on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Wed, 08 Dec 2004

Gmail fails to excite

I accepted a Gmail invite for several reasons:

  • curiosity
  • a spare email address for times when I didn’t want to use a “real” one
  • a way of subscribing to mailing lists and being able to use Google search to find interesting stuff

I had never really thought I’d use it for private or important email—that’s stuff I’d rather keep on my own servers, both for privacy and reliability reasons. But it had seemed to me that Gmail might be useful.

Given Google’s reputation, I had been expecting that Gmail would have been pretty well thought out. This turns out not to be true. It has an astonishingly poor user interface, bringing new levels of clumsiness to the web. Once I had allowed my test mailing lists to generate a few hundred messages, I was able to confirm that what looked like a poor design was in fact really dreadful. And it has very poor customisation capabilities, which render it pretty well useless to me for many purposes.

I’ll keep the account, for now, but I won’t be using it for anything unless they adopt all of the suggestions I have put to them—and a few that I haven’t bothered to ask for.