Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thats it. Im going home

A little while ago I mentioned that Google was taking over my life and thats still true. But i'm not buying into web based applications replacing everything. Over the last couple of weeks I moved to using Google apps for all mail, calendaring, RSS feeds and browser. What won and what didn't and why?

  • Calendar - Success. Google calendar works, iCal doesnt except for the most basic (non business) purposes. Wrap it in fluid and you have a new life. DELETE iCal and pretend you were never haunted by it.
  • Browser - Success. So far Chrome is faster, more responsive and more extensible. I especially like the idea of removing ads in Chrome -- using googles browser to block google ads, something about that just makes me happy. The only thing i've missed is reasonable 1Password integration. There's something there now but its nasty and incomplete. There are some cool plugins for it that i'm using and i'm sure a ton more:
    • Google reader notifier - shows how far behind you are on your RSS reading
    • Chromed bird - watches for twitter updates for you
    • AdBlock - as mentioned
    • Google Voice - notifies you of waiting voicemail
    • ClickWeather - temperature at a glance and details at a click
  • Google Reader - Partial success. Its fine for now, i'd need real OSX Google Gears or HTML5 support to be a believer for offline access, but the interface is ok and i'm not missing NetNewsWire (which essentially became an offline reader for Google Reader). Any lag from a web app is tolerable because, lets face it, RSS isnt mission critical.
  • Mail - Failure. I tried it in a browser. I tried it with MailPlane. I tried it with Fluid. Its an ad-riddled interface covered with text and extra information with not enough control and odd lags as you try to move quickly through your mail. Sure search is nice, but since i'm using Gmail underneath IMAP I can always hop over to a browser if I need better searching. I found myself trying to get Fluid to act like mail - Growl, drag and drop attachments, no ads etc. MailPlane offered some of that (not ad removal) and was not free and so close (and in some ways behind) what you can do with fluid that it wasn't an option. Attaching something and pressing send should be an instant experience so you can move onto processing the next thing while things happen in the background. Until that works with these web based mail apps and works well, count me out. It especially didn't help that we had network slowness/outages during that time but thats also part of the point. I shouldnt have to care.

So i'm back to Apple mail. It fast, its clean and best yet its asynchronous. Sometimes I have no idea what its doing, but I can still get stuff done and in the end thats what these tools are for.
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