Posts Tagged 'software'

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3rd, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

This post was first published on the Knowmail blog. Cross-posted with permission.   The computer will never be creative or intelligent by itself; it can only do what we tell it to do. I like to call this statement “The Frankenstein clause”: it plays down the primal fear we humans have of our machines getting better than us, then taking over the world. Basically it says, “Move along, folks… Nothing to worry about, we’re the real brains here… These dumb computers will always obey us…” This statement was made by many during the 20th century, but the first to articulate.. Read more

Call to Action: We Need a Benchmark of Email Classifier Performance!

Posted on December 10th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A vibrant menagerie of email classifiers If you look through  my Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see an entire chapter dedicated to automation of incoming email classification – that is, software solutions that classify incoming messages by a variety of attributes to achieve two main goals: prioritize messages that are important to the recipient over those who are not, and aggregate messages into groups of a common nature. These solutions form a collection which is a wonder to behold. They define the outcome of message classification from a great many angles, including: Prioritizing messages by the assessed.. Read more

Should IT Customize Outlook to Reduce Information Overload?

Posted on October 24th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I was giving a workshop on Information Overload at a midsized hi-tech company where it was agreed to use a standard format for meeting invitations: in addition to the subject, time and place required by Outlook, each such invitation would contain an agenda with a timetable, a list of desired outcomes, and “homework” to be prepared ahead of the meeting. That’s an excellent idea, which I urge you to consider applying in your own group. But then one attendee asked: can we build this into the Outlook platform, so these added fields would be required and enforced automatically? And that.. Read more

Solving Information Overload: Technology Assisted Behavior Change

Posted on March 19th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

An interesting hybrid If you scan the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see two prominent classes of solutions: Behaviour change solutions and Technology based solutions. The former class contains a variety of methods for making people change the way they communicate so they become more effective, and help their coworkers do the same. You want people to send less mail, compose it more skillfully, process it more judiciously, avoid interrupting others and themselves (a sizable part of the interruptions people undergo are self-induced!), and so on. These solutions may involve training, educating, and informing people through multiple.. Read more

How Software Failed to Replace our Secretaries – and how it’s Getting Better

Posted on December 4th, 2013 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

Check out my guest post on the Doodle blog: Everything but the coffee: The evolution of the automated secretary. In this post I discuss the hopes, back in the nineties, that MS Outlook and other Office tools could make the trusty secretaries of old redundant (you could type your own letters and set your own meetings, right?), and how we found before long that a an 80386 microprocessor with some 300,000 transistors was no match for a human with 100 billion neurons. I then discuss the case of setting meetings, and why Outlook in itself is incapable of doing it.. Read more

The Case for “Internet Glue”: Why We Need a Stable User Experience!

Posted on January 17th, 2013 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A sorely needed product Here is a winning product I sometimes dream of producing: I call it Internet Glue. What is it, you ask? Well, it’s for use when you have a web site or a software application that works great, that you find truly useful. You pour the Internet Glue on it, and when it hardens it keeps the site or application just as it is, so it can’t change, so the user experience you love abides. Get it? What it’s good for Why do I want this admittedly fanciful product? Why, to fight that bane of computer tools:.. Read more

Why Disk Cleanup Matters, and How You Can Get It Done

Posted on January 4th, 2013 · Posted in Individual Solutions

I suppose it’s because I’m a geek at heart, but I’m fascinated by the concept of disk cleanup… Why Disk Cleanup capability is important for you By Disk Cleanup I mean deleting unnecessary files  from the Hard Disk on your own PC. Unnecessary can mean many things – obsolete system files, temporary files, corrupted files… but more importantly, user files, files you’ve saved to your disk in the past and no longer need. This may be because you have newer versions of them, or because you have duplicates of the same version in different folders, or because they’re safely stored.. Read more

Do What I Mean: Is DWIM a Blessing or a Curse?

Posted on August 19th, 2012 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Remember Alta Vista? I do; I’ve been a search engine junkie from day one, back in the mid-nineties when the explosion of web servers made these miraculous tools indispensable. At the time I was driving Intel’s adoption of the Web, and was teaching a “Searching the Internet” course I’d developed; I believed that proper searching know-how will become a critical skill in the years ahead. I was right with that prediction, of course, but I hadn’t foreseen one development: my course had put emphasis on Boolean search syntax and the related mindset; and these have slowly been driven out by.. Read more

How You Can Stop the Abuse of Reply to All

Posted on August 14th, 2012 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

Reply to All: probably the most hated feature of Email. How do I know? Because whenever I work with clients to reduce Email Overload, one request pops up right at the beginning: Can we put a stop to the abuse of Reply All? Yes, you can. But before I talk about solutions, let’s consider why anyone would misuse Reply to All in the first place, if they hate it so? Part of the problem, and the reason the feature is retained, is that it is really about enabling two very different functions: Conversation: When communicating within  a small team, it.. Read more

This computer is no friend of mine…

Posted on December 28th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Recently I had occasion to observe a medical expert, a senior professor at a major hospital, as he tried to access a patient’s medical information on the hospital’s computer network. This took a while, and he turned to me and said “As you can see, this computer is no friend of mine”. He then added, apologetically, “Now, if only my grandson were here, he could do this in no time”. Obviously the doctor was of the pre-computer generation, and many would dismiss his difficulty as a natural result of his age. But as I thought it over, it occurred to.. Read more