New Look Sux.

That’s the title of an email thread that went around my uni­verse. No one likes the new look of Gmail. You can search the web for details of the usabil­i­ty night­mare. But let me just offer this one tid­bit. The CSS is so bro­ken that the pages often don’t ren­der well in Google’s own brows­er.

That, and so many mis-steps with pri­va­cy and cross prod­uct snoop­ing and then there are some things that the Google uni­verse just won’t do for me. (I need bet­ter cal­en­dar man­age­ment. I can’t keep track of my glasses…)

Not that my Google account won’t be going away alto­geth­er. It’s just going to go back to being what it was intend­ed to be in the first place. A quar­an­tine for mail­ing lists that allows me to just not see them when I need to focus on oth­er stuff. A decent chat client. An RSS aggre­ga­tor. A web­site ana­lyt­ics man­ag­er. Lots of things. But not a mail man­ag­er and not a cal­en­dar manager.

What to Do About It

I have access to Microsoft Office 2010 and Office365. I have domains that I can use for email address­es. I can move away from GMail to an Exchange serv­er. Impor­tant­ly I can move to an Exchange serv­er that I don’t have to man­age. That’s a vari­ety of black mag­ic that I don’t have time to learn right now.

My choic­es are not appro­pri­ate for every­one. . If you aren’t doing busi­ness with your email address­es or you enjoy the arcana of run­ning your own email servers you can leave GMail for a lot of oth­er prod­ucts. But those paths are not what you’re going to find here.

First up… A Plan.

There are 4 parts to this dance.

  1. Get all of the data out of Google.  I“ll need Gmail, Chats, Con­tacts, Calendars.
  2. Pre­pare local machines with copies of Office 2010. [a]
  3. Set up Office365. Microsoft­’s cloud based Office prod­uct. [b]
  4. Set up mobile devices to use the new Exchange based account. [c]


[a]  There are lots of these machines. All except the one I’ll actu­al­ly be using for email already have Office 2010 on them. Fig­ures does­n’t it?

Office 2010 final­ly does con­ver­sa­tion thread­ing — the one thing I most desired in an email read­er. And the biggest rea­son I haven’t switched before. It also allows back-dated entry in cal­en­dars. Some­thing Google cal­en­dars does­n’t. I real­ly need this. I track most things in a Mole­sk­ine, only trans­fer­ring them to the elec­tron­ic cal­en­dars at the end of the week. Mole­sk­ine’s only hold 6 months worth of stuff. I need at least a year’s worth at tax time, no?

[b] I’m only using the Exchange serv­er. Office365 also offers Share­point (Mag­pie makes a hex ward­ing sign) and an online meet­ing thing and oth­er busi­ness stuff that I don’t use. Yet.

[c] I’ll miss my better-than-Apple’s-lame-version cal­en­dar app. Oth­er­wise this is a no brain­er. Fol­low the direc­tions giv­en in the set­up menu.