Archives for February 2009

Missing attachment detector in Gmail

It is really embarrassing to send an email with an attachment and actually forgetting to attach the file you were supposed to mail along, isn’t it? In my case, I often forget to attach files to emails if I’m typing it in hurry. Sometimes, I even end up receiving replies from recipients of those emails requesting me to eat food instead of attachments. It’s really embarrassing when you are working as a professional or interacting with your teaching assistant while studying through online universities.

Luckily, today I came across a feature in Gmail Labs, which helps you to identify missing attachments as soon as you press send button. This small functionality in Gmail warns you if you have written something like “I’m attaching” or “I am attaching” or “I have attached” in your message body and you haven’t actually attached any file. I’m not sure if it is capable of identifying any other patterns in email text which suggests that you wanted to attach something. However, I tested for above 3 patterns and I’m good with it.

To enable this feature, you will need to login to your Gmail account. Then go to Settings -> Labs, and enable ‘Forgotten Attachment Detector’. Don’t forget to click on ‘Save changes’ after that.

I would like to thank Mr. Jonathan K, for creating this useful feature in Gmail lab. It is definitely an important feature for me, and for many other people who like to eat attachments instead of food.

Are computers really becoming user friendly?

Gone are those days when users had to learn all the shell commands (Dos or Unix), to be able to use their PCs. Now you have Graphical User Interfaces or GUIs which allow you to do all those tasks simply by pointing and clicking at icons or menus with that small device near your keyboard called ‘Mouse’. This means that we simply need to buy a computer and sit in front of it, and soon we will be able to use it effectively to manage all required information.

But wait!!!!! As computers are becoming smarter and smarter, some new age pirates are also becoming smarter. They are now finding new ways of hacking into your computer to steal your information with use of Trojans and viruses. For example, read this report on BBC News called ‘Parking ticket leads to a virus’.

This makes me feel that nothing has changed as yet. Earlier, it was difficult to use computers because users had to learn all the commands which were required to operate it. Now, common users are often scared to use their computers for doing activities like online transactions as they need to learn all the ways to protect themselves and their data from hackers.

Well, what does this mean for software developers? Software developers must keep themselves updated about various security issues and design stable and secure system so that more and more users will be able to use technology without even having to learn things they are not supposed to. For those who think software development is easy, I agree with you. Yes, software development is easy. BUT, developing a stable, user friendly and secure application is definitely not as easy as writing ‘var x=a+b;’.