My hypothesis is that the latest Chrome does break offline Gmail, based on the following experimental evidence:
Act One: About eight hours ago, as noted in a choleric-themed dispatch, I observed that I had been out of range for a long time, and was way backed up on messages to answer. So I loaded up the Gmail Offline queue on my computer* as I prepared for the long flight back to DC.
While I was still in the San Diego airport, my offline Gmail screen looked like this -- messages deliberately blurred up but still included to show that there was something in there to answer:
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that this morning I got a self-update note from Google's Chrome, which is my main web browser, announcing that it was installing the latest exciting new release, Chrome 28. As shown on my machine just now:
Act Two: I get on the plane and settle in for five hours of catching up. I jam my knees into the seat-back ahead of me, so that the louche-seeming character there can't recline all the way back into my lap (ie, "working" area). Obviously I am no longer connected (this is a United flight, with no GoGo etc). And when I call up Offline Gmail, I see this:
In case you can't read it, it says "No offline messages." Ie, of the several zillion messages I am worried about, exactly zero are available for handling during the next five hours. I spend two minutes grinding my teeth about this. Then I decide to read a book -- The Last Good Chance, by Tom Barbash, a very good novel I like a lot -- and later to watch a movie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Hey, you've got to go high-low. All in all, this may have been a better way to spend those five hours. But if there had been something really crucial, I might have been less serene.
Acts Three and Four: I test my hypothesis again when I get home.
When I have a working connection, Gmail Offline loads up all the messages the way I would expect.
But if I turn off the Wifi on my computer, I get the same "No offline messages" that so startled me on the plane.
[Update] On my other computer, with the older version of Chrome (27.0.1453.110), Gmail Offline still works OK whether it has a connection or not.
Message for the computing public: If you have an option about upgrading Chrome to version 28, I say: What's the rush? At least if you might want to do some offline work, you could wait until they iron this wrinkle out.
Message for Google: Hey, please fix this. It's good to "fail fast," but it's also good to fix things fast after they fail. While you're at it, could you please also fix the *long-standing Gmail Offline bug, mentioned frequently in this space, that concerns how much mail it should cache? In theory you can choose: mail from the past week, past 2 weeks, past month. In practice, no matter what you choose, in a day or two it sneaks back to "past week," so you have to remember before any trip to go in and change it to past month.
So tomorrow will be the time to deal with those stacked-up must-answer messages.
UPDATE: This appears to be a genuine, reproducible bug. If you're using Chrome 27x, then Gmail Offline will populate whether you are on or off line. With Chrome 28, Gmail Offline works ok when you don't need it (ie, when you have a connection), but comes up empty when you don't have a connection. Beware!
Routine disclosure: I have many friends who work at Google, though perhaps fewer now than before this post. Also, one of my sons works there, though not on Gmail Offline.
James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.
Donald Trump will take the oath of office on Friday, becoming the 45th president of the United States.
Donald Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, to become the 45th president of the United States.
The day’s inaugural festivities will get underway in the morning and continue through Saturday. The swearing-in ceremony, which will take place outside of the Capitol, is expected to begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by an inaugural parade at 3 p.m. and inaugural balls in the evening.
Thousands of attendees are expected to descend on Washington, DC for the ceremonies, which will likely be met with celebration and protest. We’ll bring you the latest updates from the nation’s capital as events unfold. Also see our continuing coverage:
The 45th President’s inaugural address encapsulated the risky gamble the Republican Party is taking on his combative approach.
Donald Trump’s combative and confrontational speech, unusual for an inaugural address, encapsulated the defining political gamble he is presenting to a Republican Party still uneasily settling into his harness.
Trump’s narrow victory last November pushed at every fault line in American politics, sharply dividing the country along lines of race, generation, education and geography. His inaugural address, centered on disdain for “the establishment” and political leadership, showed that he remains committed to a course that is more likely to deepen than narrow those divides––a dynamic underscored by the virtually unprecedented protests that erupted just beyond the inaugural parade route on Friday.
If any event could make a statement about a new era in Washington, it was Thursday night’s Deploraball. A mostly young, white, open-bar-lubricated crowd in suits, tuxedos, and ball gowns packed the ballroom at the National Press Club, watching a series of speeches by party organizers Mike Cernovich; Jeff Giesea, a former employee of Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital Management; and Jim Hoft, better known as Gateway Pundit, as well as conservative provocateur James O’Keefe and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Cernovich and Giesea have been running an online pro-Trump organizing group called MAGA3X, which was behind the party.
The new president borrowed from the bleak, fiery tone of his presidential campaign, but said his election represented the ascension of the people over politicians in Washington.
President Donald Trump took office on Friday with an inaugural address that was striking for both its bleakness and its fiery, populist promises for a better future.
“Today we are not transferring power not from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” the 45th president said.
Reciting a litany of horribles including gangs, drugs, crime, poverty, and unemployment, Trump told the nation, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
The inaugural address was unusually dark and political, delivered in a forum where new presidents have tended to reach for a language of unity, positivity, and non-partisanship. In many ways, the speech drew directly from the tone and approach of Trump’s often very-negative campaign rally speeches, once again showing that the “pivot” many observers have long expected Trump to make toward a more unifying and detached tone, is not coming. President Trump so far looks much the same as candidate Trump, and his speech was a strange milestone in a strange rise to power, one that was viewed as impossible just months ago.
Commentators love to praise the peaceful handover of power—but this year, it stands as a reminder of the system’s fragility and shortcomings.
Every presidency is different, but inaugural coverage is always the same. Commentators congratulate Americans on the peaceful transition of power and intone solemn sentences about democratic renewal.
There is something unnerving about these reassurances, something overstated, even hysterical. When a British prime minister loses the confidence of the House of Commons and must suddenly trundle out of 10 Downing Street (as some six dozen of them have done since the job was invented in the 1740s; a few more than once), nobody marvels on television how wonderful it is that he or she doesn’t try to retain power by force of arms. Nobody in Denmark thinks it extraordinary when one party relinquishes power to another. Ditto New Zealand or Switzerland—all of them treat peaceful transfers of power as the developed world norm, like reliable electricity or potable water.
On January 20, 2017, the peaceful transfer of American power took place in Washington, DC, as Barack Obama, passed the office to Donald J. Trump.
On January 20, 2017, the peaceful transfer of American power took place in Washington, DC, as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama passed the office to President-elect Donald J. Trump. Hundreds of thousands attended the ceremony, gathering in the National Mall to hear the swearing in and Trump’s inaugural address, while groups of protesters clashed with police in some of Washington’s streets. President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and their wives then bid farewell to former President Obama and his wife, as the Obamas headed to Air Force One for one last flight.
A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’s “Outstanding”—was older than she was.
He’s moved to establish his dominance of his party, of Congress, and of the media. Now, he turns to the nation.
Even for some Republicans, it is still a bit unbelievable. They have it all now—all the power. They won it fair and square. Donald Trump is assuming the presidency, and Republicans control the House and Senate.
They streamed into Washington this week to collect their reward, the activists and party hacks and true believers who helped make it happen. The members of the Republican National Committee, representing every state and territory, gathered in the ornate, slightly dowdy ballrooms of Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel, where they took care of the party’s business between being feted at lunches, receptions, and inaugural balls. The mood was jubilant: Against all odds, after years of frustration, everything they worked for had come to pass.
The new president’s first order of business Friday was to sign papers formally submitting nominations to the Senate.
Updated on January 20, 2017
President Trump’s first order of business after delivering his inaugural address Friday was to formally sign papers sending his Cabinet nominations to the Senate.
In a small ceremony at the Capitol, Trump joked with congressional leaders and provided a running commentary on his nominees as he went through the documents. The new president handed out the pens he used to sign the nominations, needling Democratic leaders Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi by offering them the souvenirs for conservative picks they staunchly oppose. Trump also signed his first law—a waiver allowing retired General James Mattis to serve as defense secretary despite having only left active military service four years ago.