Pic of the day: Rather than try to photograph my email, how about this Norwegian winter road?
There is something inherently suspicious about a large company whose corporate motto is "Don't be evil". Still, having used Google since it was new – in fact, having written about the need for Google before it appeared in public – I have found it to be one of the most beneficial entities on the Net. Perhaps it does plan to take over the world eventually, but then again who doesn't? Huh? Why are you looking at me like that? Of course I want to take over the world. The world will be better off under my rule! It is certainly better off with Google.
I was actually recommended Gmail, Google's free email, months ago. But being stubborn, I decided to go with my own chaosnode.net for mail. It kinda works, but only kinda. I can receive mail on this account fine, but I can't send. (I have used Squirrelmail for that, a free web solution that lets you use the email account of your choice rather than supplying its own.) Conversely, my ISP has a mail account for me too; I can send that quite fine, but I can't receive. With Gmail I can do both, but I did not know that for sure until today.
In fact, with Gmail I can either use the web mail interface (which is quite good) or I can use the mail software on my local machine (which is also quite good). Gmail supports POP, which lets your local email software pull the inbound mail from the server and push the outbound mail to the server without needing to open your web browser or log in anywhere. In fact, it allows you – when you move to a new computer – to pull all the gmails you've ever got, to the new computer. Or only those who arrive from now on, if you prefer that. And you can do it over whenever you get a new computer. I wish I had signed up for Gmail as soon as I heard about it. Now I have my mail scattered on several different machines and even a couple different email programs. Some of it is already gone the way of all dust.
Gmail has 2.7GB for saving your mails, and it keeps growing with some more bytes every second, faster than you can fill it up unless you choose to save your fansubbed anime there (which is probably illegal, if not evil). For a person or household, it should be plenty for a lifetime of mail. And just in case you are worried that Google may go bust, explode or (more likely) turn evil, you can download it all to your home computer at any time you choose.
The small problem is that you can't just sign up. You have to be invited by an existing Gmail user. As you continue to use Gmail, you will eventually get invites which you can give to trusted friends. That way it doesn't fall easily in the hand of spammers, who would like a mail account to send millions of ads for cheap ear enhancements for elves. That's evil, so we can't have any of that. However, it is now also possible to apply for an account using your mobile phone, at least if you live in the USA.
I am lucky in that my LJ friends had hundreds of unused invites among them. (Probably your friends have too, though they may not tell you unless you ask.) So it didn't take long for me to get my Gmail. I then ran through the introduction, although it is fairly similar to the local Opera email program, which also uses labels, searches and threads ("conversations" in Gmail) instead of folders. I don't know who of them was first; I have used Opera mail for a few years now, but I doubt Google has grabbed their idea. That would be evil, wouldn't it? Well, perhaps not. The world is better off with labels and threads than with folders.
Anyway, to the point at last. A few of you occasionally receive email from me (normally because you have written to me). If you use a whitelist filter (one that blacklists all unknown senders), please open your filter for my Gmail address, either manually or by sending me a mail / adding me to your address book. My handle is the same as it has been since high school, back when floppies were for the corporate market. Only the part after the @ has changed. It is now gmail.com (big surprise there). The existing account on chaosnode.net is still active, but I am not likely to use it for outbound mail anymore.
I have this one reservation that if the spam filter is too aggressive and deletes mails from my friends, I am going to jump off. If I ever find out, of course. If so, I'll be sure to tell you in these pages.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.