Archive for the ‘gmail’ Category

Opera 9.5 – Gmail Render Problem – maybe a deal-breaker?

September 6, 2007

As I posted a day or so ago, I'm now trying out the Opera 9.5 Alpha3 browser both at home and at work. The performance improvement over Firefox is noticeable for me on both Linux and XP. However I am having what might be a deal-breaker type of problem with Gmail.

Opera seems to have problems rendering the Gmail Quick Contacts display on the left hand side correctly. It only shows my name and the status drop down box, and even then, it appears cut off. I cannot see anyone else in the quick contacts display and therefore cannot launch a Gchat window for anyone in that list either. Not good.

I've figured out how to run user javascripts (ie. Greasemonkey Gmail skins) on Opera for the Gmail page, but haven't found anything that will fix the problem. I've also read about a tip to use the F12->Edit Site Preferences->Network->Mask as Firefox, but this hasn't helped either.

Anyone know of a way to fix the problem or at least provide a decent workaround?

This is definitely a deal-breaker for me. I  have Gmail up all day long and use the quick contacts list intermittently. Not having it, is a royal pain. While the exact rendering error is slightly different between XP and Linux systems, the error appears on both systems.

And I know that it is more than likely because Google hasn't implemented CSS exactly to the standards either. Opera is very standards compliant and that makes for render errors when CSS coders don't follow them correctly. Too bad the error is happening on what is probably one of the most important sites to me.

It ain't all bad news. Opera seems to just blow away Firefox in handling the recently revised Digg commenting system – it's much snappier. The FF developers should find out what Opera is doing in that respect and copy copy copy. 😉

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Gmail lagging behind?? Bahhh!!

April 11, 2007

Ron K. Jeffries gives his thoughts about Gmail and cites a PC Magazine review of web-based mail services that disses Gmail and a response here.

I agree with Ron. I love GMail too. The 'search and tag' metaphors are so much more my style than 'folders and drag n drop'. But there is another simple thing that makes Gmail win hands down (for me):

When I log into Yahoo Mail I see my folder list, top news stories, a big  f a t  animated ad on the right hand side, and a few other ads on the left, under my folder list. My actual inbox is another click away . When I log into Gmail, I get… wait for it… my inbox. No ads, no flashing, blinking things.. just my email.

The simplicity of the interface doesn't insult me. It's relatively speedy, clearly readable, and the colours are muted and unobtrusive. It's kind of like comparing Visual Studio to Vi. I'm in the Vi camp.

And I find Google's Reader and Calendar the same. I like the lack of shiny faux-3D bars and stripes. They're functional interfaces, with minimal, unobtrusive advertising. If I were Yahoo or MS, I'd seriously review what it is they're aiming for.

I've demonstrated GMail to probably a dozen people in the last year or so. Three of those were already on Yahoo Mail at the time. Those three are now avid Gmailers. Once you get past the fact that it doesn't work like Outlook, you begin to realize that just might be a good thing.

On a more general, application-wide note, I think keyboard shortcuts are seriously underrated. People somehow take keyboard controls as an indication of antiquated, simplistic and somehow limited application behaviour. But I find myself frustrated when I can't easily find a keyboard shortcut for an often-used command.

Down with Feature-bloat, Up with Functionality!

Are You Using GMail for Taking Notes?

March 9, 2007

While I’m big on pencil and paper, and I enjoy sketching and planning ideas on paper, I’m also deadly good at losing papers in the quagmire that is my desk. So I’m looking for a way to take quick notes (like documenting phone conversations) electronically. Ideally, the solution should be:

– cross platform
– accessible from anywhere (ie. online)
– searchable
– simple to use

While I found a vast number of note-taking solutions, I’m leaning towards using Gmail. Here are some reasons why:

– I already use it extensively. No additional tools in the belt.
– I always have it open at work and at home, so it’s quick to access.
– It’s inherently dated and timed by virtue of being an email.
– It’s Gmail so it’s searchable and can be filtered.

I’m interested in making it a little more useful to me as a note-taking tool, so I’m trying to hone my use of shortcut keys, and I’m looking into how I can organize the subject line to make the Gmail filtering into a useful system.

Do you take notes? What do you use? Any ideas (or other sources) for using Gmail in this way? I’d appreciate the input.