Tag Archive for: google-apps

The Migration: Google Mail to Outlook.com

28 Aug 2013
August 28, 2013

goose-migration-habits-200X200I have had Solo-Technology.com mail hosted with Google for e-mail since it was a beta offering. So long, in fact, that I’ve purged that blog post about it as it was just too out of date. I have generally been happy with the service and have had few complaints. Especially when you factor in what I have been paying for it all these years… (nothing!).

However, times change, what we like change and companies change. For the past three years I have been living in Outlook for the day job and Gmail for Solo Tech and personal stuff. The differences get a bit jarring over time. Also, I don’t love the recent Gmail interface changes, I don’t love what I’m reading in the news and the final straw was seeing ads IN my inbox. Not on the page, but things that looked like mail items in the inbox but were actually ads.

That was when I knew it was time to go be someone else’s product.

I understand that nothing is truly free, but there are limits to what I’ll tolerate. Yes, I know there are work-arounds and ways to avoid it. Sure I could just use Outlook and IMAP to get my mail – but I really don’t like IMAP so… let’s just move on.

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Google Apps gets iGoogle

30 Jul 2010
July 30, 2010

Way back in December of ‘07 I was grousing about (among other things) how much I disliked the Google Apps Start Page and how I wish Apps would get iGoogle instead. Fortunately, I’m  very patient guy… today it was announced that iGoogle is now replacing the Start Page!

This is huge! This is great! This means we Apps users can have a nice customizable browser start page tied to our Apps account, not yet another free gmail account.

However, it isn’t all great news. If you’ve configured your Google Apps to always use https then you won’t see your email in the start page.

google email https issue

Bah. So close, yet so far away…

Google Mail Signature Management

30 May 2010
May 30, 2010

Update 7/9/2010: It seems Google themselves have entered the fray. Check it out!

I have many email accounts. One is Google Apps for the day job and I keep that one totally separate from the rest of my accounts. However, I also have a few personal Gmail accounts, the Solo Technology Google Apps addresses and few more for clients and side engagements and keeping up with them all is quite easy since I have them all pulled into my Solo Tech account. That part works well.

What doesn’t work so well, however, is the fact that with Google Mail you only have one signature (the bit you append to the footer of your messages) regardless of what account is being used.

In an ideal world, I’d have a [custom] signature to match each email account that I can use for sending messages.

I don’t really need friends & family getting a “corporate” sig and I’d like the sig for my client’s accounts to match what they use.

WiseStamp logoI thought I found the answer earlier this week when I learned about WiseStamp. At first glance, this seemed to be exactly what I had been looking for but once I started trying it out I became a bit disappointed.

First issue? You can only configure two signatures. Ideally, I’d like 4.

Second issue? There doesn’t appear to be a reasonably straight-forward method to sync signatures between machines or browsers (there currently is support for Firefox and Chrome browsers). That’s a deal-breaker.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you don’t need a bunch of signatures and replicating settings between machines isn’t a big deal then you want to be trying out WiseStamp. I haven’t seen an easier way to do a nicely formatted sig with Gmail yet and it is very easy to work with. The price is right, too! (free)

Lots of nice little features too. You can easily add images, links or icons to your social networks, and even recent blog posts (or other items from RSS feeds). Really quite slick. Sadly, I need more.

Any ideas on similar products that I should be trying?

Handling Ex-Employee Google Apps Email Accounts

02 Mar 2009
March 2, 2009

Google Apps logo Switching the company over to Google Apps last fall has been, for me at least, such a huge boon that I definitely have no regrets. It has, however, certainly introduced some “operational” impacts though. For instance, handling ex-employees and their mailboxes.

Now, in the MS Exchange era that we were previously in, this was a no- brainer: Leave the mail on the server. Anyone needs it, give ‘em access. I’m sure we can all quote assorted compliance policies on why email should be retained [for some defined period of time]. We can also probably think of reasons why the “leave it on the server” forever method isn’t really such a good idea anymore, but things have changed a lot in the last decade.

When using Google Apps and you’re now paying for each mailbox, that policy of abandonment has to be re-thought. Yeah, it is only $50/year/mailbox for the Premier account, but it seems silly to spend that without looking at options.

I’ve come up with two approaches so far:

  1. Export all the mail and then import it to a free hosted account
  2. Export all the mail and store it on a file server as text (.eml) documents

Option 1 is clearly a bit abusive of Google’s good graces, but you can easily get a free hosted account with a different domain. For instance, you might want to have one for contract and temp employees. The trick is making sure the export from the Enterprise account isn’t larger than what the free version can hold.

Well, the other trick is that the rules have recently changed and you can only have 20 users with the free accounts (although I’ve read that you can send an email and ask for additional…)

Option 2 means the onus is now on me to securely store all the old emails and ensure that they can be accessed or searched if necessary. Access has to be controlled, we don’t want the world browsing a former employee’s old email, right?

Arguably this is really a stalling topic before going to Option 1 – if I really want to do some serious searching, why not import the mail back into a free account and use the wonderful search facilities… but, I can also directly search the text files with a number of tools as well.

For both approaches, I’ve found the free Gmail Backup utility to be incredibly helpful. It works great for both the export and the import and does it all with IMAP and .eml text files.

I guess an Option 3 might be to investigate the Postini services. It looks rather interesting, but I’ve yet to talk to anyone using that, so if you have any experience please drop a comment or email. I think Premier comes with a limited version (details) so it looks like I’d have to spend some money for email retention above the default 90 days.

I’m generally pretty happy with my Option 2 route for now, but open to other ideas or best practices so please feel free to share. In this litigious world we work in, messing up email retention or compliance can sure be a disaster!