Category Archives: Web

Automatically deleting old emails in Gmail

As a follow up to my post Deleting old emails in Gmail 3 years ago, I’ve now found a way to automatically delete old emails from Gmail.
This trick uses the rather unknown Google Scripts, a Javascript engine which runs on Googles servers.

  • Pop to Gmail and test some searches, eg label:webserver older_than:1m this will find all emails labelled webserver and are older than 1 month (full list of search options here.
  • Once you are happy that your search result has found the emails you don’t want, go to script.google.com.
  • Select Create script for GMail
  • Delete all the example code
  • Enter this code
    function deleteOldEmails() {
    var threads = GmailApp.search('label:webserver older_than:1m');
    GmailApp.moveThreadsToTrash(threads);
    }

    ensuring you replace label:webserver older_than:1m with your search phrase
  • Save you project
  • Press run
  • Once the notification at the top has gone, check back in Gmail to confirm your emails have been deleted.
  • To automate, click on the Clock icon, Add a new trigger. Select your function, you want it Time-driven, and for me I’ve selected Month timer, 1, Midnight to 1:00am

The result will be on the first of every month Gmail deletes all emails older than 1 month from my webserver folder.

o2 and the over zealous family filter?

So if you’ve been on social media this weekend you will have seen a number of tweets like this with people astounded that their site is being blocked by o2.


Did they discover this because they couldn’t access the site on their mobile? No because they followed a link someone else tweeted, entered their URL and saw the word BLOCKED.
So what exactly is “Parental Control”, this page on the o2 website explains:

Parental Control is a service we offer to help parents to protect their children while they’re online. It enables us to restrict children’s web access via their mobile to a limited number of sites which are suitable for children.

It’s opt-in, and mainly aimed for children under the age of 12 who for some reason have their own mobile. As such it’s a whitelist of sites known to be ok. Search for lego and you get this:
Lego.com
Parent control isn’t part of the government “think of the children”, nor “urgh nasty pictures on the internet, that grown adults might get pleasure from”, it’s a service that o2 have been offering for years, but have had very little take up.

The setting which stops naughty websites from appearing on your phone is “Default Safety“. If it’s anything like Vodafone’s “Content Control” this is the default every phone number is set to. You need to opt out of this if you want to view sites such as the one below:
o2 Pornography.
Proof of age in a store, or payment taken on a credit card was what we used to have to deal with and again it’s been like that for years. Mobile networks have had a list of pervy customers before David Cameron started his latest crusade.

Of course your site may be child friendly and even educational, but until you tell o2 that you believe it’s suitable, you’re not going to magically appear on a whitelist.

Notes

  • I notice that o2 have added the line (opt in u12 service) to the results page to attempt to clear things up since yesterday.
  • Of course mobile data blocking won’t do much help when most phones have access to WiFi and most public WiFi only restrict adult sites.

NowTV Entertainment Pack

So earlier this week Sky announced that their NowTV service offers the ability to live stream several of their channels, plus get on demand with some back catalogues.
It’s an additional monthly cost on top of the Movies or Sport, but at £4.99 a month with no contract it seemed like a worthwhile trial.

The current channels available are

  • Sky 1
  • Sky Living
  • Sky Atlantic
  • Gold
  • Comedy Central
  • Fox
  • MTV
  • Sky Arts 1
  • Discovery Channel
  • Disney Channel

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Last.fm vs Spotify

I’m not too fussy with my music and after a change of job I now have the chance to put the headphones on a listen whilst at my computer. My music collection is reasonable, but I find myself wanting a radio style mix of music, but without the radio presenters.

The two companies I’ve been playing with for the last couple of months are Last.fm and Spotify.

For nothing a month on Last.fm you get webstreaming and visual ads, with the music stopping if you don’t look at the site regularaly enough.
Spotify provide a web app, with Last.fm like radio stations, plus the ability to listen to albums or tracks at will. But at nothing a month you have limited playtime and the rather annoying Kia Cee’d adverts every third song.

In theory both services free offerings should provide me with what I need. Web access radio on Last.fm and the choice to listen to an album at will with Spotify.

However there is a firewall issue with Last.fm at work and the radio streams either fail completly, or if they do play leave 5 minute gaps between tracks.

Because of this I then have to look towards the premium services.
For £3 a month Last.fm provide non-stop, ad-free radio on both PC and mobile.
For £5 a month Spotify provide non-stop, ad-free radio and choose-your-own albums for the PC.
For £10 a month Spotify provide everything on your mobile as well, plus offline storage.

By selecting the £3 Last.fm pro account I can listen to the music on my phone* which gets around the firewall problem without putting a large dent in to my wallet. I also find that the Last.fm radio service is just “better” than Spotify. I’m not sure if this is because my Last.fm account dates back to October 2005 and that they have better data on me, or I’m just used to it.

That said if/when Google release All Access to the UK, maybe I’ll look at it all again.

* when I say listen on my phone my actual setup is slightly more awkward, I have my phone connected to the laptop to draw power, the phone bluetooth audio paired with the laptop, and my headphones connected to the laptop. This allows me to continue to listen to audio elsewhere (Spotify/YouTube) without having to broadcast it to the whole office, or having to unplug the headphones each time.

Deleting old emails in Gmail

Gmail is great, with nearly 8gb of storage there really is no need to delete old emails, instead just archive them and then when you need to find an email from 4 years ago you can find it via the powerful search engine.

However I have a collection of emails which are auto filtered from my webserver letting me know that the firewall has blocked access to an IP or that I’ve logged in with the root password. Whilst useful at the time, not really need for more than a month, let alone years. You might have the same with a discussion board, or freecycle.

So the quick way to delete them all:

In the search box enter label:webserver older:2011/05/12
Once loaded you should be able to click on the select all button (although it’s no longer labelled).
Just above the first email you should now see “All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search”. Click on the link.
You can now click on the Trash/Delete button.
All the old emails have now been trashed.

For the search field the date is in YEAR/MONTH/DAY format, instead of label: you can use from: so from:[email protected] older:2010/06/12 for all emails from Lincoln Freecycle older than a year.