May 26, 2016

How to Extract Email Addresses from your Gmail Messages

Acme Widgets Inc. has been in business for over 10 years and they have exchanged emails with thousands of customers and suppliers. The email messages are archived neatly in Gmail but most of the email addresses aren’t stored in Google Contacts. The company is now shifting office and they need to inform everyone via email of the office move.

The big task ahead is to extract all these email addresses from the Gmail mailbox and download them in a format, like CSV, that can be easily imported into the Google address book or a mailing list service like MailChimp.

Introducing Email Address Extractor, a Google add-on that sifts through all email messages in your Gmail account, extracts the email addresses and saves them in a Google Spreadsheet. It works for both Gmail and Google Apps accounts.

The Extractor can mine email addresses from a particular Gmail folder (label) or the entire mailbox. You can choose to extract emails of the sender, the recipient(s) and those in the CC list. The add-on can also parse the email‘s subject and message body for email addresses. This is useful for extracting addresses from generic senders, like PayPal emails or contact forms, where the email addresses are contained in the message body.

How to Extract Email Addresses in Gmail

You may follow the step-by-step guide or watch the video tutorial on YouTube (download) to get started:

  1. Install the Gmail Extractor add-on and grant the necessary permissions. The add-on needs access to your Gmail and also to Google Drive for saving the email list inside a Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Go to the addons menu inside the Google Spreadsheet, choose Email Address Extract and click Start to launch the extractor addon.
  3. Specify the search criteria and all emails that match the rule will be parsed by the extractor. You may use any of the Gmail Search operators to filter messages.
  4. Next select the fields (to, from, cc, bcc) that should be parsed for extracting emails (screenshot). The add-on can also pull names of the sender and recipients if they are available inside the message header.

Click the “Start” button and the extractor will start pulling emails into the spreadsheet. The entire process may take some time depending up on the size of your Gmail mailbox.

Gmail Email Extractor

Gmail Extractor FAQ

The Google sheet should remain open and the computer should be online during the extraction. If the connection is lost, or if the extraction process is interrupted for some reason, you can simply click the “Resume” button and the extractor will pick from where it left off earlier.

If you go back to Gmail, you’ll find a new label called Extracted. This keeps tracks of the emails that have been processed and can safely delete this label after all the email address have been parsed and extracted.

The Google Spreadsheet created by Email Extractor add-on has two sheets – All Emails & Unique Emails. The first sheet includes every single email found in your Gmail account while the second sheet is a cleaned up list sans any duplicate emails. This is the sheet you should use for building your address book.

Email Address List

The free version of the add-on is fully featured but it would only extract addresses from up to 500 email threads (a thread contains multiple email messages). The premium version (link) imposes no such restriction and it entitles you to 90 days of complimentary support.

Internally, it is a Google Script that uses the magic of Regular Expressions to pull email addresses from Gmail. The extracted email addresses are saved in a Google spreadsheet that can be used as input for sending personalized email messages through Gmail Mail Merge.

Also see: Schedule Emails in Gmail for Sending Later


The story, How to Extract Email Addresses from your Gmail Messages, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 26/05/2016 under GMail, Internet.

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Access Blocked Websites In Censored Regions With Lantern

Lantern is a free, open source internet censorship circumvention software that was created to "give users fast access to the blocked Internet". The application is available for desktops (Linux, Windows, Mac) and Android.

Lantern unblock websites

The application is not new, but I never got to write about it on WebUpd8. Lantern is built by Brave New Software, whose founder and lead developer is Adam Fisk, former lead developer of LimeWire and LittleShoot.

The project was started in 2013 and it was initially available through an invitation-only system, but with version 2.0, released in 2015, the application no longer requires an invitation to use.

Lantern relies on both its own servers and on the bandwidth of users in uncensored regions acting as access points, to unblock websites. According to its FAQ, Lantern encrypts all of your traffic when you are accessing a blocked site.

It's important to mention that Lantern was not designed to be an anonymity tool and if that's what you need, you should use Tor instead. Lantern's goal is to provide fast, easy to use and secure access to blocked websites.

The application is very easy to use: simply install and run it, and it should automatically change your system proxy, allowing your web browser to access blocked websites. 

Its user interface consists of a tray / appindicator and a web interface (which opens automatically upon launching Lantern) that allows access to some options, like running Lantern on system startup, proxy all traffic, enable/disable anonymous usage statistics and manage system proxy:

Lantern unblock websites

By default, Lantern tries to use a proxy only for websites it detects as blocked. This didn't work properly for most websites I tried in my test, like Pandora, CBS and others however, everything worked as expected after I enabled the "proxy all traffic" option.

Note: you may need to restart Lantern and your web browser after changing the "proxy all traffic" option.

Lantern used to allow customizing the proxied sites list, but that feature is no longer available with Lantern version 2, although this feature might return in a future release.

For more information about Lantern, check out its FAQ.


Download Lantern


Download Lantern (binaries available for Debian / Ubuntu and derivatives, Windows and Mac OS X as well as Android)

Arch Linux users can install Lantern from AUR.

For generic Linux binaries, source code, bug reports, etc. see the Lantern GitHub page.


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May 23, 2016

How to Identify the Gender of your Twitter Followers

Do you ever wonder what is the demographics of people who follow you on Twitter. How many of your Twitter friends are men? Or women? Or random colored eggs, people who are either too lazy to change their default avatar or maybe they are Twitter bots.

The Graph Search of Facebook can provide deep insights into the demographics of people who are connected with you on the social network. For instance, you can write a natural language query like “My friends who are older than 30” or “My female friends who live in Delhi” and the answer will be available instantly. Such granular data is however not available for Twitter users.

Who Follows You? Males, Females or Eggs

How do you programmatically determine the gender of a person on Twitter?

The Twitter API doesn’t provide the gender information but there’s a workaround. You can take the profile picture of a Twitter user, feed it into Siftr’s Vision API and it will detect the gender of the most prominent face in the photograph. You can go a step further and use Microsoft’s Face API and it will even provide the approximate age of the subject in the photo.

Image Recognition to know the gender of Twitter followers

Detecting Gender of Twitter users with Image Recognition

 

Analyze your Twitter Followers

Meet Twitter Analyzer, a web app that analyzes your Twitter network (friends or followers) and logs the details of all user inside a Google Spreadsheet (see screenshot). You get to know their gender, how often they tweet, where are they located, when did they last join Twitter and more.

Getting started is easy. Go to labnol.org/analyzer and sign-in with your Google Account. It requires all these permissions because the underlying Google Script saves everything inside a Google Spreadsheet that will be in your Google Drive. Once the Twitter followers have been analyzed, you’ll get an email notification.

After you’ve granted the necessary permissions, click “Authorize Twitter” to allow the sheet to access your Twitter account. It will never post any tweet to your profile. Next click the scan button and close the page. You’ll get an email once the analysis is complete and this time will vary based on the number of followers you have.

Twitter Eggs

Go to labnol.org/analyzer to scan your Twitter followers

 

Identifying Humans vs Twitter Bots

Camisani Calzolari wrote a set of rules (PDF) that can help detect real users from bots, inactive accounts and fake Twitter users. Some of the rules are:

  • The account has written at least 50 tweets
  • the account has at least 30 followers
  • the profile contains a URL
  • the profile contains an image
  • the profile contains a biography
  • it has been inserted into other Twitter lists

The Google Spreadsheet that is generated by the Twitter Analyzer app includes most of this information as well. Thus, apart from gender analysis, the Analyzer app may help you figure out how many fake bots and inactive profiles follow you on Twitter.


The story, How to Identify the Gender of your Twitter Followers, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 23/05/2016 under Twitter, Internet.

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May 20, 2016

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar Plugin 0.17.1 Released With Options To Use Dark Theme And Vertical Categories

Alternative Toobar is a plugin that enhances the Rhythmbox play controls and interface, including optional headerbars for GNOME-based desktops.

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar
Rhythmbox with Alternative Toobar 0.17.1 with the new dark theme option enabled (using Adwaita theme / headerbars / GNOME Shell)

The plugin was updated to version 0.17.1 recently, which brings the following changes:
  • added an option to use a dark theme (this works with themes that include a dark theme, like Adwaita);
  • added an option to display the categories horizontally of vertically;
  • fixed displaying the app-menu in Budgie Desktop;
  • added an option (only available via gsettings / Dconf Editor) to force the display of the app-menu (GNOME menu) if required;
  • correctly toggle the search button using Ctrl + F (when using headerbar only).

Here's Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar under Unity, using classic window borders and vertical categories:

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar


And another screenshot under Unity (Ubuntu 16.04), with the "Modern" (headerbar) option enabled in the Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar preferences:

Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar

While Rhythmbox Alternative toolbar was initially started as a simple plugin to change some parts of the Rhythmbox toolbar, it has evolved and the plugin can now change the sidebar, enable client-side decorations (headerbars), use a compact style toolbar and much more.

Here's a list of Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar features:

  • allows toggling between headerbars ("Modern" option in plugin settings) and classic window decorations
  • use compact controls for the Rhythmbox toolbar;
  • redesigned sidebar;
  • redesigned plugin window, about box and plugin preferences window;
  • allows moving columns (title, artist, etc.) using drang'n'drop;
  • Source Toolbars can be toggled (CTRL + T or from the menu: View > Show Source Toolbar);
  • option to display album/genre/year for playing song;
  • volume Control can be switched on or off for all toolbars;
  • seek forward (fast-forward) through a track (ALT + Right Arrow) and backward (ALT + Left Arrow);
  • repeat button can switch between repeat tracks and repeat-one-song mode;
  • and of course, the recently added features mentioned above.


Install Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar in Ubuntu or Linux Mint


Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar is available in the Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10 repositories (however, the latest 0.17.1 version is only available in the Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak repositories) as wells Debian (version 0.17.1 in sid and 0.16.3 in stretch). To install it, simply use the following command:
sudo apt install rhythmbox-alternative-toolbar

To install the latest Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar in Ubuntu 16.04, 15.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 18 or 17.x, you can use a PPA. 

To add the PPA and install the plugin, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt update
sudo apt install rhythmbox-plugin-alternative-toolbar

For source, installation instructions for other Linux distributions, bug reports and more information about Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar, see its GitHub page.

update via xpressubuntu


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May 19, 2016

Make Stunning Video Presentations with Spark Video from Adobe

Adobe Voice has long been my favorite digital storytelling app for making video presentations and photo slideshows on iOS device. All you have to do import your photos, type some text, add your own voice narration and a stunning video is ready for uploading on to YouTube or Facebook.

Here’s a video story that our 10-year old made with Adobe Voice. The background music, transitions and other effects are automatically applied by the Voice app to make your video looks both cinematic and professional.

I have all good things to say about Adobe Voice except that you need an iPad or iPhone to create videos. Well, until now as Adobe has quietly launched a new suite of web apps that, among other things, will let you use Adobe Voice inside your desktop browser. The suite, known as Adobe Spark, includes tools for creating video stories, magazine-style web pages and typography posters (think of Typorama but for the web).

And the price is just right. $0.

To get started, go to spark.adobe.com and sign-in with your Facebook or Google Account. This is mandatory because all your work will be auto-saved under this account and will also be accessible on your iPad and iPhone.

Spark Video offers a PowerPoint style layout. You have a plethora of cinematic themes to choose from and each theme has its own set of background music, transitions and fonts. Changing a theme for your video is as simple as choosing one from the sidebar.

Video Themes

Your slides can have photos and text or both. You can either import photos from the computer or there’s a built-in search engine to help you search photos that are in the Creative Commons domain. Adobe Spark Video automatically takes care of mentioning the photo source in the closing-credits of the movie.

If you click that little ‘speech icon’, you can alter the position of the photo on the slide or mark the main point that should be focussed during transitions.

Search Photos

Your movies stay forever on the Adobe Spark website and you get a permanent link to share that video with friends. Alternatively, you can download the raw video in MP4 format for uploading to other sites like YouTube or Facebook or publish as an iTunes Podcast.

Adobe claims no copyright over the video or embedded music so you can legally download the video and do anything. For instance, some people may want to remove the Adobe Voice branding that’s added in the last slide and you can easily do with any video editing software.

Export Video

Adobe Spark will make it easy for anyone to make cinematic quality presentations will little effort. The one feature that you’ll miss though is that there’s no option to import GIFs and video clips into your slides.


The story, Make Stunning Video Presentations with Spark Video from Adobe, was originally published at Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 19/05/2016 under Presentations, Internet.

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May 17, 2016

Temporarily Disable Notifications In Ubuntu (w/ Unity 7) With NoNotifications Indicator

NoNotifications is a simple indicator for Ubuntu (Unity 7) that allows you to temporarily suppress NotifyOSD notifications. The tool is useful for presentations, when working, and so on, to prevent unwanted notifications from getting in your way or distracting you.

Ubuntu Unity do not disturb nonotifications

The NoNotifications indicator offers only two options (and Quit): "Don't disturb", which disables the notifications and changes the indicator icon to red, and "Show notifications", which you've guessed it, enables the notifications, and changes the indicator icon to green.

Ubuntu (with Unity 7) lacks a "Do Not Disturb" mode and while NoNotifications can be useful for temporarily disabling NotifyOSD notifications, it doesn't provide a complete "Do Not Disturb" mode.

A "Do not disturb" mode that also mutes the sound, disables all kinds of popups and allows scheduling when you want to activate this mode would be extremely useful. I'm not sure if the NoNotifications developer is interested in these features but nevertheless, I reported a bug for NoNotifications to include them @ Launchpad.


Install NoNotifications (NoNotifs) in Ubuntu


NoNotifications indicator is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 16.04, 15.10, 15.04 and 14.04. Add the PPA and install the indicator using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/nonotifs
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nonotifs


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