Thursday, 6 September 2012

GMail vs

Thursday, 6 September 2012
Initially I used YMail. It was good. Especially its new tabbed interface is great. Dragging dropping the email into the folder was one of good features in YMail. Then I tried GMail just because many of my friends use it. I started loving it. It is clean and neat. Google Docs are great and now Google Drive works just fine.

Microsoft's original mailing service was re-branded as Microsoft again renamed its Live mailing service to Outlook. I have Live account for many years, but I rarely use it, because it was nowhere better than YMail and GMail. But with re-branding as, Microsoft done good efforts to revamp the whole user interface of their mailing service. So I thought to start using it. And I realized its pretty good. The workflow is much streamlined and straight forward.

Quickly create common filters in
I subscribed to many technical newsletters using my Live Id. So, the next big hurdle was to clear my inbox. I had more that 4000 mails (mostly newsletters) in my mail box. And in fact thats the thing that was making me not to use Live ID. But as I started cleaning my Inbox I realized that things are quite easy. It took just an hour to completely clean my inbox to 0 mails taking mail from each sender to their respective folder by creating 68 different filter rules. 

Outlook neatly recognizes that filters that are mostly created are to move the incoming mails to their respective folder. So they have made it easy to create such  filters in just 4 clicks. With GMail, you may need couple of more clicks per filter. This may become a big effort if you are to create many filters to clean your inbox. - Creating filter to move mails from a  particular sender to a particular folder:

Equivalent GMail filter creation:

However, you can see GMail provides capability to configure details of a filter in the same UI above. In Outlook, if you want to create filters with more detailed settings you need to go to More Settings menu as shown below:

Create Sweep rules in also allows to create Sweep rules, with which we ensure that mails from particular sender lives in Inbox for certain days say 10 days and after 10 days they will be moved to a particular folder. These rules can be created as follows:

This is possible with GMail, however GMail allows to specify number of days to keep mails in inbox before moving to the particular folder in the filter settings itself.

In fact distinguishing filters from sweep rules makes them confusing. I feel there is no need to perform such differentiation. Outlook does not allow to specify constraint like "Apply after email stays in inbox for x days" in filter editor.

Quickly and neatly search mails allows to quickly search all emails from a particular sender as in below video. It also allows to perform Advanced Mail Search:

Doing same in GMail surely requires couple of more clicks.

Chat with friends online on facebook right from your Inbox
When you connect outlook account with Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, it consolidates all the information like their email addresses, facebook page, phone number, residential addressesm twitter handles in People hub accessible from Inbox. If your friend is online on facebook, you can chat with him right from your inbox. This is a chat I tried first time with my friend online on facebook through outlook account:

GMail is integrated with Google+. However if most of your friends are on facebook, then you may prefer Outlook. However, Outlook does not allow to connect your inbox with services other than twitter, LinkedIn, facebook (and of course GMail). The most notable omission is YMail.

Instant Actions to delete/flag emails in one click
Instant actions fades in when you hover on the email. They allow to delete the mail, flag the mail, mark it as read/unread in one click. This simply reduces an extra click per email against two clicks in gmail:

Of course we can customize these Instant Actions in settings.

In built Slide show viewer can show up the images sent in attachments as a slideshow. Though this feature is available in YMail, it is usually slow and tricky. GMail doesnt creates the slideshow of the images in the attachments. Instead it simply shows up all of them on a plain page separated by horizontal rules. Outlook also plays the youtube links in a built player, though this is possible very well in GMail.

SkyDrive Integration
Outlook provides easy access to SkyDrive, which is also revamped with similar neat and clean user interface. My favorite feature is their built in URL shortner to share document. 
Google Drive currently lacks such facility. However both are comparable in terms of their functionality. SkyDrive also provides 7GB of free storage which is maximum across all the cloud storage services out there.

So SkyDrive scores more when it comes to the user experience, the built in URL shortner and the free storage. While I like Google Docs more because of there sheer speed, though Office Web Apps also works great and have comparable editing features.

Other things
There are many things that can be compared just because these services provide many things in many different ways. For example you cannot drag drop the mails to the folder in GMail while this is possible in Outlook and even in YMail. On the other side, GMail provides more functionalities and settings, while Outlook provides very clean and intuitive UI. In GMail, you may find yourself searching some options in settings for long time, while in Outlook, you can find them quickly. Outlook also provides great feature to create aliases to your id. 
When you create alias, Outlook also asks whether you want to create separate folder to store all emails destined to that alias or to simply put those mails in Inbox. This also takes far less clicks and no page refreshes.

When it comes to connecting many services and some other options GMail is great. But when it comes to core mail handling, Outlook provides quicker ways to do things. 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Ouch, my new wireless router block some sites, oh it is blocking !$!$ 

I was using a ADSL broadband connection from India's largest ISP - BSNL. I was using an ancient modem/router to connect to Internet - Pronet PN-ADSL 101E/U:
As you can see below it has only one RJ45 out. So I was able to connect only one PC at a time. And currently I have two desktops and a laptop. So it was really headache to wait till my dad or brother accessing Internet on other PC.
So I decided to buy a new one. I went for a ADSL-less wireless router, since I wanted to ensure that the new one will work with cable net too (in case I change my ISP). So I bought TP-LINK wireless router: TL-WR941ND on Flipkart:
I configured my ADSL modem/router in bridge through its management console 
To open management console of any router, you have to connect to it through wire. You cannot configure router when you are connected wirelessly. 
Management console of old modem/routers usually opens up when you put  in the browser's address bar. If it doesnt open up, you may need to change the IP address of your NIC to something (the last number can be anything but not 1), subnet mask to and the default gateway to
For new routers the address for management console may be different (You can also try Usually you can find the default domain name in the router's manual. This domain name can be put in the browser's address bar instead of IP address. For example my new routers user guide says that default domain name is, the default IP address is
When you put appropriate address, it asks for username and password which is usually admin and admin for most routers (check manual if it does not work ). 
The bridging option can be done in management console. Generally the option shows in  the Advanced Network Setup option. ( However different routers have different management console layout, so just check the manual ):
Then I setup router in following way:
Connecting the output of my old router to input WAN RJ45 of new router and then connecting my PC to anyone of the LAN ports of new router. Then I configured the new router in PPPoE through its management console and entered the username and password so that my new router will automatically login to the connection from my old router:
Oh yes, if you have changed your PC's IP address using procedure above while trying to open up your router's management console, change it to "Obtain an IP address automatically" (thats what usually ISPs do, but you may need to check with your ISP):
With that done I was able to connect my new router both through wire and wirelessly, but then there was a problem - it is not allowing access to some sites. Most notably (though ymail was working ), and yeah toooo. So that was seriously unacceptable. I did quick google and got some suggestions like adding rules to router to allow some ports. I did many of them but none worked. After hours of search I read something about Maximum Transfer Unit (MTU):
MTU of a communications protocol of a layer is the size (in bytes) of the largest protocol data unit that the layer can pass onwards. If the MTU size set in your router exceeds that can be handled by the devices at the backbone or by your ISP, then it may lead to packet retransmissions or eventually some sites getting blocked (at the router which cannot handle the bigger MTU sizes). Too small size may lead to excessive fragmentation, header overhead and acknowledgements.
Some sites went on saying:
The usual minimum MTU size for dial-ups is 576. So, with MTU = 576, possibility that the problem is solved is more. So change the MTU size to 576 and then go on increasing it by ten while checking whether connection works or not. The optimal MTU size will be the maximum one where router shows up all the websites.
Changing MTU to 576 surprisingly worked for me, but then I went to check out what will be the optimal MTU size. So the obvious idea was to check the MTU of the old router. First I connected my PC back directly to the old router. But the old routers' management console was so dumb that it did not showed anything called MTU (forget about changing MTU size). So I went on checking the other ways to check MTU size for the old router. And fortunately I found some DOS commands. This one really worked for me:
                   C:\Users\Mahesha999>netsh interface ipv4 show subinterfaces     
I realized that the MTU size for my connection was 1460:
So I just went to the management console of new router (of course I connected my routers back in the setup showed above) and changed the MTU size from the default of 1480 to 1460:
And finally things started all working. That difference of 20 bytes was making all the mess!!! Now I can access all sites and yes too!!!!