Google Apps is no longer free

Google Apps, aka G-Suite , hasn’t been free for a while but it takes time for things like this to percolate into the system. It doesn’t help there are two names for it. That just adds to misunderstandings and confusions. It is a widely held belief that Google things are free. Chrome is free. G-Mail is free. Google search engine is free. Google Apps were free but have now gone down the path of being paid. We live in a world where you can become dependent on a free version of something and then you are brought up short. Many things still continue to run limited free versions of something but that may well pass. We are caught up in a perception which was built as we increasingly got to use the internet. Times have changed.

G-Suite is designed for teams and business and Google Apps for Business can be very helpful to small business. It is something Google has addressed now. It was supporting individuals and companies but now there is something for the small organisation or business. Google also has become very competitive on the cloud computing market and it has to in order to survive. Lifehacker looks at the situation to help you think out the work arounds and whether there are implications which will affect you.

As an individual the priced apps won’t affect you since you have to register as a business or organisation with your own domain name. Lifewire explains the changes and how they may or may not affect you so that you can continue to make good decisions as to which aspects of Google you wish to use.


It’s simple. It’s easy . It’s fun.

There are still people who are worried about technology and find it intimidating. There are still people who can do what they do but then worry when they have to do something new with technology. Basically, it’s what Kerwin Rae says – it’s simple, easy and fun! That has to be your attitude.

1. Be clear about what you want to achieve.

What so you want to do with technology? What can’t you do that you want to do? What do you want to do better? How do you want things to look and sound?

2. Use technology.

Stating the obvious. You can be apprehensive about doing something. You might think you will mess things up and you might think you will get it wrong. That is all negative self talk.

Be confident. Do what you want to do and ask about the bits you can’t quite get. There is a lot to learn with progressive disclosure which hides information until it thinks you need it but that might stop you from realising how things work. There is a lot to learn with swiping and gesturing. Do it a bit at a time but just use your devices. Use them to look and learn, use them to create images and videos. Use them to make sound recordings, shopping lists, plans, record ideas. Using technology means you will become more familar with how it works. Once in a while doesn’t get those learning patterns in place.

3. Share and get help.

If you know how to do something, share it. If you don’t know how to do something – ask. Look it up online. Just google it. If you have worked out how to do something , share it. Tell others, tell Facebook, tell Twitter, use a blog to share your discoveries, make a quick video .The internet works well because everyone is sharing what they have discovered and learned. You can look just about anything up on a search engine or YouTube and get help .

4. Look upon it as a challenge.

When it is not going according to plan, leave the device and go and do something else. Nothing will change and nothing will break. You need processing time. You might need to talk to someone and get help or you might need thinking time. Pushing yourself through on a device when you are unclear as to your own procedures will not help you. Figuring it out for yourself is a challenge because you can do it. You might just think you cannot and then you’ll just give up and do something you already know how to do. Learning is a challenge. It is also having confidence in yourself to know you can work it out.

5. Think .

Technology is about using your brain differently and you have to be fluid in your thoughts. You have to think and do and then process ahead and be aware there are next steps. You have to look at the whole screen. You have to examine all the menus and options. Sometimes you have to translate the text instructions to your own way of saying things. “DONE” on a button doesn’t always mean to someone that they need to click that to finish a procedure. They don’t know what it means. Labelling can be very tricky because it is designed for an age group and a certain linguistic level of expression. When if has click or tap to finish then everyone understands that. Ditto tabs in browsers. Some people have no idea there are tabs. They can see x’s along the top and think that means they should’t touch it. To some people x means stop it does not mean close.

6. Learn every day.

Improve your voice

It is becoming popular to do voice overs on shared videos. It probably indicates that , on the whole, we want to improve how we sound in our video clips. There is a constant improvement model in lots of ways on the internet now and that’s good. Videos are still being produced with poor sound quality and a search on this blog will give you some easy tips for improving that. What about your voice itself , though? Around this time in 2016 I put up a post about getting over the sound of your voice.  Just do it. Make the clip. Record your voice. Don’t worry about it. If the sound quality is good , people are probably not going to worry too much about how you sound. They worry whether they can hear you and understand you. If you want to improve the sound of your voice then do it without a fuss. Listen to the tips of experts. Try things out. Work on incremental improvements through practice. Don’t criticise yourself . Listen to what you can do to improve. Ask trusted people for feedback. It’s threatening to have feedback from just anyone. You might take it to heart. Get general tips and look for people who will work with you. You are not in a competition. We all have different voices and we all sound different on video. It’s a habit and practice thing. Have faith in that.

Christmas recycling

This post has been very popular and the video always gets a lot of reaction when I share it. It is a great way to use up those old magazines you have around the place and the effect is really nice. You need time to make these little trees so I am giving you time now! Certainly a creative way to recycle magazines and bits and pieces of Christmas decorations. Something to keep little hands busy and something where you could make quite an impressive display if you made several of them. The video guides you all the way and so you could run it on a smartphone or tablet and pause it as you go along. This is a real  advantage of video instructions. You can stop when you need to, rewind when you need to and simply go along at your own pace. Students can get very absorbed by making things and this tree tests manual dexterity and patience but then offers the chance to be inspired with the decoration. Students will come up with very original ideas for decorating and creating their own personal trees and they can photograph and film them to make other Christmas things. Snapchat them , even, when they get home. This sort of activity is a good precursor to an oral activity or video. They enjoy making their own little characters and props from bits and pieces and then filming it or photographing it. As they are constructing they are thinking about what they will actually say and do for the task and the busy hands and working through the practicalities of designing a tree helps to direct their thinking. It is surprising how your ideas develop and you make things. It is even more surprising what will come next in terms of digital use of things which have been hand made.

UX and Web Design

UX and Web Design


Joe Natoli is a consummate professional and this Udemy course leaves you in no doubt that you are learning well and from someone who knows how to engage you and teach you in the best way. It is a paid course but $15 for 187 well thought out, detailed and content rich lessons is a gift. I got an iTunes card last Christmas and used some of the money to purchase this course. The course has kept me going all year and so I have had more than my money’s worth. Lessons vary between about 3mins, 12 mins and an hour. Joe introduces himself to you by the use of videos and so you get to see and hear him and make a connections with him. There are then a number of voice lessons and , at the end,  the course comes back to video. Nothing is left to chance. It is all throughly mapped out and considered so that as a learner you are immersed in learning and have so many things to know and do.  It says on the certificate I did 23.5 hours . That is not quite right. During the course you get really helpful downloads and emails. These all need to be read if you want to add to what is already a comprehensive curriculum. There is also the processing and practising time. At the end there is a lovely gift of another video. That really is the icing on the cake and tops off the course in a very satisfying way. What I really liked was the show and tell approach. Joe talks you through everything and so you are learning visually and aurally and your brain is engaged all of the time. Nothing is left to chance. The rationale for doing something is explained in global, local and personal terms. You can watch him attend to details and see what a difference it makes. He explains and reasons everything he is showing you. It is about design principles , values, reasoning, being careful. It gives you a lot of insight into WordPress and how to get the best out of it. It teaches you how to be very good at what you have chosen to learn. Everything is there if you want to launch yourself on the web in a competent fashion. I loved this course and even though I didn’t want or need to know everything in it, it has all added to me and it has given me a good way to approach UX issues. At the beginning I had sound issues with the course. When my internet connection was changed from ADSL2 to nbn those sound issues were resolved. Udemy was buffering , as it turned out, under ADSL2. I also had a problem with no video when I viewed the course on my iPad. I had sound but no visuals. I used the contact option on the course and that was resolved within 24 hours. Doesn’t get better than that. I thank Joe Natoli for such an enriching and worthwhile course.

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