Friday, September 03, 2010

Google Priority Inbox, Google Apps, and Random Thoughts

So I can't really talk about Buzz. But I can talk about other items of interest about Google products and services.

As most GMail users and Gapp (Google Apps) users are aware, Google recently deployed Priority Inbox. Nifty little filter and I like the idea that it gets smarter, much like the spam filters get smarter with more data. So I think its a great feature. Just a tad bit late.

See, GMail has these cool little features called filters and labels. So for messages from people or topics I consider important, or unimportant, I created filters and slap a label on them. Another neat feature of Google mail is that you can have your labels show up in the sidebar menu if there is new mail. You can, of course, not show labels that have new messages if they are unimportant. So for example, messages from my wife are filtered, slapped with a label and the label is marked to show when there are new messages. Alternatively, notifications from facebook are filtered and a "facebook" label slapped on them, but the label does not show in my sidebar when there are new messages because I really could care less.

For the most part, I have set up the filters to bypass the inbox since I want them labeled, and they show up on the side menu. I don't want to clutter up my inbox with a mix of important and unimportant message. Which is also why I really like Google's new priority inbox. However, since I had them bypassing the inbox, although I configured messages from my wife as "important" per the instructions for Priority Inbox, they never make the priority inbox because of the original filter. I further confirmed this by "archiving" everything in my normal inbox, and lo and behold, my priority inbox is empty too.

So now I face the tough decision of changing all of my filters(I have a lot of them) so that Priority Inbox can do it's thing and learn over time, or just ignore it. To be honest, I haven't decided.

Google Apps

So I recently noticed a "newsletter" from the Google Apps team. Two things caught my eye; 1) ability to create "groups" within Google Apps that can allow/deny access to certain Google Apps services. For example, you could have a group called members that would have access to Sites only, and you could have a group called staff that has access to the Sites, email, and the calendar. All very, very handy.

Unfortunately, it is only for Education or Premier versions. I don't really need for this domain, but you have heard me mention it before, but I'd like this capability for JANO. Unfortunately, JANO is a 501c4 not a 501c3, and therefore ineligible for Google's non-profit version(really just the Education version). I am assuming that even though we are a non-profit, we are not actually a charitable non-profit, hence google can't claim a tax deduction for providing us service. Which I fully understand. Luckily, we hope to look at changing JANO's status to 501c3 in the near future so then we'll be able to get this functionality which I really need/want for JANO.

The other thing that caught my eye in this newsletter was about the migration of Google Apps to the same platform as the rest of Google's services. So instead of having to create two accounts, a google apps account for some things, and a gmail account for services like picasa, google reader, blogger, etc., you will be able to use your google apps account for all(or almost all) those services.

They have announced before that if you have already created a gmail account and "associated" it with your google apps account the transition will be transparent. In this particular case, I will have to decide how I want to handle this change. See I originally had an gmail account and used that, because I had no choice, to create a blogger and picasa, etc., account. I initially associated my google apps account with that account until I discovered that I could create a gmail account without using the gmail bit(I don't think), and that I could use that account to login to blogger, etc., as well as an openid account, I created a different google account (not apps) and associated it with my google apps account (I think that was automatic...).

Again, that's fine. I'd rather be on the same platform and use my google apps account for everything. However, that does mean I need to figure out how to "transfer" everything from my now standalone gmail account. It'll be interesting to see if Google provides any tools to help with this, since I'm sure I'm not the only one who implemented various "workarounds".

General Random Thoughts

I'm out in L.A. and probably will be for the next couple of weeks. On the way out here, I was upgraded to business/first class and sat two seats away from Daniel "Boobie" Gibson. He's got an ipad if you're curious. I was thinking the whole flight, do I bother him for an autograph or should I just leave him alone. I ended up just leaving him alone, though I did wish him luck this year to which he gracefully said "Thank you very much".

There is no weather in LA. It's always the same. Cleveland has weather. Since before LA I was traveling to San Diego alot, and knew I was coming to LA, I've been watching the weather reports. Temperature mostly. This place is like always 64 degrees. There's been really no change since I've been following it. I much prefer, to be honest, the ups and downs of Cleveland weather.

I think the Mayfield Wildcats boys soccer team was flying under the radar. The Plain Dealer did a review of the teams it thought were/are going to do well this fall and Mayfield wasn't even mentioned. 'The team is now 3-0 with a goal differential of over 10+. I think they have only allowed two goals all year but have scored 14 or 15. They one last nights game 8-1 or something like that. It'll be interesting to see what happens when they play some of the tougher teams, although Hudson is never a push over.

The wildcats are no longer under the radar I don't think. In the coaches poll after the first week, Mayfield was ranked 5th. Not suprisingly, St. Ignatius was an overwhelming #1. Secondly, Amare Williams was selected by the Plain Dealer as player of the week. And he's only a sophomore I think. In last nights game, a freshman scored two goals (I'm a huge fan of this kid. He plays really smart, great vision, great ball control and he's a scorer).

Go Wildcats!

Speaking of which, it's not just Ken that's playing soccer this year. George decided to start soccer, mostly to stay in shape for swimming season. I saw him play and you can tell that he has never played before. And I'm not talking about foot skills, or hustle or anything. He's not understanding the flow of the game. Which is completely understandable since the game I saw him play was what his third game ever? I did sit down with him and explain the formation, and other pointers. He was very polite listening to me though I'm sure he wanted me to shut up.

Elly seems to be enjoying American University. It's completely different these days with Facebook, email, video chat, texting. Since there are so many ways to communicate easily, it's really tempting to contact her daily. But I know I would have gone nuts if my parents did that when I was in college, so I'm trying not to. I'll admit it. It's not easy. I miss the goof ball.


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