This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gmail Goes Offline (in a good way)!!!

OK, so I haven't posted in a while. Why am I posting for the first time in months about Gmail? Because this is something really great if you, like me, have wrestled with the benefits of Gmail (SO MANY), yet have been dogged by that one lingering (HUGE) problem - the fact that it is only available online. What happens if you lose your internet connection? What happens if your connection is slow? If you have ever, like me, at one time or another lost your own wireless router to a hacker and had to enlist the help of a friend to hijack it back and kick off the hacker, these are not theoretical questions. If you, like me, enjoy working or playing on your laptop from places on the road, such as a cafe that either doesn't have, or charges for, wifi, or your car, or your parents' house before they got high-speed internet access and a wireless router, these questions are all too real. You're very limited if you want to access your previously downloaded emails and want to compose new mail that doesn't necessarily need to be sent this instant but needs to be written right now.

But Seth, you say, you can always download your email to Outlook or Outlook Express (or some other email client of your choice if you happen to be savvy - but if you're so savvy, why do I need to explain the benefits of Offline Gmail to you? Hmm?)!

Yes, you could do that, but then you would lose all your tags and settings!

If you, like me, have a dozen or so filters for easy email sorting, this is a big deal. To all my Orthodox peeps out there - I get about 50 Divrei Torah a week. To everyone out there - I also get email from various lists: local community information; a friends with a really interesting, but very time consuming hobby of researching obscure figures in Jewish history and sending out lengthy articles to all his friends every other day; most importantly these days, a dozen or so job lists.

In other words, if I gave up (or lost) my filters by downloading my email to my desktop, I would have to sort through all of these emails that I genuinely want to read, though not necessarily right now, in order to get other important emails from my family, friends and business contacts.

So, thanks to Offline Gmail, now I can access my previous emails offline and compose new messages to be sent as soon as Gmail detects an internet connection.

There's a lot more to write about this, like how it works, how you access it in the first place, how you send mail, whether or not you can get your new mail if a connection is available fleetingly, and more. But that's all be published in this handy-dandy blog post on the Official Gmail Blog right here:

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Offline Gmail


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