Using “Recents” folder as an app on Mac

 

Ideally, you can quickly access Recents (recent files) by adding its folder to your files and folders stack (right beside the Trash) on the Dock by right-clicking on the Recents folder icon on the sidebar.


I wanted to add the Recents folder to the apps stack on my Dock.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Open Applications folder.
  • Invoke Spotlight and search for Recents folder.
  • Drag the Recents icon from the Spotlight search results to the Applications folder that you had opened.
  • You can now find see that the Recents folder has an app icon in the Applications folder.

  • To access the Recents app from the apps stack on your Dock, simply drag it from the Applications to the apps stack on the Dock.

There you have it.

Additionally, you can invoke this folder/app by assigning a shortcut using an app like Apptivate.

How to remove a Google account from your browser

If you’re heavily invested in Google’s ecosystem of products, you need to sign-in to use their products like Google Docs, Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Calendar.

Sometimes, you might need to sign in to multiple Google accounts to access their products for particular purposes. Like accessing your work email while you’re already signed-in to access your personal email account.

Google has made adding multiple Google accounts very easy for users.

Personally, I don’t like to see a lot of Google accounts signed-in on my browser. Because this makes me irrationally anxious, and I worry that unnecessary stuff gets synced: unwanted items from unexpected Google accounts.

To solve this, I use multiple Google Chrome profiles. For example, I use different Chrome user profiles for work and personal use because Safari doesn’t support multiple user profiles.

If you have the habit of routinely signing-in to multiple Google accounts in a browser (particularly in a single user profile), removing Google accounts is not straight forward.

Here are the steps to remove a Google account from your browser. This has been tested on Google Chrome and Safari on the web. A similar approach works on mobile browsers too.

Basically, there are two ways you can do this.

Method 1

1. Go to google.com. Near the top-right corner, i.e., the account chooser, click your profile (account chooser) from the list. Sign out of your primary email:

2. This will usually sign you out of all your signed-in accounts.

You’ll see something like this:

Click on “Sign in”.

3. You’ll be taken to this screen. Click on “Remove an account”:

4. Click on the  icon:

5. In this confirmation step, click “Yes, remove”:

6. The selected Google account will be removed:

Method 2:

1. This works only if you’re signed-in to at least one Google account after signing out of all accounts:

2. Click on the signed-out account and select “REMOVE”:

The selected Google account will be removed.

Side-loading Spotify on Amazon Fire TV in India

There’s a bit uncertainty about the launch date of Spotify in India.  If you’re a user of Amazon Fire TV in India, you cannot install Spotify from the amazon.in app store. Here’s a solution to access Spotify on your TV.

  1. Turn on “Apps from Unknown Sources” from Settings > Device > Developer options
  2. Download and install ES File Explorer File Manager from the “Apps” section of your Fire TV.
  3. Open ES File Explorer File Manager, and install one of the cloud file hosting services like Google Drive or Dropbox available there. Microsoft’s OneDrive worked for me. Sign-in to OneDrive.
  4. Download the Spotify for Android TV .apk file on your computer and add it to your OneDrive account.
  5. Assuming that the .apk file is synchronized in the cloud, open OneDrive, and install it.
  6. Sing-in to Spotify. Enjoy.
UPDATE — 26 FEBRUARY 2019

Spotify has finally launched in India. You can get the app from the amazon.in app store:

Spotify Music – for Fire TV

 

When is Spotify going to launch in India

Spotify doesn’t have a date yet.

UPDATE — 26 JULY 2018

From a recent Spotify earnings call (Q2 2018), the CEO of Spotify says:

Obviously it’s the big markets like Russia, India that probably will contribute the most. I don’t have any further comment on any specific launch dates on those things.

They have already set up an office in Mumbai last year and appointed the former OLX CEO Amarjit Singh Batra as Spotify India’s head. But the launch had hit music label resistance. Considering the current challenges, Spotify may be launching in October or November this year.

UPDATE — 1 November 2018

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (Q3 2018):

India specifically is a very fragmented marketplace, with lots of different local labels, lots of different local publishers. Whenever we deal with licensing situations, it’s very hard for us to predict accurate timelines on the basis of multiple partnerships — just the sheer scale of number of partnerships makes it very hard to predict that, but there’s nothing that we see that prevents us from launching in India.

UPDATE — 26 NOVEMBER 2018

Shirley Halperin and Jem Aswad reporting for Variety:

[…]Variety has learned that a launch in India is expected as soon as the next six months and will offer an extended free trial period — longer than the 30 days of full-access[…].

UPDATE — 27 NOVEMBER 2018

Lucas Shaw, reporting for Bloomberg:

Spotify Technology SA is preparing to introduce its service as soon as the first quarter of 2019, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t yet public. Variety previously reported on the agreements, saying Spotify will launch in India within six months.

The first quarter of 2019 — sometime before March.

UPDATE — 15 JANUARY 2019

Jem Aswad and Anurag Tagat reporting for Variety:

Spotify, which has been gearing up to launch in India for several years, could do so as soon as January 31, sources tell Variety.

While industry insiders say the streaming giant has not yet locked down deals for the country with the three major-label groups — Sony, Universal and Warner — it is possible that Spotify could launch in India without them: Those companies are not as big in India as they are in many other countries, and Monday morning’s announcement that Spotify has inked a content deal with T-Series, the country’s leading music and film company, ensures that it will be rolling out with plenty of popular content.

Inching closer.

UPDATE — 18 JANUARY 2019

Aroon Deep on Twitter:

Spotify has accidentally confirmed an India launch date of 31st January on its Terms & Conditions page for India.

https://pic.twitter.com/uMFGByhuKf

UPDATE — 31 JANUARY 2019

Jem Aswad and Anurag Tagat reporting for Variety:

As January 31st wound down in India, there was still no sign of the blowout party that Spotify had planned to celebrate its long-anticipated launch in the country, which multiple sources told Variety was scheduled to take place today. That launch was postponed within the past few days, according to a source close to the situation, with a new date slated for either February or March.

A rep for the company declined requests for comment.

10 years is just too long for a company to enter India.

UPDATE — 25 FEBRUARY 2019

Shirley Halperin for Variety:

In a statement to Variety, a Warner Music spokesperson says: “After months of negotiations, Spotify abruptly changed course and has falsely asserted a statutory license for our songwriters’ music publishing rights in India. We had no choice but to ask an Indian court for an injunction to prevent this. It’s our goal to hammer out a deal that works for everyone. We hope this is just a speed bump in the expansion of our long and successful global partnership.”

Also, Lucas Shaw reporting for Bloomberg:

Warner Music Group asked an Indian court to block Spotify Technology SA, the world’s largest paid-music-streaming service, from offering songs by its roster of songwriters, including Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin, in the country.

 

The filing was made with the Bombay High Court, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. Warner said in a statement Monday it asked an Indian court for an injunction. Spotify didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment and Bloomberg wasn’t immediately able to verify the lawsuit with the court.

This just goes on and on. Like forever.

FINAL UPDATE — 26 FEBRUARY 2019

Spotify has finally launched in India.

Creating a reminder with virtual assistants: Google versus Apple

While exploring IFTTT today, I came across this interesting applet from Google — Google Assistant:

Add a new to-do in your iPhone’s Reminders app with Google Assistant

Say “Ok Google, add a reminder to my iPhone ______” and this Applet will do its best to add your to-do item to a list called Google Assistant.

Having read about the reliability of Google Assistant over Siri, I installed Google Assistant on my iPhone. I started speaking the told command to the Assistant.

Google Assistant Varun

Google Assistant, without a doubt, understood my voice command — even with an Indian name in it — marginally better than Siri. For someone like me who is using an older hardware like the iPhone 5s, the whole process of adding a reminder is a lot faster with Google Assistant. Unlike with Siri, it was real-time: I could see the text as I spoke to the Assistant. It was great.

Except for one thing that the reminder was not added to the “Google Assistant” list on my Reminders app as the Google’s applet had hoped for — plus it prepended an extra “My iPhone” phrase to the reminder. And there here was no such list created on my Reminders app. The reminder was actually added to the Google Assistant app itself.

Instead of visiting “View reminders” on Google Assistant, I took an adventurous route. I expected to see the added reminder to be there on the recently released Google Tasks iOS app hoping that I can now use it as a reminders app on iPhone and the Tasks add-on in Gmail on the web. At the same time, I raised my expectations to use Google Assistant as my Siri replacement as a way to at least add reminders quickly. Turns out, my reminder was not added to Tasks. My mind quickly recalled a service called Google Keep. Again, my reminder was nowhere to be seen on Keep.

To make my adventure of accessing my reminder even more complicated, I downloaded the Google app and signed into it. My reminder “My iPhone get in touch with Varun” was there. Buried under a section called “Feed” — with an icon that resembled a tray — amidst other updates like weather, bills, and flights. The same reminder on the Google Assistant app was buried under the tray.

Since Google Assistant had an edge over Siri in terms of voice command processing, since I needed a faster way to add reminders on my iPhone, and even if I had to use one among two iPhone apps: Google or Google Assistant to view my reminders, I couldn’t find a way to view the reminder my Mac. Fortunately, I could recall from 2014 a reminder icon from a service called Inbox by Gmail. There was my reminder, at inbox.google.com on my web browser amidst my emails.

So if you need to use a simple reminders utility on iPhone with Google’s ecosystem — adding a reminder on the Google Assistant or Google or Inbox by Gmail or Google Calendar apps — expect to find your reminder buried inside any of these apps or inbox.google.com or calendar.google.com on a web browser on a Mac. The apps — Google Keep and Google Tasks — which any reasonable person will expect them to provide a reminders utility associated with a single Google account don’t cut it.

Instead of making a simple and useful utility, Google has tried to mix reminders with services like search, mail, and calendar. And when Google tried to really make the reminders make work with the super-reliable Google Assistant, it has got no connection with its supposed part-reminder utilities like Keep and Tasks.

Coming to the Apple ecosystem, here’s how I use Reminders on my iPhone and Mac:

I will say something like “Remind me to get in touch with Varun tomorrow.” to Siri. If Siri worked reliably, it will add something like this to Reminders on my iPhone, Mac, and iCloud:

Siri Varun

That’s it. I know where to my find my Reminders.

Here’s the often-quoted comment by Alan Kay:

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

I really hope Apple gets serious with its Siri software under the new leadership.

How I got a free SSL certificate from Cloudflare

I wanted an SSL certificate here at One Light for a long time. It’s just that the cost of one stopped me from installing it.

With a simple Google search, I was able to get started. Here are the simple steps that I followed:

  1. Sign up for a Cloudflare account.
  2. Add your website to Cloudflare.
  3. Collect your API key.
  4. Install the official Cloudflare plugin for WordPress.
  5. Add your email and Cloudflare API key in your WordPress plugin settings.
  6. Change your nameserver (NS) records to point to Cloudflare through your registrar (GoDaddy in my case).
  7. On the Cloudflare website, turn on necessary security-related settings, including “Always use HTTPS” under “Crypto” settings.

That’s it.

Thank you, Cloudflare, for the free SSL certificate.