Why Gmail Is The Only “Real” Email

I lead a youth group.  Most of these young men and women think  that having an email address is basically laughable.  But for a busy, work-at-home, homeschooling, 30-something mom, email is still an absolutely indispensable part of life.

And in the two years that I’ve had a Gmail account, I’ve basically abandoned all my other email providers and gone full-on Gmail addiction.

Reasons:

  1. Gmail provides a way to check all other emails (except Yahoo) from one address.  And I have a LOT of different emails…several different ones for work, one for my freelance writing, one for family, one for online shopping, etc, etc.  I was about to go crazy until I recently discovered I could conglomerate almost all of them into one location.  AND it will let you send from whatever account the email came to. I can even have them come in with different colors for different accounts.  Priceless!!
  2. Labels!!!  Gmail has this terrific system for adding labels to your messages.  Its kind of like tagging pictures in a photo software, I guess.  But you can give labels, or categories, to any incoming or outgoing message so that when you need to find that email three months ago with the cannoli recipe your aunt sent you, you simply search your labels for “recipes” and voila – – there it is!  Ingenious!!
  3. Gmail Chat.  Although I don’t use it that often, I love looking over at my sidebar to see who is and isn’t online when I am.  If someone has sent me an email, sometimes its just more fun to respond to them in real time.  Snazzy!!
  4. I don’t know about you, but I live and die by “to-do” lists.  I always have at least 157 balls in the air at any one time, and if I didn’t keep track of what I need to do NEXT, then they would all come tumbling down on my head.  Gmail Tasks takes care of this easy-peasy.  You can simply type in your daily tasks (which is also automatically imported into the Google calendar), but you can also turn an email INTO a task, which is awesome!  So you get an email reminder from Joan at your co-op that you are supposed to bake 3 dozen Danish wedding cookies for the International Cuisine celebration two weeks from Tuesday.  You simply click on “Add to Tasks”, and it will let you choose the date, and will also connect directly back to that email, and it will all come to you in a big ole’ reminder two weeks from Tuesday on the dot!  Has. saved. my. life.   Miraculous!!
  5. How many times have you sent an email and forgotten to include the attachment?  Yep, me too.  Or you wrote an angry message you immediate wish you hadn’t.  Well, gmail gives you several seconds after hitting “send” to then click “UNDO.”  The message stops sending, you get to correct your boo-boos, and all is well with the world.  Stupendous!!
  6. If you use your email for work, or blogging, or any repetitious type of information, then you often need to include different web links in your messages. Gmail has a feature called “Quick Links” that sits in your sidebar and lets you insert any common web link into your email in one click.  So if you have told 20 different email friends about this new restaurant they need to try, and you have had to go searching for the link each and every time, you will never have to do that again with Quick Links.  It is always waiting there for you to click right in.  Wonderful!!

I’m telling you, if you aren’t using Gmail, you aren’t really emailing.

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My Spring Break To-Do List

It’s spring break for the Techies!!!  Two weeks of glorious, guilt-free techiness with little or no interruptions.  What shall I do?  What shall I do?  I know, I’ll be extra geeky and make a list……

  1.  Finish my computer recipe file.  You know those cute little boxes of recipes that get handed down from generation to generation?  Those are SO passe.  Now, you spend 800 hours typing your faves into your computer, filing them by category, cuisine, and ingredients.  Then you spend 400 more hours taking pictures of each of the recipes as you prepare them, then scanning them into the program for visual effect.  No more going to the little box and ruffling through it to find your needed recipe.  Nope, they are now right at the tip of your laptop…after you spend 5 minutes booting it up, then loading the program, then typing in the search terms.  Talk about a time saver! 
  2. Work on my digital scrapbook.  I “invested” in one of those digital scrapbook programs that lets you do all sorts of creative things with your pictures and memories.  I think I thought that if the project involved my mouse and flashing screen, it would be more motivating than big books of colored construction paper and various curvy cut scissors.  I may have been mistaken. It seems that pictures of us huddled over laptops at various seasons and holidays just doesn’t do much for the creative juices.  Maybe next year we could turn off our virtual fireworks display on the 4th, and go outside and see what’s happening in the sky?  Who knows?  There could be an inspiring Kodak moment there.
  3. Work on reunion emailsThis year is the dreaded 2-0.  Yep, you heard me.  20 years. I was graduating high school long before Hannah Montana was a zygote in the Disney incubator.  Before Michael Jackson had gone “Bad” and before Bono was a Nobel nominee.  So 20 years later, it is reunion time, and that means figuring out where all those crazy kids in the parachute pants ended up.  Hopefully, they all signed up at Classmates.com.  Otherwise, I’ve got my work cut out for me.
  4. 3D Landscape my flower gardenNothing says spring like digitally designing your petunia layout with your new gardening software.  Where else can you read about common pests, research new garden tools, read profiles of each of your perennials, and watch animated videos of your dream garden – – all in the same place!  This program has everything a green thumb could want: a garden care calendar, the ability to “see” your garden from every angle and in every season, and even a botanical game.  Wait, a botanical game?  I didn’t know that was in here.  How cool!  Name seven perennials native to the Southwest?  Oh, I can SO beat this level………….

Maybe I was getting a little too ambitious there. I mean there will always be summer break, right?  After all, most people spend spring break doing shots off people’s belly buttons, right?  So perhaps I was overshooting a bit.  Spring break is for fun, for frolicking, for becoming a Level 3 Master Gardener….Two main functions of leaves?  Are they kidding me?  I am going to OWN this game…

p.s.  While I earn my medal in microflora, I would sure love to hear from all of you…what are your plans for spring break?

Anyone Seen My Hacky Sack?

I have lately realized that being “Techie” doesn’t necessarily mean being “Fetch” (which, I am told, means ‘with the times’).   In fact, my boys often accuse me of being out of the loop – – even old fashioned – – about some things.  Fashioned, maybe….but old?  Hmph.

I’ll admit that I just don’t get most of what classifies as “reality” programming.  And it’s not because I haven’t tried to understand it.  I watched quietly as the Osbournes let their dogs poo on every surface of their million dollar home, endured a season of watching the wind from Donald Trump’s helicopter blow his coif every way but off, and even sat patiently by as a couple different bachelors made the difficult decision of which drunken harlot to give away his respectability rose to.  My final impressions?  I much prefer the harsh surrealism of screenwritten drama to the “real” exhibitionism of TV reality.  Outdated?  Check.

I also have antiquated emails.  I don’t mean that I have my inbox stuffed with notes from 1999, I mean I write my emails the way Mrs. Manners would.  My kids get so embarrassed when their friends catch sight of something I’ve sent them via email.  I mean the humiliation of having a mom who still uses capitalization and punctuation is fairly mortifying.  I even have been known to use complete sentences when I write (but please keep that between us – – my boys have reputations to maintain). Once in a long while, just to get their goat, I’ll even throw in a “Sincerely” or a “Respectfully Yours” in an email just for fun.  Archaic?  Check.

Our household doesn’t have one single HD-compatible item in it. Believe it or not, I’ve never once viewed an HD-DVD.  I’m not sure why I missed that boat, except that maybe I never saw enough late night infomercials about the technology to really be convinced.  Anyway, it looks like my old-fashioned ways might have paid off this time.  Did you see the news story about how HD-DVD’s are being phased out?  Yep…it seems that Blu Ray is sending HD-DVD the way of Beta and Ruben Studdard.  Walmart, Netflix, and Blockbuster are all going to be dropping their HD-DVD’s to make room for more Blu Ray discs.  Behind the times?  You bet your fanny pack! Check!

Gotta admit… I’m feeling a little vindicated in my non-fetchiness at the moment.  All those high-tech mommas who plunked down a few hundred dollars for the most state-of-the-art HD DVD players last year, are feeling a wee bit silly right now aren’t they?  Not Topsy.  Nope, I’m feeling pretty triumphant sitting here listening to my boom box and playing with my Furby.  No one will be calling ME old fashioned anymore, now will they??

I can’t be completely alone out here in the land of the obsolete. What about you….what do you still own or do that makes people think you might not be completely “fetch”? Share in the comments section below…