Categories
Technology

10 Google Chrome Extensions You Will Probably Love

You have that one browser you love to bits. Mine happens to be Google Chrome. I have tried working with Mozilla Firefox and I did not last long. And the only reason I tried it is because I thought Chrome was weighing my laptop down. At first, I thought it was the number of extensions I had on it, so I disabled all of them. However, I could not carry out my work as social media manager efficiently, so I had to bring my must-have extensions back.

These are my favourite browser extensions which you will probably love too, if you don’t already, especially if you are also in my line of work i.e. you manage blogs and social media accounts for most of your days.

Categories
Faith

Boy Bands Rock

Literally and figuratively. For the longest time, I have loved boy bands. Not just any boy bands but Christian boy bands. Think Plus One and Jars of Clay of the 90s to today’s Anthem Lights and Royal Tailor. It then goes without saying that my most played songs are boy band tracks alongside hip hop ones. I work with earphones on the whole time. It’s a reflex; so much so that sometimes, I plug them on and forget to play the music for hours. Yeah, I am crazy, I know.

I will list down my ten best boy band songs of 2014.

Categories
Technology

Where Would I Be Without the Web?

Well, for starters we would not be here, you and me. I’d probably be in a publishing house somewhere editing manuscripts because my job description would not even exist. Or perhaps married with two kids with a few more on the way.

Also, I’d be risking my life in another way other than walking along a very busy road while typing this. You on the other hand, would not be reading this. You’d probably be in front of the television tending to your couch potato ways. Alternatively you’d be planning a day out with real people. A day in the movies with your significant other because there would be nothing like The Pirate Bay or Free TV online etc.

Without the Web, I’d have no clue on what American artistes sing in half their songs, let alone rap along. I’d still be writing lyrics in exercise books (lol) and cutting out lyrics from the Sunday Nation. I’d probably have a pen-pal on the papers too, remember those?

Yes, I still keep them. 😀

I used to think it was so amazing to write to another person in another part of the world! Similarly these bunch of envelopes would not be here right now because I’d have written you all letters on flowered writing pads with flowery words and figures of speech. Then some of you would write back having sprayed the letter with some strange cologne and with some ‘dedz’ at the foot of the foolscap.

If you want envelopes, you know who to call.

Without the Web, I would obviously read more physical books as opposed to hundreds of webpages that most of the time tell me the same things in a different way. Just between you and me, we have read a dozen web articles on the same topic. How successful people start their day. 100 signs you are an introvert. And we still click on because the title is catchy then end up realizing we just got duped. Thus the birth of the term bounce rate, you know, how fast you close that tab after realizing the whole article is nothing like what the title promised.

Without the Web, I’d still keep a journal to record my daily shenanigans. I’d still be waiting for the day someone would accept to publish my random musings. Oh, I’d probably have collecting stamps as a hobby.

Without the Web, I’d never have met my first love. There, I said it. Back in the day, before Facebook was pretty on mobile (try remember how ugly that thing was on mobile), there were other mobile websites where we chat anonymously using cartoon avatars and weird pseudonyms. We called them WAP sites. It was unbelievable to me that I could access the Web on mobile so you can imagine how enthusiastic I was. I got into trouble enough times with my mum. I hang out on two, Bluepulse and Cellufun. (If you click on the Bluepulse link, it is dead. Cellufun still exists but it is mostly for games I think. That is how much the Web has evolved.) I met him on the former. That is a story for another day if I get consent to write about it.

Without the Web, my circle of people would be totally different from what it is now.The Web has brought me together with a bunch of folk. Other folk I’d never even imagined talking to in real life are now buds because Facebook and Twitter bridged the gap.

Without the Web, gatekeepers and broadcasters would still be duping us into believing their content was original. Comedians too. Now all we have to do is Google or even stumble upon videos on YouTube way before Larry Madowo ever lands them. We know the news before the newspaper is out the next day. On my end, I read the physical newspaper just for the ads mostly. Also, we get to stop a show from airing just from making noise on Twitter. How is that for power to the people!

Without the Web, I’d still be calling radio stations to request for songs. (Double lol) Request for songs that are getting to us years later after people in the West grew tired of them. The same for series. Series would still be aired on TV by the way, RoboCop and Early Edition style. You all made them stop because you get the episodes immediately they are aired abroad. Don’t complain when NTV and company air soaps. That is the only target audience that actually watches them religiously.

What else have I left out? Also, where would you be without the Web?

Categories
Technology

Why Google+ Is a Plus

Google+. A lot of Kenyans online are not actively on it. Any time I bring it up in an appropriate situation, people brush it off. Those on it are simply so because they have a Gmail account, not because they log into it and engage in activities within it. Well, I am here to tell you this: you are missing out. Jump on the Google+ bandwagon now. I am not marketing, neither am I exaggerating, I am just giving it to you straight.

By the way, Google has some major issues, from why it should go into your email to show you ads that are in line with the subject of your private messages to those hours it decides (let me have this one, Grammar Nazis) it will not transmit emails for hours. (This happened a few days ago.)

I’ll begin with the reasons you should be on Google+ as an individual, even when you’re not a blogger.

  • The amount of information you get on Google+, especially if you circle based on your interests is amazing. You can choose to view information just from a particular circle on your stream. Say you have this insatiable interest in programming, all you need to do is follow relevant authorities in the subject and place them in a particular circle with a name that tickles your fancy. Even if you don’t, there is the What’s Hot feature that displays trends and everything awesome on that particular day among Google Plusers. (Update: Today, there is a tab titled Explore where you can search out all you want and get related searches while at it.)
  • When you are really bored in the office, just visit Google+ and I promise you will laugh through the afternoon. Of course you have to follow the right pages to see the hilarious gifs. (I love the cat ones for obvious reasons.) There are specific pages dedicated to everything funny.
  • Hangouts. Okay, Facebook has chat and video too but who else lets you have a group video chat for free? Only Google Hangouts. Plus it is integrated with everything Google, from Gmail to Youtube to Google Drive so you can share so much in one joint. Say you want to send a Youtube video link while you chat but can’t remember the url, just search for it right on the hangout and send!
  • The Android experience is definitely not complete without a Google+ profile. I am not a fan of having my background data on (unless there’s free Wi-Fi around) or sharing too many pictures online but if you are, you can use the Auto Backup feature, allowing all your photos and videos to be uploaded to a private album after which you can share at your disposal.
  • Google+’s cover photo is so much more awesome than Facebook’s and Twitter’s. I am just saying. If you are a budding photographer (a legit one), this where you can show off your work really well. The notification system is also quite subtle. A bell icon is visible in every Google platform with a number depending on how many notifications you have. Click on a particular notification and you can perform an action (e.g. comment on a post or circle someone) right there, without having to open a page to do it. (Update: The Google+ cover photo was toned down to one that fades out behind your profile photo.)

Now for the part I am really passionate about, for all you bloggers and companies seeking a strong web presence out here. I started this blog in 2011, just to share my thoughts about random things. Google+ came on later and I got in when it was accessible by invite only. I didn’t see much to write home about. But that is the thing about new products and services in the technology world, you have to give them time. So I did. I integrated my Google+ profile with Blogger and much later, used Google+ comments on my posts.

Little did I know that I was giving my blog the boost it needed in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So much so that most of the things I have written about in these two years end up on the first page on Google search results from a wide range of search criteria. And this is how Google+ does it (directly or indirectly):

Automagical Hashtags

Post anything on a popular topic and Google+ adds a hashtag to it automagically, with no effort on your part. As such, people will see your post alongside a list of related posts they flip through on the social network. Like this particular post will be automatically shared with #Google+. Automagic it is! (Oh. I just recently learnt how to use the word automagic and its derivatives so you have to understand my excitement.)

Google+ Automagical Hashtags

+1s Everywhere

Integrating Google+ with your blog is a great plus, literally speaking. A comment, a reshare or a +1 automatically gives your post more visibility on Google’s search results. Do I need to go into the details of why you need to be visible on Google? It’s their social network so obviously they promote posts made on Google+ better than those on Facebook or anywhere else. Provided you have the right content for your target audience, then you will definitely find your page up there. Grab the opportunity to write while everyone is sleeping through the Web revolution. I can assure you that a lot of what makes Kenya is waiting to be published online, people are just not serious about it.

Author Credibility

Just being on Google+ (and being in circles) gives your content enough credibility in the following ways:

  • One, it shows the number of people who have you in circles. If you have a good number, you will obviously appear like an authority of some sort (whether you are one or not).
  • Two, an image on a search result is bound to grab the attention of the searcher, especially if you are really photogenic or simply know how to pose ;).
  • Three, you are well on your way to establishing a personal brand in cyberspace as you are finally appearing everywhere relevant as an information source. This guy here explains it so well.

WordPress Got It Too!

You will have to verify your email address on Google+ to seal the deal. The whole process, including linking your profile to your content is known as Google Authorship.

Even WordPress realized they were doing the world of blogging wrong by not having Google+ as part of its integrated features. Now, an author can log into WordPress with his/her Google+ account and automatically share a post and get Google+ details displayed.

There is a wealth of Google+ I have not explored. I will as days go by and it morphs into something more awesome. See? You are missing out. Become a Google Pluser today, or at least start a page for your company.