Posts Tagged ‘Gmail’

Why the F22 Crashed and the iPad Took Off

October 20, 2011

In the 20th century the majority of innovation started as evil nations wanted to destroy other nations.

As a result, the evil (and peaceful) nations devoted large chunks of their tax money to the defense budget.

The flow of research money was the following:

Public (taxes) -> Government -> Defense Agencies -> Universities -> Private Companies (implementation)

Research Budget Flow

Research Budget Flow

Many of the most important contributions to technology and science were created or commercialized through this path: the internet, GPS, atomic energy , satellites and plenty more.

The innovation flowed from the government to enterprises and only then into consumers.

Space and Aviation -> Military ->  Large Enterprises -> Civilian Government -> Small Enterprises -> Consumers

The early experiments or products were extremely  expensive  and sold in small quantities and required public financing.

In the 21st century the flow of innovation and new technology has reversed.

innovation Flow in a Consumer World

innovation Flow in a Consumer World

The recent launch of an iPhone into space with GPS tracking by civilians, is one amazing example.

The following stock chart provides more evidence. It plots the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund compared to some major consumer oriented companies like Google, Sony, Amazon.

Chart of Defense Index Vs Consumer Companies 2006-2011

Chart of Defense Index Vs Consumer Companies 2006-2011

The new innovations are derived from consumer demand and consumer services or products : cellular phones, smart Phones, social networks,cloud computing, personal computers and online advertisement.

I believe this is the reason the Intel, Apple and Google are now the largest companies in the world, displacing companies like SUN, Nortel, Lucent, HP , IBM and similar companies more focused on enterprise and governmental markets. While IBM, Microsoft and Intel are still leading the patent table, one can claim it implies more on the inflation of patents , rather than true  innovation.

Top 10 Companies Patents ROI from MSN

Top 10 Companies Patents ROI from MSN

The reversal of innovation can be explained by multiple theories:

Moral – the global society has become more civilian and democratic. Individuals have more civil rights, more control of the public spend and therefore there are fewer wars, less dictators  and less weapons. Unfortunately , I’m not sure all of the facts support this theory. I have found some evidence. For example, from 1988 to 2009 the global military spending share of GDP has dropped by 34% from 3.5% to 2.4% , global average. The number of conflicts decreased by 40% from 1992 to 2009.

Share of Military Expenditure as Percentage of Gross Domestic Product 1988 2099

Share of Military Expenditure as Percentage of Gross Domestic Product 1988 2099

Armed Conflicts by Region 1946-2009

Armed Conflicts by Region 1946-2009

Economics – In the end of the day we are all consumers and individuals. Economics are driven by numbers and since there are about 1 Billion consumers with a high standard of living, it is the largest market for almost any product. Selling a $300 product to every consumer translates to $300 billion market, this is equal to the global IT market spend. Selling $30 of advertisement to one Billion people …. you can do the math on your own.  Compare that with the cost of design and manufacturing of a new stealth plane.

The R&D alone would cost Billions  of dollars, and each airplane would cost $336M million dollars , if it the project is not aborted during the 20 years of development. Programming an amazing computer vision system for smart missiles would only be relevant to 20-40 customers. Delivering an amazing face recognition for  facebook generates access to 750 Million customers. The OCR domain is one example I already bogged about.

Sociological Open source software has allowed sharing of innovation and technology with zero cost of patents, licensing and removing many anti-competitive habits , either explicit or hidden that were common in past years. It also allows sharing of development costs across organizations. Younger generations are used to great user experience, and would not “go back” when entering Enterprise office. Cloud computing is also helping to build start-ups in 50 dollars.

The fact that Google and Amazon are hosting funding challenged public database of bioinformatics, that used to be funded by the government is rather  provocative.

To summarize, while there are still huge budgets in defense and commercial enterprises, there is strong trend driving innovation from the individual. Do you believe the trend is real?

iPhone to BlackBerry , ThinkPad to Mac, Gmail to Exchnage

May 25, 2011
Japanese Gardens Albert Kahn Paris May, With Blackberry Bold

Japanese Gardens Albert Kahn Paris May, With Blackberry Bold

I moved from a 50 people company to 50,000 people company, but the important changes are in my computing environment 🙂 Quick observations, after one month:

  • The fact that phones are still in “Logistics”  department and not under “IT” is obsolete. These are “Smart Phones”, after all.
  • The BlackBerry bold  is inferior to the iPhone in almost every aspect. The usability, the performance, the applications, the browser , the contacts and so on. I don’t even like the keyboard too much.
  • In the words of my five-years old nephew : “Why did they take the phone with the birds away from you?” and in his sad little eyes : “Will you promise to have the birds back again for next time you visit me?”
  • Macs do get stuck. Mine gets stuck quite often. Probably because of the Cisco’s VPN client, but it mysteriously gets stuck even after a restart and requires a hard boot.  I remember form Check Point days that Apple’s API for VPN was quite horrible, but it does not make me feel better.
  • The Mac is very very heavy compared to my X61 Lenovo. It is quite a burden travelling between Beer Sheba, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan,  Herzelia, San Mateo and Boston. My back really hurts.
  • Drag and drop with the multi-touch is horrible. I have to use a normal mouse to move my emails into folders. And with my system for handling email, it is critical.
  • Office 2011 on Mac is not horrible. Microsoft communicator is quite annoying, but the built-in camera works very well and video quality is very nice.  Does anyone know how to get  it to sign in automatically ?
  • The Mac screen is awesome. It even makes the Blackberry photos look good.
  • I guess Google can make $2B just from replacing exchange around the world. I suspect in two years they would.
  • I’m carrying about 16 different forms of private key:  10 physical keys, 2 parking RFID keys, two employee badges , one SecureID , one cell phone with SIM. Can we have a start-up that unites all of these?  This is so 20th century and does not add any security, it just makes me look like janitor 🙂

The Ultimate Guide to Synchronizing Gmail and Outlook

January 23, 2010
Synchronized Swimming

Synchronized Swimming

I love Gmail and I love outlook. While I suspect in the end I’ll be able to use just Gmail web-based interface there are still huge productivity gains for outlook.

What I really want is the ability to use both at the same time when all my data is in sync, including folders, contacts etc.

The problem is that both companies don’t have any interest in making the combo work well. Microsoft wants to sell expensive exchange servers and Google wants every one to move into Chrome\ChromeOS world.

In theory one can use either IMAP, POP3 or Google Apps Sync to get this task done. I have tried all of them, but now I think I found the holly grail.

1. POP3 + SMTP

Using POP3 to get all the messages form google works pretty well in terms of performance. the problem is that the synchronization is only one way from Gmail to Outlook.  Moreover, Gmail ignores POP3 instructions to delete the emails that ere downloaded. It always keeps ALL the emails in Gmail, even if they have been downloaded. This configuration works well if you want to

  • Gmail is backup for Outlook
  • Do fast searches in Gmail
  • Use Gmail web-based interface when your own laptop is not available

However, Gmail can’t be my main client, because I’m a heavy folders user (300 now) and my Inbox is only for open items ( less than 200 on most days).

Another problem is that contacts and calendar are not synchronized. while Gmail support iCal format, it is a one way sync again.

Also notice that if you do send items from Gmail, they appear in your outlook Inbox folder, and not in your Sent Items folder. So in this scenario Outlook is my productivity tool and Gmail is backup. BTW, Gmail actually works with POP3S and SMTPS , which is a nice touch of security.

2. IMAP + Google – Since IMAP

Allows synchronizing folders it should have been the final solution. Unfortunately there are two huge problems:

  • IMAP is just a bad protocol, lots of bandwidth usage among other problems.
  • Microsoft support for IMAP in Outlook 2003 was probably given to the worst programmers in the company. They did such a horrible job, that one suspects  Microsoft decided to keep the code unchanged for 2007 :). Seriously, it seems that Microsoft did IMAP support just for the record. Crashes and slowness are the common symptoms.  It is no wonder as the big money is from Exchange servers. I guess this is also why they killed Outlook Express.

3. The Solution that works for me

Google Apps Sync + Better Gmail 2.0 Plugin +  Windows Desktop Search + some configuration tweaks.

Google Apps Sync for Outlook is a client side application that google wrote that uses a proprietary protocol instead of IMAP. The result is a very smooth synchronized operation and an almost flawless migration process of 7GB account with 16,00 items in the biggest folder.

With better Gmail 2.0 one can make the folders show up in a tree structure (but drag-and-drop is lost). The other option is to add “Go to label” from Google Labs, which is a must have if one has 300 folders.

Under Gmail->Settings Turn “No snippets” On, so the inbox looks cleaner, like in Outlook.

The pros:

  • It uses a separate Outlook profile, so it is possible to get back to the old one.
  • Mail, folders, Contacts and Calender are all synchronized both ways.
  • Performance is pretty good and there is little CPU consumption on the client.
  • If one changes his mind , he can continue with either option at any time.
  • Seems like Google are updating the tool, the last version is better than earlier ones.

The cons:

  • Google Apps requires  Premier Edition. This basically means $50 per year per user.
  • Despite the $50 per user Google hates to give support. If something goes wrong, It is praying and debugging time.
  • Although my Migration progressed really well for three days. I had a horrible experience in the end. My client CPU kept going up to %100. The Google App Sync has almost no UI, so it is next to impossible to understand the problem or fix it.  Google almost refuses to let customers intact with human and keep pushing to the web-based support which was not helpful. Even after I finally got a human response, it was very slow and clueless. For seven days my email productivity was very low. As a result, I was forced to use Gmail on FireFox instead of outlook, which led to some pretty wild conspiracy theories. In the end I found the solution. It turns out Gmail App Sync can not migrate messages over 20MB, once I deleted those everything seems to be in order.
  • Since GAS created a new profile one needs to redefine filtering rules, preferences, signatures and similar configurations.
  • In Solution #2 Deleted messages are never really deleted , as Gmail acts as super backup. In this solution they are really deleted in both sides.
  • Google recommends to synchronize only 1GB of data. I’m still not sure exactly what it means.

11 Trivial Inventions We all Need

September 25, 2009
Square Egg

Square Egg

1. How come we can send a man to the moon, but can’t detect when the car tire is under pressured ? I Just found out that I was driving on 16PSI instead of 32PSI. Same for oil level.Same for car battery.

Funny Cat On Tire

Funny Cat On Tire

2. Automatic shirt ironing machine. Can be built using nano-technology  or little robotic ants, as far as I’m concerned.

A shirt-ironing machine from Siemens

A shirt-ironing machine from Siemens

3. Full text indexing for PC’s. I uninstalled Google desktop last week. It just does not work.

4. A way to get my cell phone SMS and voicemail in my email account. Please, Pretty please. Willing to pay.

5. A simple way to coordinate meetings across organizations and timezones.Something like exposing my google calendar to every admin in the world. It can be done in theory, but  it does not really work.

6. SMS messages that are longer than 60 characters , or whatever the limit is. Come on. Really.I can load them the bandwidth.

7. Israeli restaurants accepting tips in credit card. Same for Israeli taxis. 🙂

8. When will we have a normal,working tool to sync Outlook and Gmail ?

Brain Scanner

Brain Scanner

9. Network based Scanners. And printers. Isn’t it time we could use the home All-In-One devices without an attached desktop and horrible drivers. Back in 1995 I used a protocol with the great name ,TWAIN , ( Technology Without an interesting name ) to connect scanners and PC’s. Can’t we have TWAIN over WiFi ? We can call it  TWAINFI.

10. Real unification of all credit cards,sim, small change and debit cards into one simple Smart Card.No more wallets for men. The technology seems to be around for years, what’s the big problem ?

11. Laser based tooth brush that cleans the teeth in 20 seconds with perfect results.

Laser based Tooth Brush

Laser based Tooth Brush