12 Step Plan For Email Addiction

CNN.com has a 12 step plan listed for email addiction.  Oddly enough, one of the steps is not throwing away the Blackberry Crackberry.  So go get started, and don’t fall off the wagon.

  1. Admit that e-mail is managing you. Let go of your need to check e-mail every ten minutes.
  2. Commit to keeping your inbox empty.
  3. Create files where you can put inbox material that needs to be acted on.
  4. Make broad headings for your filing system so that you have to spend less time looking for filed material.
  5. Deal immediately with any e-mail that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer.
  6. Set a target date to empty your in box. Don’t spend more than an hour at a time doing it.
  7. Turn off automatic send/receive.
  8. Establish regular times to review your e-mail.
  9. Involve others in conquering your addiction.
  10. Reduce the amount of e-mail you receive.
  11. Save time by using only one subject per e-mail; delete extra comments from forwarded e-mail, and make the subject line detailed.
  12. Celebrate taking a new approach to e-mail.

Shell Shortcuts in Windows Vista

This is more a personal reference than anything, but hopefully someone else will find it useful too.  In Vista you can navigate to many of the system folders, such as the “Send To” folder by typing shell:<Command Name> (eg shell:sendto) in the Start/Search(aka Run) text box (See screen shot).  This sure beats typing C:Users[UserID]AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsSendTo to do the same thing.

This tip works for many of the folders and other system screens / apps, the complete list is below.  Thanks to MVP Keith Miller for posting this in the vista.general newsgroup. UPDATE: Many of these also work fine under Windows XP.

Administrative Tools
CD Burning
Common Administrative Tools
Common AppData
Common Desktop
Common Documents
Common Programs
Common Start Menu
Common Startup
Common Templates
Default Gadgets
Local AppData
My Music
My Pictures
My Video
OEM Links
Original Images
Quick Launch
Start Menu

CloudMark Anti-Spam Desktop Tool – 3 Months Later

I am still very happy with it – The stats say it all…

18,429 SPAM’s blocked in less than 3 months.  That’s saved a lot of wear on the [Delete] key.  The only negative I have found is that it sometimes flags ink-only messages (Generated from a Tablet PC in Outlook).  But, oddly enough Office 2007s Junk Email filter does the same thing!  Even from people on my domain.

The other scary statistic here is that I have dealt with 8500 legitimate emails in that same time period, or about 155 per business day.

Improving Photo Quality on the Asus R2H UMPC

Here is a step by step guide to improving the camera / photo quality on the Asus R2H UMPC:

  1. Remove protective film from lens

Though I’ve only used my R2H for maybe an hour total, I never noticed the protective film over the top portion of the unit, which also covers the lens.  Normally these protective covers are easy to spot, and already peeling off some, but this one was stuck on well, and not visible at all.  If I hadn’t scratched it by mistake, I would have never noticed it.

Hopefully I’m the only one who missed this, but if not, and your pics are not up to par, give this a try. Doh!

iPhotoMeasure (Quick) Review

Yesterday, I saw another great post at JKOnTheRun about a software product called iPhotoMeasure. The concept behind iPhoto is that it lets you take a digital photo, and easily scale (Dimension) it based on a marker in the photo, in this case a 7.5×7.5″ or 15×15″ box (DigiTarget) printed on a sheet of paper.  It is designed for general contractors as a way to scale photos and bid jobs based on photos a homeowner sends them.

This sounded like a very cool product, and reminded me of a  project I was involved with many years ago for the DOD (I could tell you, but then,…. well, you know), albeit for a far different purpose.

I was also excited about this for use with our Tablet PC products, which make heavy use of digital cameras – seemed like there was some synergy there.  So I decided to download a copy and see how well it worked, and share a very quick review.  I’ll try some additional photos soon, and share those results too.

Unfortunately their eCommerce server was dying yesterday (a great problem to have if it was due to load), but I went back today and grabbed a copy for $99.  The download and install process was fairly painless, though it did require several steps to get a serial number, and was requiring some out of the ordinary demographic data before I could get a serial number for a product I already paid for.  Note to all ISVs – go read this great post from from Guy Kawasaki “10 Ways to Hinder Market Adoption”

Ok, so I am off and running… I print out a few of the 7.5″ DigiTargets, and make sure to tell my printer to do this at actual size (no scaling up or down).  The result is a 7.25 square from both Adobe & FoxIT PDF tools from 2 printers.  Odd, but probably still usable.  I tape one on my wall, and take several camera phone photos from about 10 feet.

Loading up the software, I see that the entire application is a Macromedia Adobe Flash app, which is why it runs on Mac & PCs.  As a side note, this seems like a very easy way to make it into a web based SaaS model – scale your photos for $1, $5, whatever, I’m sure they would get a lot of incremental homeowner business here as opposed to the $99 price tag.

My expectation was that the software would isolate the DigiTarget, and automatically scale the photo based on that.  Unfortunately it did not, and I had to manually zoom into the target and drag a bounding box around it to create the scale.  When I did this, it also forced me to draw a perfect square, and did not allow for any skewing in the photo.  In my example below, you can see that the photo was skewed, and the bounding box did not match the target.  I think they should have allowed the user to draw a rectangle, and let the software extrapolate the X and Y scale based on that.  Not a huge problem, and probably not a problem at all if it is a great photo from a 3+ megapixel camera.

Now that I have my scale set, I can drag lines to create dimensions of objects.  As you can see from the example below, the 8.5″ paper I scaled is showing at 9 1/16″.  I attribute this to the DigiTarget and photo skew.  Overall it is very easy to dimension items, though based on what I am seeing it only works well for 2D objects.  As an example, an object coming towards you (a wall to your left, as opposed to in front of you) would not scale accurately.

Ok, now that I am done with dimensions, I am ready to save.  The app will let me save in their native format, but not anything useful (JPG, GIF etc..)   for sharing the results.  I had to use SnagIT to get the photos below.  The app does allow for printing.

My (quick) Verdict:  I think this is a very cool v1.0 application that has a ton of potential, and I see how it could be very beneficial to the contracting industry.  I think there are quite a few items that need to be addressed to take this from a “Neat” product to a “Great” product, but they all seem (from a technical perspective) easily doable. I think the $99 price is high for personal / homeowner use, but will not be an issue for GCs (one or two saved trips to a customer will pay for this).  Selling into the AEC (Architects, Engineers, Construction) verticals is by far the hardest vertical I have ever been involved selling in to.  I think for iPhotoMeasure to succeed here they are going to need to create a free / lite demo version of the app, and make some of the improvements listed above.  They have a winner on their hands, just need a few more minutes in the oven.











SizeEasy – Great Tool For Tablet, Laptop & Gadget Reviews

I came across a neat site this morning that does one thing, and does it well.  The whole concept of SizeEasyis that it lets you enter the physical dimensions of items, and then it generates various 2D and 3D images that compares how the various items size up to each other.

In the example here, I’ve compared several popular Tablets – The Toshiba M400, The Lenovo X60, and a Samsung Q1 UMPC – this example took less than 2 minutes to enter the data and generate.  You can see how easy it is to compare and contrast the various form factors, sure beats “The Q1 is 227.5×139.5×26.5mm”.

So if you write hardware reviews, check this site out, I think you and your readers will find it to be a great tool.

I sure wish I had known about this when I was struggling over sizes on my last digital camera purchase!