Hotmail offering 250MB

I noticed my Hotmail account grew to 250MB of storage capacity yesterday. Thank you Microsoft.

Hotmail 250MB
This does not seem to be available to all Hotmail users -at least for the time being- as none of my friends have seen this increase in storage space and are still stuck at 2MB.

I’ve still got some GMail invites left for readers of this blog. Email me at my address (granier) for an invite – first come first served.

Also, if you’ve got an Orkut account I’d love an invitation. Thanks.

Creating distribution lists in GMail

It turns out you can create distribution lists in GMail. It’s not elegant and it’s not as user friendly as it will probably be someday, but it’s a hack… and who doesn’t love a hack?

BTW, in case you’re lost at this point, a distribution list is a single entry in your address book that lets you send a message to several different people.

So go to your GMail account (see previous posts if you don’t have one) and click on “Contacts” to open the Contact Manager. Click on “Add Contact” to create your new distribution list.

For the “Name:” use whatever you want to use to identify this particular list. (i.e., type “Geeks” if you want to send e-mails to all your geek friends, or “Pol” if these are your political discussion buddies).

For “Email:” you type in the e-mail addresses of all those you want to include in the distribution list. However, you must type it in a special way so that GMail is fooled into correctly addressing the message to all those in the list (a hack!).

All the e-mail addresses must be separated by the following characters:


There should be no spaces at all and nothing before the first address or after the last one.

So, if your friends are:

[email protected],

[email protected], and

[email protected]

then the “Email:” field should look like this:

[email protected]>,,

Please note that there are no additional characters at the start or end, no spaces whatsoever, and every address is separated by the characters ">,<". Now, when composing a new message, simply type the name of your distribution list and GMail should offer to fill it out for you. Because of the way we've stored the e-mail addresses, GMail will interpret them as individual addresses and will send a copy of the message to each one. Mail away and enjoy your new GMail functionality.  

A GMail-based personal filing system

I come across a lot of useful & interesting information while browsing the web. Creating bookmarks of all these websites isn’t really practical… but with the following system I can harness the power of GMail to create an easy-to-use, convenient filing system.

First of all you need a GMail account. You can e-mail me at cegranier AT hotmail DOT com, with “GMAIL” in the subject, and I’ll send you an invitation to open a GMail account (if I still have any available).

Then you need the GmailIt bookmarklet, which -once installed- allows you to simply click on it to create a GMail message containing the information of the website you’re currently browsing (fills in the subject with your current page’s title and the body with the URL and your current selection).

Finally, in GMail, go to the Contacts section and edit (or create) your own contact information and change the name to “QQ”. Then create a new filter that will act on any message sent to “QQ”. The way I have it set up is as follows:

When a message arrives sent to “QQ” it automatically assigns the label “interesting” to the message. This way, whenever I come across a website with interesting information I simply click on the GMailIt bookmarklet and up pops a GMail message compose window with all the necessary information filled in. I simply address the message to “QQ” – which GMail smartly interprets as myself – and send it. Once it arrives at my GMail inbox, GMail automatically assigns it to the “interesting” category. If I want, I can add some additional information to the message body before sending it. Voilá! Instant filing.

You can get as creative as you want… for example you may:

1. Add labels to the beginning of each message’s subject before sending it to categorize them even further. (WEB, TECH, POL, SCI, etc…)

2. Create additional contacts with your email address (QQ, WW, or even WEB, TECH, etc…) to allow you to create further filters for each address. Send gadget info to QQ, political stuff to WW, etc.


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