Using GMail in offline mode

Gmail logo
photo credit: Kinologik

One of the great things that I have learned about information technology is that, the more I explore it, the more excited I become with the possibilities it offers for academics like me. Let me explain. Recently, I took a few days off and went up to Whistler to my friend Lisa Thomas-Tench’s family townhouse. Lisa forewarned me that the place wasn’t fitted with wireless internet. I was excited at NOT being online.

You’ll see, whether I am at my downtown office at The Network Hub, working from home or on the road (visiting clients) or at the university, I am ALWAYS online. Given that I have had an iPhone for almost a year now (thanks to my friend Mike Yurechko), I am always able to check my emails, tweets and documents on-the-go.

Except when I am nowhere near a wireless Internet connection.

I purposefully decided NOT to get a data plan because I knew I would be connected ALL THE TIME. I knew that by keeping my iPhone purely able to log on to wireless internet, without having data plan, I would have to learn to be efficient, download all my emails, maybe download my tweets and check them while commuting from Point A to Point B.

During my retreat in Whistler (which was aimed at just focusing on writing a manuscript I am working on with my Mom, who is also an academic), I needed to download a lot of data. But I just didn’t have the time to go visit my friend Tris and borrow an external HDD.

What I did instead, though, was to turn on Gears on both of my browsers (Chrome and Firefox) and allow GMail to operate in offline mode. And it was AMAZING. I was able to catch up on a heck of a lot of emails I needed, read drafts of documents I had sent myself via email, and read drafts of journal articles I had to peer-review. Client work, etc. All available.

Google – you are geniuses.

While it annoys me that YouTube is synchronized with my Gmail account, and it also annoys me that Google.ca/calendar does not exist (only Google.com/Calendar), your tools have really greatly improved my workflow.

Related posts:

  1. Use an offline blogging tool (Blogging 201)
  2. GMail is down… again! On the dependency on tech tools
  3. The offline life of an online geek
  4. I can still hang out offline and make it!
  5. Cycling as a mode of sustainable transportation

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