Gmail Contacts got a makeover

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So, finally the wait is over and Gmail has rolled out the new redesigned  contacts from today itself. If you have not noticed yet, then  its time to login and explore the new things out there for you in your favorite Email service.

New Gmail

Well, we were already hearing about the same from quite some time that Gmail is about to roll out a new redesigned Gmail for us, specially contacts and tasks. It was even pointed that contacts might get a call button though Google Voice is not rolled out for whole world as of now, so it was something not to be expected. New Place

The very first thing to notice was the placement of contacts. Just below the Gmail logo now, along with the  Tasks icon as well. The contacts sure gonna get more attentions and tasks too. There blog post discusses much more about it in details here.

The other place to look for, was the detailed view of any contact that was also redesigned in a very effective and detailed way as given below:

contacts

Even there help page also has been updated to provide info about the new smoother ways with Gmail contacts now.

Sort gmail contacts Gmail

So, if you have not checked it out yet then go and take a look. Its always pleasant, when your one of the favorites get updated. 🙂

Nitish Kumar
http://nitishkumar.net
http://scifireviews.wordpress.com

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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – A real iPhone for mass

In view of my ‘recent active days’ with blog posts, its been a ‘pretty long’ gap of more than a week. Thought to write many a times in this while, but always….

“ Finally bought a Touch Screen all of a sudden, when there was no prior plan for buying the same. Yeah did a through study of the same before buying and as exciting it was that I made the last purchase at 9:30 PM from nearest Hotspot. “

Nokia 5800 is not the first ever attempt of Nokia entering into touch screen market (Nokia 7710 since 2004, Nokia 6208 since early 2009 for example), but considering phenomenal buzz around Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Arnoid, it was expected to be a serious one and it is a sweetheart indeed. Lots of good reviews with finer details are already around, so I am not going into details and keeping this post as a personal comment only.


First of all, why I am comparing it to iPhone?

nokia5800_iphone back

Both are touch screen devices, both has perfect connectivity options (Bluetooth, Wi Fi, 3G), both comes with lots of storage (8 Gb+), both has built in A-GPS, both have YouTube Support … in all both are the very capable devices.

For a detailed point-to-point comparison between Nokia 5800 and Apple iPhone 3G, you can check out the GSMArena Link.


What special about iPhone? 

Many times in Technology History, it had been proven that more than the capabilities themselves, what matters is that how we use them. Ajax was a literally less known technology till Gmail made use of it. Similar case with iPhone, iPhone making biggest buzz around world, not due to what it is capable of, but due to how developers are making use of it and how its being marketed.

In technical specifications, iPhone only has advantage in Multi Touch technology otherwise Nokia 5800 offering much better specifications in less than half the price (Rs. 13, 200/- in Delhi as on 9th Feb 2010), but the way, its apps store bursting with new apps daily, has made it most happening thing around the globe. One should credit the way Apple market things.


How I find Nokia 5800 still better and potent device?

nokia-5800-061 nokia-5800-xpressmusic

Price: I don’t think that even 2G model of iPhone is standing anywhere lesser than Rs 22,000/- in India, leave 3G and 3GS model apart (no where lesser than Rs. 25, 000/-) and Nokia 5800 is offering you everything is less than half the price Rs. 13, 200/-. Can you believe it? Just an included 8GB card, 3G/ Wi-Fi Support worth it, leave Touch Screen a side.

Size: Something I don’t like about most of Black Berries and iPhone is their size. They are trying to redefine the size constraints of normal cell phone, but the basic limit will always be that it should come to your hands easily. iPhone is slimmer than Nokia 5800 for sure, but almost 1 cm wide as well.

Screen Resolution/ Camera: iPhone 3GS has 320×480, while Nokia 5800 has 320×640 with same 16M colors. Yes! better with iPhone is its PowerVR MBX-Lite graphics, but still it doesn’t offer ground breaking eye candy in front of more than enough decent Nokia 5800. iPhone matched the resolution with Nokia 5800 only with the latest model 3GS otherwise it was lesser in 2G and 3G models.

Storage: Both offer 8G+ storage, but iPhone has it as internal storage with no support for more card slots. Nokia 5800 kept the price down by keeping internal memory low as 81 MB and providing 8GB as external card slot (could be extended to 16GB). Obviously, one could keep as many card as required and could keep on swapping if much storage is required. Sure, the later one is more flexible about storage.

Processor & RAM: If I should keep the comparison between Nokia 5800 and iPhone 3G then Nokia has better processor (ARM 11 434 MHz in comparison to ARM 11 412 MHz) and same amount of RAM (128 MB). Yes! Latest version 3GS has doubled the RAM and proved better processor (ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz), but price is skyrocketing to be more than Rs. 35, 000/- in India. Why one should afford such a price for a phone?

Music: Disappointing that iPhone didnt thought to keep multimedia side in primary concern and pleasant that Nokia didn’t missed that. In contrast to iPhone, Nokia 5800 offering Stereo Speakers and they perform exceptionally well even when you hear without headphones.

Usability: Have you heard of a smart phone, you cant copy text, cant forward SMS/ MMS, cant send data via Bluetooth, cant put a new battery in it or cant add a memory card in it? Yes! you are guessing it right. Its iPhone and all these troubles exists even in 3GS.Can we really change our phone habits this much.. that too after paying more than double the price?


My experience with Nokia 5800 in last three days: My first Smart Phone was Nokia N70 and I am still carrying Nokia N82 and Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, obviously, the camera quality of Nokia 5800 cant match excellent picture and video recording quality offered by Nokia N82, but for my disappointment, I felt it even lesser than Nokia N73 (but sure better than 2 MP cameras). May be settings issue or I was too much used to of excellent pictures. For me, its the only major drawback with this set. In next, if I find something like complaining then its the internal memory, which is 81 MB, decent enough, but could have been increased.

Rest everything was so amazing to me, may be its the excitement of a perfect touch screen device, but it serves me everything, which a hard core user like me could wish for. Exciting was playing YouTube directly from Internet (Idea Edge Connection) like the video is inside the phone itself. Waiting for Flash 10 to be unfolded for Symbion.

Either it be typing experience, browsing experience or connecting to PC, its been a perfect ride and I am looking more and  more into it to explore its potential.



The minimal set of apps, one should have in it:

1. Fring: I was looking for an IM to cater Gtalk and I got the almighty. It caters MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and other leading IMs. For me, exciting was to make calls from my cell to Gtalk Friends or Friends on Skype sitting somewhere abroad and also to receive them on my cell like normal GSM calls. Not tested yet, but having video calls via Gtalk or Skype or Yahoo without 3G Network would be rather more exciting than anything ever I would have done with Smart Phones. Now, its not even needed to install something else (earlier I am using snaptu in Nokia N82, that’s also good enough) that this so cool app. Just waiting for 3G to be affordable and I will be having an amazing range of connectivity with friends online and offline.

Download | Website

2. Gmail: Obviously, I cant be without it. Even if I wish for more evolvement of this kind of basic Email Client, its still my favorite out of any question. I guess not much to say about it.

Download | Website

3. Google Maps: Although Nokia 5800 is already bundled with Ovi Maps, but still services like Latitude and Buzz now are something I cant think of doing without. Its kind of default app for any of my A- GPS enabled cell.

Download | Website

4. Opera 10 Beta: I already marked it my favorite in my earlier post and I was already waiting to experience it on Touch Screen. My Feelings are still the same. One should make it as their default browser like most of the people do like changing to Firefox or Chrome just after installing Windows. I am thinking that if ever, Firefox or Chrome get released for Symbion, then how will they perform?

Download | Website

5. Mail for Exchange: That’s an interesting application launched by Nokia for its business users to fill the gap Blackberry has created. Its push mail from Nokia and configuration instructions with Gmail could be found here. Why I am talking about Gmail not Business Mails? I face troubles with my office account and this apps, so I chosen a a work around. I placed a forwarder in Office Email ID to forward all mails to a new Gmail account and configured Mail for Exchange from that Gmail account. Now, not only my mails are safe in an practically unlimited storage account and they are in sync with me on the go (I will receive the mail and its notification on my cell within minute).

Some might complain about security of passing Office Data to Gmail, but has anyone doubt over Gmail Security yet?

Download | Website

6. JoikuSpot: As I am talking about minimal set of apps, so I was trying to avoid it, but thought to add it as last minimal app. Its a very promising and interesting app, which converts your device to a Wi Fi Access point means yours laptop and Laptop of your friend could make use of Edge/ 3G connection over your Nokia 5800 on the same time to use the internet as a Wi Fi connection. Although I still have not looked more into it that how it could be secured for use, but even then its a great piece of software.

Download | Website

Its not end of story and many more things might come about my experience with it. Other users should try to explore the options more with Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

 

How to make your Gmail account easy to recover if hacked

The very first step to take is the same as I discussed in last article.

Keep variations in your username/password over various sites: its of prime importance as how could you think that any random forum or newbie site could be as secure as your Yahoo/ Gmail/ Hotmail? If you use the same username/password combination in some smaller sites/ forum and that one got hacked, then a hacker could try to login with the same in other popular services as well and that could lead in getting your account hacked in a way, where no mistake was from Gmail/ Yahoo/ Hotmail side.


The other steps are for recovery of your email if hacked from Gmail as Amit suggested:

Use your old days pen & paper and note down the following somewhere:

  1. The month and year when your created your Gmail / Google Account.
  2. If you created a Gmail account by invitation, write the email address of the person who first sent you that invite for Gmail.
  3. The email addresses of your most frequently emailed contacts (the top 5).
  4. The names of any custom labels that you may have created in your Gmail account.
  5. The day/month/year when you started using various other Google services (like AdSense, Orkut, Blogger, etc.) that are associated with the Google account that you are trying to recover. If you’re not certain about some of the dates, provide your closest estimate.
  6. Run a Test! Log-out of all your Gmail / Google Accounts. Start the password recovery process. This guarantees that what you set up actually works. You want to be absolutely certain your SMS settings and secondary email addresses are configured correctly. (this is when you have associated your mobile in your Gmail account, do it for sure).
  7. Check your IP Address: From time to time check out the IP address in the footer of your Gmail Inbox. If you see an odd one, change your Google password immediately. Knowing IP addresses may seem too technical to some but it’s good information to know.

Thanks to Amit for listing out these tips.


At the end …

“ I don’t expect from everyone to be smart enough to remember these all minor but common details, but its about knowing your account more better than anyone else. Its like recognizing your bag, when recovered from police etc. You need to tell them that what’s inside it, which only you are expected to know. So, know your account better and keep it noted down in your diary or somewhere secured. ”

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

Merge Duplicate contacts in Gmail

This feature is sure targeting users thinking to make use of Google Sync and will be sure handy for most of tech-savy people.What’s interesting is that why such a delay in announcing such a feature, when Yahoo and Hotmail have given similar long back in 2007 only?

“ Dec 15, 2009, Gmail added a new feature to its contacts module, which lets one to remove every single duplicate contact entry at once from his Gmail contacts. I means to say that if you have many email ids saved against same person name and same email IDs saved more than once, then it consolidates them at once and so saves a lot of your tedious and time consuming manual work. ”

gmail logo


Managing a big address book can be a challenge, so it’s no surprise that the top request for Google contacts is a fast, easy way to merge duplicate contacts. So, here comes Gmail again with its unique innovations with your emailing experiences. Did you remember that when you started with Gmail, then what was special about contacts? They were being added automatically once you reply to any of their mail. Its been a nice feature. There were more related to contacts, like importing addresses from contacts of other email addresses, importing contacts from csv and many other means to make your contact list grew bigger and bigger.

You are sure not that worried from the bigger size of your contacts due to innovative and efficient auto-complete feature of Gmail, but for most of us, to avoid confusion, while mailing or for people, who like to keep them organized, this is a very very welcome idea of having a one-click-merge-button, otherwise it was a just one-by-one process. The implications are more real for those, who might have started syncing their phone contacts with their Gmail account.

Gmail-merge


The basics of how it works is quite simple. This new system runs  a simple scan on your contacts and the one button solution merge the information for each duplicate contacts. It’s a non-destructive method, so you are not going to loose any contacts, but if you have organized your Contacts in some certain way, then only you have to check whether the new system suiting to your method or not.

“ This feature is sure targeting users thinking to make use of Google Sync and will be sure handy for most of tech-savy people.What’s interesting is that why such a delay in announcing such a feature, when Yahoo and Hotmail have given similar long back in 2007 only?”

photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

Offline Gmail – Are you still not using it?

“ Have you ever been tired of switching to html mode in Gmail, due to your slow internet connection? Have you ever been waited for opening some mail in feature rich ajax based standard version  of Gmail? Have you ever been wished that you would have some email client in same way as Gmail is in its web version? Here is the solution from Gmail side; Offline Feature.

“ Officially introduced in January 27, 2009 as an experimental Gmail Labs Offline Features, came up to change the capabilities of web-based mail, is now a regular part of Gmail from December 07, 2009. ”

P.S.: its for good of your personal PC only, not any public one like Office or cafe. 

Google_Labs_logo gmail-logo


Google is already making itself as a center of whole Internet World and making the world ready for Cloud Computing. Look like now in place of choosing to develop some email client of its own, and making many of users preferring web version of Gmail over any email client, now has came up with solution of enabling Gmail to work in offline mode. Its expected to work in the same way as their other service Google Reader is already working for Offline mode from long (since May 31, 2007).

gears

Web-based emails are great as one could access them from anywhere, but catch is; it’s limited by the internet connection itself. So, Gmail provided the solution to cache the mails to local PC through Gears. As long you are connected to Internet, the local cache keeps itself in sync with Gmail’s Servers and when you loose your connection, it automatically switches to Offline mode and uses the data stored on your computer’s hard rive instead of the information set across the network.


“ With Offline mode, you can still read messages, star and label them and do most of the things you’re used to doing while reading your webmail online and that too with blazing fast performance (I felt it even more faster than normal Outlook Express or Windows Live Mail, just touch a mail to go). Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection. ”

Not only this but with now this matured feature, two more in-demand options has been added to Offline Gmail: an option to choose which messages get downloaded for offline use and the ability to send attachments while offline.

“ Now, it may even replace Outlook express (or any other mail client) for a few users so that they could keep on using Gmail Offline all day long and could connect to internet once or twice a day. ”


So, what are you waiting for? Start with Offline Gmail. First of all, you would be needed to keep Google Gears ON and obviously the browser you might be using must supports Gears (like Internet Explorer 7.0+, Firefox 2.0+, Safari 3.0+ and Google Chrome) and then follow the instructions as given below:

  1. Click the “Settings”  link in the top-right corner of Gmail.
  2. Click the “Offline” tab.
  3. Select “Enable Offline Mail for this computer”.
  4. Click “Save Changes” and follow the directions from here.

After the browser reloads, you’ll see a new “Offline” link in the upper right hand corner of your account, next to your username. Click this link to start the offline setup process and download Gears, if you don’t already use it.

I am also putting some screen shots to let you know it more closely.

Installing Offline Access

Google Gears will show a Security Warning

Creating a desktop shortcut for Access Gmail



With all the excitements out there, I would also like to remind the differences between normal Email Clients like Outlook express, Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail etc and web-based Offline Solution of Gmail.

First of all, I am not yet sure about procedures related backing up and exporting data of Google Gears for we like administrators that whether they even exists or not. With a few known issues, Offline Gmail still doesn’t support accessing Contact Manager (although auto-complete feature works), Complete Search Results (for obvious reasons), Access to conversations in Spam and Trash (as they were considered to be less required) and some Gmail Labs features.


Also those users, who might have using Gmail in https mode always, will feel many glitches with Offline Gmail (although I do think that its not a product for that much security conscious users and I recommend it for home users and personal laptops only)

But still for most of the Gmail Users Community, its a very welcome feature for already feature-rich Gmail. I am sure that many would like to use it.


Do you know, many other things could also be used for Offline through Google Gears and other services? Yeah you can use any of website  for reading it offline. Check webnol’s Article.


photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar