Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gmail Label Sort Order

I am taking the "Getting Things Done" training class taught by Kelly Forrister, a consultant from the David Allen Company. One of the tools can be used for GTD is gmail, and she wrote a nice article to explain how it's done. It basically involves creating a bunch of "@" labels for your action lists, a bunch of project labels for your projects, and corresponding filters and contacts and such.

The problem is, at Google, everyone subscribes to a googol number of internal mailing lists and already have a googol number of labels and filters for these lists to make the inbox manageable (just saw someone mentioning the mailing lists can be managed without labels; should look into that). So how do you keep your GTD labels sorted at the top? The obvious answer is to use the special characters like "@". But I googled around a little and didn't find any place explaining how exactly the gmail labels are sorted. I did a little experiment to find out (digging into gmail code is another, not necessarily faster approach :).

We have special characters, numbers, and alphabet letters. They are sorted in that order. The letters are sorted in case-insensitive order.

Special characters sort order:
_ , ; : ! ? . ` ~ ' " [ ] { @ $ * \ # % + < = >
(note: you can't create a label with "{" alone, but "{abc" is fine)

Illegal characters (can't use these in the labels):
& ( ) - / ^ | }

So there you have it. I think I am going to use "_" for Mind Sweep, "@" for action lists, and maybe "+" for projects.

The sort order is a little puzzling, as it's not in ASCII order. Maybe I should dig into the gmail code to find out. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

The facebook poking game

Here is how to play:
  1. Go to and set up an alert for, say, "facebook". You can choose "comprehensive" or "blogs" only.
  2. Once you start getting your google alert emails, find the blogger or news reporter who complains "what's the point of facebook? I don't get it."
  3. Search for their name in facebook.
  4. Poke them!
Have fun playing! :-)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Alien Territory

Our area used to be where the Google Earth team sits. Yesterday someone came by, popped his head in our cube, and asked, "so this is not Earth any more?"

To which I could only reply, "no, this is Mars now."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

installing flash on mac book pro

I was constantly annoyed by firefox 2.0 hanging on my otherwise sweet mac book pro. Apparently I wasn't the only one having this problem. I finally bit the bullet and uninstalled the whole thing, which involved dragging the application itself and ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox to trash, and started over. And all was well. I haven't had any hangs so far, even after installing a gazillion extensions.

Then I found out somehow the flash plugin was missing. Thankfully Adobe has a Universal Binary for Intel-based Macs for their flash installer, so I downloaded it and tried to run it, but before the install finishes I kept getting a message saying "error creating file", permission denied blah blah blah. Googling for the error message didn't come up with a solution, but permission problem seems a common thread on their feedback page.

Frustrated, I finally tried these:
  1. Open up your good 'ol terminal window (I use iTerm by the way);
  2. cd "/Volumes/Adobe Flash Player 9/Install Flash Player 9 UB/Contents/MacOS"
  3. sudo "./Install Flash Player 9 UB"
And voila, it worked!
Why can't Adobe put this on their FAQ page? Or better yet, fix that stupid installer?!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

4 GB per month photo sharing for free

My flickr pro account expired a few weeks ago. All my neatly arranged sets were gone except one. Each one of my big-ass photos were reduced to a paltry 1024x768. My thousands upon thousands of photos are cut down to 200. I guess I could have continued paying for the $24.95 per year pro account, but having recently moved to the Bay Area and saving for down payment on one of those million dollar houses, every dollar counts. So I've been looking around for a free alternative to flickr, but none of them provides the ease of use and huge storage of a flickr pro account.

Well, almost none of them. Today I saw on Techcrunch -- thanks to Google Reader, I am a profuse blog reader now -- that Zooomr now provides 4 GB per month photo upload for their pro accounts; and the best part is you can get a pro account for free if you write blogs.

That's a no-brainer. Tonight when I go home I am going to delete my flick account and upload all my photos to zooomr. Let's see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Google vs. Yahoo in Ad Revenues

A few pictures are worth a thousand words:


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kent Beck: Ease At Work

Kent Beck, father of XP and JUnit, talks about being at ease with your inner geekiness. You can watch the video here:

Very insightful. Enjoy!