Tag Archives: mail

Windows Live Essentials Preview

Windows Live Wave 4 Essentials beta was released today, but not everyone is happy. Zack Whittaker says simply that “it’s awful.” When describing the Mail portion of the app, Zack states “the program is clunky, sluggish and feels like it’s been thrown together by an angry child at best.” That doesn’t sound good. The only portion that Aack likes at all is Sync, which he claims works flawlessly.

Paul Thurrott, the Windows IT Pro, is much more optimistic in his review. In part: “Messenger is expanding to become the center of Microsoft’s social networking strategy and will integrate with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and whatever else it is that people are doing these days. The sharing possibilities here are impressive, but I’m most excited by the news that Microsoft is going to deliver a native Windows Live Messenger application for the iPhone. We’re entering a new era here, folks.”

Formerly known as Windows Live Wave 4, Windows Live Essentials is available for download as a beta copy. The Microsoft software includes a suite of free applications including IM (instant messaging), photo/movie editor, email client and a live blogging tool.

If you’ve already tried out the beta, what are your thoughts so far?

The Future of Mail

One caller the other night was ringing me all the way from Denmark. He is a mailman in his home town, and wondered what my thoughts are about the future of traditional post offices. It’s something interesting to think about. With technology advancing more every day, people don’t want pieces of paper lying around.

The most frustrating thing for me is to see the cost of postage going up all of the time. I’ll buy a book of stamps one day. It seems like within just a few weeks those stamps aren’t enough anymore. It’s frustrating.

The new Forever stamps may help with this. They just recently went on sale at your local U.S. post office. Research has shown that customers prefer the Forever stamp for the convenience it offers by easing the transition for mailing letters when prices change. When postage changes in the future, it will reduce the need to buy one- and two-cent stamps.

If it were up to me, I’d conduct all of my business online and reduce the need to have any pieces of paper lying around. Not only would I be saving some trees, I’d also be saving some clutter in my house.

What about you? What do you feel will happen with traditional snail mail in the coming years?

How to Track Your Mail with Google Envelopes

Many years ago, my mother wrote out a check for the rent of our house at the time, stuffed it into an addressed envelope, slapped a stamp on it and tossed it into a mail box. The letter was picked up the next day by our neighborhood mailman, and mom assumed that it would reach the rightful person in a day or two. A week later, however, she received a call from the landlady asking why the rent hadn’t been paid. Mom checked with the bank… the check hadn’t been cashed. She spoke with the post office. They didn’t have a damaged envelope on hand. No one could figure out where the mail had gone!

Mom canceled the check, and sent out a new one. Lo and behold: the original envelope was delivered to our house a week or so later. Our rent check had decided to go to Vegas without us, apparently. There were postmarks on there for our home town – and for Las Vegas. What happened to it in between the two dates is a mystery to this day.

While this may have happened many years ago, we still do see lost mail at times. It happens. Think of how many boxes and envelopes the post offices handle each day. It’s mind-boggling to try and add it up. This is why I feel the Google Envelopes (still only a concept at this point) could be a great idea.

If these were a reality, you would type your address and the address of the person you’re mailing something to into the program. Print your envelope and SEE the route right there in front of you. No one can get lost this way. Both addresses are clearly displayed along with a map between the two points.

There is one slight problem, though. This will only work so far if the sender’s address is west of the recipient’s home. I’m sure there’s a workaround for this, but I haven’t figured out yet what it would be.

What do you think? Would you print these fun little envelopes and use them for yourself? Or… would you rather have the ability to say “Gee, I don’t know where the check is. It must be lost in the mail.”

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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65 Reasons Why Outlook 2007 Will Suck

It started with a small list of Outlook look-outs. But the closer I look at Outlook 2007’s second beta, the more I’m starting to worry. It’s worse than I thought. I know many people disagreed with my assessment of Outlook 2003 (what, with it sucking – though not sucking as much as Outlook XP). However, I’ve been partially vindicated.

The major shortcoming of Outlook XP/2003 was in combining the Exchange and Internet code into a single experience. The good news is: the team has rectified the situation in Outlook 2007 by enabling separate Exchange / Internet environments. Still, they’re not even close to being out of the “Approved by Pirillo” forest. Many of the items on the following list may seem superficial, but it’s obvious that nobody is paying attention to these details that (when added up) make for a disappointing ride that isn’t as good as one would come to expect from the second-most profitable area of Microsoft. I hold the entire Outlook team responsible for these usability nightmares and interface inconsistencies.

Remember, this list is an extended addendum to my original assessment of Outlook 2007 (and initial bug reports). I stopped at 65 this time because that’s how old I turned after compiling this list.
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