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.
- Get all of the data out of Google. I“ll need Gmail, Chats, Contacts, Calendars.
- Prepare local machines with copies of Office 2010. [a]
- Set up Office365. Microsoft’s cloud based Office product. [b]
- 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.