Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Toys for your Toys

My sweet wife and I are looking for a cable management system for our new Ikea desk. Right now, the floor beneath the desk is a rat's nest of cables and wires. While I was searching online cable management solutions, I ran across some websites with cool stuff that might help some of you.
I've mentioned Zagg before, so I'll mention it again at the end. But here's some other cool stuff that I found.

BlueLounge has some imaginative solutions for cable management, smartphone and table tending, and some other cool stuff. I think it's rather attractively priced as well. My beloved spouse may disagree. I'm going to get their Cable Box.

We should have looked at Ikea at the start. I'm going to buy two 70-cm  lengths of their "Signum, Cable management, horizontal" cable baskets and mount them underneath the desk, along the back.

Recoil is is a Kickstarter-financed startup company based in Park City, Utah. They have a line of spring-powered cable winders that may look a bit pricey ($10 each, for any of their products), but they are an innovative design that fills a basic need. These gadgets aren't for the desk; they're for the briefcase or gym bag.

And finally, Zagg:
Zagg sells both essentials and optional accessories for smartphones, iPods and tablets, and some laptop PC stuff besides. However, they add some style to their accessories - like what BlueLounge does, only different.

The only problem, I believe, is that most of the products that I've mentioned are made in China. I'm still trying to favor merchandise that is made in the USA, Canada, or Mexico - or Scandinavia, in Ikea's case. It's still not easy.

UPDATE: I found a cable tray that I like better than IKEA's Signum cable tray. You can read about it in my article, More Toys for your Toys.

Remember that my product recommendations are independent, honest, unsolicited and not for sale. I don't get compensated in any way for writing this. I just found some good stuff on my way to solving my own problem, and I thought it might help you as well. If you don't believe me, go read my post, Blogging for Dollars.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Importing Your Contacts into a Google Nexus 7

Here's a simple, easy, three-step procedure for copying your email Contacts or Address Book to your new Google Nexus 7. I think it will work on other Android devices as well. You don't even need your Android device to do it. Just do it all on your computer.

Here are the steps:
  1. When you first started up your Nexus 7, you were required to set up a Gmail account. If you didn't do it then, just do it now. It's not that hard. And you don't have to use it; you only need to have it. You can set it up from any computer, by pointing your browser to http://www.gmail.com.
  2. Open your email program, or login to your browser-based email application. Go to Contacts or Address Book, and find a way to Export your contacts or address book as a CSV file. Most email programs can do this. (CSV stands for "Comma-separated values." If you open the file in Notepad to have a look at it, you will see that it's everything in your address book, separated by a bunch of commas.)
    (Note for those who care: You can also export your contacts or address book as a VCF file, but the beauty of my procedure is that you don't need to. A CSV file works just fine.)
    (Note for those who don't care: VCF stands for "Virtual Card File." I know; the "F" is redundant. Hey, I didn't invent it.)
  3. Log into Gmail. Click on the "Gmail-downArrow" button and select "Contacts." In Contacts, click on the "More-downArrow" button, and choose "Import...". Click "Browse" to find and select the CSV file you just created in Step 2. Then click the "Import" button.
That's all there is to it: you create a Gmail account, you export a CSV file from your existing email program, and you import it into Gmail.

You don't need to use Gmail on your Nexus; you can keep using your regular account. All of those imported contacts are in the People app on your Nexus, and your email account automatically knows about all of them.

UPDATE, FRIDAY 9:30 A.M.:  This method doesn't import those collections of addresses known variously as Groups, Distribution Lists, and Mailing Lists. Neither CSV files nor VCF files were designed to hold lists like that. If any of my readers knows how to import Distribution Lists, please comment on this post and enlighten us. Until then, I guess you'll just have to recreate them manually.

UPDATE, ABOUT A YEAR LATER: As emil pointed out in his comment, you need to make sure that the Google account in your Nexus 7's Settings menu is the same one you use in Step 3 to import the contacts.