Going Google

I inevitably complicate any computer setup I’m involved in. I’ve mentioned how I made ripping CDs an easy six-step process. It’s like I’m made of entropy and duct tape, frantically trying to keep everything together even as I’m making it fall apart.

So it’s been with our email. I’ve owned granades.com for nearly a decade, beginning when I was in graduate school at Duke. Initially our kind-hearted department admin and the Duke University Linux User’s Group helped host my email. When I moved to Huntsville, I began hosting email myself.

That sound you hear is 2002-era me cracking open a 55-gallon drum full of worms. See, at Duke I had Internet via DSL and a stable IP address. After the move I had a cable modem and an IP that moved around, so I registered for a dynamic DNS address and got two of my friends to relay mail to me via that DNS address.

Then we had Eli and Liza. Suddenly, my free time to fiddle with a cantankerous Linux server evaporated. The box would die and we’d be without email for a day or two. I wanted web access to my email instead of having to SSH into the box and run mutt, and one thing led to another until I was forwarding all of mine and Misty’s email directly to a gmail account and backing the gmail up on the Linux box.

I just learned that mail forwarding wasn’t working for my brother’s family, so I’ve finally bitten the bullet and signed up for a granades.com Google Apps account. On the plus side, now my server doesn’t touch my mail at all, and I can rest comfortably in the warm, soft, big-brothery arms of Google.

On the minus side I have two email accounts, one of which is using POP3 to grab email from the other, and two sets of Google Docs, and two sets of Google Calendar, and…

Man, it’s a good thing I’ve simplified my life.

8 thoughts on “Going Google

  1. And this is better than my setup … how, exactly?! 😉

    [You’re probably gonna tell me that GApps is free, and then I’m just gonna shut up. But I have no problem paying for five-nines uptime on my email.]

  2. Hey if you’ve got questions about Google App Engine I might be able to lend a hand. I’ve been working on a crafting database for Aion (the current MMO I play) and did it all with python/web2py/Google App Engine mainly because free is very tempting.

    I knew you could send/receive e-mail with the App Engine but I haven’t messed with it. I’ll be curious to hear how you set it up.

  3. Well crap, your not talking about Google App Engine (GAE) you’re talking about Google Apps. Which is apparently a different service completely. So is this Google Apps e-mail separate from a typical gmail account?

  4. Geof: it appeals to my cheap-ass nature and fits in with what I was already doing.

    Chris: Google Apps is a service Google offers to use their stuff with your own custom domain. I’ve signed up for a Google Apps account with granades.com, and that gets me granades.com-specific email, docs, calendar, chat, etc. It’s separate from a standard Gmail account.

    Then there’s your Google Account, which gives you access to Gmail, Google Reader, calendar, etc.

    There are things that are available both as a Google Apps thing and with a Google Account (Gmail, Calendar) , and there are things that are only available with a Google Account (Reader).

    Yes, this is very confusing; why do you ask?

    So the end result is that I have my old Gmail account and a new granades.com email. I have my old Calendar and my new granades.com calendar.

  5. Geof: I feel the compulsion to say that most of the duplication confusion Stephen is talking about isn’t a problem with Google Apps per-se, but only a problem for people who also actively use a non-Apps Google account. I do wish they would add Reader to Google Apps, though.

    Amy and I shifted our email over to Apps many many months ago, and we’re absolutely thrilled with it. I haven’t done a measurement of “how many nines” we’re actually getting, but I really can only remember one incident where a problem with Google kept me from my email. Reliability simply hasn’t been an issue, and certainly not one that would compel me to pay for a service.

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