Hello, Trello

When I came across the Japanese concept of kanban boards I was somewhat sceptical about their effectiveness. Project management shouldn’t be this simple! However, I was persuaded to try them out and I chose Trello, a service provided by Atlassian.

Although Trello is used by companies the world over, it has a free option.

First though, what is a kanban board?

A typical kanban board consists of three columns, labelled To Do, Doing, and Done. For example:

kanban boardYou’re not limited to three columns, and you can name them whatever you want. Trello also supports multiple boards.

Each column can have multiple cards. Cards can be added, amended, archived and deleted. They can be switched between columns. Multiple notes can be added to the cards, too, making for a comprehensive information system.

Trello is cloud-based, so it is accessible on any internet-connected device.

I’ve been using it for a few months now and it’s become one of my must-have pieces of software.


Locating the Gmail Spam Folder

When I couldn’t see certain mail sent to my Gmail account, I thought the sender had made a mistake with my Gmail address. When they assured me it had been correctly addressed, it dawned on me that it must have been treated as spam, but where was the Spam folder?

It appears the Spam folder is not shown by default and has to be enabled if you want to see it. Here’s how:

Hover the mouse over a folder name in the left column. This reveals all the possible folder options.

In this example, the highlighted folders are the ones I see by default and by choice. If Spam is not highlighted, click the name to see the folder contents.

If you decide that a mail item isn’t spam, click the check box next to the item. Then select the Not spam button. The item will move automatically to your Inbox.

If you want to have the Spam folder available permanently, you need to select the gear icon in the upper right corner. Click on Settings from the dropdown list, and then the Labels tab.

Choose show or show if unread.




Dark Reader

Do your eyes get tired reading predominantly white browser screens? Mine do, which is why I was attracted to this free add-on.

Dark Reader inverts the brightness of a screen, as these before and after images show:

Tektif screen before inversion
Tektif screen after inversion

The add-in is available for Chrome and Firefox. Not all screens are amenable to inversion, though most appear to be. You can choose which sites should be inverted or not, as well as adjust the criteria for brightness and contrast.

Dark Reader's interface is one of the best I've seen: intuitive, clear, and aesthetically pleasing.

NordVPN Clash with GlassWire Resolved

GlassWire is a free background process that keeps tabs on network activity. Recently when I switched my VPN service to NordVPN, I ran into a problem where NordVPN could not connect to any of its servers. After an exhaustive search for the cause, NordVPN identified a setting in GlassWire that was preventing the connection.

GlassWire provides a personal firewall. This prevents malware from using my network for nefarious purposes. On this occasion, it thought that NordVPN was up to no good. To get around the problem, NordVPN suggested a change to GlassWire’s glasswire.conf file. Instead of hostname_enable_lookup = true, the setting should be false. This fixed the problem.

Notes and To-do Programs

I use four programs to keep me organised. On my desktop and laptop it is Swift To-Do List; on the desktop : Hott Notes 4; on my desktop, laptop, and mobile phone: Google Keep; and mobile only: Color Notes. I know many others use Evernote or OneDrive, but I find them too cumbersome for my needs.

Swift To-Do List

I’m a long-time user of STDL. It’s a sophisticated repository of permanent data, reminders, and tasks I need to carry out. I use it to store all my personal data,  my software licences, passwords, and anything else I need at my fingertips. It sits in the Windows taskbar ready to be summoned whenever I need it.

Check out the website to get an appreciation of its many capabilities.

Hott Notes 4

This is a sticky notes program. It’s old. The last update I think was in 2017. However, it does a simple job very effectively. See the website for features.

Google Keep

If you have a Google account, this program is well worth considering as a notes program that synchronises desktop and mobile.

Color Notes

Using two programs on my phone to provide essentially the same purpose may seem overkill, but I have a tendency to stuff up my mobile. mainly as a result of forgetting to turn it off. My subsequent movements trigger all sorts of actions, including calls to unsuspecting people in my contacts list. More than a few times I’ve managed to corrupt the contents of Color Notes and Keep.

I tend to use Color Note for permanent data and Google Keep for transient information, like shopping lists.