Back to gmail

I bought myself a lovely MacBookPro a couple of months ago and got myself a .Mac (now MobileMe) subscription at the same time (taking advantage of the reduced price available with a new machine).

I particularly liked the idea of having my address book and calendars synchronised and online, able to be used with the web mail. All the other features (iDisk, keychain synch etc) were all “nice to haves” but not “need to haves”.

Unfortunately, the mail app failed me miserably. It was just a lot less usable than gmail. I gave it a really good try, I really did. I even hoped that the change from .mac to mobile me might improve things, but I was disappointed.

These are the things that I considered deal breakers:

  • No filters: Even though the Mail interface is much like mail.app (which is great as an aside), it is missing some critical features. Filters being one of them. I like to have my email filtered into its folders (labels under gmail) automatically. To have that happen with mobileme mail, I need to leave my mac on and mail.app open. That’s just silly. With gmail, I don’t even need to set up the filters in mail.app, because they are filtered at the server level.
  • No indication of unread messsages: You can’t just look at the folder list and see which folders have messages to read. I needed to click on each one to find my messages.
  • No “all unread” option: Under gmail, I can search for “is: unread”. In mail.app, I have a smart mailbox set up. Nothing like that in the web mail.

Before I opened up my .mac account, I had attempted to set up mail.app with my gmail account with very little success. I had problems with the duplication of messages related to multiple labels (and the “all mail” label), I had major problems with Time Machine trying to back up 2GB every time I read a mail message and lots of little niggly things that didn’t “just work”. Those things didn’t happen with .mac, but I was willing to put up with them (or even just use webmail fulltime) to get the webmail I wanted.

Having said that, since I have swapped back to gmail, I have managed to work my way around those problems. Perhaps google have improved their IMAP implementation a bit since I last tried, but I am perfectly happy with my desktop and web mail now, thanks to Google Apps For Domains and Apple’s mail.app. It is just disappointing that Apple couldn’t get their webmail right.

j j j

Creative-Commons image goodness

I was doing a search for an image I might be able to use as a base for a logo. Because I wanted to fiddle with it and then reuse it, I needed it to be licenced appropriately.

So I went to Creative Commons and did a search, and found this little beauty:

I can really see this working well, and fortunately for me, the artist (the very kind kaet44 on flickr) has licenced it under a Creative Commons licence which allows me to modify it as I see fit, distribute it and even use it for commercial purposes. Just so long as I give credit where it is due, and here I am: kaet44 did it, and I offer thanks for it!

While I was there, I also saw this fascinating work and thought I would share it here:

By the way, as I have said elsewhere, all of my text here (at least anything that is my original work) can be considered under a similar licence. The only additional condition I have added is the need to “share-alike”. That is, any derivative work needs to be licenced under the same licence. If you care!

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Esperance on a stamp!

Check out this stamp… It has a lovely little picture of the Esperance, a French ship which probably did other things but is rightly famous for travelling along the south coast of Western Australia and leaving its name to our favourite town.

The stamp was issued in new Caledonia, which obviously feels it has a a better claim to the Esperance and to Admiral D’Entrecasteaux than we do. I think his name went to some other less important part of WA too. :-/

Thanks to shipstamps.co.uk for the image (used with permission).

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Great TV rumours!

Yes, rumours is all they are, but they are such great rumours I thought it would be worth repeating them here.

  1. Robert Llewellyn is reported to have said that the BBC is planning a new 1 hour Red Dwarf episode to be filmed later in the year. This would be a real gift. I really hope this one is true.
  2. Steven Moffat (soon to be top dog at Doctor Who) has spoken about the possibility about a Who movie, without actually saying anything. I love my Who, and really don’t see the need for a movie, but the increased exposure it would give the franchise, in the form of people who never watch public television would be great.
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Believers Resource

freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8 KJV)

For a number of years I have had an idea of setting up a web host for various free (free as in speech as well as free as in beer) Christian resources.

My thinking was influenced by the verse above. We have been given abilites, gifts and finances by God. I did (and still do) find it quite inappropriate the way Christian artists, ministers and organisations behave in much the same way as the world. My particular bugbear here is the copyright protection enforced on Bible translations. But the same things goes for music or original text… wouldn’t you be better off allowing copying and free use? What is the point of writing an amazing Praise and Worship song and then only allowing those fellowships that pay the appropriate licencing fees to even sing it?

But back to my point, it looks like someone actually did something instead of just having an idea.

The Believers Resource site is somewhat spartan at the moment, but I think it has heaps of potential. Like the site says, there is plenty of free stuff available on the net, but a lot of it is of less than ideal quality. A central repository for the good stuff is a great idea.

The site asks for suggestions, and here are a couple which I will be sending on:

  1. Add links to other sites where they can’t or won’t allow hosting by Believers Resource. You will still have had a look at the product and approved it. People coming to Believers Resource can still use it. It just doesn’t get downloaded locally.
  2. Add a software section. I’m thinking particularly of the Sword Project.
  3. The English Standard Version bible has some a module available for the Sword Project for no charge as well as being able to be read online.
  4. Perhaps add a “what’s new” section, or perhaps even add a blog-like section to allow news and comments.
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