An Invitation To Google’s Gmail

Alison Young
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March 11, 2005
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These days, what would peo-communicate with friends, fam-ily and work. In fact, while I was recently away at basic military months, I was going through some cially e-mail — withdrawals. I can’t count on one hand the num-ber of e-mail addresses I own. I have at least five for personal use and two for work.

Of all my e-mail accounts, my favorite is Gmail, a free service offered by Google, the popular Internet search engine. Gmail was launched in 2004 and is offered to users by invitation only. I got mine thanks to my brother, who sent me an invite after I did some on-my-knees begging.

The web-based Gmail offers a This gives me ample room for my out worrying about filling up my computer’s hard drive. leaves me plenty of room for all of my important stuff — music files, digital pictures and games. With Gmail, you don’t get any of those large, annoying pop-up ads. You’ll still see some text ads, but they’re small and unobtrusive. message text and displays ads that are relevant to the message’s content.

For those of you a little there’s always the other two pop-ular free e-mail providers: MSN’s Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Both offer 250MB of storage, and you don’t need an invite to join either. Both services have fairly decent spam filtering and virus scanning, but you still need to put up with the obtrusive ads. If you don’t need a whole lot of space, or can’t seem to get your hands on a Gmail invite, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are more than sufficient.

Gmail is by far the best free email service you can get out there. Once invited, your new account will give you five invites to send out. That will make five of your Gmail-wanting friends very happy — or you can sell them on e-Bay. Yes, e-Bay. G-mail is so popular that people are actually buying/selling invites on e- Bay.

E-mail me if you want an invite to Gmail, but you better hurry because I only have three left.

Laptop Survivor. Having a good laptop case is very important. I discovered that for myself after a beautiful brand name bag, given to me by a friend, failed on me. One day while walking through the parking garage, the strap suddenly snapped off and detached. This caused my bag to turn upside down and fall off my shoulder. I stood there horrified with my jaw open as my precious PowerBook G4 laptop violently smacked down hard on the cement ground. I’ll never forget that sound – BAM! It all happened too fast for me to break the fall. “At least it’s still in one piece,” I thought to myself. The screen was severely cracked, but amazingly, there was no damage to the computer’s internal workings. Thankfully it was still under warranty.

OK, that means it’s time to go shopping for a new laptop case! Most places that sell cases do not offer anything more than a black, plain boring bag. I found a couple places that offer stylish alternatives that fit my needs.

At the top of my list for cute is The Tote from Acme Made. It looks really attractive, and it has a fully padded computer pocket that fits most small and midsized laptops (unfortunately it doesn’t fit 17-inch laptops). It’s also made with a quilted satin lining, zippered accessory pocket, imported leather handles/trim and comes with a one-year warranty.

Prices range from $265 to $299 at

Acme also offers iPod cases and computer covers.

For my tomboy side, I really like the Mamba.XS made by BOOQ. You can wear this three different ways: across your chest, over your shoulder or like a backpack. That’s perfect for my active lifestyle. This protects your laptop with half-an-inch of molded foam padding, but still leaves you ample room for books, a power adapter or whatever else you may want to throw in there. $79.95 at

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