Gmail Tips

Secure Gmail

Gmail offers an SSL-encrypted login (https) by default. After login, it switches back to the insecure http. Users of Mozilla Firefox can install the Secure Gmail script * to ensure Gmail uses the secure connection. Alternatively, try the CustomizeGoogle extension.

* You need the wonderful Greasemonkey extension for Firefox. See also Firefox tips.

Gmail Loader Enhanced

GMail Loader (GML) is a utility designed by Mark Lyon that can upload your (old) emails into Google's Gmail. As wonderful as it is, it suffers from two main problems.

To fix these two problems as well as some minor ones, I modified the source code provided by Mark. The modified source code can be found here: Please don't ask me for a Windows EXE version -- I don't know how to compile Python codes on Windows.

I have already sent patches to Mark. Before he releases his next version, I will host my version in case others need it.

Here are explanations to my modifications:
  1. Sort emails according to the Date field.
    Emails in a gmail conversation are usually sorted by their received time. If emails are stored unsorted in the mailbox (which might happen when you move emails around different folders, say, in Mozilla), they will not appear chronologically within a conversation. This is not nice. So I added a step to sort emails before sending them. The time, including the time zone information, is converted using getdate_tz and mktime_tz, the latter was copied from Python's rfc822 package.
  2. Resend emails if a failure happens.
    Gmail server is busy. Sometimes it resets the connections just because its load is too high. If this happens, we have to pick out failed emails and resend them later, which is annoying. So I modified the code to let GML automatically resend the email if a failure happens. However, I was lazy to check the failure type---if the failure is unrecoverable, say, wrong attachment type, the resend will give up after 9 times.
  3. Give Date information when failure.
    I found that when I had many emails in a mailbox, it is very difficult to locate the erroneous emails when I only know the senders. So I put the Date also in the error output.

Logical Operations in Gmail Search

When searching in Gmail, you can use logical operations like AND, OR, and/or NOT to make your search more accurate.

AND: Use nothing or capitalized "AND".
To search emails containing terrorist and Bush, use terrorist Bush or terrorist and Bush.
OR: Use braces ({ and }) or capitalized "OR".
To search emails from Bush or Chimp, use From: {Bush Chimp} or From: (Bush OR Chimp).
NOT: Use hyphen (-) before the excluded string.
Say you have created the labels Smart, Good, and Bush. To search emails with labels Smart and Good but not Bush, use label:smart label:good -label:bush.
Grouping: Use parentheses (( and )).
To search emails having party, or both hiking and Sunday, use {party (hiking Sunday)} or party OR (hiking Sunday).

Periods and Pluses in Usernames

Periods (.) in Gmail usernames are not important. For example, or are actually the same. Try to send emails to your own Gmail address with and without periods and you will get all of them.

The +detail suffix can also be used with your Gmail username. For example, if your gmail username is yourname, you can use with some web registration. When you see spam emails through this address, you will know that it was someweb that discloses your contact information.