From The Tips Box: Gmail Compose Windows, Noisy Environments, Progress Bars

Readers offer their best tips for forcing Gmail to use the old compose window, getting your message across in loud environments, and keeping track of progress bars.

Every day we receive stacks of great reader tips. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or send it using the contact tab on the right.

Force Your Browser to Load the Old Gmail Compose Window

Scott shares a way to force Gmail to use the classic compose window:

I learned that specialised extensions that bring back the old Gmail compose window mostly work by switching the user agent to Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0). So I just downloaded the UAControl extension for Firefox, which lets you set up the user agent on a per-site basis. Now whenever I am using Gmail in Firefox, I have the classic compose window!

If you're using Chrome instead of Firefox, you can use the extension User-Agent Switcher for Chrome to get the same effect.

Draw Messages When It's Too Loud to Talk

Fred lets us know a clever way to get your message across in loud environments:

This tip was inspired this past Saturday night when I wanted to hear the song "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show in a rather loud club in Nashville, TN.

Instead of screaming your song request at the DJ, try using a note or drawing app on your smartphone to write out your message. For example, I wrote "Wagon Wheel" on my Galaxy S III and showed it to the DJ. The same method could also be used for ordering drinks.

Use Hair Clips to Quickly Wrangle Earbud Cables

Ketra shares a quick tip for managing cables:

I used a hair clip to wrangle my ear buds on a recent trip. Most people have these around the house already so have a convenient cord management solution on hand.

Photo by Deman.

Monitor Progress Bars From Behind the Windows Taskbar

James clues us in to a clever way to monitor windows with progress bars:

On any version of Windows with a translucent taskbar, just drag the window down so the progress-bar is behind the taskbar. This lets you maximise other windows and continue working because they won't obscure the area behind the taskbar. And you can usually see more information than the app's taskbar icon shows (if it even monitors progress at all). I've used this to monitor network copy progress, install progress, downloads, code compilation, and more!


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