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Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)

Goodbye Gmail! (Or the Best Gmail Alternatives)
    Gmail Logo from Google

    Last week we helped you identify some of the best alternatives for Google Reader. Google has made some significant changes to the Gmail interface in the past few months – all which lineup with their direction towards a more “Google+” type of world.

    Google has introduced their new, more simplified interface for Gmail which they have been toying with for a while now. Some people love it. And of course, some people can’t stand it. I tend to be somewhere in the middle because as a geek I usually don’t do too well with change but don’t overreact.

    The new Gmail interface is intended to provide the user with a simplified experience. You can even choose how you want your line spacing (“display density”) to be – Comfortable, Cozy, or Compact. And, heck, you can even “temporarily” revert back to the Gmail’s old look.

    So, instead of keeping up with Google’s relentless quest to change everything that you are use to in the name of G+ and the word “temporarily” scares you, here are some alternate interfaces (mail clients) you can use with Gmail.

    Sparrow

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    Sparrow Mail Client

      If you are a “won-over” Gmail user and you use a Mac, then Sparrow is probably something you have checked out, if not changed to as your email interface of choice.

      Sparrow provides the user with a clean interface as well as all of the awesome Gmail shortcuts that you’ve come to know and love. The thing I like about Sparrow is just how easy it is to setup and use. Just take a peak at the preferences pane and you will find that it isn’t bloated at all.

      There is a free trial, but if you want to use it after that it will set you back $9.99 (a small price to pay for native Gmail client perfection on the Mac).

      Thunderbird

      Thunderbird
        Thunderbird

        has been around for while and it’s maintained by the Mozilla foundation, the same people that give you Firefox web browser. Thunderbird is a standard IMAP and POP email client that can be setup for just about any email address including your Gmail account.

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        Thunderbird is free and open source. It’s a decent, simple, and with some of the latest iterations, quite attractive (at least on the Mac). Also, setting up Gmail with Thunderbird is as easy as signing in with your Gmail credentials and then telling Thunderbird to use IMAP. Thunderbird is a cross-platform mail client available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

        Microsoft Outlook

          Ahh, Microsoft Outlook. The one app that I love and hate all at once.

          I’m not a Windows user at home but I do use Windows 8 hours a day at work and during that time Outlook is always running. For using simply as a Gmail interface, Outlook may be a tad bit expensive and sort of overkill. But, if you’re on Windows and you want a good integrated experience as well as some nice calendaring and mail rule features, then Microsoft Outlook may be a good application to look at.

          There is one thing that I do like about Outlook quite a bit though; you can integrate your email, calendaring, and tasks all in a single app.

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          Mail.app

            Mail.app

            is the default mail application that ships with the Mac OS X. Since the new Lion 10.7 update, Mail has taken on a new form (a new form that has made some Apple users quite upset). Once again, if you’re an avid Gmail user, you may find some of the new features of Mail make you feel like you’re right at home.

            You can archive messages (about time), view messages in conversation form, flag messages, etc. There’s also better searching which was something that Mail has needed for a while. In my opinion, Mail.app for Lion is a great upgrade to that of Mail.app in Snow Leopard.

            Another nice thing about Mail.app is that you can use any email settings, not just Gmail.

            Evolution

            The Evolution mail client is available for Linux and there is even some builds out there for Mac and Windows (for all you hacker types). This is the email client that was default with Ubuntu, but appears that it has been replaced by Thunderbird mentioned above.

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            Evolution is simple and has many features that you would come to expect from an email client. Evolution can support IMAP and POP and integrates mail, calendar, address book, to-do lists and memos.

            Evolution is open source and of course free.

            Opera Mail

              Opera Mail

              “ships” with the much loved Opera browser and is super easy to set up to work with Gmail and other email providers.

              One thing that I don’t quite like about Opera Mail is that it is integrated into my browsing experience (that is if I used Opera for my default browser). I like to have a clean seperation of my email and everything else.

              Regardless, Opera Mail can be used inside of Opera and has offline support, great searching capabilities, a cool “attachments section” that allows you to see all of your attachements in one place, and good folder/label support.

              What’s awesome about today’s technology is that we have a bunch of options. This is a good thing, especially when something you use like an email interface can be such a vital part of your workflow. If you are not happy with Gmail’s recent changes or just want a new way of viewing your email, the above email interface options are the best to date.

              More by this author

              CM Smith

              A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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              Last Updated on February 15, 2019

              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

              Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

              Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

              So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

              Joe’s Goals

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                Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                Daytum

                  Daytum

                  is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                  Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                  Excel or Numbers

                    If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                    What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                    Evernote

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                      I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                      Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                      Access or Bento

                        If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                        Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                        You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                        Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                        All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                        Conclusion

                        I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                        What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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