I showed up at work today and opened the iGoogle page I had set up the night before. I tried to use iGoogle for my work-flow the way that Google obviously intends for me to. I have my claendar, e-mail, and documents there and use the maximize button on the gadget when I want to do something in detail with them. The mechanics are fine and seem to be a good way to work.
The problem is that the functionality is not the same. The maximized GMail gadget doesn't have many of the features of the real page: the gadget is missing the labels sidebar and contact, and the Inbox, Sent items, and Trach are in a pull-down menu. Chat history isn't in the pull-down menu at all. There is also no link to go to newer or older mails. I realize that the real estate is limited, but these are necessary features. Why spend the space on a "Launch full GMail" link when you could just put in a Labels drop down instead?
Other gadgets have similar limitations. I'm only able to view the five most recent documents at a time, though I can create and search. I think the iGoogle maximized experience should be as similar to the regular page as possible. Otherwise, why bother?
Everything worked fine, and I checked Slashdot and Digg using the RSS feeds on my iGoogle "Technology" tab. This saved me some time in the morning since I didn't have as many stories to look through. Score one point for productivity, eh?
Since I had a couple of minutes before I really needed to get to work, I banged out a quick sudoku puzzle on the easiest setting. I didn't want it to take very long. The interface was fine and let me check my progress as I went along. I'm kind of new to sudoku, so I'm not very efficient at it yet.
Once I started work, I hit another snag.
This is essay week for me. I'm writing a set of essays for the Korean Office of Education on ways to improve Guest English Teacher (GET) adjustment and performance and on problems with the current teaching method and materials. Of course I'm using Google Docs to do it.
The problem is that Koreans love cute. Everything is cute. Google Docs, however, are butt ugly, even to me. As one web developer put it, "HTML headings are big, black, and ugly." I wanted to change the style of the headings, but that required manually editing the CSS of the document. It wasn't a problem for me, but I don't think my buddies want to or are able to do that. I put in a feature request to Google for a heading editor. I think that's the easiest way to get a good-looking and consistent document. I don't like changing font size and color manually over seventy times a document. I'd rather just do it once then hit CTRL-#.
I've also run into the image editing problem already. There's no way to do it in Google. I thought PicasaWeb had some limited editing functions like redeye and cropping, but I must have been thinking about the desktop client (which I don't really use, either). Wow. I've put it off, but Monday will give me no choice but to tackle the problem. I'll look into work-arounds over the weekend. Picnik may be the best answer since it can load and save photos from and to Picasa so I won't have to use my local disk space.. Google definitely needs an app like this, though.
That's about it for today.