Happy belated bday, Gmail!

Gmail New features
Image by Yes, i’m guccio via Flickr

In what was considered by many to be a typical Google April Fools Day prank, Google announced Gmail 6 years ago today…

“On April 1, 2004, Gmail was launched as an invite-only beta, instantly creating a revolution in the webmail space. Googles decision to keep their webmail invite-only kept spammers at bay, leading to the widespread perception that Gmail is spam-proof. While this notion is far from the truth, Gmail to this day does an excellent job of keeping unwanted emails out of your inbox.

Furthermore, by offering storage capacity of 1 GB per user, Gmail dwarfed the competitors which long held the notion that free webmail doesnt deserve decent storage. It was a one-two combination that made Gmail one of the most popular Google services, and solidified its reputation as a kind giant, which offers free stuff where others charge for it.

Right now, Gmail is one of the most popular webmail clients in the world, and besides the giants of old such as Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, perhaps the only one worth mentioning. It offers over 7400 MB of free storage to users, and it has been the foundation for other Google services such as Google Talk, Google Apps and Google Buzz.

Today, Gmail is six years old and its still one of the most important services from Google; many thought that email was dead ten years ago, but today, it doesnt really seem like its going away any time soon.” Source: Happy Birthday, Gmail!

Gmail [and it’s corporate version Google Apps] is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT tool I use for communication — no other product makes me more productive in the critical task of effectively managing email. Here are the top 7- reasons why I love it…

  • Available on any internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world, regardless of Windows/Mac/Linux
  • You can mess it up by using Outlook or AppleMail as a front end
  • Incredible amounts of storage so I can archive, but not delete
  • Insanely low price of free with a max of $50 per user per year for Google Apps Premium
  • Super effective keyboard shortcuts help me process email quickly
  • SEARCH — I can find anything in my inbox with laser-like precision!

What’s holding YOU back?


iPhone, SchmiPhone…


Yeah, the iPhone is all that and a bag of chips as we say in Wisconsin, but what if you don’t use AT&T and don’t want to switch carriers? Or worse yet! You can get AT&T but they won’t sell you an iPhone because they don’t have coverage there [happened to a friend of mine]? Well, all is not lost.

Tech buddy Steve Gallimore pointed out to me that the iPod touch — which I previously thought was worthless because of the small storage space — actually has wifi [duh! How did I miss that?] which makes it the most valuable of personal digital assistants [pdas] in many ways. In my hands on testing the iPod touch does have a lot of “WOW! Factor”. My only major complaint? It’s very hard to type on and there is no stylus option. Can’t type on it with any kind of speed at all! So for most of my needs, I’m still married to my trusty BlackBerry Curve, but I can understand why the iPhone is gaining ground. Now if we could only fix the dysfunctional way that phones are distributed through certain carriers, I’d be a happy camper…

In the next few weeks I’ll be talking a lot about cloud computing, Google Apps, smartphones, pdas, etc. and how they all work together for the busy executive. Stay tuned…

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Google Brings Offline Access to Docs and Apps

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

“Google is rolling out a much-awaited feature for its hosted applications: the ability for people to use them even when they aren’t connected to the Internet.

The first application to get this offline access will be the word processor, said Ken Norton, Google Docs product manager. ‘The design goal is to create a seamless experience, with or without an Internet connection,’ he said.

Over the next three weeks or so, Google will turn on the feature for all word processor users, giving them the ability to view and edit documents while offline. During the same time period, Google Docs’ spreadsheet will gain offline ability for viewing, but not editing, documents.” Click here to read more…

My favorite Windows utility…

…just got upgraded and it finally works with Windows 7! Tune-up Utilities 2010 just hit the internet yesterday and like previous versions, it just keeps getting better all the time! You can see the complete list of features here

I like this app so much that I actually pay for it! Not that I steal apps, but most of what I need is available as free open source software and can be downloaded either from the Google Pack or Ninite. What most people don’t realize is that a computer is somewhat like a car in that it needs regular maintenance. As time goes on, people add software that wants its share of memory each time the computer starts and the files become more and more fragmented. As a result, the best day with your new computer is probably the first. This app, however, fixes those common problems and will make every day the best…

For that reason, Tune-Up Utilities is the one commercial utility app that I actually think is worth buying. Their ‘1 Click Maintenance’ is all the optimization most people need…

Download a free trial here!

TuneUp Utilities 2010 - Download Now!
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Email Overload: Download a Free Copy of David Allen's Email Rules

Getting Things Done

Image via Wikipedia

Having problems managing email?

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and inspiration for a lot of posts ’round these parts, gives away a free four-page PDF at his website that covers his basic principals for keeping email organized. Getting specific without going too in-depth, he explains the ‘two minute rule,’ why action-able emails should be kept separate from others, and why creating your own system—such as Gina’s [Trapani’s] modified ‘Trusted Trio‘. Great reading for GTD neophytes, and a good brush-up for the rest of us.”

Click here to get your copy! If you’re a Gmail user [and I hope you are] there’s more information here on how to use Gina’s system with Gmail or Google Apps mail.

Me personally? I use Gmail and Google Apps mail in conjunction with Remember The Milk [RTM]– the powerful task manager with the equally funny name. RTM gives me special tools to use within Gmail that allows me to convert an email to a task. In all fairness, Google now includes this feature in their task management system, however, it was not available when I built my approach to task management…

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Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7? Not so fast…

How long will it be before the average computer user rebels against these ‘shotgun upgrades’ from Microsoft?

“Microsoft has wanted to kill Windows XP for years. There was only one problem. The users refused to let it die. Now, that Windows 7 is almost ready to go, Microsoft is, once more, trying to ax XP.

Microsoft did this to themselves. Vista was a flop. Even now, according to Net Applications’ Market Share, Vista has only a lousy 23% of the desktop market. For a while, Microsoft ignored the fact that even their own executives were horrified by just how bad Vista was. But, then the Linux-powered netbook came along, and Microsoft was frightened enough by its early successes that it un-retired Windows XP Home.

Now, Microsoft wants to kill off XP again. Step one will be bringing free support for XP to a close on April 14th. Step two is letting anyone and their uncle get a free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate sometime in May. The timing is by design. ” Source: Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7 – Computerworld Blogs

For me, the end of the line was last year. I resolved never to pay another penny to Microsoft and so far, I’ve been successful. In addition, my two-year long relationship with Vista ended last week, but it had been on the rocks for a long time…

I was forced into using Vista two years ago on a day when I had to walk into Sam’s Club and buy the best computer I could get at that particular store [don’t ask — it’s a long story!]. Well, for the past couple of years I have been living the old proverb about ‘marry in haste, repent in leisure’. My experience with Vista was so bad, that I started to look into Ubuntu and I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong — Ubuntu cannot totally replace Windows. Yet. However, in many ways, it’s a better operating system than XP. And it’s free which is why every school, church and small business should think about getting off the Microsoft upgrade cycle and start using at least a little Ubuntu in their organizations…

I said my relationship with Vista ended. I hated that Sam’s Club computer so much that I actually traded with my college student son for an older computer just so I could run an xp/Ubuntu dual boot machine [which is very easy to set up — easier than a Windows XP/Vista dual boot!]. Using his computer properly configured has been like falling in love all over again. I can’t think of a single Vista feature that I’ve missed — not even the 17″ monitor on the machine which made the computer just too darn big to lug around, but that’s not a Vista feature, either. By the way, the computer I’m now using is an HP DV6000 series which you could ‘buy now’ on eBay for as low as $349. Also, I got off the Microsoft Office upgrade cycle, too. I now use OpenOffice 3.01 which is ‘built in’ to the Ubuntu download and available as a free download for XP [or Vista].

Bottom line? Here’s the thing you need to think about. Microsoft’s need to generate OS and Application licensing revenue forces users into an expensive, Microsoft driven upgrade cycle that doesn’t serve most organizations well. Smart leaders need to think about ways to stop the insanity by purchasing used computers on eBay and using free or inexpensive open source tools like Ubuntu and OpenOffice in conjunction with cloud computing solutions like Google Apps.

By the way, if you’re stuck using Vista and aren’t brave enough to set up a dual boot arrangement with Ubuntu, at least use the Vista Services Optimizer to shut off all the dreck you don’t need, although I highly recommend trying the dual boot option for those times when all you need to do is check email and surf the web quickly. Call or write on the contact page if you want to talk more about these options…

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Another major brand goes Google