GMail vs. Hotmail

I have been using GMail for years now. I love the amount of storage. After a brief transition period I enjoyed the simple web-based experience. GMail also does a pretty seamless job interacting with my primary personal email address which I access via POP3. In short I am happy with GMail for personal email use. So why try Hotmail?I use a Windows Mobile smart phone. I love it. It helps me get work done, it helps me get work done away from the office, and it allows me to leave my laptops at home. Great device. For email it supports Active Sync (MS Exchange), POP, and IMAP. Great! But here is the where the trouble starts. GMail really doesn’t support access via devices. Oh sure, their pages will tell you about POP access (busted since you really don’t want every download to cause the item to be archived. Nor do you want read items not to be archived. I pointed this out to Google by the way, they apparently are way smarter than mere mortals though and know better). Their pages will also tell you about ““. This too is busted since you get 30 days of email on your device and no reconciliation between what you have read on the device and on the web (this is closer, but not quite there. Why doesn’t the “recent” trick archive the messages after 30 days?). Why won’t GMail do something as simple as IMAP? They’ve even gone to the trouble to write a really terrible Java-based client (which incidentally doesn’t appear to run on a Blackjack). Why no IMAP? Google, as usual with criticism or suggestion, is silent.So recently I learned that Hotmail has added up to 5 GB of storage. Nice, 2+ more than Google. Not particularly relevant since I never hit 2 GB, but nice anyway. But here is the kicker… Hotmail has a dedicated synch engine for the smart phone. Very, very nice. So I am embarking on a 4 day tour of Hotmail to see if I can switch over. Some early thoughts:

  1. Okay, the UI is intrusive. I know some people (hi Tom) prefer Hotmail’s UI but I think GMail’s stripped-down UI is closer to what you want for a web browser. Hotmail is clearly designed for Outlook users (which of course I am, but that is at work)
  2. Banner ad, hate it. Really hate it. And when it’s in motion it’s really annoying. I will never, ever, ever click on a banner ad simply out of principal. Maybe time to find a greasemonkey script for this.
  3. Hotmail has fewer keyboard shortcuts.

On the positive side:

  1. Did I mention the synch engine? Love the synch engine. Very seamless.

Update: +1 for Google. When you forward email from another address, e.g. Google does the right thing and just seamlessly uses it assuming you have it configured for that address. Hotmail does not. It does the worst of all possible things; it is inconsistent. In the preview pane (annoyingly called the Reading Pane, an affectation from Outlook) it shows “ on behalf of“. Well that is silly, it is not on behalf of. It would be on behalf of if I hadn’t already told Hotmail that this was me. I set that as the default and confirmed that in face was me. Compounding what could otherwise conceivably e some sort of security device they show the second address in the from column in the view. So let’s see… if in fact you need the “on behalf of” nonsense then why not show it that way everywhere? Gr.Update 2: +1 for Gmail on performance. Yes, both services have downtime. But wow… in less than one week now I have had several occasions when Hotmail would not load the inbox. This morning was the worst, Hotmail refused to load, refreshed with a message saying it couldn’t load, then swapped into “classic” mode.

Cinghiale Cycling Tours

Cinghiale Cycling ToursLindsey sent me a link to this very cool cycling tour site. I have never toured with them personally but I have spent a few days riding in Tuscany. Riding with a guide would be cool, riding with Andy Hampsten would be very cool (although of course you’d need to accept that you would get your butt kicked daily).I also love that they used “cinghiale” for their mascot. One of the best meals I have ever had was in a Tuscan hill town (Pienza?) after a long bike ride. Ian and I rode up the cobbles of the old town and stopped with Bill at an old restaurant. Their special for the day was cinghiale (wild boar) with tomato sauce of pici pasta. You can’t buy pici anywhere as far as I can tell but it’s clearly, absolutely the best pasta on the planet. It just sucks up sauce. And oh my was this sauce good. A few months ago Colleen’s husband Tom brought back some pici and I tried to recreate the sauce using pork shoulder. It was good, maybe great. But it wasn’t cinghiale.Update: turns out you can buy pici in the US now.

Slow Leadership: How to find and recognize a civilized job

Slow Leadership: How to find and recognize a civilized jobA little fluffy at times. For example “Clear evidence that others will value and respect what you do”. What does that mean specifically? Or maybe the better question is what is the clear evidence? On the fringes this is easy, but I have yet to meet either Gandhi or Hitler in my place of business.But there is some meat here. Read it and see what you think. The tag-line is:

look around carefully and sniff out the ratio of assholes to others. The more assholes, the less you should even consider working there.

There are two key assumptions here:

  1. You can detect assholes. In my experience this is probably the trickiest piece. People who are really, really good at being jerks are also frequently the people who are most able to hide the fact. It often takes years to know the difference and by then, well, it’s way too late. The other problem of course is that looking for a job is like dating; in the early stages everyone looks and acts their best.
  2. It might be you. Ouch. Here is the thing… in my first incarnation as a manager many years ago I thought I was great. We hit our goals, I thought I was valuing people, I listened, etc. But the feedback was exactly the opposite. I was domineering, angry, pushing, and intolerant. Whoa. So who was right? On balance we (my team and I) both were to some extent although I think my team won the decision. Hopefully I have learned from that (any current or former employees are welcome to post anonymously, really, I won’t check:-)

Nonetheless I am reading the Slow Leadership site both for my own career path managing, teaching, and mentoring people and also for an eye towards the future. My style is not “slow” as a manager or leader (this post will tell you why that is bad); learning is always welcome.