You may not know it, but Google’s email bots have not one but two ways of automatically organizing your messages: tabbed inbox and priority inbox.
Tabbed inbox—the default—filters those “A friend liked your post” or “BLOWOUT SALE!” emails into automatically created tabs marked Social and Promotions, respectively. If you want something in a different tab, drag it there, teaching the system where you want to see stuff from that sender.
(Gmail app tip: Cut down on needless notifications by specifying “Primary only” notifications in the app’s settings.)
Priority inbox organizes messages into tiers. It puts unread important emails at the top. Google determines those based on your habits, and marks them with small yellow flags. Below that are your starred emails, below that is everything else. You can enable priority inbox by tapping the gear-shaped icon then selecting Settings > Inbox > Inbox Type.
I wouldn’t dare tell you how to organize your inbox—it’s personal. I prefer threaded conversation view, where emails and replies are all grouped together. If that drives you nuts, you can switch it off in Settings. If you like to keep your inbox empty at all times, give Inbox a try. Google provides tools there to snooze and dismiss multiple messages.
After you make a change in the Gmail Settings menu, you can change the color of your stars. PHOTO: GOOGLE
2. Stars, Labels and Flags
Gmail has a tagging problem so pay attention: Use stars to mark emails you need to return to—you can even go multicolor in Settings. Use labels for projects or similar messages (show tickets, receipts, etc.). And use the yellow Important flags to train Google to highlight your most important correspondents (Aunt Bertha, naturally).
3. Find It Faster
Gmail’s search is fast—scrolling through search results isn’t. In the search box, click the down arrow for specific search filters. You can also type shortcuts into the search field (even in the mobile app). To find every email from me, type “from:email@example.com”. Some standard Google search commands also apply: Add quotes if you want to search exact phrases, use the minus sign to eliminate results containing those words, etc.
Smart Reply is available in the Gmail app for iOS and Android. PHOTO: DREW EVANS/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
4. Easy Writing
On the iPhone or on Android, you can set up keyboard shortcuts to speed up typing responses. You can also lean on Gmail’s Smart Reply. Starting Wednesday, an update to the Gmail apps will suggest quick replies to messages based on text from the previous message. It doesn’t read your mind but the short responses can be useful.
If you find yourself spending too much time writing the same emails or boilerplates over and over you can save them in Canned Responses, a tool from Gmail’s experimental “Labs.” Head to Settings > Labs > Enable Canned Responses > Save. Compose a new email with the text you want in it, click the down arrow in the bottom right corner of the window, select Canned responses, then New canned response… When you want that passage—an address, signature, whatever—again, you’ll find it in that same menu.
5. No Funky Formatting
The Gmail peeve that drives me most bonkers? When I copy text from Word or the web, then paste it into an email, it appears normal on my end. But the recipient sometimes sees text in different formats. Instead of using Ctrl + V, use Ctrl + Shift + V to strip out odd formatting. On your phone, you’ll need an app like Plain Text Paste. (Google says it’s working to improve this issue.)
Speaking of keyboard shortcuts, I am convinced you can save at least an hour a week by learning key Gmail shortcuts. Print the box below and tape it to your computer monitor. Thank me later.
6. Undo Send
We’ve all been there: You hit Send too quick and regret immediately sets in. Gmail gives you a few seconds to save yourself with its Undo Send feature. It’s automatically enabled in the iPhone app (and not available on the Android app). As soon as you hit Send, an Undo button appears for five seconds.
On the website, head to Settings and check Enable Undo Send. Choose the delay period—5, 10, 20, 30 seconds—then hit Save. After sending, an Undo button appears up top.
7. Panes, Not Pains
If you want a deeper Gmail fix—one that makes Gmail look more like Outlook—set up Preview Pane to show your inbox and message contents at the same time.
Go to Settings then click the Labs tab and enable Preview Pane. Scroll to the bottom and save. Activate Preview Pane view by clicking on the icon to the right of the message count.
While this, the most game-changing Gmail trick, is currently five clicks deep, Google says it plans to surface it soon. (Be careful: Many Gmail Labs features may not be ready for you. If you get into trouble, escape using this link.)
8. Stop Emailing
My best email tip of all: Look at how many lengthy threads in your inbox could’ve been replaced with texts, group chat or, dare I say, a phone call. At work, use Slack or Google Hangouts. With friends and family, pick your poison: standard texts, Apple iMessage, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
That said, please forward this—in Gmail—to your friends, family and co-workers.
How To Cancel Comcast Xfinity Cable TV: Get Rid Of Comcast For Good
MARCH 28, 2017
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of the people who visit a website called “Cut Cable TV” probably aren’t happy with their current cable provider. I would go as far to say that the majority of people probably aren’t completely satisfied with their cable service, but they feel trapped by a lack of other options or simply aren’t aware of the alternatives. With HD antennas and streaming services like SlingTV and DirectTV NOW that offer loads of content at a cheaper price with no contract, there has never been a better time to cut the cord. But how exactly does one go about doing that? Is there an online form to fill out? Call up a “friendly” customer service rep at the cable company? As many people can attest, the answer isn’t so cut and dry. If you want to cancel Comcast Xfinity service, this is the guide for you.
Are you one of the many people in the United States that subscribe to Comcast’s Xfinity service? Do you want to get rid of Comcast for good and pursue greener pastures as a cord cutter? Good for you. Just follow this simple guide on how to cancel Comcast.
The “Customer Service” Agreement
As most of you are probably already aware, whenever you elect to sign up for a particular service there is often a lengthy document involved called a “customer agreement”. Nobody in their right mind ever reads this document, but we all know that it exists to outline the ins and outs of that particular service. Comcast and their Xfinity TV packages are no different. This is also where you’ll find information on any Comcast early termination fee, if applicable.
While sifting through this incredibly lengthy (and impossibly dry) document, you’ll notice that there is a section labeled “TERMINATION OF THIS AGREEMENT”. Fantastic! That means it is possible to cancel Comcast service. Lucky for us, they even spell out the process in layman’s terms over on the Xfinity website.
Ways to Cancel Comcast Service
There are three ways you can cancel Xfinity. You can send a letter via snail mail, shoot them an email, or call them direct. It sounds easy, but cancelling Comcast can be harder than you’d expect. If you have an aversion to speaking on the phone and opt for a written request, expect to wait a while for a response. That response will come in the form of a phone call to you anyway, so you might as well bite the bullet and call direct. You’ll also probably want to call in if you want to cancel Comcast cable and keep internet, or any other change of service plan rather than a straight cancellation. The number to call is usually located on your bill.
Prep an Excuse
Customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition, which means that Comcast is not going to want you to terminate your contract. In fact, their reps have scripts at their disposal which they utilize to confuse you into staying with them.
A few years ago, one of these customer service manuals leaked online. It basically stated that the only way it was acceptable to terminate a contract was if you are dead, impacted by a natural disaster or moving to an area not covered by Comcast. Convincing someone that you are dead while talking to that person on the phone is a hard sell. Natural disasters tend to be common knowledge, so that’s out. It looks like you’re moving.
Before you pick up the phone, you need to get your story straight. Comcast reps are trained to say almost anything to prevent you from canceling your service. They’ll try and sweeten the pot with discounts, larger data caps, etc. but don’t be swayed.
First, you’ll need to figure out an area that doesn’t have Comcast coverage. Luckily, there are some pretty substantial gaps in their coverage. Have a look on websites and forums to find areas that are currently without Comcast Xfinity TV. A surefire way to ensure you pick an area that won’t have coverage is to say that you’re moving overseas. England seems to be a popular destination but feel free to dream up someplace more exotic.
The reps will try and catch you in your white lie, so stay on your toes. After successfully navigating their barrage of questions, they’ll concede defeat and ask where they should send the final bill. Simply tell them that you’re having your mail forwarded from your “old” address to your new one.
With all of their probing questions, it can be easy to lose your cool. Stay calm and stick to your story. Remember to kill them with kindness. The Comcast rep you speak to will be much more willing to help you if you treat them with respect.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully terminated your Comcast Xfinity TV service. Before you can pick out your HD digital antenna, you’ll have to do some housecleaning: finding any and all Comcast equipment. Cable boxes, modems, routers, remotes, anything and everything that you ever received from Comcast has to be returned within ten days of service termination. If you fail to do so, you could be looking at hefty parting bill.
When you return your Comcast equipment, make sure they provide you with an itemized receipt. This acts as a record accounting for everything you’ve brought back. The Internet is rife with horror stories revolving around people who were billed for things that had been returned, but Comcast had misplaced.
It is also worth noting that you may be liable to pay a Comcast early termination fee. This fee will depend on the wording of your original contract, and how long you’ve had the service. Make sure you look it over so you don’t get any nasty surprises.
You’ve bobbed and weaved your way to contract termination. Time to pop the champagne and celebrate! Once you’re done patting yourself on the back, you now have to think about how you’re going to scratch your TV itch. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are all fantastic streaming options, but what about live TV? Sling TV is a solid option, but DirecTV NOW is a new offering that is pretty promising.
DirecTV NOW (free 7-day trial) has a number of different packages to choose from, starting at $35/month. With that you get access to a wide variety of big name channels like CNN and ESPN. More expensive packages sweeten the deal with regional sports networks and premium cable feeds from the likes of Starz. In addition, you can choose to add the likes of HBO and Cinemaz for only $5 extra, a bargain compared to HBO’s stand-alone price of $15/month.
With an intuitive interface and no bulky equipment required, DirecTV NOW is a service to check out. Especially since subscribers can cancel their service at any time, no questions asked.
It’s safe to say that the future of TV is not with the cable companies. With so many options, the consumer is no longer held hostage by cable giants. With this guide and a little fibbing, you can negotiate the frustrating waters of the Comcast Xfinity customer retention machine and finally cancel Comcast for good. Just remember to stick to your story and be cool as a cucumber.