Tag: Email

Another device?

Amazon are set to release an electronic book reader called the Kindle today according to NewsWeek.

The device sounds cool, in theory (built-in wireless over EVDO, email, long-life batteries, search, lots of storage, etc.) but do we really want another device to be carrying around?

Especially at the price point being talked about ($399).

I’m already carrying my phone, laptop, iPod and sometimes my dSLR camera. I say sometimes because at this point I often make a choice – which one can I manage without.

I can’t imagine forking out for a Kindle. Especially not when I can get much of the promise of the Kindle on my iPod (and more besides).

Having said all that, I think Tim O’Reilly makes a great point when he says:

I’m rooting for Jeff and the Kindle. I’m not sure that he’s going to win his bet that people will use a single-purpose device rather than reading on a multi-function device like the iPhone and its successors. But I’m also not sure he needs to. Even if some other device becomes the reader of choice, Amazon will still become one of the leading sources of the books that feed it. All Amazon needs to do here is move the industry forward, and I think that’s already been accomplished.

Intern caught in fairy outfit!

Spotted this story yesterday on Valleywag – long story->short, guy working as an intern for a US branch of Anglo-Irish Bank, took a couple of day’s leave saying he had to head to New York home suddenly.

I just wanted to let you know that I will not be able to come into work tomorrow. Something came up at home and I had to go to New York this morning for the next couple of days.

Then a photo of him is posted on Facebook dressed as a fairy (complete with wings and wand) at a Halloween party when he was supposed to be home in New York!

Busted Intern

His boss, who obviously has a sense of humour, in his reply to the email included a copy of the photo, said:

Thanks for letting us know–hope everything is ok in New York. (cool wand)

and bcc’d the whole office!

There goes his credibility, if not his internship!

Valleywag are implying in their story that there is something new here. Facebook helps hip bosses keep track of employees!

I can’t help but think that this story has happened over and over again. Employee does something silly. Gets caught. The only thing that changes is the names and the technologies.

I’m sure there were similar stories doing the rounds with the advent of the phone and later the fax. There is nothing new here.

It is a great photo though!

My move from OS X to Vista – Day 2

It is taking me a while to get into this Vista machine.

On the Mac, I live in browsers (I generally have 4 running) and email. The browsers on Vista are pretty much the same as they are on the Mac but the email experience is very different.

The main choices I have for email client software are Thunderbird and Outlook 2007. I am using both for different email accounts and, frankly, I don’t like either!

Thunderbird has already crashed on me so it is not that stable and Outlook hangs from time to time, seemingly contemplating the task I have just asked it to do, before finally snapping to attention and displaying my mail.

Outlook also has an incredibly cluttered interface (seven panes) in comparison to the clean crisp interface of Apple’s Mail app. This can be very off-putting if you are not familiar with the program.

Outlook 2007

I also hate the way Outlook deals with IMAP. I like it as a protocol but it is unusable in Outlook (if I delete an email, I want it to disappear, not stay in my inbox with a line through it). I originally set up my mail account in Outlook 2007 as IMAP but when I realised Outlook still deals poorly with IMAP I decided to switch to POP.

This is where I hit another UI bug.
outlook account remove stupidity

When I asked Outlook to remove the account it gave me the above error message which basicly says, “I know what you were trying to do but because you haven’t done it the exact way I mandate, I’m going to display this error message scolding you and make you do it again until you do it properly!”

Listen Microsoft, if the app is clever enough to know what I was trying to do, why not just do it, instead of forcing me to start all over again, the way Outlook wants me to do it?

Switching from OS X to Vista (kinda)

Microsoft gave me a Sony Vaio laptop with Vista Ultimate and Office Ultimate installed to try out. I have been toying with the Vaio but not using it heavily. To be fair to Microsoft, I’m going to try to switch as much as possible of my work from my MacBook Pro to the Vaio to see how I get on over the next few weeks.

A lot of my work is done online so that part shouldn’t be too difficult (I installed Firefox on the laptop last night!). However, for presentations I will continue to use the Mac as there is no comparison in the quality of presentations created in Keynote versus those done in  PowerPoint.

Oh, and for my photos I will continue to use iPhoto because that is where my current extensive library of photos resides.

The most difficult move will be my email I suspect. I love Apple’s Mail app. It will take a lot to win me back to Outlook.

Wish me luck!

Speeding up Mail.app

108,741 emails!

I read a posting on how to speed up Mail.app (my email client) which involved deleting the Envelope file and allowing Mail.app to re-import all emails and rebuild the file.

On doing this I got the dialog box above – 108,741 emails? Wow! I know I have around 10 years email stored but I never realised it would come to over 100,000 emails!

I’ll update this post with the results of the rebuild (in about an hour!).

Windows Live Hotmail – when branding goes bad!

Windows Live (Hot)Mail

There is a post today on the Hotmail team blog called We Heard You Loud and Clear.

In the post, Richard Sim, Hotmail’s senior product manager says:

As we prepare to launch the final version of our new web mail service, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our 260+ million existing customers come over to the new service smoothly and without confusion. By adopting the name “Windows Live Hotmail”, we believe we’re bringing together the best of both worlds – new and old

Oh dear God Richard. Hotmail is a piece of crap that should have been updated or killed off years ago and it does nothing for Microsoft except serve as an embarrassment for anyone in Microsoft who is confronted with it in public.

You don’t believe me? Read my post on Hotmail and the 80+ comments by other frustrated Hotmail users on the post.

You don’t believe them, look at your main competition – Yahoo! Mail and Gmail. Check out the feature comparison put together by TechCrunch last night:
WebMail Feature comparison

Hotmail is slow and it has no features!

Richard, the Hotmail brand is badly tarnished – take the opportunity to kill it now. Quickly and mercifully.

And for God’s sake, surely you can do a better branding job than Windows Live HotMail. Whose idea was that?

Short and snappy it ain’t. But maybe that’s not what you were going for. If not, how about “Windows (almost) Live (but really slow) HotMail (um, sorry about all the problems and lack of features)” instead?

It fits the non-snappy thing you have going on and has the advantage of being truthful. Although, considering Bill Gates’ recent performances, truth doesn’t seem to be top of Microsoft’s current agenda either.

Richard, you guys need to drop the idea of putting Windows Live in front of all your Windows Live offerings. I understand you are going for consistent branding across your Windows Live offerings but if you have poor branding why tarnish all your products with it?

Here’s a thought, how about a snappy name? Everyone else is doing it. HotMail + Live Mail + [pain of using it] = HiveMail!

Or just Live Mail. Drop the Windows and the Hotmail in one go. People would go for that.

Don’t be afraid to drop Hotmail (people don’t love it as much as you seem to think) and companies change their brands all the time. In most cases for the better.

Windows Mobile Edition 6 – no RSS support?

Endgadget are reporting that Microsoft has announced Windows Mobile Edition 6 – Microsoft’s operating system for mobile phones.

According to the article, the major new features of WME6 are

  • HTML support in email
  • Windows Live for Windows Mobile
  • File transfer capability in Windows Live Messenger
  • New versions of mobile Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with rich editing
  • Remote wipe capability for stolen and lost devices
  • Call history in contact cards
  • Tight Vista integration
  • “Calendar ribbon” for more easily viewing schedule by day or week
  • New versions of .NET Compact Framework and SQL Server built-in

Some nice features in there alright but how about support for RSS? It would be great to be able to have an RSS reader built-in to the phone. This would make it trivial allow people to subscribe to podcasts, for example from their phones and do away with the need to be carrying a phone and an iPod.

There’s a demo of WME6 on YouTube.

Spam Assassin on Direct Admin problem

As I mentioned previously, I have rolled out a new server for my blog (and a couple of sites I host) in the last few days. I am now being hammered by spam! Spam Assassin is installed on the server.

The hosting software on the server is called Direct Admin and in each hosted domain in Direct Admin I have set Spam Assassin to 5.0 (which I thought would be low enough to catch most spam).

I also configured it to allow all spam through but labelled as ***SPAM***.

I haven’t received a single email labelled as ***SPAM*** but I have received lots of spam. 😦

Spam Assassin setup

There’s obviously something simple missing in the config of SA on the server.

I know it is probably an impossible question to answer without more info but if anyone can think of something I might be missing, could you let me know?

UPDATE: A Direct Admin support staff member emailed me the fix – it is available at http://help.directadmin.com/item.php?id=36

Interesting business model proposed for TinyURL

David Berlind over at ZDNet has a very interesting take on how TinyURL could monetise the use of its site.

TinyURL, in case you didn’t know, is a site where you can paste in long URLs and the site spits back out much shorter URLs which can then be used in emails, forums etc. without breaking or line wrapping.

The bones of his post is:

You visit some car manufacturer’s Web page to look at an SUV. You decide to shrink the URL so you can pass it around via email. TinyURL is all seeing and all knowing. Based on the first time someone shrinks that SUV-related URL, it “registers” the fact that there’s some long URL out there on the Web that has something to do with people looking for SUVs. Now, along comes David Berlind and he attempts to shrink the same URL. With what degree of certainty can you say David Berlind is interested in buying an SUV (or helping someone else to buy one). What self-respecting SUV-making car manufacturer wouldn’t want to have its advertisement right there?

The website owner, Minnesota-based Kevin “Gilby” Gilbertson doesn’t do anything like this with the site right now but it wouldn’t take much to roll this out and suddenly you are looking at a potentially very lucrative (and very desirable) site.

The full article is well worth a read.