Google’s Own Messenger

I know you’re thinking it. If you’re not well you can start now. When is Google going to come out with their own instant message program? They’re obviously working on it. Think about it — they started out with creating the world’s best search engine, then they bought out my favourite blogging service: Blogger, they own a pretty nifty networking service: Orkut and they’ve stated they want to infringe upon Microsoft’s turf. They clearly need to enter the messenger market in order to really pull the mass market of users from Hotmail to Gmail. I’m aware of Hello the IM that Blogger is pushing for the purpose of photoblogging, though I haven’t tried it. But I’m looking for something that can interact with my webmail – a true blue google product. It’s only a matter of time until we see “The Google Messenger”, and I, for one, cannot wait.

Update: Turns out Google doesn’t own Orkut, they are just affiliated. From Orkut’s help page:

Why is it called orkut?

Category: General
Updated: 2/9/2004
Answer is a new social networking service named for the Google engineer who developed it, Orkut Buyukkokten. (Orkut is easier to spell and pronounce than Buyukkokten.) This was created as an independent project and is not part of the Google product portfolio.

Update August 2005: Google Talk has just been released.


Google’s Web Mail – Gmail

When I signed up for my Gmail account, it mentioned that the special invitation would only be on for a month. This leads me to believe that it will be at least another month until they open it up to the public. Perhaps June 1st, or maybe they are shooting for an American holiday – like the 4th of July? As far as the dates go though, it’s all speculation on my part. They likely haven’t announced a date yet because they are still doing tests. I have noticed a couple of glitches, but they seem to be intermittent and not that critical.

Oh if you have any questions about Gmail that you’d like answered, feel free to ask in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Here is something about Gmail you may not have known:

Gmail has the ability to search for your mail based on the following criteria: From, To, Subject, folder, Has the words, Doesn’t have, Has Attachment, and Date (within 1 day to 1 year – you set the term).

I noticed that addresses I emailed are automatically added to my contact book. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it makes keeping track of any email addresses a snap, but on the other hand I feel like I just gave Google a copy of all my friends and family’s email addresses. (Sorry). I can only justify it by telling myself that it was inevitable anyway, because eventually someone somewhere was going to email them from a Gmail account, besides all the people I emailed were already on my hotmail contacts so its not like one more list is really going to hurt, these contact lists that users create for services like hotmail and yahoo mail haven’t been abused in the past – that I’m aware of anyway, so let’s just hope Google continues the trend.

I do like the fact that when I go to retype an email address that is in my contacts, Gmail brings up the closest spelling match as I type (the same way autocomplete works in your browser). This system is superior though, in that in brings up not just entries that start with same letters you have already typed, but the entries that start with the same letters you have already typed in the order that you email most frequently. It’s complicated but I’ll let Google’s help page explain:

As you prepare to send a message by typing in an email address, Gmail’s auto-completion feature suggests names from your Contacts list based on the letters you type. Keystrokes can add up, and this will save you a few seconds every time you send a message. Gmail orders your auto-complete list by frequency so that the addresses you send messages to most frequently appear at the top of your list. If you would like to view a list of your most frequently mailed contacts, click ‘Contacts’ at the top of any Gmail page, then click ‘Frequently Mailed.’


Gmail Online!

Because I’m such an active blogger (aren’t we all?) Google has invited me to be “one of the first” to use their Gmail service. Are other bloggers getting this gmail invite too, or am I special? I haven’t seen posts on my favorite sites that usually keep up to date on this sort of thing. Bloggers please comment.

Here is a screen shot of my first gmail email:

Just for fun I clicked on the Google ads on the right hand side of the page. Either they are fake ads or somebody doesn’t have their act together because I got 404’d on all of them.

Here is a little explaination of how gmail works:

A more flexible filing system


The old way

You create an elaborate filing system of folders and subfolders, then decide where to file a single message.

The Gmail way

Instead of folders, Gmail uses labels to give you the functionality of folders, but with more flexibility. In Gmail, a single conversation can have several labels, so you’re not forced to choose one particular folder for each message you receive. That way, if a conversation covers more than one topic, you can retrieve it with any of the labels that you’ve applied to it. And, of course, you can always search for it.

You can also “star messages” as a way of categorizing them, probably like putting them on a to do list, that way you can quickly retrieve all starred messaged. “Stars let you give messages a special status to make them easier to find. To star a message, click on the light blue star beside any message or conversation.” It seems like a good idea because so often I’ll open an email and think I need to deal on that, but not right now and then I just end up forgetting about it.

Other new features include keyboard shortcuts, Personal level indicators (>to my address >> to only me), and Snippets (same style as Google search).

I have a feeling I’m really going to like Gmail. You can now reach me at jeffmilner(at) Let the spam begin.


GMail is Just Around the Corner

Google recently announced they will soon open up a free email service offering users 1 gigabyte of free storage space. They intend to make money off of the service by placing context sensitive ads beside your incoming mail. Some people have privacy concerns but to me if you are worried about privacy then you probably shouldn’t be using Hotmail or Yahoo mail because as far as I’m concerned they all have privacy issues. The other thing people have been talking about is just how Google is going to possibly be able to open up and maintain the huge amount of storage space that would be required for millions of users all with 1 gigabyte of storage space. It seems impossible. Anyway here is a news article from ITworld about Google’s new mail service.

As for whether Google will be able to deal with the huge demand, whether its search technology and DAS approach to storage will revolutionize Web email or leave a huge black spot on Google’s untarnished image, well, only time will tell. But one of the reasons that Google is so popular is that it has a tendency to achieve the unachievable.

Check out GMail now, but beware Google’s intense terms of service agreement.

If they allege a “technical issue”, including spam filtering, then they can access, read, preserve, and disclose anything in your mailbox. Since they probably do spam filtering for everybody (both for incoming and outgoing mail), then they have the right to read and disclose the contents of your email at any time.

Many spam-filtering services send copies of alleged spams to some central location. If they get N copies of similar messages, they declare it spam and publish the offending messages on the web. Google’s right to send your spam to such services gives them the right to send ANY of your email to ANYONE — for publication.


Japanese Train Sets A Speed Record Of 581 kph

Via Slashdot:

Last night a high-speed magnetically levitated Japanese train set a new record of 581 kph, topping its own record set just last month. The new Maglev high speed had real passengers on board this time. They proved that the distance between Osaka and Tokyo can be covered in one hour’s time. However, we wouldn’t see real trains for a while now since the cost is prohibitively expensive at this time. They expect that the cost would come down over the next 20 years. This seems to be the future of transportation, at least in Japan. Here is a detailed article from The Japan Times.

article technology

Behind the Scenes at Google

Via Slashdot:

Fortune Magazine published a fairly long but tremendously interesting article about Google.

“Instead of the usual exultation over PageRank algorithm and Larry-and-Sergey biographies, we get a different message – is Google growing up, and is trouble brewing at Google? Here’s Fortune’s description of the pre-IPO days: ‘Google has grown arrogant, making some of its executives as frustrating to deal with in negotiations as AOL’s cowboy salesmen during the bubble. It has grown so fast that employees and business partners are often confused about who does what. A rise of stock- and option-stoked greed is creating rifts within the company. Employees carp that Google is morphing in strange and nerve-racking ways.”

hypothetical technology

How Hydrogen Can Save America

I found this link to Wired Magazine about the pros and cons of moving to a hydrogen energy based society. I’ll summarize for those not wanting to read the article. The author believes that in order for hydrogen to be a viable solution the government has five major obstacles to deal with simultaneously:

  1. Solve the hydrogen fuel-tank problem.
  2. Encourage mass production of fuel cell vehicles.
  3. Convert the nation’s fuelling infrastructure to hydrogen.
  4. Ramp up hydrogen production.
  5. Mount a public campaign to sell the hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen Engines have been around for a while. Their biggest problem is carrying enough hydrogen for 400 miles of driving — the range consumers generally expect. What is the answer to problem number one? $15 Billion in government investing. (I’m not sure how he comes up with this figure).

Mass production of fuel-celled vehicles is the next problem. Again money is the solution. The author feels that the Bush administration should allocate $10 billion in incentive to automakers. Why $10 billion? Well it is a nice round number.

Converting the nation’s fueling infrastructure to hydrogen is another big problem with the same “easy” answer. Throw more money at it. The White House should ask for $5 billion to help gas stations convert to hydrogen stations, and the administration should also set aside $10 billion for interest free loans to oil companies in order to help them make the transition to producing mass amounts of hydrogen.

The next step is to ramp up the hydrogen production by looking at new sources of the element. Nuclear power has made huge leaps in efficiency and environmental friendliness. Using this as a source of electricity and then using the process of hydrolysis to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The last obstacle that needs to be addressed is just a simple matter of advertising their objective to the nation. If the people support it right away, then it will make the transition faster and actually save money in the long run. $25 billion in tax rebates for those using the new technology, and another $1 billion for advertisements. As the author notes, $1 billion is what Nike spends on advertising in a year.

Ok, now for my personal take on the story. The author feels that with massive amounts of spending that a fuel-celled economy is possible within ten years. I think that would be great, if that were actually the case, but it seems to me that it most likely will not happen. I guess a good analogy is the US switching to the metric system. If they had done it when they had the chance, they might have pulled it off, but now they’ve waited too long and every day it just gets harder and harder to switch. A country like China that has an enormous population but not a lot of gasoline based infrastructure (relative to its population) is in a much better position to implement the new technology. If the US doesn’t act, they may end up behind in technology to China — so maybe if they felt the pressure of losing the “hydrogen race” ten years would be possible.


‘Memory Lane Computers’ Suck

I found a message on my answering machine the other day from Don at Memory Lane Computers. Apparently he is upset that I have been using my address to post my “web portfolio” and he wants me to take it down. I guess it’s no big deal now that I have my new domain but it still somewhat ticks me off especially not only working there for those three or so years, but also because he was so rude about it on the phone; not to mention that I have been giving them business by sending my clients to them for hosting. But whatever — I’ve deleted it now and I don’t plan on looking back. But I probably will not purchase my next computer from them.


Hotmail Sucks

I hate Hotmail. I hate it with a passion. I wish I had never signed up for their crappy, albeit free, service. I just tried to click on a link from a hotmail message to join a blog, but hotmail keeps it’s little frame on and that messed up the scripts on the page I was trying to load and in the end I am just very frustrated with hotmail. I’m pretty happy that I now have my own domain and my own new email address, so I can finally say goodbye to hotmail once and for all.

life technology

My New Computer

Since I can’t think of anything better to post, I’ve decided to write about my new computer. I purchased a 19 inch monitor but had to take it back. The picture on it was compressed at the top. I got a new monitor — same model (NEC AccuSync 95f) and it has the same problem. Since I live in Lethbridge and the computer store is closed for Canadian Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to let my parents take it back and I will get a new one in Lethbridge.

Update: I wish I would have written the specs — I can hardly remember but I think this had a 1.2mhz AMD processor with 2GB of RAM.