Wavebox for productivity wins

Wavebox intro

I was using Wmail for a while since I got a little fed up with using Gmail in Chrome, it was good but sometimes I found it zapping resources. I tried using Evolution, Thunderbird and a few other native email apps but missed some of the nice things Gmail does and supports. So when I first saw Wmail I thought I’d give it a try even with the slight skepticism from some around Electron.

So impressed with Wmail, that I donate to the development for it. It wasn’t long till they got in touch and said they were moving to Wavebox and as a nice extra I would get a year subscription to Wavebox pro.

The things I love about Wavebox is being able to hook up multiple gmail accounts including drive, contacts, calender, etc. Trello works great as does Slack (but I opted to keep the slack app for now). But the killer is being able to hook up any site you like. For example I use Mastodon and WordPress (the official linux app locks up a lot). I was tempted to setup Evernote and maybe laverna, standardnotes, a few other things but this will do for now.

The Verge seem to agree too

Its pretty great and the ability to add almost any site is pretty useful, especially with the lack of Linux support for some things. Yes you have to pay for the pro features but its worth it.

There is also a misconception that I won’t pay for software and thats rubbish. Its about the terms, for example Wavebox is actually open source but the terms of what you pay for are fine with me.

Notification and email management

Fedora 16 & Gnome3

Been thinking about replacing my work mobile phone for a while. Its a XDA Windows Mobile 6.1 phone and to be honest the battery life and general use it shocking. Unfortunately the BBC don’t support Android for work mobiles but they do support iPhones and Blackberry. Interestingly they also don’t support Windows Phone 7 either which is strange because they did support Mobile 6.1/6.5.

I almost went with the iPhone option as it has the advantage of remote BBC email and a familiar modern operating system.

However I’ve been thinking about my email management…

There was a period while I was running BBC backstage when I was getting roughly 150+ emails a day not including any mailing lists emails. I was dealing with it, only just… I felt crap because I was missing stuff and not really catching up with people I promised email back. Not only that, I knew I was much less productive because I was always firefighting emails coming into my inbox. This was confirmed by using Rescuetime for about a year or two. Once I get it working with Ubuntu, I’ll be quantifying my work more often. Rescuetime say they are working on a Linux version which is easier that.

I recently also adopted the 4 sentenc.es thing after seeing Oli Woods email signature one day…

The Problem
E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.
The Solution
Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.
four.sentenc.es is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be four sentences or less. It’s that simple.

Everytime I send out a email to someone new in the BBC, they reply and also said they like the idea of 4 sentenc.es but can’t imagine adopting it. I use to think the same, but with a little thought, I manage to condense at least 90% of my emails exchanges down to the 4 sentences. The footer message helps to explain to the recipients that you will be very brief. Not only that, it helps to separate out email responses too.

Seems theres nothing worst than getting a chain of emails with multiple ideas and thought in them. Although I can be as much to blame for this as most others.

What I’ve recently been doing is only checking my email once every few hours. This is partly because I have to switch networks to get my work email. Yes I could mess with proxy settings and setup routes but actually I quite like disconnecting from the corporate network to catchup with Twitter, Gmail, etc. Don’t get me wrong its not just personal type stuff, its google docs, evernote, dropbox syncing, etc. All part of working life… But if they are, what isn’t?

Recently my manager gave up his blackberry, I’m sure his life will be better without it. I don’t blame him really.

The notifications can be worst than the email itself, I’d contest..

I’ve been showing people Gnome Shell or Gnome3 recently specially since I got my new replacement Lenovo X220 Thinkpad (which I’m now starting to love, now the hardware works correctly). I’m finding the management of notifications really useful and the idea of hiding that stuff away really good for getting stuff/things done. Once it really gets going, its going to be awesome for notification management.

In the meanwhile, I decided not to upgrade my phone and I’ve put the Sim into my thinkpad to use for work when I can’t get use Wifi or a network connection. Now if I could just find a Linux application which allows me to manage texts and phone calls… then I’d be very happy.

A quick letter of complaint to Fevermedia

After the year of love self destruction, I’ve been holding off sending them exactly what I thought of them. Everytime I go to write, I get pissed off and start repeating some of the thoughts in my blog entry from earlier…

So in the end I wrote this because I needed to write something short and being 2 days later, it just needed to happen…

I’m still days later, generally peed off about what happened on Saturday… I wrote a blog entry which you may or may not be interested in.

I personally was interested in the experiment and meeting my match through science or more like alchemy. But it never happened on the day.
Someone at the end said they would match people via email, but as I wrote I doubt most will agree after such a terrible experience in the name of science… 🙁 Even wrote a blog to encourage people to give it a try…
So I’m still interested in carry on the experiment but wouldn’t be surprised my partner wasn’t interested and it never made the tv… Robbed is how me and many others felt, no wonder there were the signs of frustration by 7pm. As a bbc employee I was also upset to hear people say negative comments about the bbc…
I await answers…
Ian Forrester – number 2135
There’s been a number of Facebook groups/pages setup but the most active is The Year Of Making Love Contestants. Some people have gotten replies but frankly there not very apologetic about the whole event.
There’s also a number of contestant created events happening around the country, including Manchester! If Fevermedia were smart they would back some of these user created events. Something like hardship to bring people together much tighter than almost anything else.

Updated

And just when you think Fevermedia would have put their heads down.. There’s talk on Facebook that they are calling up matches and saying this…

Hi we got your e mail’s we understand you were unhappy with your match.

Can we re-match as we are are still kean on filming you and following your progress through-out the year.

Even if you don’t get on with your match think of the exposure you could get, We won’t pay you but I’m sure you guys can make money out of this.

Your new match is happy to go ahead so it just comes down to you, if you say no thats fine but just think about it as this is a great opportunity.

If this is true and honestly I wouldn’t put it pass them to do such a under-handing thing going on previous experience. I certainly won’t be involved… It goes from being a unique experiment to a freakshow, and thats not what I signed up for… As far as I can see, the contract I signed was void when I didn’t get matched first time.

So much for the science, maths or alchemy…! Once again I’d refer to my last blog

Tweet digging the rules

Tweetdig

The concept is simple… Imagine if your Twitter client was crossed with your mail client?

Tweetdig is exactly that.

Currently in private beta although it feels slightly more like a alpha. I was lucky to gain a activation code when they previewed it at BarCampBlackpool last weekend.

So how does it work? well it works very well. Like most twitter clients you have the tweets going up the screen but theres a few options to do a bunch of things including create a filter based on the tweet you’ve selected. You can just write a filter but the best way is to start with something.

Tweetdig

So in the screenshot above I have a folder called BBC discussions which usually come from my boss Adew, Si_lumb, or a number of other people. I actually added a bunch more people from the BBC, so now any tweets from them containing one of the others is classes as a conversation which I might want to be aware of.

The filters are pretty much what you’d expect but there a great start. I’d really like to see a better way to group people, so instead of listing everyone on each line, I could say if anyone in my BBC list says something to 2 or more BBC people, drop a copy of the message in a folder. In actual fact I’m not seeing much in the way of the twitter lists being used in tweetdig. Most likely because they haven’t got around to them yet or maybe because lists are not used much?

I’m sure the team will be all over lists at some point, they may even make it transparent, so when you create a grouping in tweetdig, it actually creates a list automatically?

To be honest, it really needs a lot stabilising, and I know there all working on that right now. But they certainly have plans to make a mobile client and maybe a desktop client. Once you start using it, its hard to go back and even more frustrating to use a mobile client without the rules and folders. In fact it would be great if you could assign clients to a folder. For example my mobile client would only show certain folders instead of everything and me having to cascade through it.

I did have a word with them on the side at the barcampblackpool and asked if they knew of any clients which support filtering or rules? Got thinking it would be good if you could simply export your rules out of the site and into your choice of client instead of waiting for them to create a client for your platform.

I’ve already created the dream filter which removes all tweets with the hashtag #sxsw to the bin so I don’t have to hear how much fun people are having in Austin next year. I’ve also setup the same for #iphone5 #iphone4s and #ipad3. Yes it may sound a bit crude but what I really need a little more structure so I could say, ignore all those unless @bbcnews tweet something.

As usual I’d also like to see a more Xpath type logic and the ability to do conditional things like, if @tdobson tweets a link to a video and its retweeted by at least 2 of my followers tell me about it (usually I can never trust what @tdobson links to, as its usually balls or great). Also like to see stuff like the ability to mute someone if they tweet more than x times in a set period of time. Automatically send anyone who tweets the same thing over x times in a set period of time to the junk folder.

Lastly I’d really like to be able to feed Facebook/Buzz/Google+/Idents status/updates/messages into the same thing. Maybe these guys are sitting on the perfect idea of the social operating system (stowe boyd?)

You get the general idea…

Tweetdig

The humour of the startup is fun and reflects the people behind it. Its great to see a original idea being pushed forward by these guys who are regular barcampers and such friendly people.

I wish them lots of luck and I think they got something that in the end may be copyable by others but at least they can say, we had the original idea and followed through with a decent product. I can already imagine Tweetdeck or Seesmic with rules which span across not just twitter but also Facebook and Buzz.

So impressed with this service, I’ve closed down Tweetdeck (for now) and made this my number 2 in Top10 interesting tech startups. Novel service with a good solid concept, although I do feel the email methodology will trap them in the end. Its all about the rules 🙂

 

 

Inbox zero?

Not likely…

My inbox at work
24k of unread messages

I’m planning to put all the unread messages from while I was away in the DMZ folder and then pretty much dump them all in the trash bin once I go back to work. So if you’ve contacted me during the time I was off due to the bleed on my brain, then tough luck. I won’t be answering back sorry… There is no way I’m going to run through 24k of unread messages from May – October

Ebay unfair to those in a Coma?

While I was in Hospital in a Coma, I dropped the ball on quite a few things including a couple of Ebay things I was selling. So I find out that the person I was selling a computer too didn’t get the computer, actually it was still in my room. But I had already cashed the Paypal transfer a while ago. So I had not sent the computer but I was going to, I bought a box for it and everything to go in the post, but had not gone through with the actual post part. Then that weekend the bleed on the brain happened and I was in hospital for 4 weeks.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the didn’t tarnish my perfect 100% reputation with a negative comment for something I had no control over. I’m not saying he was in the wrong, as far as he was concerned I had bagged the money and not answered any of my emails since. I guess I seemed like a scammer and he did the right thing asking ebay to return his money.

The problem I have is since returning to the real world, its not possible to appeal against the decision. Even with all the best intentions, nothing. I’ve tried contacting the buyer and now I’m looking for the ebay email address to appeal the decision. If I could just get through to someone, I could show them the caring bridge site which would also prove what I’m saying is the truth, Heck I even have a sick note if it goes that far.

Its not so much about the money, I’m happy to give the guy back his money, its about my reputation, 100% to 85.7%.

Here’s how it went from there end.

  • 05 Jun, 2010 at 14:48 eBay Customer Support has refunded the buyer and the case is closed. You must now reimburse eBay for this refund.
  • 05 Jun, 2010 at 14:45 The buyer has escalated the case to eBay Customer Support.
  • 04 Jun, 2010 at 06:18 You should have responded to the buyer.
  • 25 May, 2010 at 06:18 The buyer opened a case: Item not received

I finally found a email to contact ebay to contest the case.

Did you get a email from Octane about BarCampLondon2?

BarCampLondon2 17th-18th Feb 2007

I just do not understand. When did Press Release mean emailing everyone who wrote about BarCampLondon in the last year?

Ben and Tom make their feelings known and rightly so I have to say.

I have little to do with the emails which went out today. Honestly if this was even mentioned to me I would said no this is certainly a very bad idea. I did agreed with BT putting out a press release. But I was under the illusion this meant emailing newspapers, magazines, etc not bloggers. Lets cut the crap, does a event which sold 100 tickets in 1.5 hours and is now holding back tickets to the public currently need even more PR? No I don't think so. You only have to whisper BarCampLondon and
people are kicking off emails asking when and where to sign-up. This is no bad thing because BarCampLondon was such a great event last time and I'm sure it will be even better this time around.

What killed me about the emails from Bethan at Octane PR was.

  1. Bethan used a Press release which I had corrected previously when BT sent it to me, Nat and Jason recently.
  2. The link to BarCampLondon2 was wrong in the emails
  3. The email addresses must have been found by searching Google or Technorati
  4. The start of the email twists the truth to sound like it comes from a trusted source
  5. The emails were sent to people who merely mentioned BarCampLondon not BarCampLondon2 (hence Ben got one although he lives in SF)
  6. Bethan must not have done much research into the event because even I got a email and I'm a bloody organizer (geez)
  7. The signature for Bethan Thomas, account manager at Octane PR is over 10 lines tall! Do they have no shame?

I do not want this to distract from the great work BT has done in opening up its building for BarCampLondon2. We really have a great space and BT were happy to offer us even more. They even had a backup venue in case we felt the BT Centre in St Pauls wasn't suitable (no idea how they could have felt that). I'm sure it will blow over in the next few days, plus everyone is talking about the BBC CBBC World at the moment to notice most of the blogs
charting the email (although I expect the number to grow by tomorrow).

My personal apologies goes out to Ben, Tom, Drew, David, Adrian, Nat, Richard, Leisa and anyone else who it went to.

I do promise to talk to BT and I'm sure they will appreciate the honest response they are getting from bloggers. Last but not least a quote from the Cluetrain.

To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. But first, they must belong to a community.

For those wondering about the email, look no futher here it is.

Hi Ian,

I notice that you’ve registered your interest in going along to BarCamp London this year. Just wanted to make sure you have the updated details on the event and have the registration details if you do want to go along.

Thanks,
Bethan

News Alert

January 23, 2007

BT BACKS INNOVATION BY SPONSORING BARCAMP LONDON


As part of its commitment to driving innovation in technology at every level, BT has announced it’s the lead sponsor of BarCamp London 2007.

The event, which will be held at BT Centre, London, on February 17 and 18, 2007, is the second to be held in London and is part of a worldwide programme of conferences that includes Los Angeles, Montreal and Seoul.

BarCamp London brings together the UK’s technology community to share ideas and learn about technology in an open environment. These include attendees from design, usability, marketing/PR, digital agency work and venture capital backgrounds, as well as developers and programmers.

The BarCamp rules are very clear and create an environment where there are no spectators, only participants: everyone who attends is expected to present, give a demo, lead a session or support the event in some way. This helps to get everyone involved, but also creates more of a community atmosphere. First time attendees have to make a presentation or lead a discussion.

Gavin Patterson, group managing director consumer at BT Retail said: “As a company, we’re driving innovation in the technology sector, both for businesses and consumers. BarCamp is at the heart of this and brings together some of the most talented people in the industry, creating an environment where they can share, discuss and develop the latest technology and services, which is why we’re sponsoring the latest event in London.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about BarCamp London 2007, please go to http://barcamp.org/BarCampLondon or register at http://cubicgarden.eventwax.com/barcamplondon/register


Bethan Thomas
Account Manager
OCTANE
A division of LEWIS – Global Public Relations
Millbank Tower, Millbank
London, SW1P 4RS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7802 2662
Mobile: +44 (0)7714 768952
Web: www.octanepr.com

PRWEEK – Top ten all-sector agency, 2005
PRWEEK – Number one in UK technology PR league, 2003, 2004, 2005

Best Companies – Michelin-rated one star accreditation, 2006
The Sunday Times – Top 100 best small companies to work for, 2005
The Holmes Report – Top Ten international consultancies, 2005 & European SABRE awards finalists, 2006
Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence finalists, 2006

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del.icio.us vs. emailing

Michah Dubirko wrote this entry titled del.icio.us, blogging a while ago. I would take it slightly differently, and compare it to email. Since Del.icio.us applied the feature to send friends bookmarks to their bookmark inbox I've been really tempted to stop sending email too but I don't know if friends are getting them or not?

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Weird seeing my name in NTK still

NTK now

This months Event queue in NTK has this block of text

…Negotiations are afoot to snag one or more of them for another London GEEK DINNER, though in the meantime Ian Forrester is trying out a slightly more upmarket venue for January's soiree with DAVE “CSS Zen Garden” SHEA (7pm, Mon 2006-01-23, The Crown and Anchor, 22 Neal St, London WC2H 9PS, UKP6 for buffet). And for anyone who considers an evening discussing web standards “not quite geeky enough”…

Its still kind of weird although its happened a couple of times now. Cheers Dave for the heads up. I must have missed it because NTK does not do full text RSS still. Yeah I know some of the reasons why, but come on… come on make it happen.

Anyway I wanted to also say before going to bed early tonight (3am) do get your name on geekdinner.co.uk or Eventful. I'm actually wondering if we will break the maximum capacity of 70 people with this geekdinner. I have the option of moving the venue to the polar bear near Leicester Square if we do go over 70 people. Oh and one more thing, if your around in London and not doing much before the geekdinner, be sure to check out Dave Shea's plans to go around the Tate modern with a few geeks. I would go myself, but I have to work till after 5pm, before hot trotting it to the Geekdinner to put up signs and sort out name badges. Yep name badges are back, be afraid…no..be very afraid… *smile*

I've been thinking, I should share some of the so called secrets to the geekdinners and events I've done so far. I'm not one of those people seeking to be a A-class blogger and am more of a sharer than holder

So first things, about a year ago I was going to events which honestly I felt could be done better. So I did. How do I get the guests which I do? Well in my own experience its friends of friends and keeping an eye on guests blogs. See if you see someones in town for a short period, its a good idea to write them a nice email asking if they would be interested in taking part in your event. I always see these emails as the start of a conversation and maybe a way to plan something next time around. Hey and theres nothing wrong with a good conversation with a good person. Oh yeah and its worth pointing out that I'm quite picky with the guests. I'm tending to lean towards people who are geeky but are interesting. Molly was the perfect guest, but Dave could be better still.

How do I sort out the money? Well I tend to have events during the week which means you can get a venue for almost free, but you need to pay for the food. Most places do buffet type food and charge anything between 1 pound and 30 pounds a head. I tend to prefer the lower end of the scale because to be honest, you can get a ok resturant meal in London for 15 pounds per head. So why would you pay so much for a buffet? I also only charge as much as the buffet costs and wait as long as possible before giving a exact figure for people eating. How do I know how many people there will be? Well I usually count how many unique comments the geekdinner blog gets, then take away about 15 people for people who may not turn up. I also check out other Eventful, Upcoming and Delicious to see how many people have added it or suggested they will be going. Then obviously I look around Google, Technorati and Blogdiggers Blog searchs to see if there is buzz for the geekdinner and see if I've missed anyone, A combination of these things usually works for me. This also means the money I get on the door goes straight back on the food and venue. Worst comes to worst I will only loose about a bit of money.

Whats the deal with other geekdinners? Well I dont own geekdinner.co.uk, actually Lee Wilkins does and he still does geekdinners but has taken a break for a while. Hugh Macleod does other ones in London like the large Robert Scoble ones and there maybe others but there not very public and happen on a adhoc base. There are geekdinners outsides of London for example Tom Simcox is planning one for Newcastle or somewhere in the North East of England. And finally there is nothing stopping you from setting up your own and doing a better job that I am doing right now. If that happens, expect to see me there sipping Redbull and Hot Sauce (my new drink of choice).

But I will keep evolving geekdinner as much as I can, talking of which dont forget to check out my two pledges which take Geekdinner in a different direction. Geekdinner nye2006 and Geekcamp

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