Posts Tagged ‘gmail’

How I now drive a Hyundai Accent, thanks to a Google ad

About a month ago, I was surfing the Net, reading my mail on GMail, and I spotted a smart ad by Kah Bintang telling me in a short span of words (in the top — sponsored links in GMail – or it might have been a sidebar link) that the new Hyundai Accent 2008 model was a 1.6L car, with a very reasonable price tag.

Normally, I am blind to ads, but the message itself was very captivating, so I bit, and clicked the link. I arrived at the 2008 Accent Home, quickly jumped to its specifications, was impressed by its price tag (compared to the Toyota Vios S that I was driving, this car beats it in many ways), and brought it up in conversation.

Conversation, you ask? Yes, conversation with my parents. I was telling them it might be a nice car to have, it comes with leather seats, etc. Within a month, I hadn’t realised they had ordered it, and the car arrived early last week, and they handed the keys over to me – an early birthday present. Nifty. Thanks!

But that’s not the point. I would have never even heard of this car, had it not been for the Google ad. Someone at Kah Bintang, that’s in charge of marketing/gathering sales/et al, know that your Google ad, definitely works. In fact, I think the ROI is greater – imagine paying a blogger to write a review, versus actually running Google ads?

If you know the person from Kah Bintang responsible for this, don’t hesitate to have them call me, I’d love to interview them about their forward thinking nature. And I wish I took a screenshot of the ad itself — I can’t seem to replicate it now!

The Proton Exora

MIX fm :: lots of proton ads eh?

In other news, today I was listening to I heard them present some fun fact, and then, they tied it in with an advert for the Proton Exora. Smart, I’ve seen them do this with Harvey Norman ads before, but that’s just usually with discounts — the fact that with the Exora, they made some effort to expand my knowledge, then lead me back in, it did seem interesting.

Of course, going to’s website, I seem to be a tad disappointed. There has got to be a better way to display ads, no?

Offline GMail via Google Gears

I use Thunderbird (current mail client du jour – pine, Evolution, Thunderbird, with maybe a smattering of Pegasus Mail in there for a short span of time) daily. Though I’m tiring of it for my great amounts of personal mail, and have been using GMail, because I can read it on the Web, via Thunderbird, on my phone, or at a public terminal. In fact, GMail rocks so hard, I’m moving more and more of my email to Google’s Hosted Apps service.

Today, Google has made things sweeter – with the announcement of Offline GMail as a Labs feature.

This means I can now use a site-specific browser like Fluid or Prism to read my mail. Because, now its now a real desktop application – even when I’m offline, I can read and reply to emails. This has been a much-requested for feature, for years. Its already enabled in Google Reader (which I use, with a SSB) as well as Google Docs (also, in a SSB for me).

Reminds me of what I used to do successfully over ten years ago on my Palm IIIx PDA (POP had its benefits… IMAP when offline, tends to act weird when brought online – read messages appearing unread, etc. – don’t know if this is a Thunderbird issue, per se)

Unfortunately, none of my GMail accounts have it enabled yet (even the ones with Google Apps hosted domains) :-( Time to wait for yet another killer feature – bringing the cloud to the (portable) desktop.

On fearing the continuity of online services

Today I read that co.mments bit the dust. Another web service (who remembers the I Want Sandy discussion a while back), ceasing to exist (though from what I see, a lot of folk are using Disqus more).

It got me a little worried. I rely quite a bit on online services.

  • Bookmarking, once previously living in my bookmark.htm file, now is shared on delicious. It has proven to be invaluable, storing 3,108 bookmarks. They are a Yahoo! run company.
  • Photo storage and sharing, once previously sitting in directories on my web server, are now kept on my Flickr account. Flickr is great, because I can share photos with just friends, family, or participate in a vibrant community of photo enthusiasts. I currently have 16,813 items stored there, with backups on various media sitting in my various homes. They are a Yahoo! run company, and I happily pay them for a Pro account.
  • I depend on Google Reader (read my shared items) to read RSS feeds. In fact, I have been sharing items as a form of bookmarking them. Ditto with adding stars to items. Don’t say Google doesn’t close services – they have.
  • I use Google Calendar, because it simply rocks. I also use Google Docs, and I also use GMail (hosted, and regular).
  • I use Twitter, who has no business model, as of yet. I like it over FriendFeed for one minor detail – I can update via SMS.

Most of these services have ways for you to get your data out of them, assuming they don’t exist in due time. But what will replace them?

Sure there are desktop applications. But with the variety of devices I utilise, I’m trying to cut down from using desktop applications and just focus on working online. In fact, all that is open now is Firefox, Adium, iTunes, TextMate (where I carve this text out), Terminal, Skype and twhirl. On my work laptop, its just Thunderbird, Firefox, Terminal, and Skype that’s open.

So maybe I need less desktop applications. It’s good, because that’s the hope of online services – live right in your browser.

But in tough(er) times, what do you do if the online service you use, disappears? Where’s the continuity (i.e. will my grandkids be able to browse my Flickr photo albums?)

I do wonder, if this will lead to more open source, peer-to-peer/federated run, online services. Like if Twitter folds up, who’s to say its excellent community won’t move to ? (till then though, the latter probably doesn’t stand a chance, besides the very geeky top-of-the-trend open source folk…)