Organize Your Gmail Messages

A while back, I decided to start setting up some filters in one of my Gmail-based accounts to help organize my messages. I was accustomed to the way filters and rules work in traditional e-mail systems, so I was surprised to find out that I still received copies of the messages in my Inbox, as well as the folder (label) I’d set up.

I can completely understand the value of a setup like that, but it wasn’t what I’d wanted at the time. I wanted the e-mail messages to be delivered into just the folder I’d set up, without copies of those messages cluttering up my Inbox.

After a bit of help from friends on Friendfeed and Twitter, I figured out how to stop the copies from arriving in my Inbox. It’s pretty simple, really; and I’m not sure why I didn’t notice it when I was first setting up the filters.

Gmail Adds New Features

gmail-logoThe Gmail team has been busy working on new features for the Web-based e-mail service. Over the last two days, two major new features have been added.

First of all, a feature to mark part of a conversation unread has been added to the “labs” (the beta test version of Gmail). This new feature will allow you to read a portion of an e-mail thread, then mark all newer messages as unread. I still wish it was possible to mark specific messages within a thread as unread (you can do so when using a desktop e-mail client with Gmail’s IMAP interface, but you can’t do so through the Web interface of Gmail).

The second new feature, which is available to all Gmail users, is the ability to merge duplicate contacts. If you have multiple contacts set up for the same person, you can click a single button and have Gmail attempt to automatically identify all of those duplicates and merge them where appropriate. Maybe you set up a different contact for each e-mail address or phone number the person has; or maybe you set up an e-mail contact through Gmail and a phone contact through Google Voice. With the new feature, you can easily merge them without having to edit each individual contact.

Setting Up Google Apps (Gmail) For Your Domain

The other day, I was talking with my friend Aaron (@riddlebrothers) about all of the various e-mail addresses we have and how we use them. At one point, after discussing the virtues of using Yahoo! Mail, I mentioned that the e-mail addresses I have hosted on my own servers are often unreliable. I told him that I rarely give out anything but my Yahoo! e-mail address, because a lot of messages get lost in cyberspace with my other accounts.

He asked me if I had looked into using Google Apps for my domain-based e-mail services. I honestly hadn’t thought about it before (in fact, I made a post a while back about how strange it was that everyone was moving to Gmail). However, his suggestion made sense. Following are some of the advantages I see in moving your e-mail over to Google Apps:

How CSS is Implemented in E-mail Clients

The other day, Smashing Magazine tweeted about an updated guide to CSS implementation in e-mail clients. The guide is extremely helpful, as it shows you exactly what CSS techniques and features you can use within your HTML e-mail messages and which e-mail clients will display them correctly.

The chart displayed in theĀ original blog post shows over 50 different CSS techniques and elements are evaluated for 11 different e-mail/Webmail clients. Apparently the PDF and Excel versions of the chart that are linked from the post include more than 23 different mail clients. Unfortunately, looking at the chart, it appears that the safest way to create an attractive e-mail message that looks the way you intend in multiple e-mail clients is to code with tables and inline styles.

Relying On Technology

When I arrived at work this morning, I tried to open Outlook only to have it pop up and tell me it couldn’t open. A long, rambling error message spouted on and on about the fact that Outlook couldn’t open because it couldn’t communicate with the Exchange server. First of all, I’m lost as to why Outlook can’t even open when it’s unable to communicate with the server. How does that stop Outlook from working altogether? Regardless, I couldn’t access the Exchange server through the Webmail interface, either, as the entire server was down.

Google Analytics – Scheduling Regular Reports

While many people realize and recognize that there are wonderful possibilities offered by Google Analytics, few people (including myself) understand just how much you can accomplish with the service. This evening, I want to spend a few minutes showing you how you can schedule your reports and have them automatically e-mailed to you or any other recipient you choose.