Gmail solves the “on behalf of” issue

This is the day I’ve been waiting for for a few years now – Gmail solves the “on behalf of” issue.

If you are not familiar with it, the essence of it is this.  You can use Gmail to manage your other, non-Gmail mail accounts.  You can either forward mail automatically to your Gmail inbox, or even set a POP3 fetching from a remote server.  In Gmail account settings you can add all the email addresses that you use, and then even reply from those email addresses.

However, due to Gmail not managing your other email accounts directly, it is forced to add a Sender header with a Gmail email address in it.  And some email programs, like MS Outlook either get confused by it or interpret it in a certain way.  So, if you use your email address to manage your email, and you reply to a message using a in From, your colleague’s MS Outlook will show the email to be from “ on behalf of”.  This is ugly and there was no easy work around this.

Today Google added support for external SMTP servers.  This way, you can configure your Gmail to use SMTP server when you send from .  And it comes from , not on behalf of .

With this feature, Gmail practically becomes a full featured email client with support for POP3 for incoming mail and SMTP for outgoing mail.  And these are great news!

The “on behalf of” issue was keeping quite a few folks from moving all their email accounts to Gmail.  And not that the problem is solved I think more people will move over.  Good times!

Demolition Man

Demolition Man

Demolition Man” was on TV yesterday.  It’s an old movie and I’ve seen it a few times before, but it’s good to watch some films from the past once in a while to see how well they age.  This one is actually still looking pretty good.  There is an engaging story, plenty of shooting, and lots of comedy.  Plus, the fact that it’s all about the future (as seen in 1993), and the future that we can see quite clear from today, makes it even funnier.

Overall, pretty good entertainment – 4 stars.

Sharpe’s Rifles

Sharpe's Rifles

I spent the weekend watching Sharpe’s movies.  I’ve heard a lot of good words about them, but couldn’t get my hands on the copy.  Finally, I managed to get 14 films.   I’m missing the last two episodes which were done recently, but I’ll get them too eventually.

The series are a collection of full length films – 1 hour 40 minutes each.  It’s a history action set back in 1810’s during the Napoleon invasion of the world.  A soldier by the name of Richard Sharpe (played by Sean Bean) is making a military career, being raised from the ranks (as opposed to being born a gentlemen).  Each episode has some sort of a mission, or a situation to deal with, some romance, and lots of fighting.  The films are also full of moral values, setting good examples.  Except that one situation involving a French woman, which is of course arguable.

Each film is on its own and the series can be watched in random order, but if you do it sequentially, there is a little bit more to enjoy of it.  Also, one thing that I wanted to note is the quality of the films – all of them are done like they are a one really long movie.  No episode is better or worse than any other episode.

Overall, really good stuff – 5 stars.

Fifty Dead Men Walking

Fifty Dead Men Walking

Yesterday I watched “Fifty Dead Men Walking” in the cinema.  As with almost any European movie, there was no promotion of it, no posters, announcements, or trailers.  So I had no idea what was it about when I went to see it.

The film is based on a book, which is based on a real life story of Martin McGartland – a guy who was hired by British police to spy on IRA back in 1980’s.  I haven’t read the book and I don’t know much about Ireland, but that location at that time had a lot of potential for an interesting movie.

However, this movie failed to utilize that potential.  First of all, it was badly executed technically – plenty of reflections, shades, weird lighting, and lots of hand help camera work were quite annoying.   Maybe that’s just me, or maybe that’s what Hollywood movies do to one’s tastes.

While for a real life story is quite impressive, the way it was conveyed in the film was rather slow and sporadic at times.  It was difficult to understand the time frames, as well as some characters in the film seemed to be out of place.

Overall, an average movie for 3 stars.  Perhaps your own opinion of it would be quite different though.  If you want to see this film, try to get it on DVD – it’s a bit painful for the eyes on a big screen.

Google Reader : too user friendly?

I think of Google Reader as a very user friendly application. It clean and simple and only shows you things which you need to see.  Or does it any more?  Here are the options that I see for each RSS item:

Google Reader item options

Let’s see:

  • Add comment.  I can add comments to blogs posts and news and my friends can read those comments and reply and so on and so forth.
  • Add star.  Star is like a bookmark.  I can quickly find the starred articles with a single click.  And I can also share my starred articles by selecting so in the Settings.
  • Like.  I can “like” the article.  Other people can see that I liked it.
  • Share.  Share it with other people.
  • Share with note.  That’s like share and add comment in one.
  • Email.  This one is easy.
  • Keep unread.  So that I can easily find it and read later.
  • Add tags.  So that I can find it easily later and/or share it via Settings.

I am all for making sharing easy, but isn’t it too much?  I see it as a huge overlap in functionality.  Such huge that it gets confusing now.  What’s the difference between the “star” and “like”?  Do I “like” everything I “share”?  Do I “like” everything I comment?  Is it shared or “liked” if I just “Add comment”? How do I “star” or “share” everything I “like”? And so on and so forth.

I think this should be simplified in one action per option:  star, share, comment, email, tag.  If you want to bookmark, you “star” it.  If you want to share, you “share”.  If you want to comment, you “comment”.  If you want to star and share, then you actually click “star” and “share”.  If you want to comment and share, then add your comment and click “share”.  With boolean options everything comes back to the sane world – you either did it or not.

What do you think?