Monday, June 14, 2010

More about Microsoft Office online: you should give it a whirl

I did a post on my other blog (accidentally placing it there instead of here) about the "icky" connection between the new Office online and Facebook--you have to connect with a Facebook account to use the product.

"Icky" is the word to use with Facebook--such creepy, uncomfortable associations now with the ad nauseum talked about violations of privacy trust. The connection to Office online--such a brilliantly executed product...its a little like being in the presence of a beautiful human being and seeing that person pawed by some disreputable character. Icky!

But try to avert your eyes from the strange gentleman off to the side that is 20 something year-old Facebook and engage with the beauty that is an amazing Azure development project in Office online:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Use thoughts on Enhanced Gmail plug-in for BlackBerry

The Enhanced Gmail plug-in for BlackBerry finally seems to be working. Even though it was released in August, it took until this Spring for the BlackBerry Internet Service to actually produce results, as far as I can tell.

What are those results?

Instead of having to use the (very good) separate Gmail for BlackBerry application, you can use the BlackBerry native e-mail application and get most of the functionality of Gmail.

What works: Yes, you can use a Gmail for Apps account instead of just a standard "@gmail" account. You get access to your labels, you can "star" an e-mail and your e-mails are threaded. You also get sync of deleted items, something that seemed to be missing before. In other words, it seems to provide full sync functionality.

What doesn't work: I'm not sure yet. Yesterday, marking items as read was only working from Gmail to the BlackBerry and not the other way round. Today, as I write this, I just tested that functionality and it is working. I'll report more as I test this thing.

But key: Google's own Gmail for BlackBerry stand-alone application, while really great, is a battery hog. Using the native BlackBerry application extends my battery life by hours. But you'll still want to keep that application on your device because there's nothing like being able to search all your mail from your handheld. And the interface is has some definite advantages over the native application (though some downsides too, like not displaying images).

Update: The lack of "mark read" updates from Gmail to the BlackBerry mail application is really really annoying. The improvement of battery life however is great, in comparison to hitting "refresh" all the time with the Gmail for BlackBerry stand-alone application.

Update 2: It's not that the "mark read" updates don't work. It's just that they take forever, hours even. Haven't had time to figure out on what frequency but it's many many minutes at very least and doesn't seem predictable. FAIL!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a few notes on @sugarsync @timr and GMail for BlackBerry

Addendum to the previous post:

1. Still testing SugarSync. Certainly doesn't sync as quickly as I'd like to the BlackBerry platform but this may be  due to challenges on the handheld end and no fault of SugarSync. In any case, for time tracking, I've gone back to the expensive but excellent Timr instead of trying to manage a spreadsheet synced between desktop and handheld.

2. Wiped my BlackBerry of all contacts and e-mail and reset e-mail using my Google Apps account into the BlackBerry native e-mail client. Working much better--before it was so slow as to be unusable--but still testing this.