My take on GMail.

Ok, I’ve only been using it for a short while, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. The first issue is that all email is sorted by “conversations”, which is basically what everyone but Microsoft and GMail call threads. For those of you that don’t know what that means, a thread/conversation is just what it sounds like, a collection of email messages relating to a specific topic. On the most basic level, a conversation is an original message and any replies to that message. Certain mail clients assign a thread ID and thus you can change the message subject and it will still be a part of the original thread/conversation. Either GMail or Yahoo doesn’t support thread ID because I changed the subject on a thread and GMail started a new “conversation”.

There are a ton of keyboard shortcuts, which is interesting for a webmail client. Seeing as I used pine for my email for 6 years, I’m quite used to navigating my email with a keyboard… in pine! Using it in gmail isn’t as easy as I expected. There are keyboard shortcuts for navigating various messages and conversations, but very basic actions, like cancelling the composition of a message, has to be done by mouse. I do love that the keyboard shortcut for reporting spam is the excalamation key… it just goes so well with most spam: “Ge.t a m.a$siv3 mem.b3r! buttercup obtuse bingo cxoiuqweijfd4klhjd7” My natural response is “!”.

GMail has a concept of “All mail” and “archive”. The main action for all emails is to “archive” it. It doesn’t place the message in the trash, it doesn’t move it to a specific folder, it just moves the email out of your inbox. The only way to view archived mails is to use the All Mail view. All Mail shows any mail in your inbox, your sent mail “folder” and anything you have archived. It does not show any spam or trash emails.

Instead of supporting folders like most email clients (web or desktop), GMail has introduced the concept of “Labels”. Well, I shouldn’t say introduced, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in relation to an email client. Instead of storing a conversation (see above) in various default or unique folders, you can assign one or more labels to the conversation. Let’s say that you wanted to save all conversations from a specific person in a specific folder and you wanted to save all conversations about a specific topic in a specific folder, what happens if your specifics collide? Do you try to decide which folder takes presidence? With labels, you can give the conversation labels for both the sender and the topic. Like most folder views, there is a list of labels so you can jump to the list of all conversations with a specific label.

GMail also supports filters which works hand in hand with labels. You can filter on sender, receiver, subject, words in the body and words missing from the body. The actions you can take are skip inbox (meaning it places the mail into the archive (see above)), apply a specific label or move it directly to the trash. You cannot mark anything as spam through the filter.

One little feature that I saw in their help files but they did not actually implement related to attachments. Instead of showing the common and generic paper clip icon to denote an attachment, GMail would use an icon to represent the file type of the attachment. If it was a PDF, the common PDF icon would be used, etc. I tested this out, and it’s just a paper clip. Shucky darn.

Overall, I’m sure that I will get used to conversation view, labels and archive and be very happy with my free 1000 MB webmail client harnessing Google!

Do you want to try out GMail? Since GMail is still in a test period, acceptance is by invitation only. I received my invitation through Blogger, but now that I am a user I can invite two more people! The first two to contact me get dibs. (Note: If you ask via email, I only check once a day and thus it would be faster to txt/IM/call me. If you email me right away yet I get two phone calls after your email was sent, you ain’t getting GMail from me.)

Okay, okay. At first, I wasn’t going to post anything more about the Elise since it is simply not practical at all, it’s $40k and all of the models allocated for this year are already sold out, but this review just takes the cake. Such pithy quotes as “It’s a prescription for disaster for those of us with acrylic nails.” and “It will not disappoint its audience — ‘newly divorced men who are looking for a new wife,'”. I still want one, damnit.

Bwahaha, I have a GMail account! It’s not vaporware after all! How did I get an account, you ask? Well, it involves Blogger… That’s all I’m going to say.

I can’t believe I forgot to post this! So every three months, the Puget Sound Blood Center sends a Bloodmobile to my campus. I made an appointment for the first time it came around, but had to cancel it due to a meeting conflict. The second time it came around, I went to donate without an appointment and they were full. Finally, I got to donate yesterday.

Since it was my first time donating with them, I had to go through the full screening process, mini interview and all. Finally, I give blood and they have me lay down for an extra a few minutes afterward since this was my first time with them and all. The actual process of giving blood went just fine. As I was laying down resting, my stomach started to feel a bit nauseous. Suddenly, the nausea got worse and I started to think about asking one of the nurses for something to vomit into. The next thing I notice, there are three people crowded around me and I’ve got cold compresses on my neck and chest. Turns out, I passed out! I was only out for a few seconds, but it was not a pleasant experience. Soon after I woke up, I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt functional about 5 minutes later, but I was definitely tired and out of it for the rest of the day. I, obviously, skipped my hockey game.

I’m sorry folks, this one just speaks for itself. David Hasselhoff is going to be making a Knight Rider movie, possibly with Ben Affleck playing his son. I’m so there on opening night.

Oh my god, I just saw a Lotus 340R on American soil. I wanted to hump hump that car on first sight.

I’ve been a bad blogger. I apologize. Time for Ultra Happy Delight Bullets!

  • Dream from last night: I cannot remember the bulk of the dream, but it involved a large number of my friends from both Microsoft and UMich at a presentation of some sort. Everyone was sitting in rows of chairs waiting for it to start. I was supposed to drive to this with one of the devs on my team, Matt, but when I got there, he was sitting with Matt Weber. Just before the presentation started, I remember that I borrowed Jeff’s can opener and he needed it back! I was quite concerned since this was a limited edition can opener. Oddly enough, there were shelves and shelves of shoe boxes and skiing equipment to the side of the presentation room. After a frantic search, I finally found the can opener at the bottom of a shoe box. The can opener was a WRX model in Sonic Yellow, which would explain why I was frantic to find it (the Impreza WRX in Sonic Yellow is a very rare sight). That doesn’t explain why I am having crazy dreams.

  • FloorBurn improved to a record of 3-2 after our 6-2 win on Tuesday. I scored twice, so I’m back as leading scorer.

  • Wall of Meat (flag football) is perfect so far at 2-0! We had a come from behind win on Saturday with our new quarterback, but I can definitely see the team improving from here out.

  • I’m getting closer to buying the Camaro. The owner just needs to get it to pass emissions and then I will almost certainly buy it.

  • The NY auto show is tomorrow thus I expect information about the 2005 Subarus to be released tomorrow. Rumor has it that the WRX will go a complete redesign for the ’06 model year, so maybe buying an ’05 would be silly. I don’t want to look dated that fast!

Merc A series: Puke, simply puke. Retarded hybrid (no pun intended) of the Prius, Caravan and Civic Si.