[A screenshot of my iGoogle homepage. Just to be really immersed I've set it as my desktop too.]
I've decided to try living in Google for the summer. That should be a pretty transliterate experience! After 2 years of having Bloglines as my home page, I've switched to iGoogle as my home page and to Google Reader as my aggregator. iGoogle has lots of pointless plugins, as well as a few useful ones, and offers a great opportunity to waste many hours fiddling with them. Furthermore, since I won't be getting to the ocean much this summer, I've set my iGoogle page to a Beach Theme, and told it my timezone so that the sun and moon move across my Google horizon in tune with my body clock. Nice.
iGoogle has taken me on a bit of a conceptual journey however. When I first started playing around with it last week, I was excited to find I could load all my apps inside it, especially since it now has tabs as well, but that got rather chaotic and pretty slow. However, the process of doing it made me realise that I have under-used the option to have permanent tabs in Firefox. so I’ve taken my most commonly-used Google apps and put them all into permanent tabs. That way, I can save the iGoogle homepage for even more useful apps like Dilbert, MapMyWord, and This Day in History.
Then there is the question of saving on processing power. Until now I’ve always had two browsers open – IE for my DMU Webmail and Blackboard sites (much better functionality than Firefox) and Firefox for everything else. But now I’ve installed IE Tab to emulate IE so I can have both those sites opening in Firefox tabs and don’t need to have IE open any more because the emulator makes them look like IE! That should reduce the processor load a bit. Likewise, I’ve used Outlook Express for my POP mail for years and years and even though I now use only Gmail I still set it to come in via Outlook Express, just for old time’s sake really. No more of that. Another permanent Firefox tab, and I’ll be using Gmail from now on. Yet more free CPU – woopee. (Which is just as well, since I recently had to install Second Life for a university project, and it’s sucking up power like nobody’s business.)
I’m giving Google Notebook a try too. In August I will experiment with an August Notebook project, keeping a daily journal which I may or may not make public, depending on how it goes. Along with the rest of the PART team I already spend half my life in Googledocs, so the Notebook will be an interesting change. Oh and then there is GoogleGroups, where I am involved in several conversations. And GoogleTalk, which I don’t use much, but it’s there if I need it. And other Google apps too, which I don’t have much need for at the moment but that may change.
So that’s about it for the moment. I’ll let you know how I get on living in Google, and whether it’s really as transliterate an experience as it appears to promise.