Learn to use e-mail (and other technology) far more sparingly and with far less dependency. Don’t and you risk losing control of your life, emotional and physical burnout, workplace meltdowns, and unhappiness.
That’s the argument John Freeman makes in his new book, The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox (to be published in October by Scribner). Here are some his thoughts as expressed in a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Not So Fast”.
Social networking posts and photos can come back to haunt you in a job search. Litigation or criminal investigations can result in a subpoena that gives others full access to your computer – letting the world see incriminating or embarrassing details from your past. Once information shows up on the internet it is almost impossible to get rid of it.
Can you make information ’self-destruct’ on schedule? That’s the promise of Vanish, a free web-based system created by a research team at the University of Washington.
Google Voice will shake up how you use phones. You get a free virtual phone number and calls to that number ring on up to 6 phones at the same time. Free long distance calls in the continental U.S. and lot of other free goodies.
It is only available by invitation. Sign up to get on the list. I got an invitation about a week after signing up.
Unless you live on another planet, you’ve had to sit through a meeting that was a complete waste of time. Everyone hates them. Nobody likes them. You sit there thinking of the things you could be doing – or programming your cell phone to call you to an even more important meeting…
So, is there anything you can do to avoid that experience in the future? Actually, there are. Even if you’re not in charge of the meeting, here are 10 things you can do to turn a miserable experience into one that is, at least, tolerable – and perhaps even worthwhile.
Email is a great tool. It’s fast. It’s easier than snail mail (typing a letter, printing it, finding an envelope, finding a stamp, and so on). You can send someone documents without killing a bunch of trees. But email is useless if you don’t have an email address. There is no single place called ‘directory assistance’ for email. But there are ways to find an email address. Some may be harder than others. But it’s not impossible.
Google may indeed have a crystal ball that lets you peak into the future. It may help you predict things like whether there’s a growing (or dying) market for a product or service. Or who is going to win a political race. And who knows what else. It may be able to do that faster and cheaper than other tools you might be using.
If you use Office 2007, you’ve undoubtedly encountered “command obscuration.”
If you used Word, Excel or PowerPoint before the 2007 versions, you became familiar with toolbars and menus that led you to the commands you used to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Suddenly, Microsoft decided to replace your old familiar toolbars and menus with some newfangled thing they call a ‘ribbon’. If I were a conspiracy buff, I’d even say Microsoft went to great efforts to intentionally hide the menu commands you used day in and day out for years and years.
Is it really an invention that will change the internet forever as one British news site proclaims? Or is it, as others have described it, the newest and most important golf blog research tool in the history of humankind or the magical search engine that will channel all kinds of data to give you coherent [...]
Copernic Tracker ($49.95) monitors web pages you’re interested in and, when it finds a change, shows a message on your computer, sends you an email with the changes highlighted or even sends a message to your cell phone. It can watch for specific keywords to show up on a page or look for new images [...]
There is certain software that goes on any new computer of mine right at the start. ActiveWords is one of those.
Some say I’m really efficient at using the computer – I can get lots done in short order. I like the ring of that. It sounds so much better than how I describe it – [...]