Avoid Communication Overload

I am convinced that there are too many ways for us to communicate with each other. We have social media sites, text messaging, cell phones, land lines, snail mail and email – and likely a handful of ways I didn’t even remember to list. It can actually be annoying and time consuming trying to keep up with so many options. I actually had someone email me recently to ask for my phone number. I replied and received the phone call, only to find that the person was wanting my snail mail address. Seriously, people? You couldn’t have asked that in the original email? Having multiple ways of contacting others has its drawbacks, as well as being a good thing.

Step back a moment and think about all of the communication tools in your arsenal. I’m willing to bet you can name a person that you could contact at least ten different ways: and there are likely many people you could do this with. Is this the best use of your time, though? You have to decide which way to get ahold of them, hope they reply or answer and move on to a different way if the first doesn’t work. Tracking someone down isn’t always in your best interest. You should be asking each contact their preferred method of communication and stick with that unless an emergency arises.

Let’s say you need to contact me. I will tell you that email is your best bet. I have that open pretty much every moment I’m awake. I don’t like talking on the phone or Skype and I prefer to not use instant messaging clients. Those are fine for quick questions, but email provides a “paper trail” of sorts that we can refer back to if need be. Yes, there are times when we may need to connect on a call or in person, and that’s fine. But my first preference is always going to be my Inbox.

Instead of trying to send me an IM on every account I have, leaving me a voice mail I may not listen to for a few days or even trying to Skype me, why not just shoot me an email? You’re bound to get a much faster – and more detailed – response.

Now, everyone is different. There are people who may prefer a quick phone call, and that’s fine. My point is to ask people you regularly talk to which method they prefer. Keep other lines of communication as a backup. Heck, you can even break down your daily communications and organize them by type. Respond to and send emails first. Grab people you need to on IM after that and then perhaps schedule phone calls for the afternoon. Separate your correspondences this way so that you avoid overload.

Jumping back and forth between types all day long is going to drain you, frustrate you and maybe even confuse you at some point.

Use Hotmail With Any Existing Email Address

We all tend to have more than one email address: the average person maintains three of them. This is done to organize different types of email, maintain different parts of our persona or simply to keep spam away from our primary email Inbox. There are several good reasons to want more than one email address, but maintaining them all can be a royal pain. Hotmail is trying to make that easier on you beginning today, by helping make it simple to manage current and future email address in one place.

You can now use Hotmail to create and manage multiple email aliases from one single Hotmail account. Along with features they introduced back in November, the new alias feature gives you all of the benefits of multiple addresses without having to change your primary account – or your online identity.

Email aliases let you create completely different email addresses that you can use to receive email into your primary account without anyone knowing what your primary email address is. This is very important to many of you out there. In this day and age of privacy concerns and Identity Theft, we safeguard our information – including our primary email address. Setting up an alias or two can help you avoid having to do so.

Starting today, you can add up to five aliases per year to your Hotmail account, up to fifteen aliases in total, all designed to make it a lot easier to organize different types of email and personas in one Hotmail inbox without having to give out your primary email address if you don’t want to.

How to Turn off Conversation View in Gmail

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head as I read about Google helping users to turn off Conversation View within Gmail. In my opinion, threaded conversations are the best thing to happen to email since email itself was invented. Communication is actually much easier when you are able to track what has been added to a thread without wading hip-deep into your Inbox. As a proponent of this service, I hadn’t thought of those of you out there who actually may not enjoy being forced to have threaded conversations.

There are several people who aren’t happy with the way Gmail displays their email. Perhaps they are users who are simply stuck on the way things used to be handled by programs such as Outlook. Maybe they enjoy having to pull their boots on and having to dive into the Inbox (or whatever other folders they have) in order to track something that had been discussed already. For those people, Google has now created an option to turn OFF Conversation View. Wiltse Carpenter, Technical Lead for Gmail, has a colorful explanation for the move:

The way Gmail organizes mail into conversations is like cilantro. You either love it — and, like me, enjoy the nice citrusy, herbal finish it gives to everything from salsa to curry — or you hate it. It turns out not everyone feels the same way. And just as an outspoken minority has banded together in unison to declare their distaste of one of nature’s most delicious herbs, some of you have been very vocal about your dislike of conversation threading. So just like you can order your baja fish tacos without cilantro, you can now get Gmail served up sans conversation view. Go to the main Settings page, look for the “Conversation View” section, select the option to turn it off, and save changes. If you change your mind, you can always go back.

What are your thoughts? Can you imagine having to go back to the old ways of finding things in your email client of choice? Would you die from frustration by simply thinking about it? Or are you one of those this change was made for? If so, I’d love to hear your perspective. Perhaps I am missing an important point and reasoning you wouldn’t want to take advantage of beautiful threaded email goodness.

Scramble Your Email Address to Avoid Spam

I don’t know about you, but my inbox sees more than a hundred spam messages per day. These are only the ones that somehow bypass the filters that are in place. It seems as though no matter how hard you try, you cannot wipe out all of the spam that flies about the intertubes. This is where a small Javascript such as EmailScramber can come in handy.

There’s nothing to sign up for or download and it takes only a minute to do. Add your email address and link text (and the optional items if you wish) and click the little grey box to encode. Your email address will be scrambled up like this morning’s breakfast into a tidy little “mail to” link you can safely paste anywhere on the web. It can also be used for hiding other links from bots and automated scripts.

We may never completely wipe out spam but this is one sure way to help cut down on the junk you see every day in your email client.

There is no spam involved when you download the newest software and apps in our download center.

How Does Mail Work on the iPad?

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With Mail on the iPad, you can actually feel your email. That huge multi-touch display will quickly adapt to show you things in a way that works best for you. In Landscape mode, your mail will appear down the left side of the screen, so that you can quickly scan through your messages. Touch any email to see it in a larger view on the rest of the screen.

If you rotate the iPad into Portrait view, the message will fill the entire screen. If there are pictures included in the email, you can touch and hold your finger to them to save them instantly to the built-in picture application. Additionally, attachments (such as PDF documents) will open full-screen with a simple tap. It’s easy to get back to your message list from within Portrait view: just touch the button at the top-left of the screen.

When you begin to compose a new email (or start to reply to an existing one), the keyboard will appear on the screen automatically. It’s almost the size of a regular keyboard, so you shouldn’t have any trouble typing out your thoughts and information. The keyboard will track what you type, suggesting words and punctuation… and spelling corrections.

If it works as seamlessly as indicated by this video, sending and receiving email while on the iPad will be a good experience.

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