Google Buzz Notifications Overwhelming You? Here’s a Fix!

Google Buzz launched yesterday, and the internet seems to have very mixed reactions on the fledgling service. The biggest complaint I’ve seen so far is the notification system, which by default sends you updates on every conversation you’ve been a part of, either on your own, or when someone else mentions you. With everyone playing with the shiny new toys, it’s looking to become an inbox avalanche if Google doesn’t tidy this up and add some settings.

In the meantime, here is a quick way to get your inbox back under control-

Go to your settings page, and select the ‘filters’ tab, then at the bottom select ‘create new filter’.

A box at the top will give you different options of how to filter. In this case you want ‘Subject’ since Google consistently labels the notifications. Put the word ‘Buzz’ in the subject box and click ‘next step’.

Tick the box that says ‘Skip the inbox(archive it)’, and then move down to the box that says ‘apply the label’, and tick that as well. From the dropdown choose ‘create new label’, and name is whatever you want. (‘Buzz’ cannot be used, so I call mine ‘Buzznotes’.)

Click ‘create filter’ and you are done.

What you have essentially just done is made the notifications automatically archive upon arriving in your inbox, so they won’t show up with your regular mail and clutter things up. When you want to read them, just click on your label name in the sidebar, and all notifications will show up, allowing you to read them at your leisure, or mass delete them.

Alternately, if you know you will never read them, follow the same steps as above, only when you reach the 2nd page in the process, tick the box that says ‘delete it’ instead of the archiving and labeling boxes. All future Buzz notifications will then be deleted upon arrival.

It’s not the perfect solution, but this should keep things tidy until Google gets around to giving you adjustable notification settings in the Buzz interface.

Standing Up to the Harassment

I used to joke that the sign that you’d made it in blogging was when the anonymous emails started coming.

When you know who is sending them, it stops being a joke, and starts to get a little scary.

I received two emails today from the comment form on a new site I have in the works, Everyday Love Stories. For those that haven’t checked it out yet, the site showcases ‘How We Met’ type stories from the average couple. I built this site for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the stories are all beautiful to read, and who doesn’t need something to smile about? I certainly do!

So imagine my shock then I get two comments to be moderated from that site that are not only personal in nature, but quite nasty. It took me a minute to look at the name and realize the ex’s brother had struck again, despite previous emails saying he would not be contacting me any more.

(Click on the images to see them full size)



I did an IP trace, which brought up this-

eadsip copy

Company name is blacked out, but the comments have now been traced back to where Mark works.

Clearly he missed the day in Stalker School where they discussed not doing this shit on company time.

I have for the most part previously ignored these messages from him, but I decided after him saying it would stop that this needed to be addressed immediately, and sent him this, which I also copied to the ex, his parents, and Mark’s wife(who for the record is a VERY nice woman and I am certain had no idea he was sending them, likely his parent’s didn’t either)-

I was told back in December these nasty, semi-anonymous emails that I had been getting for a nearly a year would stop. the ex has said he would talk to him, and Mark himself said it would stop. I just received two more today, so clearly that has not happened.

Mark, I have no idea what your obsession with me is about, but it needs to end, NOW. Your IP traced back to (company name removed) here in Mobile, and I have the screenshots to prove it.

I have no choice at that point but to contact your employer and ask they they step in, since this is being done on their time and their internet connection.

If there are any more incidents I will be forced to pursue criminal harassment charges.

I hope for the sake of your own well being you realize you have a serious problem and get some help for it. This divorce was filed 18 months ago and I am doing my best to move on with my own life. I wish you would too.

Stalking people this way is NOT healthy.

I then sent this to the company he works for. What, you thought it was an idle threat?

I am currently having a problem with one of your (company name removed) employees sending me nasty and harassing emails from your intranet. The two I received this morning came in at 9:26am and 9:27am as comments through a website form on one of the sites I run.

I am enclosing screenshots from the two emails, as well as a screenshot from the IP lookup which links that IP address to your company.
The person sending them is Mark (middle and last names removed), he is an employee of (company name removed) here in Mobile, AL and serves as the (long boring job title removed). I am currently going through a difficult custody battle with his brother, which is I suspect why he keeps sending these messages. I have previously attempted to address this matter with him when the messages were coming from his home internet, and he admitted to sending them, and claimed it would cease.

Clearly it did not stop, and it is now happening on your company time and via your internet.

I am copying Mr. (last name) in on this email so he is fully aware it has been brought to your attention.

I would like someone to please contact me and let me know when and how the company plans to deal with this, because I plan to pursue criminal harassment charges against him if there are any more incidents, and if the incidents continue to occur from the (company name removed) network, (company name removed) will then become involved as well.

If any further information is needed such as copies of the actual emails or the website used to trace the IP I will be more than happy to provide them.

Thank you so much in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Sara (full contact info)

I almost hated doing it, but this clearly isn’t going to stop unless I do something. I have sat back and taken all the mud that has been slung at me, feeling like I deserved it, because let’s face it, I did have an affair. I have never tried to play that down, or act like it didn’t happen.

I do however believe that after a solid 18 months of harassment, I have served my time. I have had to put up the written and verbal barrage of sheer shit that I have gotten from both the ex and Mark, and quite frankly I’m fucking DONE with it.

At some point they both need to get over it, grow up and move on.

I’m not taking this lying down any more.

A Peek at the Peek? I’ll Pass.

I generally try not to rant over stupid shit these days, because let’s face it, the purgatory that is passing for my life these days is way more important than anything the internet could serve up. So I have let go things like stupid troll comments, annoying Twitter people, and a host of other things that have might once been cause for a post or three. Real life has a tendancy of putting things in perspective that way.

I got an email just now that rubbed me the wrong way. PR pitches are always fun, because like the proverbial box of chocolates, you just never know what you’ll get. For once though, it wasn’t the pitch that got my dander up, but the product. Well, a little of both.

Confuzzled? Let me explain.

Six Apart’s publisher development group contacted me for the opportunity to try out a product called the Peek. I’ve seen these in Target, and thought the premise was ok- a little handheld unit that looks similar to a Blackberry, but strictly handles email. My Mogul does this, so it pretty much fell off my radar as one of those cute-but-useless gadgets I’d never buy. Until I got the email, offering me one to test out. Free is free, so I thought it might be worth trying, right? Besides, as the email said, it seems like a perfect match for me! (Famous last words…)

Then I started looking at the device a little more carefully.

The Peek does email That’s it. No IM, no web surfing, no calendar, no..well.. anything.

5 years ago this might have been exciting. After all, it’s small, and cute, and you can keep it next to the remote and get your email wherever you happen to be. But in the age of iPhones, smartphones and Blackberrys, such lack of functionality isn’t exciting. It isn’t even all that interesting.

But hey, I haven’t even seen the thing, so I’m probably being a bit harsh. After all, unlike the Blackberry, you don’t have to worry about those pesky data plans, right?

This thing does run off of your own wifi connection…right?


It doesn’t take a crystal ball or a deck of tarot cards to see the nail in the coffin for this product, which is what they rather stupidly try to push as a selling point!

Instead of using your own wifi connection or one of the umpteen-billion hotspots in the world, you have to pay $20 a month for the Peek service, which is provided by T-Mobile.

$20 a month for nothing. but. email.

Here’s the real kicker IMO. That email being served up through T-Mobile’s network? A quick glance at the T-Mobile website shows they charge users $24.99 a month for data plans, only with them and on your phone you get that same email, plus unlimited web browsing, unlimited picture messaging, unlimited IM, plus 400 text messages a month.

$24.99 a month for all that data, or $20 a month

Anyone else starting to see the absurdity in this?

I realize Peek is aiming at a particular market here, namely those not bright enough to realize that you can do way more on the phone you already own (I’d venture to guess 80+% of phones in use right now support email and web usage). And hey, that’s great, everyone needs to make a buck.

Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have even gotten my dander up over this had I not seen these words on their website-

“Moms love Peek.”

As a mother, let me tell you exactly what moms DO love.

Moms love saving money.

Moms love products that save us time, and simplify our lives.

Moms love trying new things that help us stay organized.

As far as I can see, the Peek offers none of these, and the assumption that moms are so braindead that we would waste our money on something that most of us can get for free or cheap on the phone we already own (instead of carrying two devices!) is quite frankly not something I care to take a ‘Peek’ at.

Hi, Please Bend Over For Us! (Btw, It’s Not Our Policy to Use Lube.)


If you are a blogger, chances are at some point you’ve been contacted by a PR rep, asking you to pitch some product or service to your readers.

“Here are some images,” they say, “and here is a link to more information, quotes from the author/director/creator, and look what somemagazineyouhaven’theardof said about it!” Then it comes..”We hope you will spread the word to your readers about this amazing random product, and please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help you promote it!”

Why do they send these things? At the core of it, bloggers are influencers. We put pen to paper(so to speak) about everything we love and hate, and other people read them. Sometimes lots of people. And those people tell other people. Bloggers are a PR company’s dream in the age of people putting down their tv remotes and instead turning to blogs, networking sites, and other forms of social media.

Like most bloggers, I don’t mind telling others when I have found a great new product or site. I also don’t mind companies suggesting products to me. What I have a hard time with is the idea that bloggers don’t need to be compensated in any way for their time and effort.

This concept was driven home to me when I received a pitch from asking me to check out their business, which promotes a website and a magazine for pre-teen girls. Having a daughter in their target age, I was interested, and replied back, stating that while I generally charged for a full review, in this case I liked the product enough I would be willing to give them a bit of positive promotion in exchange for a 2 year subscription to their girls’ magazine(A $40 total if I remember right.) I get a nice gift for my daughter, and they get the benefit of the eyes and ears of my readership, some of whom might be interested themselves. Win-win. I do deals like this fairly often, and most people are happy to do so. Those that don’t just don’t reply, and that’s ok too.

What surprised me was when I got an answer like this-

Hi Sara –

Thanks for your e-mail and interest in New Moon Girls.  I’m so glad you liked the site!  While we appreciate your kind offer to feature us on your blogs, it is our policy not to offer compensation for reviews.

We do have an affiliate program and would be delighted to work with you in that way to help generate revenue for your site.  If you’d like to learn more about participating in that, please let me know.   

I do hope that you will let me know if I might be of assistance to you as a resource for a guest blog, interview, or anything else.  Thanks again for your interest in New Moon Girls.


(Name removed to protect the not-so-innocent)

Let’s recap, shall we?

Thanks for your e-mail and interest in New Moon Girls.  I’m so glad you liked the site!  While we appreciate your kind offer to feature us on your blogs, (Kind offer? Did you not contact me asking for just that? )

it is our policy not to offer compensation for reviews. = We expect you to make us money, not the other way around.

We do have an affiliate program and would be delighted to work with you in that way to help generate revenue for your site.  If you’d like to learn more about participating in that, please let me know. Ok, we’ll throw you a tiny scrap, but in general, we still want you to make us money for pretty much nothing.

I do hope that you will let me know if I might be of assistance to you as a resource for a guest blog, interview, or anything else.  Thanks again for your interest in New Moon Girls.  One last shot at trying to get you to work for us for nothing, and let me make it sound like you contacted us, because really, we are doing you the favor here.

What got me here was not the rejection, but the attitude surrounding it. No “I’m sorry, but…”, just the matter of fact-ness that they expect this done for free, and continued to pitch me after stating this. Truly friends, these people have bigger balls than I do.

The lesson to take away from this is that when you come to a blogger’s house(their site), act like the guest you are. Appreciate your host and the hospitality they are giving you through space on their site, and don’t promote the attitude that they should just be grateful you have barged into their inbox uninvited.

Even when you can’t give us what we deserve, we might still offer you tea and cookies if you can remember the manners your mama taught you about how to act in someone else’s home.