Ursinet.com

January 15th, 2010

Why post on many sites when you can use services like Ping?

January 15th, 2010

I use Microsoft because, in part, I am an Outlook/Office user, and they integrate with the software that they designed better, in most cases. ?I was not thrilled with the web results-like format in Google and I like the immediate gratification I get from clicking on the Outlook item and having it open properly.

January 15th, 2010

I use the?Send2 Plugin from 4Team Corporation, which allows me to send out individual emails instead of trying to force bulk email.

This works very well for personalized emails to a small group of people. ?However, the plugin is not as robust as I would like, causing many reboots if I have too many program open, despite having 8G of RAM on my machine, and often crashing or taking many hours to process just a few thousand emails. ?While I have used many different bulk emailers, I really wanted to have something that was a plugin that showed the proper name of my addresses in the To: field and to have a perfect audit of what actually went out in my Sent Items.

So for now I am using Send2 in batches when I have thousands of emails to send out. ?When I called their tech support about the problem they remoted in and said I had everything set up fine but that it just wasn’t intended for that many addressees. ?So what is the limit? ?They didn’t give me one. ?I don’t understand how they can sell this as a bulk mailer if it truly isn’t.

January 15th, 2010

PROS

  • I have been using it for many years and the program has afforded me a way to customize to the umpteenth level the fields that I find to be important.
  • The custom fields with the various formulas are very helpful mostly for my contacts.
  • I use the Send2 Plugin from 4Team Corporation, which allows me to send out individual emails instead of trying to force bulk email. ?That program is not as robust as I would like, but I will critique it on another page.
  • After years of struggling with a range of contact forms that were inconsistent, I finally found a free program called DocMessageClass which in an instant helped me solve years of frustration. ?It was unclear to me for so long how to convert the data I already had to the custom forms I desired and finally I learned that the field that described the “form name” was actually called “MessageClass” most likely because, in their brilliance, Microsoft probably thought that the only custom forms that people would be using would be in emails. ?Unlike most people, it seems, though, I truly take pride in trying to put my legitimate contacts into my address book, and I do so as cleanly as possible.
  • Another tip related to forms in Contacts ?is making sure that every Contact folder has every form that you need. ?So, for example, I have ones that are more for Companies and ones that are for individuals. ?I have ones for Listservs, which have fields that I need and not much more. ?Of course in any contact, you can always go to the last tab and see all of the fields, but I wanted a clean interface for each TYPE of contact, so I created a Companies folder that defaults to the Companies form when I create one from scratch.
  • For most individual contacts I just right click on an address in the To:, CC: or BCC: field and “Add to Contacts” and the appropriate default form comes up.
  • Since the XP version of Office, the file sizes are far less of a problem for Outlook. ?No matter how many folders or categories I have, with the fast search features that there are nowadays, I just put everything into different folders usually by quarter and archive them into a PST file that I leave attached so that it is searchable with the various deskbar search softwares (I prefer the Microsoft one since they know their software the best, but for a while I used the Google Deskbar). ?This helps to reduce PST file size, which used to be limited to 2G. ?The default maximum size now is 20G, but I am far from reaching that, even though I put up to several photos for each contact that I create. ?The older PST files were notorious for unrecoverably crashing as you approached 2G and there was almost nothing that could e done about it, and no warning system. ?I don’t know anyone who has approached the default 20G file size, but I heard that even if you reach it, you can make the file sizes larger. ?I don’t see why anyone would not archive, though, as having any file that size would seem to be a waste of time with the delays that you’d probably encounter.
  • I make a point of deleting attachments from emails, since I almost never need a backup in my PST of attachments. ?I also make sure to DELETE forwarded emails with attachments, especially if there is no original language in the forward, but sometimes I just remove the attachment so I have an audit of what I sent. ?You can always add a flag to say what you did, if you want to remind yourself.

CONS

  • Why isn’t there a built-in method of hard-bouncing emails to known spammers?
  • Why does it take so many buttons to put someone on your spam list? ?I had to create my own button. ?Ask me if you want to know how I did it.
  • When I receive an email from a person in my address book, why can’t I have that person’s REAL NAME shown? ?Blackberries have been doing that for years!
  • There is no way to add an EMBEDDED picture into custom Contact forms. ?This seems ridiculous.
January 15th, 2010

Be safe and avoid the games and applications that some are tempted to use. ?I hope I don’t offend anyone, but I do not accept any applications unless I have gone to a web site which links to Facebook for some practical purpose, like Ping.fm.

It would be nice if no one ever got angry or said anything cross, but Facebook doesn’t believe in that. ?Your profile is subject to being hacked, especially if you use the applications that mine for data, and your account can be suspended no many how many thousands of friends you have (the maximum is 5,000) if you annoy even one person. ?While I don’t feel like I’ll ever catch up, I endeavor to establish contact with people with their real email address and put them in my personal address book. ?There are some programs that help you synchronize this, but Facebook is not going to help you if they arbitrarily delete your account and you don’t have everyone backed up. ?I also have a very customized setup in Outlook, so I don’t want them removing or replacing the data that I placed in certain fields with what someone may have put in their profiles, because sometimes people don’t put their primary email address as the one in their profile.

I do feel that it is ridiculous to have a profile if you are not going to share your email address. ?There is adequate protection from email mining with the graphical representation of your email address in your profile, so only a real person can glean your address. ?Those people who often seem the most worried about their accounts are the ones who have AOL addresses, which I hardly consider to be email.

Even more importantly, I always stress to people, is not to use Facebook as email. ?It is NOT email. ?Email allows you to contact any other domain. ?There is no way to do that with Facebook and Facebook is not the only game in town, nor will it ever be. ?I often have to send real emails to people begging them to please just contact me directly.

January 15th, 2010

There have got to be easier ways to do this!

Looking Up Contacts – Another criticism is the lookup. ?Why on Earth can I not force it to look up someone? ?I usually get so frustrated with finding an old message to reply to and waiting for it to pop up a correctly-spelled name, that I close the messaging program (I use Handcent) and go to the Contacts and send a message from there. ?For the longest time I did not think there was even a method for sending a text from the contact because it only refers to calls, but there is a little face icon that you can click on that eventually will open up and you an send a text from there, with the messaging program you specify (the default of Handcent). ?Granted, I have almost 8,000 contacts synched, but the names I type in are unique enough. ?This should not be so onerous!

Deleting Messages/Housekeeping – My biggest problem with the messaging on the Droid after not being able to find my contacts, is that I have to hit FOUR BUTTONS to confirm the deletion of a single text! ?What on Earth is this all about? ?I already get my texts backed up on Gmail and my SD card, so why do I need to hit that may buttons for a single message? It’s absurd and complete waste of time. ?If they are so worried about me inadvertently deleting an un-backed up message, why don’t they just create a trash folder?

Finding Old Messages – I found a little trick to quickly find someone I want to reply to, but it doesn’t seem to work as well as I would like. ?When you are in your messaging inbox, you can do a search, but it is NOT intelligent enough to see the name or number of the person you are searching for. ?It only searches the content of the messages! ?I am going to do some research and hope they fix this flaw soon, as it renders the search feature much less powerful.

Browsing to Top and Bottom of Messages – I also miss the Blackberry features like hitting T for top of your inbox and B for bottom. ?There doesn’t appear to be any way to navigate except to scroll, and despite the small software upgrade, there is still a lot of stuttering for me when I go through my messages.

De-Threading Available? – There does not seem to be a way to de-thread messages, and when I’m backed up on my Facebook status updates from friends that I get delivered in that manner, this can really be a nightmare. ?My old Motorola 9cq was actually helpful in some ways because every message was individual. ?While this contributed to a lot of clutter, at least I could do house keeping a lot easier.

No Auto-More? – When I do have long threads, there is a subtle button nearthe top that I have missed seeing a few times and I have gone ahead and deleted messages that I did not have read. ?I wish there was a way to have all of the threads remain live when I scroll so I can just finish reading it. ?When I DO hit the view more messages button, it takes me to the top of the thread, so that I forget where I ended. ?This doesn’t make any sense to me. ?If I am reading a long thread backwards, then I want to be able to just continue to scroll from where I was.

January 15th, 2010

I’ve been using a licensed copy of?BC2 from Scooter Software for several years (I did not see the advantage to paying for version 3, but it is available). ?I find it to be truly the most intuitive of all of the data synchronizing softwares out there. Everything that I have begun to imagine that I would need to do, they have a feature for, so I put my most important data on an external hard drive, back that up to a smaller one without some of the temporary, large media files I have, such as movies I will only watch once, then the more critical data I backup onto an even smaller hard drive which I leave at my mother’s house in another town.

This software even allows you to compare file by file on web sites/domains. ?You can exclude whatever files or folders you don’t want to bother seeing again.

My only criticism (and this may be because I haven’t discovered where the feature is yet), is that there is no automatic way to remove empty folders when all of the files have been deleted from them.

January 15th, 2010

This is something that is supposed to take off, which basically puts your data in the hands of a third party, like Google or Microsoft, so that your data is stored with them, and even applications are run from their servers, so that none of the processes or storage needs to necessarily be kept on your local machine.

I have mixed feelings about this. ?Storage is not expensive anymore, but being diligent and finding the right software to backup all of the data you need at the right intervals still requires a lot of configuration, no matter how robust and thorough your backup software is. ?See my review of BeyondCompare software.

January 15th, 2010

Gmail only limits you to 10,000 contacts. ?I have used Outlook for many years and I have many more contacts than that. ?Granted, they are not all active and not all even have email addresses, but it is a pain to have to move people back and forth to keep the ones that are active in my main address book that synchs. ?It would be nice if I could just use filters and have them all in one place in Outlook, but to synch with the Google cloud I cannot do that.

What makes matters worse is that I do not use Exchange for my personal domains, nor do I feel like I want to pay for that extra service, although it is available through various third parties for a monthly fee.

So I had to purchase a program called CompanionLink which for a flat fee does the synching at intervals that I need. ?Supposedly they are working on a version that doesn’t require the Google cloud, so that would probably circumvent the problem I had with the contact limitation mentioned above.

I don’t have a problem per se with with Google cloud, but I do have an issue with how long it seems to take to pull up an name, particularly with the text messaging.

I use a free Droid application called Handcent, which is much more heavy in features than the resident texting program.