GMail Tip

If you’re looking to find all unread messages in Gmail, it’s not obvious. It’s actually very easy though, as this tip reveals – just put “is:unread” in the search bar.

This is helpful if you pull in mail from a lot of different sources, or have done bulk imports in the past, and your unread mail doesn’t end up in the first few pages of your inbox. I have had some mail lingering there, and was thankful for this tip. I have a decent amount of past e-mail stored in the depths of gmail.

You are currently using 1705 MB (60%) of your 2832 MB.

Not that I actually look at 1.7 GB of mail very often, but it’s convenient to have a substantial archive that’s easily searchable. If you’re looking to bulk upload a ton of old mail into gmail, I have found Mark Lyon’s Gmail Loader works well.

Malfunction Junctions

A post in Signal vs Noise today referred to the Wikipedia article on Malfunction Junctions – confusing and dangerous intersections. There are some funny photos here.

The one that immediately came to mind for me is the Route 3/Drum Hill Road rotary in Lowell, MA. The aerial view doesn’t do it full justice, but when you’re in the car exiting the highway and are immediately put into a four-lane roundabout, it feels far more dysfunctional.

What do friend counts mean?

I was wondering, when looking across the various social networks that I’m a part of, what if anything can be extrapolated from the friend counts in each. In real life I have a given set of friends, and subsets of them and I are members of various networks under which we are labeled friends. My friend counts go like this across both social networks and sites with a social networking component:

MySpace: 90 (includes many people I don’t know)
LinkedIn: 74
Flickr: 70 (friends+family)
Friendster: 41
Facebook: 29
Amazon: 7
YouTube: 5 4 4
Digg: 3
Netflix: 3
Orkut: 3

UPDATE:Dodgeball: 20, 2, MyBlogLog: 2

Orkut almost doesn’t count because it’s largely abandoned (in the US), but I did sign up for it back in the day. Looking across all of the networks, it’s clear I have different sets of friends in each. I imagine that speaks, to some extent, as to which of my friends are the most nerdy. Fil is clearly tops in that list. He appears in 11 of 12 networks (no Netflix). Then there are people like Martha who appear in some of my least-populous networks (Netflix, but not the more popular (Facebook).

If I were to trim MySpace down to people I actually know, I think it would dip below LinkedIn on the list. Perhaps that speaks to my age? I keep in touch with more people in a professional context than social? As for some of the lower links (single digit ones) I think that’s largely explained by the lack of value those sites provide with their social components. Amazon is missing a huge opportunity, as their social components have languished for years, and they could do a lot of great things with them. is another great opportunity that seems to be fading. Netflix is an exception – they do a nice job, but there just aren’t as many people I know with a Netflix account.

I have an order of magnitude fewer friends on YouTube as opposed to Flickr, which I don’t think is fully explained by the fact that photos are more popular than videos. I think a lot of it has to do with YouTube’s terrible user experience when it comes to inviting and sharing with friends. I still can’t see some of my friends’ videos, and I have no idea why.

From a strict social networking perspective, I like Facebook’s structure the best, but I have relatively few friends there. I think that largely speaks to my age. Facebook grew popular in colleges a few years after I left, and only a subset of people I know went back and joined it as alumni.

I also found it interesting that my friend counts across the various sites fit a long tail distribution.