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Posts Tagged ‘gmail’

Gmail IMAP Support Makes Email Archiving Practical

October 30th, 2007 No comments

I was thrilled to find that IMAP access was finally turned on for my Google Apps for Your Domain account. All the email for the ReWinD Blog is handled by Gmail (and my web hosting is provided by asmallorange.com if you were wondering). I absolutely love the services I get from Google, the generous storage for all the accounts, great uptime, custom web interfaces for my iPhone, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. IMAP gives me instant access to my inbox anywhere, anytime.

But here’s the real advantage of IMAP – you now have two-way syncing between your email client software and Gmail. Not only can you download messages from your Gmail account, you can also upload messages to your inbox or other folders. This works in real-time too. As quickly as you can upload a message to your Gmail account, you can view that message through the web interface or from another IMAP client. There are lots of neat tricks you can use here, but the most practical result for most people is that you can import your old archived messages into Gmail with drag and drop ease.

You can create a new account in your email client for your Gmail account using IMAP and instantly see your inbox and all your labels (can we just call them folders?). You can drag messages from another account or a local folder into your Gmail inbox or to a label using that same client software. This is enormously useful because now you can use the blazing speed of Google’s search engine to comb through all your old email by uploading it to Google and making it available through your Gmail account.

My biggest complaint about Outlook on Windows was that searching folders with hundreds or thousands of emails was frustratingly slow. Part of the reason I switched to using Gmail for my own domains was to take advantage of the speed of searching through emails through their service. In fact, it is so fast that I really stopped using folders completely and just started searching with keywords using Google’s web interface. Now I can transfer all my archived email from the last 10 years or so to Google and get that incredible search speed for thousands more messages.

I did a quick test using some messages from another account and was able to retain all the information about sender, proper dates, etc. That’s really hard to do with a POP3 account (using redirects and all that is a pain). This is dead simple.

My next post will be a practical step-by-step guide to setting up your own IMAP account with Outlook so that you can transfer messages to Google and starting reaping the benefits of being able to search through thousands of messages in seconds.

Exclusive Scoop on Google Vinyl

April 1st, 2007 1 comment

After my groundbreaking investigative reporting on the upcoming 2.0 release of Delicious Library, I’ve been inundated by more rumors than a ValleyWag tip line. I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter about a secret project at Google codenamed “Google LP” that frankly didn’t make sense until just this morning.Gmail Paper
Most of you are likely familiar by now with Gmail Paper, an amazing new offering from the wizards of Mountain View. You can get hardcopies of all your email sent to you at no charge, albeit with large red ads on the back of each page. All visual attachments are also sent to you, whether those be documents or image files (no word on whether or not the glossy photo paper also has red ads on the back or not). In the notes, you’ll see that the only attachments that are not supported are audio files like MP3 and WAV files. Here’s where the secret project comes in.

Apparently, while investigating alternative methods of high-density data storage and reliable backup medium, Google has patented a new process for permanently recording audio information onto a new type of disc made from a copolymerized version of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate with small amounts of carbon black added. These improvements apparently build on the legendary work (patent # 4472295) of Fox and DiMarco, now rumored to be Google Fellows. These discs are somewhat resistant to dust (they can be wiped clean with distilled water when combined with other surfactants as additives to act as grease solvents, particularly for fingerprints) and can therefore be reliably used as removable media with a special “player” that can read the information imprinted on the surface of the vinyl disc.

This system is platform agnostic and will apparently work independently of any operating system on your computer. There is absolutely no need to be concerned about compatibility with your digital media player device. In fact, the audio output is said to be compatible with any equipment that has stereo phono input jacks.

This is where it gets exciting! Even though this project wasn’t ready for simultaneous release with Gmail Paper, this new system will allow Google to inscribe your MP3, AAC, WAV, etc. audio file attachments to these new PVC discs which Google will then mail to you for playback on the required player device. The player devices are available from a variety of manufacturers although they will be hard to find in most mainstream electronics stores for some time, although there are reports of the players being seen in high-end audio shops and, surprisingly enough, in pawn shops and thrift stores.

Here’s the final evidence. You’ll notice that in the images announcing Gmail Paper that the woman in the first picture (You click) is listening to audio content on her computer. She obviously wants to archive this material to physical media as well. BUT PICTURE #2 (We stack) WAS SUBSTITUTED AT THE LAST MINUTE when it was clear that the secret audio project wasn’t ready. Here is the original image that will go out again when the audio file support is ready.

Google Vinyl is coming, and it’s going to rock your world!

BREAKING UPDATE! – I’m trying to confirm if targeted audio ads are going to be placed on the disc between tracks or if red text ads are going to be printed on the surface of the disc. The latest rumors point to the possibility of both methods being used. There are also unsubstantiated rumors about less expensive ad placement for advertisers that don’t mind having their content show up when the discs are played backwards. The craziest rumors are that the highest priced placement will be audio ads *embedded* in your audio files at levels that are imperceptible to the conscious mind and therefore don’t affect the audio quality of your files. These are called subvinyl or perhaps sublaminate ads. Something like that – the audio was a little scratchy on the message I received.

Much Rejoicing Over New Version of Google Notifier for Mac

March 31st, 2007 1 comment

If you launch Google Notifier for Mac, you’ll be prompted to “upgrade” to the latest version. I’m thrilled to report that this latest version 1.9.97 works perfectly with Google Apps for Your Domain. All the links in the pull-downs will take you to the appropriate page in the hosted versions of Google Apps Mail or Calendar.

I tried to find release notes to find what else has changed in this release but have been unsuccessful in the last 2-1/2 minutes. In fact, when you get to the “What is Notifier?” page in Google Help Center, the link for information on the Mac version of Notifier goes nowhere (404 error).

I reset Safari to check for the bug where Mail notification would only work when you had logged in from Safari first. So far, no signs of that bug either.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the invaluable Gmail+Growl for Google Notifier which allows you to run all the Notifier notifications through the Growl notification notifier. 😉

Have I mentioned that I love Google Apps?

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , , ,

Google Notifier for Mac and Google Apps (GAFYD)

March 16th, 2007 No comments

Google NotifierA couple weeks ago I noticed that Google Notifier was no longer giving me notifications of new email. All this started right around the time that Google launched their Premier Edition service. I was going to write about this back then, but the post sat in my drafts while I was trying to figure out what was happening. I think I finally have the full (if somewhat disappointing) answer.

I sign in with my Google Apps account (not a regular Gmail account). Unfortunately, Google Notifier hasn’t been updated to work properly with Google Apps for Your Domain. The links to open your calendar, inbox, compose a new message, and so on try to take you to the regular Gmail or Calendar pages. The login fails because Notifier is presenting credentials for Google Apps. What was more puzzling was that the new items list still worked in Calendar, but not in Mail. The notifications and the count of new mail items in the menu bar used to work and now I’ve figured out how to make them work again.

The key (for some unknown reason) is to login to Google Apps in Safari first. Yep, that’s it. I have Firefox set as my default browser and rarely use Safari so I hadn’t noticed until I logged in with that browser. Once you do that, Google Notifier will start working again for email notifications. I still can’t open my Mail from Notifier, but the notifications and unread message count work.

This a good spot to put a little plug in for Growl as well. All you need is Gmail+Growl, which will feed the notifications to Growl so you can integrate them into your other system notifications.

I did a little digging around in the package for Notifier and there are several hardcoded references to the gmail page. Along with the dependency on having a valid cookie with Safari, this makes Google Notifier less than perfect. Hopefully, someone will get around to updating this utility to work properly with mail.google.com/a/ as well as mail.google.com/accounts.

A Few Things Still Broken or Missing in Google Apps

February 28th, 2007 No comments

I’ve been using Google Apps for Your Domain for almost a year now. I love it and it’s totally changed the way I work with email and simple spreadsheets. Now that Google Apps is all official and stuff, I thought I’d point out a couple things that are still broken or missing…

Google Docs

  • Now that Google Docs has been integrated into GAFYD, there is a conflict if you have a Google Account with the same email address as your GAFYD account. It’s a real pain because sharing docs to your email address doesn’t always work the way you want it to. It doesn’t seem to show up in your GAFYD account so you actually have to log out and then log back in at the docs site WITH THE SAME ACCOUNT NAME! This is lame and needs to be fixed. This issue exists for a lot of us because Docs didn’t used to be part of the Apps suite so I (along with a lot of other people) just created a Docs account with the same email address.
  • The menu is missing the “more »” item that appears in Mail.

Google Reader

  • Google Reader – If I try to email something I’m reading from Google Reader, I have to login to a gmail account. I can’t email with my GAFYD account.
  • It would also be great if the domain admin could set up a page where you could see what everyone on the domain is sharing. A clearing house for all shared items with members of your family or business.

Calendar

  • For some inexplicable reason, Calendar doesn’t have the same menu choices at the top left as Mail and Docs. It needs a link to the GAFYD Docs app and “more »”

Mail

  • I can’t attach a Google Docs document to an email. Sure I can share from the Docs app, but sometimes it would be nice to just send the document as an attachment via email, especially to someone outside of my GAFYD domain or to another company.
  • I need a better way to capture “mailto://” links on web sites. Google Notifier will do this on the Mac, but it’s broken now for GAFYD.

Notifier

  • Google Talk works very well as a notifier on the Windows side. It will tell you when you receive new emails in your GAFYD account On the Mac side though, Google Notifiers doesn’t work with GAFYD. It actually used to, but the functionality was broken when Google Apps went official.
  • Like I mentioned above, Google Notifier no longer correctly captures “mailto://” links because it wants to direct them to the public Gmail service rather than GAFYD.

Groups

  • Google Groups isn’t part of the Apps suite yet, but it would be great to incorporate this into GAFYD. That way you could set up groups that would be private to your domain. I could see lots of uses for this. If you want a public group, you would just use the “normal” Google Groups site.

All My Services

  • On the public side of Google, you get a link to “All My Services” which shows you exactly what you signed up for. It includes Reader, Adwords, Analytics, Notebook, Blogger, Picasa, Webmaster Tools, Search History, and more. What you get on the GAFYD side is a link to “more »” which takes you to a list of everything that Google offers ON THE PUBLIC SIDE! There is no equivalent feature to show you everything that is available to you as part of your GAFYD account.
Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,

How Google Changed My Life

February 22nd, 2007 No comments

I tried to like webmail, but it just didn’t work for me. Using SquirrelMail felt like it was literally powered by a squirrel on a wheel, and Horde was about the same. My address book wasn’t available from the web app and sent mail was only kept on the server. I was still dependent on Outlook and I just didn’t like webmail. Until Gmail that is.

Gmail finally hit the right combination of features and speed to make it more than tolerable and almost fun to use webmail. Their clever use of AJAX to make the app more responsive and intuitive is a key reason for its success, and the reason that I decided that I liked using it. I tried Google Calendar and then Google Docs and I decided that I really liked these web apps. For perhaps the first time, I found a web app that I almost preferred to the desktop verion.

I wanted this convenience and simplicity for my primary internet identity at dodd.org. I thought about forwarding messages to Gmail and tried importing via POP3 and all that, but when Google announced that they were going to open up these apps so that they could be tied to your own domain, I hurried over to the web site to sign up for the waiting list. When I got the invitation to setup my domain with Google last March, I was thrilled.

It actually took me a week or so to work up the courage to make the switch. I was worried about losing email during the transition and that it wouldn’t work well with Outlook. Getting it done was actually pretty simple. I filled out the information on Google’s site and then had my webhost, A Small Orange, make some changes to the DNS and MX records for my domain. I’ve got to put a plug in here for ASO, they have incredibly responsive customer service at all hours of the day. I think my DNS records were updated within 15 minutes of submitting the request.

Once I switched to GAFYD to handle my email, I kept using Outlook as my main email client. I changed my settings so that Google would archive any messages that I downloaded to Outlook. This meant I could continue to use Outlook but still get access to all my email (both new and old) on the web when I was away from my desktop computer. It turns out that setting Google to “keep copies in the Inbox” was the better choice. This will still leave messages in the archive as well.

One side benefit, is that Google will also allow your POP3 client to download your sent messages as well. I created a simple rule in Outlook that would move any messages *from* my email address to the “sent” folder. Even better, Google keeps a copy of email messages that you send through their SMTP servers from your POP3 client.

So in the end, I was able to continue using my main email client (Outlook at the time) and Google would maintain a complete online archive of email sent to me. In turn, it would also maintain a complete archive of email I sent both from my POP3 client or online from the GAFYD site. Perfect.

My next post will detail the step-by-step process to achieve this messaging nirvana. After that, I’ll explain why I ditched my desktop client to use the Google site exclusively and the tools that I use to make that work efficiently.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , , ,

Google announces Google Apps Premier Edition

February 22nd, 2007 No comments

I’m a huge fan of Google Apps. Google has just announced the Premier Edition of Google Apps. This subscription based service adds higher storage limits (10GB), uptime guarantees for email, API’s for account management and application integration, an option to remove ads, and 24/7 support. Google has posted a comparison chart to make the differences clear, but they don’t point out the user limits per domain on the free version.

A couple other features of interest. Google Apps email now works with the Blackberry in addition to mobile phones. You have to visit http://m.google.com/a from your mobile device to download the software.

The $50/user/year compares favorably with hosted Exchange solutions but I think you could probably rely on the free edition unless you have more than 25 users or you want to use the API’s to integrate your business apps with Google Apps. I could definitely imagine some very cool ways to integrate the Calendar and Docs & Spreadsheets into business apps.

This announcement has also prompted me to finish my post on converting my domain to Google Apps. That will up right away.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , , ,

Dr. Sendmail or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Google Apps for Your Domain

February 8th, 2007 No comments

I was reading about some suggestions for people to take when changing email addresses, intended to help you avoid losing any email from people that only have your old address. Most of the comments on these blogs are about the benefit of having your own domain so you have a permanent email address for life.

I’ve had the dodd.org domain for about 8 years now. There’s a whole ‘nother story ’bout getting the domain, but I’ve had my same email address that whole time, through 4 moves in two states. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I relied on the email address that my ISP provided, because I’ve been through 8 different ISP’s in that time. I expect that I will have this email address for the rest of my life.

There’s a downside to this too. Read more…