Friday, June 26, 2009

Rest in Peace, King of Pop

Michael Jackson, the exceptionally talented "King of Pop", died Thursday at the age of 50.

He was the most influential and interesting singer and performer of his generation.

Some early reactions to his death include the following:
"I can't stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever!
My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."
"I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing. We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music, but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."
Justin Timberlake
And some questions going through my mind right now:
  • Which ones of Michael's songs are going to hit the charts now? I think the best would be 'Ben', followed by 'Beat it'.
  • What will happen to the 100 Maasai warriors who were supposed to perform during his London concerts?
  • Who will perform at his funeral? My guess would be Lionel Richie. What about Paul McCartney and Madonna?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gmail for African snails

The Internet is still relatively slow in many places in Africa. Google has now also realized this and even acted upon it by launching a new feature in Gmail Labs: Inbox preview.

While Gmail is loading, a simple, static preview of your inbox with your ten most recent messages is displayed. This allows users to be productive even before Gmail has completed loading.

Turn it on from the Labs tab under Settings and, if you're on a slow connection, you'll know from the start if it's worth the wait. I tried it out, and the difference is remarkable indeed.

So this is really a very cool development by Google engineers, but interestingly, the Labs tab under Settings is NOT available when you are using the Basic HTML View rather than the Standard View to access your Gmail, and it is exactly this Basic HTML View which is used by many Gmail users with snail connections. Google, are you listening? Another improvement would be to allow users to set the number of recent messages to be displayed in Inbox preview, since different users receive different numbers of messages and have different frequencies of accessing their Gmail accounts as well.