This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gmail -- Elite E-Mail for the Masses

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I now have a G-mail account. That's right, I now allow advertisers to spy on the content of my e-mails and target ads at me accordingly. I'm so reverse naive right now I could reverse die. And this after all I've said about G-mail and the slippery slope it represents and how I want at least something in my life to be ad-free. You might think this makes me a loser, but I'm a loser for other reasons.

I got G-mail to test it out. My address: Now, I'm still not using it as a real e-mail address, because I'm not stupid. But I thought it would be fun to test out their new "cheap as free office" package, because I'm a nerd like that. If you do e-mail me, these are the words you're not allowed to use: terrorism, muslimism, dysfunction, steroids, Barbara Streisand. I'll let you know of any more banned words as I think of them.

Just launched: The beta, which features the "Writely" web word processor and Google Spreadsheets. For those of you keeping score at home, this means they now have a free competitor to Word, Excel, and Outlook. Microsoft has continually crushed free competition in the past with legal antitrust behavior (and the sad fact that most free office packages aren't well-advertised or any good), but this Google stuff is different. If it's relatively powerful and easy to use, I think young people like me (er...) might go for it. And that will cut into Microsoft's home market share.

Of course, real businesses will still want to use the highly-priced stuff, so Bill Gates probably isn't panicking yet. His Office package still sets the format standards for documents and spreadsheets, so MS Office will continue to generate licensing revenue, too. This is probably good, since it gives the average user something to hang his/her hat on. Standards are good, and easy, and these even happen to be functional.

As for Google's stuff, I (so far) like the calendar because it's a) Apple-level simplistic, and b) I can reach it from anywhere that has internet access. It's also share-able by multiple Google users, which I don't care about since I have no friends.

Writely also allows for collaboration on documents, which is pretty cool and probably has a bunch of elegant uses I can't think of right now. It's also simple (if you're familiar with Word, that is), and allows one to save one's documents in a variety of fun formats including .doc and .pdf. In that way, it's got a place in this world. Michael W. Smith must be so proud.


  • At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Nate C. said…

    Mike, I know this doesn't address the crux of your post, but I've been using hotmail for my main account for a long time. I use it to check the other 4 pop accounts that I have for various reasons. The problem that's irritated me was that I could never reply to any of my pop accounts and have it look like the mail was coming from that pop account. I found one service earlier in the year that unfortunately went bankrupt. Then recently I found it's a great service. $20 a year (which was what I was paying for "advanced" hotmail) and I can check and reply for up to 5 pop accounts. What's really cool is that it has address book, calendar, and bookmarks which are available from anywhere. (which is another reason I wanted online pop access vs using Outlook locally). I highly recommend it. Again, it's not free, but very reasonable...and they have a privacy policy. :)

  • At 11:07 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    I saw that policy and I liked it. I'm not going to do it because I currently only have one POP account (besides my joke g-mail one), and I never check it because nobody knows about it. Also, I have a blackberry which I could totally use to get all my e-mails if I really wanted to.

    And Google stuff is free, (although 20 bucks a year isn't anything really), and you feel like you're sticking it to Microsoft by using it (especially on Linux, like I am now).


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