Category Archives: For Individuals

Browser Productivity, what I learned from old fashioned phones

Is a Web Browser now one of the places you spend a lot of time be it for work or play? If not I expect your use of browsers in one form or another will increase as more is moving to the Cloud (the internet) every day.

We at People, Systems and Things do spend a lot of time in the browser building solutions for our clients, researching opportunities and a myriad of cloud platforms. As a result we have faced a suit of problems and productivity issues that as solutions providers we have applied our skills to solving. We love to share, so we are starting a series of turbo powered browser tips that will help you be browser smart.

In some cases we will highlight features of a particular browser however with a little searching most of these can be applied to any browser, sometimes with the addition of a plugin, Extension or app.

So what did I learn from old fashioned phones?

When I started my working life, there was no internet, but even once it was available (I was an early adopter) the phone on the desk or in the warehouse was a key to almost all business operations. When work demanded it, learning how to use the phone to transfer a call, put it on hold, use the speaker phone was critical to your productivity. Given this you may be surprised that  when I asked fellow workers how to do something with the phone they often had no idea.  I came to realise that most people know little about the most important and fundamental tools they use everyday. Many of us  learn a minimum and leave it there. The problem with this is those key tools are a big part of your day, the time and effort expended using the phone was a large component of what people do all day and yet most people have no more than a basic understanding of them.

This discovery has informed me in my whole career, I actively review the tools I use regularly and endeavour to learn what I can about them, use “make it stick” practices to remember what I learn and use this knowledge to improve both my productivity and professional reputation.

Today the browser is also near the centre of many of our day to day activities, the phone also remains near the centre, but in now also a mobile computer, which incidentally has a browser in it. As Molly Meldrum used to say on Countdown (Australian Reference) “do yourself a favour” and spend a little time on your key tools.

Subscribe to our website at or Follow us in facebook to guarantee you follow our productivity enhancing tips, and this series about Browser Productivity.



Running out of GMail Space? Want a quick solution?

I was an early adopter of gmail from Google, and I can’t speak too highly of it. There are great tools and features and the advertising that is associated with it’s free service, is reasonable and not intrusive, so much so, if it is relevant to me I do have a look at what advertisers offer. You can even tell google what adds are inappropriate.

I use a single In-box to service a range of email addresses as well which means I was until recently approaching my free 15Gb storage limit. I will post on tips and tricks with GMail in future posts but what follows is a quick and easy way to recover space from your GMail account.

To see how much space you are using select the settings cog at the top right,


At the bottom of most settings tabs you can see your usage


Perhaps you can leave it if you have less than 90% used, but sooner or later you may have to act.  Select manage and you can look in more detail. Mouse over the pie chart for a indication of what is using your space (not only email contributes to this limit)


If you do need to remove some emails to increase the available space, Return to your in-box and follow these easy instructions.

Choose your Primary or other tab such as promotions, if you have this feature. Then select the first example of a reoccurring email you know is filling up your in-box, you may want to unsubscribe at this point if you don’t care for them. Now follow these quick steps to eliminate them.

Open one of the repetitive emails, then select more and Filter Messages like these;


The filter dialogue will appear, something like this;


It will sometimes look different and you can use the other options to refine your filter further.

Now select the Search button


A list of emails that match will appear. Notice how they show the most recent first, after a page or two you will be looking at quite old emails and their potential value diminishes.

Now select the check box at the top left of the list of emails and it will check all items in the list you can see;


If you have more than the displayed number of emails, that meet your filter settings the following will appear;


Scan through the list of emails to confirm you are happy to delete them. You may want to click the Next to check ones that are not yet displayed.


and again;


Notice how it may have being lying. If you are confident you can delete all matching emails, click on Select all Conversations that match this search.


and you will see


Now click on the trash can


Then Click OK to confirm the batch action

All the emails will be placed in the Trash. Messages that have been in Trash more than 30 days will be automatically deleted.

Do this for a few more of your space wasting emails and you will recover a lot of space.

Of Course, if you want to, you can buy more space and you may need to, if you use Google Drive or Photos a lot.

Computer Literacy and coaching for the Cyberphobic

Subtitle: Cyberphobia and the digital anthropologist

No one was born with a detailed understanding of modern technology

Modern technology is slowly bending to the way we humans think and touch, just think about touch screens and vision processing systems and the impact they have had in the last decade on the way we use computers. But this is just not enough for many people.

Do you sometimes fear using a computer?

Having supported 1,000’s of people in my lifetime, I have learned that a fear of computers is a real thing for many people and it can be as debilitating as being illiterate  (Anthony Muscio – PSaT Founder).

Just like illiteracy Cyberphobia  can result in a range of secondary responses by the sufferer including avoidance of computer related activity, going to extraordinary lengths to hide what you feel is your ignorance and sometimes even becoming a Luddite – Showing disapproval, saying you do not like new technology and trying  to avoid using it when in the rest of your life you are open minded and adventurous.

Once again, similar to illiteracy, Cyberphobia may simply be you have not had a chance to learn, or the right example and teachers in your life.

Where can I go for help?

We recommend you seek out confidential support from and experienced professional for counselling. Wait, there is no such thing is there? Not as far as we can tell. You could go to some community courses but it can be difficult in groups for some people, and are you to able to commit the time? Many community courses are great introductions and can be very compassionate but they never really go far enough for otherwise high functioning busy individuals. Upper management, including executives and even celebrities or high profile individuals may find individual counselling more practical and provide a safer environment to overcome their fears. see below to learn how People, Systems and things is here to help.

Digital anthropologists rather than digital natives

Much is made of the Digital natives –

Digital native – a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and so familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age.

but even among this cohort cyberphobia can be found, and we argue they are the last people to seek counselling from. Digital natives think everything is obvious,  they do not even remember when they leant what they know, nor have they suffered the indignity imposed on them by the earlier technology, the seed of many older peoples Cyberphobia. Many Digital natives learned but have not taught.

We think the sufferer of Cyberphobia requires the services of a Digital anthropologist with a lived experience. Digital anthropologists have seen or studied  the evolution of the digital world and also understand the metaphors required to transition to the digital world. A digital anthropologist with a lived experienced has also personally experienced the change you need to go through to overcome your fears, they have met sufferers, supported them and seen the fears overcome.

Our first name is “People”

People, Systems and things knows every individual is unique, we understand the everyday experience of cyberphobia and we plan to help by providing confidential one one one support and coaching sessions. If you are quick you can participate in our service before it is launched at scale and at reduced prices. This is a bespoke, tailored service by an experienced teacher/trainer  and can be undertaken online or on-site (outside Sydney, Australia will be considered in the right circumstances). e-Mail [email protected] or if even that is a challenge call us, see Contact Us.

Have you thought about the cloud?

Internet-based software, services and applications along with virtual servers, applications and data storage are transforming the choices for individuals and business.

Benefits include

  • Fast and effective acquisition of resources
  • Ability to scale quickly even de-scale
  • Substantial reduction in upgrade and maintenance costs
  • Ability to benefit from the leading edge
  • Reduced capital investment
  • Ability to obtain what you need rather than put up with what you have
  • Applications development and hosting
  • Virtual hardware and networking

People, Systems and Thing is experienced in many public, private and cloud technology from the consumer offering to enterprise and do it yourself solutions. We can be your guide in this journey to help you clarify your requirements, satisfy your needs and expand your scope of opportunities.

Why People, Systems and Things?

We have a new and Innovative approach to help business move to the cloud which engages your business in the process, facilitates innovation in business practices and delivers higher quality in a more timely manner. Think these are big claims?, then come to us to find out why we can make these claims.

Enterprise social vs Email

Most internet users today are familiar with email and it continues to play an important role however many of us are aware of some of its limitations.

Watch the following video to really grasp the issue.

The answer is to use other means of communication for a lot of our collaboration and communications. Enterprise social is a great example of tools fit for purpose and Yammer is a great example (Now part of the Office 365 stable), such tools fit into the category

Email is a great “universal address”, allows you register for sites and other services and is good for a whole lot more, but the time has come for the “internet crowd” to get a little more informed.

People, Systems and Things can help individuals get the most from social enterprise solutions as well as build a culture of “The Conversation” in your organisation.

Need to charge any Phone or Tablet in a hurry?

Follow this tip to charge your device much quicker and at no cost.

Here at People, Systems and Things we love our gadgets and come to depend on them. Dependence on anything powered by battery has its drawbacks.

Have you ever being about to leave on a flight, or a long road journey and you are not sure if you can plugin for a charge en-route? Well hopefully you will have a power bank (charged before hand) but then you may want to keep this backup power for when you really need it.


This will not work for all devices, but it has for many we have used. The Tip?

  • Simply switch it off, all the way off, power down and plug it in.
  • Use as short a USB Power cable as possible as this too can slow a charge,
  • and make sure you are using a higher amperage USB port such as a mains power connected 2A Socket.
  • If you are charging a phone, consider forwarding all calls to another number for the time you need to charge.


The result?

We have anecdotally found the recharge time to be half of our switched on devices. It makes sense, no power is used while charging, the device is not as hot as it could be when on, and may not “back off” on the charging process as a result, and you can’t use it in this state so you will keep your wandering fingers off it.

Please let us know if you have any additional tips for this kind of scenario. can help you with all your computer needs so contact us if you need further help.

The Cloud for Couples?

People, Systems and Things has been an early adopter of Cloud apps and services since they appeared. I suppose it is inevitable that we may bring some of these into our personal lives. Here a few you may consider using with your better half or even a close business partner.

Google Keep – Allows notes and to do lists to be shared

  • Use it for Important reminders to each other
  • Maintain a reusable Shopping list you can both see
    (uncheck an item when something runs out)
  • Keep lists of things you need or lost items

Trello – Cards and Card Stacks – when a simple list is not enough.
Create Private and Shared Boards

  • Use it to list items and move them to a different card stack as needed
    For example to know where things are if you have a second address such as a holiday home
  • Use it to brainstorm lists of things before traveling
  • Plan everything for a big event such as a wedding
  • Keep lists of possible gifts for each other or friends and family

Google Calendars – Allows multiple Calendars for multiple Purposes

  • Share your calendars, so its easy to see when you a both free, for that important dinner or to respond to an invite.
  • Separate Work, Home and personal interest appointments on separate calendars but select which one(s) you want to see as needed
  • Plan your day in detail, and the gaps indicate to your partner when you are free

We will post more detailed tips on these tools at a later date.


What are your everyday tools in the Cloud, and which work well for couples. Please let us know on our Facebook page or WebSite.