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Xoopit, Or Channels vs Trenches

I’ve been a fan of Xoopit so I guess I am a bit surprised that Yahoo! has bought it. Xoopit, for me, was the future of email. Or a part of it. (For those of you who haven’t used it, or those who didn’t “get” it, Xoopit is a plugin for Gmail—for others, too, but Gmail is the best working one—which extends Gmail’s functionlity: better search for attachments, dovetailing with Facebook so you can see who you’re talking to on Gmail etc.) Xoopit, for me, was/is a way to push email beyond being one channel of communication to being part of a single channel ofContinue readingXoopit, Or Channels vs Trenches

Making Networks Do the Work

I don’t get overly excited about plug-ins but I think Xoopit may have shifted us into a new gear. As part of a course I teach on journalist tools I do a demo of Gmail. I talk about it being the new desktop. But I’m only showing the bare bones of the thing: labels, filters, colors, stars. For a lot of them, that’s an eye-opener in itself. But it’s once you start talking about gadgets where you can access your calendar, your documents, your chat, then it really makes sense. All good, but not really anything different to Outlook. Just lighter and accessible from anywhere.Continue readingMaking Networks Do the Work

Why You Should Pay for Your Email

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal. (update Dec 2011: Aliencamel is now more, unfortunately, and Fastmail has been sold to Opera.) Using free email accounts like Gmail is commonplace, but not without risk. As Loren Baker, an editor at SearchEngine Journal, found to his cost, when Google disabled his account without warning. (At the time of writing there’s no explanation why his account was suspended, nor whether it had been resolved.) The comments are supportive, but also point out the dangers of relying on a free service for business. This point, in particular, struck home; when it’s “free”, we’re not really the customers, except insofaras we’reContinue readingWhy You Should Pay for Your Email

Why Social Network Sites May Fail

Look at a social networking site lie Yaari and you can see where the social networking phenomenon may fail, simply by abusing the trust of its users. Sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo etc rely on expanding quickly by offering a useful service: trawling your address book to find friends and contacts who use the same service. We’ve gotten used to this, and it’s a great way to build a network quickly if you sign up for a new service. But any service that uses this needs to stress privacy, and put control in the hands of users. Plaxo learned this a few years back. Spam aContinue readingWhy Social Network Sites May Fail

When Technology Lets Us Down

(from tcbuzz’s flickr collection) Two recent events from the UK underlined how dangerous our dependence on technology can be. The soccer UEFA Cup final in Manchester was overshadowed by riots when one of the massive screens installed in the city for fans who didn’t have tickets broke down. And more recently, the inquest into the death of a former BBC editor found that she committed suicide after failing to find support among her colleagues. Her line manager, the inquest heard, tried to find her counselling: However, her manager sent an email to the wrong address and his request was never acted on. Technology is passive,Continue readingWhen Technology Lets Us Down

Whaling in Singapore?

Singapore appears to be the source of a virus cleverly designed to hoodwink U.S. executives by appearing to be an emailed subpoena which mentions them by name, as well as their title. The SANS Storm Center said three days ago that We’ve gotten a few reports that some CEOs have received what purports to be a federal subpoena via e-mail ordering their testimony in a case. It then asks them to click a link and download the case history and associated information. One problem, it’s total bogus. It’s a “click-the-link-for-malware” typical spammer stunt. So, first and foremost, don’t click on such links. An interesting componentContinue readingWhaling in Singapore?

Filtering Communications So They Don’t Drive Us Mad

A dear friend was supposed to drop something off around 11 pm last night. I turn in around that time, so I just nodded off. Luckily I didn’t hear her SMS come in around 1 am. But I could have. I consider the phone the primary communications device–if someone has an emergency, that’s how they’re going to reach me–and so you can’t really close it off. But how do you filter out stuff like my ditzy friend SMS-ing me at 1 am to tell me that after all she’s not going to drop something off? In short, how can we set up filters on ourContinue readingFiltering Communications So They Don’t Drive Us Mad

Backed Up? Or Cracked Up?

There’s quite a commotion online about a program called g-archiver that promises to back up your Gmail account, but in the process apparently harvests all users’ Gmail usernames and passwords, and mails them to a separate Gmail account. This is indeed scary, although it’s possible that the person behind it wasn’t collecting the passwords for nefarious purposes. But it highlights some important issues that we tend to overlook in this Web 2.0, mashup age: Your online email account is more vulnerable than an offline one (by which I mean, storing your old emails online, rather than downloading them to your computer and deleting the onlineContinue readingBacked Up? Or Cracked Up?

Bye Bye, Laptop?

The day seems to be getting closer when we can do something that would seem to be pretty obvious: access our pocket-sized smartphone via a bigger screen, keyboard and a mouse. Celio Corp says it’s close. Celio Corp have two products: their Mobile Companion (pictured above), a laptop like thing that includes an 8″ display, a full function keyboard, and a touchpad mouse. At 1 x 6 x 9 inches and weighing 2 lbs, the Mobile Companion promises over 8 hours of battery life and boots instantly. After loading a driver on your smartphone you can then access it via a USB cable or Bluetooth.Continue readingBye Bye, Laptop?

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