Thursday, February 12, 2009

gmail offline

James Fallows asks:
" For all of Gmail really to be available and searchable offline, the entire cache of old messages would obviously have to be stored on your own hard disk. That's now a maximum 7+ gigs per regular Gmail account. More if you've bought extra storage. Do I really want to have all of that on my laptop -- which is the main place where offline access matters? From a couple of Gmail accounts? And Google's "Gears" system of offline sync, already in use with Google Docs, seems to create a separate cache for each browser you use it with. So you could wind up with one 7GB cache for Firefox, and one for Chrome, and... Will there be a way to choose how far back you'd like the sync to run?"

Excellent questions all. So, per my investigations:
- yes, a separate cache per browser. Hm.
- no way to choose how far back to go. For one small account of 128M, Gmail says they will back up to 5 years ago. Larger accounts will presumably not go so far back. There's no information I can find on whether the older emails will be cleared out of the offline cache, or left there.
- On the hard drive, the 128M that Gmail says I'm using, becomes 137M.

The Google Gears FAQ tells us where the data is stored for IE and Firefox, but oddly enough not for Chrome. For Chrome, attachments are stored plainly at for example
C:\Documents and Settings\uname\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Plugin Data\Google Gears\\https_443\GoogleMail[4]#localserver

The messages themselves are in SQLite databases found similarly
C:\Documents and Settings\uname\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Plugin Data\Google Gears\\https_443
The data appears to be binary, so not readable without Gears or some SQLite tool. The files don't have .sqlite extensions, but that's what they are. Open them using any of the handy SQlite tools, for example SQLite Administrator which allows export of tables as CSV, HTML, etc etc.

In my install, a file named is the database. The table MessagesFT_content has the message contents. Interestingly all the email body is in html.

1. it's still a proprietary format, although SQlite utilities can be used to extract the useful information.
2. the lack of control over synchronization means it's not a good backup solution.
3. I still need to test actual offline operation - is the search as good as it is online ?

Monday, February 9, 2009

more birds

last night I took Artie the Wonder Dog for a run. He pulled me for five miles. When we got home he did a few dozen laps of the yard, then went a couple of rounds with his old blanket. I was exhausted, he was energized. Today my quads feel as if I just ran ten miles down Mt Evans - had to brake on every step against his enthusiastic trot.

There were redwing blackbirds churring in the reeds. That is the earliest I've ever heard them in Highlands Ranch. On the other hand, every year for the last eight at least, the date has been moving up. I know this because it's noted in my training logs. Since we're right on the edge of its year-round residency, I guess that soon they'll be here continuously, and I'll lose my 'first-robin' marker on spring runs. Well, 'runs' for a generously-defined value of run: I'm working my way down to walking.

I suppose I could switch to the American robins themselves. They are thrushes like the rwb (the English robin is considered an old-world flycatcher) so not too much of a leap; but the rwb has this characteristic midday song so that he who runs may listen. It's easier to ID by ear. Then too, the robins are moving fast as well, according to the Audubon report.

The report also notes the meadowlark population is plummeting. Theirs is the true summer note. I always look forward to hearing their liquid trills on the bike in Chatfield.

Monday, February 2, 2009

weighing anchor

a marvellous poem by Seamus Heaney in the New Yorker ends up at:

As I age and blank on names,
As my uncertainty on stairs
Is more and more the light-headedness

Of a cabin boy’s first time on the rigging,
As the memorable bottoms out
Into the irretrievable,

It’s not that I can’t imagine still
That slight untoward rupture and world-tilt
As a wind freshened and the anchor weighed.

Exactly so. Old, trapped and grounded, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans everything; a last synapse flares, a spark in the punk; we can still set sail out of the dim caverns of the skull; somewhere there may yet be found
"still green water and clean bottom sand,
Above a seafloor where striped fish pass in shoals"