G Doesn’t Have to Be for Grrr!

Like I said in the post I put up before this one, I’ve got a gmail account. I don’t plan to use it for much, simply because I read this and was way way way too creeped out by it. But lots of people seem to love Gmail and want an account right now, even before right now if possible, including some blinks. So I thought I’d suffer through the process of making an account and using it for a bit to see if it can be done. And, now that I’ve cursed, yelled, stomped my foot, slammed my fist, crossed my fingers and jumped up and down when I succeeded, I thought I’d pass on a few tips to help other blinks who might really want to use their Gmail account but can’t.

First, I’m assuming you’ve been invited by someone to Gmail since that seems to be the only way into this cute little community. You go to make your account and you get to that graphical word verification step. There’s a link to click on now that lets you hear the characters you’re supposed to type in. Now here’s my little yea and boo on that.
Yea: there is a series of beeps before the numbers start coming, and each time you hit the link to hear the box described, you get different voices telling you each digit, so if you find a voice unclear, ya might get a better one next time.
Boo: it doesn’t open a player like PayPal and Microsoft do when you listen to the voice, so you can’t just throw the player on repeat until you think you’ve got the digits right and then type it in.

So now you’ve got your account all nicely created. You sign in. Yea and boo time again.

Yea: right at the top it says, if you’re using a screenreader, you might want to switch to basic html as your viewing mode. This is a very good mode for viewing messages and doing basic things like reading and writing mail, but…
Boo: Forget changing any settings while in basic html mode, and when you click back into standard, you’re only shown one setting, whether or not you want your email archived or not. To get the rest, you have to use your JAWS cursor, or the equivalent in whatever screenreader you’re using, to find settings, and then find the sub-heading you want to modify. You have to do the mouse-pointer thing a lot in standard mode, I guess that’s why google was kind enough to write, “hey, blinky, you’re better off in basic html mode.” Also, at least for me, while in standard mode, JAWS choked periodically, so if you have Windows XP, turn on Narrator while you’re on the page, and use it to see if your whole computer is frozen or just that page, and move away from the window so poor JAWS can unlock. Also, if you can left click the thing that says standard without chat, the choking will drastically decrease. I think what JAWS is choking on is the massive page refresh that happens when it tries to refresh to see if anyone has written you a chat message.

Yea: Once you do manage to click your way into settings, you can see all the settings you may want to change, in whatever category you clicked into.
Boo: If you want to change a setting of another type, like if you’re in the general settings, and you want to get into the pop and forwarding settings, you have to use the mouse-pointer again.

Huge, massive, extremely large yea: Gmail will let you download your messages from Gmail into your email client of choice, and they even have a huge FAQ on doing this. That is some amazingly helpful help. Also, with pop access, I doubt you’ll get any targeted advertising like you might if you used the web service.
boo: They say you’ll be able to have it so once you’ve downloaded the mail into your client, it will be gone from google. But I’m still not sure if it’s being quietly archived anyway, since they make it very hard to delete things from the web.

Very small sub-boo: they don’t mention in the instructions for configuring your email client to grab the Gmail that if this isn’t your first email account ever, use your ISP’s outgoing mail server, not Gmail’s server, and also disregard all instructions to do with outgoing server settings and leave them as they had been for the server you’re using now. *shakes head and sees seas of question marks flying at me* What I mean is if you have a rogers email account, look at how your settings are set when it comes to your outgoing or smtp server. Note them and use those when you’re setting up your Gmail account in whatever grabs your email. If you’re still having trouble, talk to a tech support dude.

I think that’s about it. I hope that makes sense to more than me. And I hope people don’t suddenly look at me as some kind of geek, or start snoring. I will shut up now.

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