Stata’s Email Client

Writes News.com:

Stata Labs announced e-mail software and a spam-filtering program that aim to make in-box searches easier and less time-consuming. The e-mail program, called Bloomba, is available in a test version.

“We’re targeting those 40 million workers who spend more than two hours a day on e-mail,” said Raymie Stata, chief technology officer of Stata Labs. “Our long-term goal is to kill off folders as the dominant (means) for organization.”

I have already killed off folders and most of spam. Here’s what I have done:

– server-side filters split email into 3 incoming folders, based on whether one of the email addresses I use is mentioned in the From or To field, and in some cases the sender’s email domain. Spam mostly ends up in one of the other folders. Has cut spam by 95% or so. [I also make sure I don’t put my email ID on any web page.] Time to setup: 10 minutes (including filters thinking time!)

– Have just kept one folder now, where I save all messages that I need. No thinking about which folder I need to file a message into (and later, trying to figure out where I filed that message). So, when I am searching for a message, I scan only 2 folders – the one where I “keep” all the messages, and the other which is the “Sent” folder (where all my outgoing email goes into). Time to setup: 1 min.

– All of this is done on the server, since I am using a Linux thin client. My email client is Evolution, but all processing and storage happens on the server. Searching for a message is blazingly fast.

More on XDocs

Jon Udell writes on the 10 things we need to know about Microsoft’s InfoPath (formerly called XDocs):

1. You use it to gather and view semi-structured information.
2. Users create and maintain high-quality data.
3. It is aggressively standards-based.
4. It connects people to business processes.
5. It embraces both centralized and peer-to-peer workflow.
6. You can use it online or offline.
7. It helps you visualize your XML data.
8. It breaks the XSLT bottleneck.
9. Users and IT can jointly prototype new data structures.
10. It represents a paradigm shift.

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Apac will be tops in developers by 2005

North America will lose its standing as the world’s leading producer of professional software developers to the Asia/Pacific region by 2005, according to an IDC report quoted in InfoWorld. Slowly but surely, the centre of gravity in the world of technology is shifting East. More:

With 1.7 million software developers, the Asia/Pacific region is currently the No. 2 producer of development talent, surpassing Western Europe’s 1.6 million developers, but well behind North America’s 2.6 million professional developers in 2001, according to the IDC study.

With strong growth in the number of professional developers projected over the next two years in countries such as China and India as compared with North America, however, the Asian/Pacific region is on course to take over the No. 1 spot, IDC said.

Another snippet: “C and C++ continued to be the most commonly used development languages, with Java overtaking Visual Basic as the second most commonly used language worldwide, IDC said.”

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More on Demo 2003

From Fortune’s Peter Lewis on what he considers as the most intriguing products:

Grokker is both a tool that companies can use to build websites that are more useful to consumers and easier to navigate as well as a $99 software plug-in for your browser that significantly improves the web searching experience.

Pixim has crafted a new type of visual imaging technology-on-a-chip that promises great improvements for digital surveillance technology. Basically, it greatly improves the visual acuity of surveillance cameras, millions of which are being added to our lives every year.

Picasa is an elegant, peer-to-peer program that scans your computer for pictures, organizes them in chronological order without any of those stupid file names that plague most other Windows photo managers, and allows them to be shared more easily than ever before. It has the cleverest system for sharing photos by e-mail, for displaying your photos on a TV screen.

ManyOne is a window through which some people will want to view the World Wide Web and the Internet. Like Internet Explorer, it’s a browser, except that this browser is based on the Mozilla open-source platform and thus innocent of any affiliation with Microsoft. Moreover, ManyOne is intended to be a “private label” browser.

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TECH TALK: RSS, Blogs and Beyond: RSS and News Readers

Lets first take a closer look at RSS and how it can change how we access sites. What RSS does is creates a feed of the updates on a site which can now be delivered to readers, or more appropriately, pulled by software. This way, it becomes much easier to monitor a larger number of sites without having to go to each of these sites. Greg Notess provides the context for RSS:

Weblogs and news media sites share a common strength and a common weakness. With frequent updates, these sites help us keep track of the latest news, opinions, and rumors. Unfortunately, the frequent updates mean that we spend more time trying to keep up with them. So, we can check all of the news Web sites and blogs of interest every day, starting from our bookmarks or some other source. But this gets tedious rather quickly, especially as the number of sources of interest multiplies.

Another alternative is to get e-mail notification of updates. Many news sites offer this option. For other sites, current awareness tools like InfoMinder and WebSpector can be used to check for Web site updates and e-mail alerts and even include some of the changes. But again, as the number of sites covered increases, the daily e-mail inundation gets tedious as well, especially when combined with list mail, other e-mail, and all the junk mail that slips past the filters.

Here is an example of an RSS file. It looks like HTML, but is actually an XML file. The key lies in the three tags for link, title and description. The link provides the URL a sort of permalink to the item that has been updated, and the title and description give a flavour of the item. This is a format which can be read by special software. One example of that special software is a news reader, also called an RSS or News Aggregator.

Adds Notess:

For those who like to skim many of these frequently updated sources, a better approach is to find something that summarizes the new content, presents it in a compact format, combines multiple sources in one interface, and provides links to the full content to make it easy to pick and choose which new articles to read. And this is exactly what a news aggregator is designed to do.

RSS is a way of creating a broadcast version of a blog or news page. Anyone who has frequently updated content and is willing to let others republish it can create the RSS file. Typically called syndication, the RSS file is an XML formatted file that can be used at other sites or by other intermediary software such as news aggregators. The original incarnation was to use RSS to include several headlines on a personalized portal page. But an RSS feed can also be easily pulled into other functions, such as an aggregator.

Why is RSS and a News Reader useful? RSS provides an alternate way to check what has changed on a site it is a teaser (though some sites, especially weblogs, also offer the entire content through the RSS feed). A News Reader aggregates content from various feeds and enables a person to quickly navigate through large snippets of content.

Tomorrow: RSS and News Readers (continued)

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