceeding, make sure your phone is charged. Also, like with any flashing procedure, this may brick your device, so use these instructions at your own risk! And finally, I should mention that I didn't yet try to perform a reverse procedure (install Ubuntu Touch back) so if you plan on doing this in the future, you'll have to figure out how to do it yourself.

1. What you'll need

1.A. adb and fastboot.

In Ubuntu, adb and fastboot are available in the official repositories. To install them, use the following commands:
sudo apt install adb fastboot

These can also be downloaded from HERE (for Linux, Mac and Windows).

1.B. Flyme firmware (global version).

The Meizu MX4 global firmware is available to download from HERE.

1.C. recovery.img from Flyme OS.

This can be downloaded from HERE or HERE.

Place the firmware along with the recovery image in your home folder.


2. Enable Developer mode on your Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition (About phone > Developer mode).


3. You may encounter an error with adb / fastboot not detecting the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition device. To fix this, open the ~/.android/adb_usb.ini file with a text editor (if it doesn't exist, create the ".android" folder in your home directory, and a file called adb_usb.ini inside this folder) and paste the following in this file:
0x2a45
... and save the file.

On Windows, this file is available under C:\Users\<user name>\.android

4. Flash the recovery and Flyme OS

4.A. Connect the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition device to your computer via USB (USB 2.0 is recommended because it looks like there might be issues with USB 3.0), then reboot in bootloader mode and flash the recovery:
adb reboot-bootloader
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
(or enter the exact path to where you downloaded "recovery.img")


Note that the phone must be unlocked when doing this. Also, the first time you use adb, the phone will ask if you want to allow the connection - make sure you click "Accept"!

In theory, you should be able to reboot to bootloader by holding volume down + power buttons, and into recovery by holding volume up + power, but these didn't work for some reason on my device (I don't remember if only one of them or both), that's why I used commands instead in this article.

4.B. Next, power up the phone and after Ubuntu Touch boots, run the following command to reboot into recovery:
adb reboot recovery

From the recovery screen (which is in Chinese), you need to get to a screen which displays the "adb sideload" command at the bottom. You get to this by selecting the various options in the recovery screen, but unfortunately I forgot which one (and I didn't took a picture). So unfortunately I can't tell you exactly how to get there, but remember that "adb sideload" should be displayed at the bottom when you get to the right option.

Once you get to the screen I mentioned above, run the following command
adb sideload update.zip
(or enter the exact path to where you downloaded "update.zip")

On the next reboot, your Meizu MX4 should run Flyme instead of Ubuntu Touch. Note that the first boot might take a long time!


Quick Flyme OS tips for new users


Meizu MX4 Flyme

And finally, a couple of tips if you're new to Flyme OS.

Meizu MX4 has only 1 button, so to perform a "back" function, instead of using a dedicated button, you'll need to touch the Meizu MX4 button once.

To go to the home screen you'll have to swipe up on the Meizu MX4 button.

To install Google Play Store and other Google apps, you'll need the Meizu Google Apps Installer. This is available in the Meizu store, or you can grab an APK from HERE.


Rooting the device is very easy. You'll need to create a Meizu account and log in to it on the Meizu MX4. Next, go to Settings > Security > Root Permission and agree to the terms. That's it.

References:


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Aug 22, 2017

Audacious 3.9 Released With Qt User Interface Enhancements, More [PPA]

Audacious 3.9 was released recently, bringing much-needed updates to the QT UI, along with various other enhancements.

Audacious 3.9 GTK2 interface
Audacious GTK2 interface

Audacious is a music player available for Linux and Windows, which ships with an extensive list of plugins, along with multiple interfaces: GTK2, GTK3, Qt5 and a Winamp2-like interface. Note that the builds from the main WebUpd8 PPA use the GTK2 and Qt5 interfaces.

As a side note, the GTK2 and GTK3 versions may be dropped in the future, when the Qt5 version is mature enough.

The application is developed with low resource use and high audio quality in mind. It ships with plugins such as global hotkeys, lyrics, MPRIS v2, Scrobbler, Spectrum Analyzer, effects such as Crystalizer, Voice Removal, Crossfade, Extra Stereo, and more. Its Winamp-like interface supports Winamp 2.x wsz skins.

Changes in Audacious 3.9 include:
  • Qt user interface:
    • the Audacious main window is more customizable thanks to the addition of a View menu (includes options to view/hide the main menu, info bar, info bar visualization, status bar as well as remaining time) and additional options in the application settings;
    • configurable playlist columns;
    • drag'n'drop support for playlist entries;
    • improved playlist search bar: it's hidden until pressing Ctrl + F, and it matches results more intelligently;
    • new controls for stream recording;
    • integrated menu items and keyboard shortcuts for the Playlist Manager and Search Tool;
  • a comments column can now be displayed in the playlist (and it supports sorting by it);
  • improved Search Tool results formatting (bold, italics and capitals highlight different types of results);
  • added support for directories in m3u playlists;
  • added automatic switching between track and album ReplayGain modes when shuffle is enabled / disabled;
  • various other enhancements and bug fixes.

A complete Audacious 3.9 list of changes can be found HERE.

Here are screenshots with the Audacious 3.9 Winamp2-like and Qt interfaces:

Audacious 3.9 Winamp2 interface


Audacious 3.9 Qt interface


Install the latest Audacious in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA


To install / upgrade to the latest Audacious (version 3.9 at the time I'm writing this article) in Ubuntu 17.10, 17.04, 16.04 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18.x or 17.x, and derivatives, by using the main WebUpd8 PPA, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install audacious

As a reminder, Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) has reached end of life, so Launchpad doesn't allow uploading new packages for it in any PPA.

For other Linux distributions and Windows, see the Audacious downloads page.


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Aug 21, 2017

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.

 



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