It’s 2018. I’m still an incredibly heavy email user. It’s the primary tool in my workflow and has been since the early 1990s. I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years, but always come back to email.
I’ve been a Gmail user for almost a decade. While I’ve tried client-side apps, Gmail in Chrome has been the only thing that has stuck for me. I’ve also tried many of the iOS email apps and always end up back at Gmail for iOS.
An increasing number of people in my world have been using Superhuman so I decided to give it a try. I was skeptical that it would capture my attention beyond a day. Two weeks later it is, in fact, superhuman. I’m using the Chrome app and the iOS app as my primary email clients.
The other tools I have in my email workflow are SaneBox, Todoist, Notebene (which recently replaced Captio), and FullContact. As a result of Superhuman, I eliminated TextExpander from the mix. The one limitation of Superhuman that causes me a little pain is lack of direct integration with FullContact, which would make managing my address book better.
I didn’t realize how sluggish Gmail on Chrome is, even on a 225Mbps connection (which is what my office is clocking in at this morning.) And, at home, where I often see 3Mbps at high peak usage times, it’s a dream. But, that’s a tiny part of the speed. The big change is that I keep my hands on the keyboard 100% of the time. While I’ve been a heavy Gmail keyboard user, it turns out that you need the mouse for a bunch of Gmail things. Superhuman has turned them all into either keyboard commands, a slightly different workflow, or a “snippet” that lets you create your own compound shortcuts.
I never thought I’d recommend a web-based email client that costs $30 / month, but Superhuman is worth every penny of it. I wish I was an investor, but I guess I’ll live with being a Superhuman user.
A few days ago, I noticed that my MacBook Air fully charged battery life had suddenly gone from around seven hours to under two hours and the fan was going full speed.
This has happened in the past and I couldn’t remember what I did to fix it. I blew it off for a few days until I got tired of having to plug my computer in every few hours. A quick look at Mac Activity Monitor showed me that Google Chrome Helper was eating up all my CPU (often at 100%) and subsequently crushing the battery life.
A search on Google didn’t turn up anything terribly satisfying. I found lots of complaints, a few suggestions to turn of automatic plug-in loading, and lots of “hey Google, fix this” dating back to 2011. Buried somewhere in one of the threads was a note to try clearing my browser cache.
Of course, there is no “clear browser cache” option any more, but there is now a “hamburger menu: More Tools: Clear Browsing Data” option.
That solved it. I saw over seven hours of battery life today. No fan. Simple, but buried.
Some day all this shit will just work. Well – maybe not.
I’m a huge Google Hangouts user. It’s typically a multi-day occurrence that I’m on a hangout and one of the devices connected to the mega-video-conferencing setup in my office is a Chromebox.
A few months ago I got Google Hangouts errors intermittently for a few weeks but it magically cleared up. I noticed it again on Sunday and it has been constant on all my computers in multiple locations on different networks.
I’ve tried clearing the cache, logging out, and resetting the browser / computer, which seems to be the only constructive solutions I can find on the web. The other solutions, that are not so constructive, are “wait for a while for it to clear up” and “use something different.”
Strangely, this problem only exists in Chrome. My iOS Hangouts works fine as does my Chromebox.
Does anyone have a clue how to solve this nagging problem? The screen shot I’m getting in Chrome when Gmail is open is on the left.
Recently my partners and I spent some time discussing three of our recent investments – Spanning, Yesware, and Attachments – which are each applications built on top of Google Apps. Specifically, they are built for Google Apps and available in the Google Apps Marketplace or the Chrome Web Store.
Each company is going after something very different. Spanning is all about cloud backup. Attachments is all about getting control of your email attachments. And Yesware is “email for salespeople.” However, they have one very significant thing in common – they are all deeply integrated into Google Apps. In our thematic definition, they are in the Protocol theme.
The Google Apps ecosystem snuck up on us. We have all been hardcore Google Apps users for the past year and are psyched and amazed about all the easy integration points – both into the browser and the various Google Apps. In the past, we would have been more focused on “email as a datastore”, which would have resulted in multiple platforms, including of course Outlook / Exchange and IMAP. However, the pace of iteration on top of Google Apps, and the ease of integration is spectacular when compared to other platforms.
Notably, when the choice of building for Outlook vs. Google Apps comes up, many people who I know comes down strongly on the side of building for Google Apps. Their mindshare for cloud based business apps far outpaces Microsoft. A decade ago, Microsoft made a huge push with Visual Basic for Applications and the idea of “Office as a Platform” and – while plenty of interesting tech was built, something happened along the way and the notion of Office as a Platform lost a lot of visibility.
Theoretically Microsoft’s huge installed base of Outlook / Exchange users should drive real ISV integration interest, but the friction associated with working with Microsoft seems to mute the benefit. And – if you’ve ever built and tried to deploy an enterprise wide (say – 100,000, or even 1,000 seat) Outlook plug-in – well, I feel your pain. It’s possible that with Office 365, Microsoft will re-energize focus on Office as a Platform, but I haven’t seen much yet.
While Google has been building this all very quietly, I’m extremely impressed with what they’ve done. Companies like Yesware are able to release a new version of their app to all users on a weekly basis. For an early stage company that is deep in iterating on product features with its customers, this is a huge advantage. And it massively simplifies the technology complexity to chose one platform, focus all your energy on it, and then roll out other platforms after you’ve figured out the core of your product.
I expect to see versions of each of these products expand to work with Microsoft – and other – ecosystems. But for now, the companies are all doubled-down on Google Apps. And I find that very interesting.
It’s tightly integrated with both consumer and enterprise Gmail. It’s fast, light weight, and takes advantage of the huge amount of data discovery that Gist does via the cloud (rather than in-browser).
It’s been really fun to watch my friends at Gist really come into their own in the past six month. With the release of Gist in Gmail on both Firefox and Chrome, along with the Gist Gadget for Google Apps, they’ve got Gmail now totally wired.
If you haven’t tried Gist, give it a shot. And if you are a Chrome and Gmail user, make sure you grab the Chrome extension.