Why use Gmail?

Why Use Gmail

I'm always recommending Gmail to people and when they ask why each time I write various bits about why... well NO MORE.. I'll just send them here:)

Gmail is google's answer to email. Its free and fantastic. Here are the pros and Cons:

General Gmail Pros

  • Gmail is very fast. When I think back to the old days of waiting for outlook to send and receive... well... frankly I have nightmares. Gmail is modern and fast web-app page that loads and refreshes in an instant or two and there are all your mails. The only thing that is slow is the downloading of attachments, but that's only if you want to download them. In normal use this aspect of Gmail alone will save you about two days a decade.
  • Gmail is very secure. You cant really get infected is you use Gmail. I mean, maybe there is some exotic exploit that could in theory drop a malware nuke right on your hard drive, but Ive never heard of the possibility. If you just used Gmail I think you wouldn't even need a virus checker.
  • Gmail No Spam. I get more spam than the guy who has been joining porn and mortgage sites, on the same email, since 1995. Right now I have many thousands in my Gmail spam folder but they are of no concern. All the power of all the gmail users and The Google itself combine - Gmail is the best spam filter, period.
  • No backup Required. - I have had an email address since about 1993 and I have lost all my emails many times. With Gmail you don't need to worry about backing up, Google does it all. And frankly, id rather trust them than me to manage back ups.
  • Never Loose A Mail - Because you never delete mails with Gmail you never loose them.
  • The Conversation - Gmail groups emails into conversations. Its hard to get your head around when used to linear emails but its a huge huge huge shift in productivity.
  • The Other Google Apps - With your Gmail account you get seamless access to the vastly useful other Google Apps like Google calender, Docs, blogger, Notebook, Photos..... and on and on.... Google Docs is one of the most important applications for two decades in my opinion.
  • Search fantastic - This is one that I hadn't really thought of until this list. With gmail you can find any mail or mails so easily using the full power of the Google's engine on your Gmail. If you need it you also have the full set of google search expressions at your disposal on your inbox.
  • Office Anywhere - I can walk into a cafe in any country in the world and I have all my emails, documents, bookmarks, photos... everything... right there safely in the browser. Ahhh the liberation of technology!
  • The Inbox Task List - Way before Gmail I was using my inbox as a task list, but gmail makes it sio easy. Just archive the actioend emails and its done.
  • Google Mobile - Gmail works so well on mobile phones using either Opera Mina or the free Gmail mobile java applet.

Gmail Cons

  • Contacts - With Gmail you don't need an address book really. If you have send an email to fred@ it will ALWAYS remember that. That's great, but if you do want to have Freds phone number etc, the contacts system is pretty crap. I'm sure it will eb improved but for now accept that its cruddy.
  • You Are Googl's Bitch - I blogged about this here. Its as much of an issue as you want to make it. Until I have reason to believe otherwise I'm 100% happy with The Google having all my stuff.
  • Offline - This is the big gripe some teccies have with Google Apps - that you cant work offline. And its true, we have had issues in the Sri Lankan office where some net downtime meant we just couldn't work. Google are pioneering some pretty funky technology called "Google Gears" to address this exact problem. Its still in beta,but looks very promising - it is currently available just for Google Reader.

I may add to this list as time goes by.

Remeber the Milk and Google Calender . Seamless

If you use Google Calender and need a task list try remeberthemilk.com - this now has a one button seamless integration feature. You end up with the RTM task list inside your colander.

What with this and it's great mobile interface compliment, RTM could be just be the missing gap in the personal task list/Google App vicinity.

This is the online calender equivalent of ancient man discovering the seasons. Only free.

The Google Fresh Liner

One thing about Google Search is that although its totally amazing as a search, its results are, by default, a tad on the musty side.

You want to know about the latest research in transfinite anti-calculus. You do the search.... bugger... your getting all those old papers from 2006; which we all know are now just considered "folklore" nowadays.

You can go into the advance search.... but who wants to do that. Don't we have lives!

Try this tip I just came up with...

In Firefox (If you don't use Firefox, get off my blog!) go to "Organize bookmarks" right click on Google quick search>properties and replace this:


with this:


If it isn't there all ready I would change the keyword to just g.

So now when you enter in the Firefox address bar:

g world overpopulation issues

You get only all pages updated in the last 3 months about world overpopulation issues. Plus the Google search will now show the date drop down so you can change the search date range yourself.


First Salted Review: Desktopondemand.com

I saw This:
And was blown away.
I signed myself up,
For Free, easily...
But then I logged in,
Was the swan song sung?
My window froze,
My Firefox hung.

Application Reminiscences: Photo5 on Psion Series 5

I was just chewing the cud with Amila from work and I was reminded of a programme I wrote as a hobby called Photo 5.

I used to love writing programmes. Sadly, since I work with much more talented programmers than me, I don't do it any more. Boo Hoo :(

So here... if you're even remotely interested... is a brief dip into the software developments I have published on my own. Or at least one of them. Might add some more later.

Photo 5

Photo5 was a an image editing and photo manipulation on the Psion Series 5 computer, that came out in the late 90’s.

Essentially I wanted to write the first ever handheld Photoshop - in the days when Photoshop was version 4. And I think I achieved it.


  • 20 Levels of Undo
  • Supporting Plugins - quite a few plugins were written for it by 3rd parties, such as jpeg export, printing and stuff.
  • Animation Support - including frames, paths and animation brushes.
  • Image Modification: resize, bend, shear...
  • Image Filters: distort, emboss, negative, glow, solarize, pointalize....
  • Custom rendered font types and text objects.
  • Vector based shapes and B-Splines (They were so much fun(i.e. nerd fun))
  • Many kinds of drawing tools, like pens, brushes, sprays. I seem to remember all were very configurable.
  • Smart adaptive GUI with custom sliders and interface elements; trying to get as close as possible to Corel Draw and Photoshop.

Photo5 was huge in Romania, and many people cite its ability to make true creativity truly portable was a key factor in the collapse of the Ceaucescu regime, as this article testifies.

Reminiscing, as I rarely do, it was a pretty ground breaking application that did stuff that still hasn’t been done on handhelds, even today.

I’ve lost the Zip install but I have a Psion 5 still, so if by some freaky chance anyone has the install I'd love a copy!

I'm sorry Tom

One of the things I hate about XBOX Live is typing in stuff. Its so awkward without a keyboard.

Tom is my cousin and a dude. he speaks in MSN:

Tom says:
hi mat, whats your gamertag on xbox live
Mat says:
Anus Expansius Nexus why?
Tom says:
i got a 360 now
Mat says:
Ace ADD me!
Tom says:
will do
Tom says:
thats too long isnt it
Tom says:
can only get Anus Expansius
Tom says:
no Nexus

My gamer tag is not Anus Expansius Nexus.

Im sorry Tom.

Bullet Points on the New Big Brother Racism Thing

  • White people shouldn't use the N word. They shouldn't use it because of its history, no matter how much it gets used by black people.
  • Emily on Big Brother used it foolishly rather than maliciously. Drink driving is foolish. Being foolish doesn't stop something from being very wrong.
  • Emily repeatedly said to Charlie, "I didn't mean it". Which implies that at some level she found it to be an insult rather than a term of "camaraderie" that other aspects of her talk suggested.
  • Emily was in Big Brother for hours after saying it. This to me suggests that Endemol were calculating various factors: ratings, racism, opinion, legality..... In fact if their convictions for removing her were a purely moral , "it was wrong," then she should have been removed from the house immediately.
  • White people shouldn't use the N word.

I'm writing a paper on racism here: Racism Viewed from Nowhere, Draft 1

George Bush and the central problem of moral philosophy.

The "Is/ought problem" is the central problem of moral philosophy.

George Bush: "You shouldn't interfere with a missile defense system."

I mean, I'm kind of in agreement with him, but I don't see how the ought follows from the is.

Better Google Reader is Certainly Better

If you read news on the internet it would be better if you use Google Reader than any other method.
If you use Google Reader it can be made even better than the norm with Better Google Reader from the good people at Lifehacker.

"Better is better than worse " Confusedus

The Hold Era of Foldera

Well, we have decided to put Foldera on Hold, its so close to being so just what we want but some speed issues and a general blocky betaness about it mean that it isn't right for us.... yet.

Personally, I still have high hopes for it and will bet hard cash that it will be assimilated into The Google.

This wont be the last The Salted Solution says about Foldera.....