Monthly Archives: November 2011

Compose email in Offline Google Mail

With Wi-Fi available in more places, many of us take the Internet for granted feeling always connected. But there are times when the Internet isn’t available whether it’s Mother Nature intervening, a wireless company’s outage or traveling in an airplane that requires turning off the network.

Once upon a time, we didn’t always connect to the online world. We didn’t have to worry about the network going down because all of our emails and apps were available on our computers.

With more people signing up for web-based email services like Gmail, not having 24/7 Internet access turns into a problem. Google has come up with a solution for its Gmail users with Offline Google Mail. The app syncs with your device so that you can read your messages and write emails when not connected to the Internet .

Offline Google Mail

Offline Google Mail, like its name, only works with Gmail. Considering it’s a Google product, it only works with Chrome, Google’s browser. (An earlier version used to work with Internet Explorer and Firefox 3.x, but that has since gone away.) When going offline, you can read, write and search emails as if you were online. The only difference is that new messages won’t come in and you won’t be able to send any until you reconnect to the Internet.

Compose email in Offline Google Mail

Going offline won’t be exactly like using Gmail especially since some Gmail features aren’t available in Offline Gmail. For example, when you compose a message, it looks like Offline Gmail doesn’t add your signature when it will show up in the sent message. While offline, you also won’t be able to download some file types, use some keyboard shortcuts or modify importance markers.

You can customize what Offline Gmail syncs with your device based on attachment size, date and labels. The more messages you sync, the more it affects Gmail’s performance.

Using Offline Gmail should be seamless. If you’re in Gmail while connected and lose your connection, Gmail switches to Offline Gmail. It should do the same when you reconnect. Because it’s in beta, Offline Gmail doesn’t always work as expected.

Glitches include the disappearance of offline messages and the inability to view images in emails. A more serious issue is that it can lose messages that you write offline. That’s lost time spent in drafting a message.

Another offline option — especially those who don’t use Chrome — is to sync Google Mail with a stand-alone email app like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird through IMAP. You must run the email app to ensure your email app has the latest Gmail messages. Thus, when you lose connection, you may not have the latest messages.

Glitches aside, Offline Gmail does what you expect in that it syncs messages with your device and switches you to offline email when you lose your Internet connection. It will sync your messages as long as you have Chrome open. You don’t need to have Gmail or Offline Google Mail open for synchronization.

Offline Google Mail offers a viable yet imperfect option for those who rely on Gmail and need a way to manage email while offline.

How do you manage your emails when offline? Or do you just wait until you’re connected to the Internet or access Gmail on your smartphone?

Char-Broil Turkey Fryer

Tis the season to be cooking, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Don we now our kitchen gadgets, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Whether you love cooking and gadgets or someone who does, there’s plenty of great stuff out there to get your geek cook on. Prepare your wish list for a few additions or delight the geeky cook with these gift ideas.

Turkey fryer. Fried turkey may be delicious, but cooking them takes work with the risk of hot oil splatter. That won’t be a problem with Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer. Instead of oil, the infrared technology fries the turkey and takes only eight to ten minutes per pound. An eight-pound turkey cooks in one hour and 20 minutes. Compare that to roasting an unstuffed turkey in the oven, which takes roughly three hours to cook.


You must admit Amazon keeps amazing everyone. The store originally sold books. Then it added products from A to Z. It went further by creating its own product in the Kindle eReader. The eReader move has paid off as Amazon said its ebooks outsell books. Now, it took another step by with its own tablet to offer functionality beyond downloading and reading books.

Amazon Kindle Fire Apple iPad 2

Market research firm eDataSource reports that Amazon receives an average of 20,000 Kindle Fires pre-orders a day, with the first day racking up 95,000 orders. According to Cult of Android, which claims to have a source from Amazon, says the company gets 50,000 Fires pre-orders per day. By comparison, reports say that Apple iPad 2 orders hit about 1 million in the first weekend of sales. All that could change when the Fire comes out on November 15.

The current forecast for the Fire is 5 million units for the fourth quarter, but Forrester Research believes it may be closer to 3 million. In the second quarter of 2011, Apple has sold 9 million iPads 2.

With the cheapest iPad 2 going for $500 with 16 gigabytes and no 3G, the Kindle Fire offers an attractive price of $199. Other than price, does the Fire have anything on the iPad 2? Actually, yes.

1. Storage. Kindle Fire comes with 8 GB of internal storage plus free storage for Amazon digital content in the Amazon Cloud. It won’t have a slot for a storage card as it expects customers to use the cloud. While the cheapest iPad has more internal storage at 16 GB, Amazon’s free cloud storage may be enough for consumers who already purchase ebooks and music from Amazon. Winner: Tie.

2. Size. The 9.7-inch iPad is harder to hold with one hand compared to the 7-inch Kindle Fire, which is one-inch larger than the easy to hold 6-inch Kindle reader. The Fire weighs 14.5 ounces while the iPad 2 weighs 21.1 ounces. Though lighter, the Fire is thicker than the iPad at 0.45 inches to 0.34 inches. The other side of the size argument is that the iPad’s larger screen offers more for watching videos, playing HD games and surfing the Web. Winner: Tie.

3. Photos and videos. The iPad can take pictures and videos with its built-in camera and microphone. The Fire won’t have this feature. Winner: iPad.

4. Content. While iTunes may be the number one source for music, Amazon is right behind and it’s the number one source for ebooks with over 1 million books to Apple’s 200,000. Amazon has over 100,000 movies and TV shows that Amazon Prime Members can stream for free at $79 per year. iPad users have to pay for every purchase of its 50,000+ TV shows and 10,000+ movies.

Apple has 100,000 apps specific to the iPad to Amazon’s 16,000 apps in its Android app store. However, you can download an MP3 from Amazon and load it on your iPod, Android Tablet and smartphone — all with different operating systems. iTunes only syncs MP3s with compatible devices Oh, and the Fire runs Flash. Winner: Toss up.

5. Network. iPad has priciers 3G versions available. Both have Wi-Fi. Winner: iPad.

6. Battery life. iPad claims to have ten hours of battery life to the Fire’s eight. Winner: iPad.

6. Price. No competition. And because of this, consumers are more willing to sacrifice a few extras to buy a Fire for less than half the price of the iPad. Winner: Fire.

The two tablets don’t compare, so it comes down to price, size, photo/video capabilities and mobile needs. The Fire won’t be useful for connecting to the Internet while on the move since Wi-Fi isn’t available everywhere. Despite the missing features, consumers desiring a portable media tool will have a good alternative in the Fire to the pricey, feature-rich and heavier iPad.

What’s your take on the tablet wars? Which do you have or would want to have?