Posts

Pixlr E: A Photo Editor in the Cloud

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Pixlr E is a photo editing web app.

Along with the basic image editing features, it provides advanced tools for retouching, applying effects, drawing, filtering, and adjusting photos. Pixlr E also supports layers and a versatile command history, which lets you undo back to a specific state or change.


The workspace is configurable and you can minimize or remove the right sidebar to get a larger editing area. There are keyboard shortcuts, too.

The app feels intuitive and easy to master. Although I use Pixlr E mostly on Chrome OS, it works well and is fast on all platforms and devices.

Pixlr E is surprisingly fast and usable also on Android, even on my low-end Lenovo Tab E7 tablet. However, on the tablet, tapping the confirmation button in dialogs doesn’t seem to do anything. There’s another quirk on Android. The editing dialogs can’t apparently be moved, so they cover most of the image and you can’t see the effects of the changes as you operate the controls.

The Pixlr app suite In the e…

SEO Is Overrated

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New bloggers are advised not to use website builders like Wix and Weebly because they aren’t good for SEO. And bloggers at all experience levels try to optimize for SEO every bit of content and layout.

But does it matter?


Let’s set outliers aside. For the rest of us, when starting a blog or an online presence with no prior audience or visibility, everything happens at a snail’s pace. For the first year or more, traffic grows slowly if at all. No matter what SEO trick or tweaks you do. Nothing seems to make a difference.

Years later, when the blog gets decent traffic, gains visibility, and acquires brand recognition, people recommend and link to it anyway despite its warts. Assuming the content is valuable.

Therefore, even at the other end of the growth curve, SEO doesn’t seem to matter much as the blog is past critical mass and self-sustaining.

Improving the scannability and readability of content is always useful, a prerequisite. For example, structuring posts into sections with desc…

How to Limit Data Usage on Tethered Android Devices

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Buying an affordable Wi-Fi Android tablet with no cellular data option is a way of getting it for even cheaper. It’s what I did with my Lenovo Tab E7. The few times I need to use the device on the go, tethering to my Pixel 2 XL is straightforward to set up and use.

But Android devices exchange a lot of data even when sitting idle.

How to keep data usage under control? By tweaking the tablet’s account synchronization settings I can cut down on cellular data usage by two-thirds.

Measuring data usage The first step is to get an idea of how much cellular traffic tethering generates, and how much I can save by playing with the system settings.

I did two simple tests to estimate the amount of data usage to expect from the tablet while tethered to the Pixel 2 XL, which has a 4G Vodafone cellular data plan.

In the Android settings of the phone, under Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network, a chart tracks how many MB of data have been used. In the tests I compared the value b…

The Experience of Launching a Newsletter on Product Hunt

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I launched my newsletter on Product Hunt. A few weeks earlier I had announced the newsletter, Practicing Google, and later sent the first three issues. How did launch day go on Product Hunt?

It was a dud.


Early results These data summarize the outcome of the launch, which added 2 subscribers to the 30 I had:
3 upvotes on Product Hunt (including the default upvote)1 user comment on Product Hunt (including the maker’s comment)0 reviews on Product Hunt53 Twitter interactions2 new newsletter subscribers This is not unexpected. Why? Because of an inescapable Catch-22: it takes a platform to build a platform.

I don’t have a platform. Twitter is the only social network I use (Facebook is a deal breaker) and my over 2700 followers are just not enough. Such an audience generates an average of a few interactions per tweet, not enough for any substantial promotion. This blog is 7 months old. My networking options and contacts are limited, too.

When starting out, everything happens at a snail’s pa…

Practicing Google is on Product Hunt

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A few weeks ago I announced my newsletterPracticing Google: Weekly practical resources on Google products and related tech. Now that it’s picking up subscribers and engagement, I’m ready for the next step.

I’ve launched Practicing Google on Product Hunt.


Product Hunt has a community of tech-savvy makers, creators, and entrepreneurs. Many likely use Google products, so there’s a good overlap with the audience my newsletter addresses. I hope they will find the newsletter interesting and relevant enough to subscribe and share it.

I have been thinking about, researching, and tweaking the newsletter for the past year. While I always wanted to publish a newsletter, I started working on it in early 2019.

Deciding on a format and picking a topic I know well and I could consistently write about took months. But the hardest part was coming up with concise and descriptive text for the name and tagline. My brain remained empty for months, then suddenly the name and tagline popped up one after the o…

Leanpub Discontinued the Conference Purchase Program

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In January 2020 Leanpub announced the cancelation of the Conference Purchase Program.

The program allowed conference and event organizers to buy at steep discounts multiple copies of ebooks to give away to attendees. Were eligible the ebooks for sale at the Leanpub self-publishing platform the authors enrolled in the program.

It seemed like a good idea, especially considering the growing interest in swagless conferences. But it didn’t work well in practice.


The program provided a self-serve tool. But it turns out conference organizers were looking for a different process. They wanted direct negotiations with authors and more extensive records, such as invoices, additional payment options, and transaction tracking. Given the accountability and transparency requirements of many organizations, this is understandable.

The Conference Purchase Program wasn’t much profitable for Leanpub, either.

How to Find Official Google Stock Photos

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If you blog about Google or cover the company in the news, you likely need quality images to illustrate your posts and stories.

A collection of high-resolution Google stock photos is available in the press area of the company’s official blog The Keyword. The page with the photos is a bit hidden. To navigate to the page, click the 3-dot icon on the blog’s home and then click Press Corner.


You can filter the photos by type, such as Headshots for portraits of company executives like CEO Sundar Pichai, Senior VP of Hardware Rick Osterloh, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Select type Logos for, well, product logos. You’ll find most of them like Chrome, Gmail, Drive, and many more. Finally, Life at Google features photos of facilities, Googlers, and work scenes.

The images are 2800x2800 PNG files except for Life at Google, where they are 2800x1867 JPEG files. You may use the photos for publication with credit: "Source: Google."