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Email will inevitably fail so if you foolishly depend on it, learn to back it up and restore it

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2013-02-19 01:17

If you insist on using email as a file management system, archive system, CRM, database, contact system, knowledge management system , etc then learn how to backup your email and practise restoring your email because it will inevitably fail no matter how reliable your email server and client are. If you don't have time, then pay somebody or do the right thing and move stuff out of email to CRM, blogs, wikis, to-do systems, etc!

Email is not an archival system, file system, knowledge management system or a to-do system

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2013-01-27 17:52

Email is not an archival system, file system, knowledge management system or a to-do system. If you think it's anything but a dumb temporary message store, you are "doing it wrong" :-) as the kids say. Email is where knowledge goes to die as I blogged about (AFAIK Bill French coined this phrase back in 2003)

Anything valuable in email should be gardened immediately into a blog, wiki, etc. Don't expect to keep every email and don't try; it's futile and not worthy of your attention. Instead mine the knowledge in your email and keep that!

Create your own custom daily Get Satisfaction email report with emailReport.rb

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-08-02 23:42

UPDATE November 2011:

The code has been dramatically re-factored so i deleted it from the gist. Please use the revised code at:
https://github.com/rtanglao/momogs/blob/master/emailReport-m.rb

For my technical support lead job at Mozilla Messaging, I continue to try to find the best way to sort and sift and help out folks who need support and identify the hot issues. We currently use Get Satisfaction for Thunderbird support and I subscribe via email to everything but it's really difficult to read through the over 200 emails a day that Get Satisfaction sends

So I developed over the last 9 months a series of Ruby scripts to see the most active support topics (getactive.rb),  the contributors who are actually being marked by the community of users as solving a support topic (getcontributors.rb), who's doing the most replies (gethappykludged.rb) and pick out some random support topics (getrandom.rb)

Up until last week I have been using these scripts on a manual basis but not as consistently as I would like since it's pain to run all four manually.

To make a single email report that ties together everything in one nice summary, last week I finally took 3 hours and wrote emailReport.rb (code after the jump). It's crude but it works and is a useful report that I run every day now for the previous day (e.g. on Monday morning, I run it for Sunday and Saturday). It runs all the above mentioned scripts and then emails a summary email:

Here's an example of how you invoke it:

(for August 2, 2010)

./emailReport.rb 2010 8 2 2010 8 2 2>emailreport.20100802.20100802.stderr 1>emailreport.2010082002.20100802.stdout

And here's a sample email:

From: xxxx@gmail.com
To: yyyy@zzzzzo.com
subject: MoMo Support Report FROM: 2010.8.2 TO: 2010.8.2
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2010 23:31:16 -0700
Get Satisfaction Top 5 active:
5,http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/how_do_i_export_folders_as_mbox_files_thanks_chris
5,http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/migration_of_thunderbird_data_from_old_to_new_computer
4,http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/delivering_mail_98_thunderbird_problem
4,http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/from_thunderbird_to_outlook_how
4,http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/cannot_start_thunderbird_already_runnning

Get Satisfaction Contributors:


Top 10 Get Satisfaction Repliers:
2, cam_1319937
3, simonpaquet
3, ankitgupta1980
3, davro
3, pat_drummond
3, kent_james
4, bhuvnesh_thakar
5, wayne_mery
9, archaeopteryx
30, michael_a_pasek


5 Random Get Satisfaction Topics:
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/crashing_after_start_up
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/problems_editing_an_email_to_be_forwarded
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/dmg_file_whats_this
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/want_to_use_thunderbird_for_mass_mailing
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/topics/pasting_images_takes_minutes

What I did well

  • It works and when it doesn't I can check stderr for diagnostics and usually quickly figure out what went wrong (Get Satisfaction has a known bug on topics that have URLS that begin with numbers and also JSON can't cope when folks paste binary data into support topics; fortunately both cases are rare -:-) !)

What could be improved

  • The JSON API is called on the same data four times, once for each script (i.e. I don't store any of the GS data) so it takes 5-10 minutes to run emailReport.rb!
  • It would be more efficient to just read the data into a database, e.g. couchdb and then have the four scripts read from the database
  • Ruby is not an excellent choice for Windows users; would be better to write this in JavaScript and then anybody (i.e. other support contributors not just folks on Mac OS X or Linux) could use it
  • Badly need to way to extract the GS conversations I am involved in and highlight the top 5
  • Although a separate can of worms :-), I would love to have a really great search engine that works on the GS support data; unfortunately the GS management view search doesn't work so well.

Help Wanted

I'd love some help :-) (what's in it for you! Open Source Whuffie, fame and adventure :-) !!!)   in the following areas:

  • Convert to JavaScript and to a web app so all can use it :-) !
  • Put the GS support data into a JSON friendly database like CouchDB

 

The Code

The code has been dramatically re-factored so i deleted it from the gist. Please use the revised code at:
https://github.com/rtanglao/momogs/blob/master/emailReport-m.rb

 

The N97 ain't my N999 concept but it's closer

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2009-07-01 23:15

On the night before I receive my N97 from Nokia WOM World for a brief trial, just for fun I looked back at my N999 concept/vision from December 1, 2008. And what the heck here's the N999 concept updated for July 2009 (notable updates are in bold):

  1. screen with as many pixels as the 5800 Tube or iPhone (sorry but QVGA doesn't cut it in 2009!)
  2. S60 simplified and fixed as Rui describes
  3. 5 megapixel camera with cover and Xenon flash with 3x optical zoom and 640x480 30fps video (basically re-use the awesome N82 camera hardware and software and combine with the N93 optical zoom)
  4. Quad band GSM and 3G (i.e. works on Rogers and AT&T in North America AND European 3G out of the box just like the N85, no funky North American model)
  5. Built in ShoZu (with 10MB limit removed for 3G and WiFi, make the limit 50-200MB for 3G and WiFi) - killer app for photographers and videobloggers - Qik is built  into the N97 why not ShoZu? (I can't stand Share Online's limit of 6 photos at a time since I take over 50 a day; hope it's removed on the N97)
  6. Bult-in Qik (killer app for videobloggers!) - Qik is built  into the N97 can't wait to try it!
  7. Awesome web browser (Nokia's Web Kit browser was great in 2006, it is now far behind Apple's)
  8. Lots of available RAM (as much as the N95 8GB please!), 8GB storage on built-in card - Reviews are mixed on the N97, sounds like it has a lot of RAM (more than the N95 8GB)  but with widgets it takes up a lot more. - I doubt I will use widgets!
  9. Built in Nokia viNes to take advantage of Nokia's great GPS hardware (killer GPS app!) - viNes apears to be dead. Nokia Sports Tracker appears to be alive, so I'd rather have that built-in
  10. Built in Twitter App i.e. built in Gravity

Now I know the above list is not possible given today's processors and batteries but in that case I can live without optical zoom! Everything else is doable as far as I can tell.

I still don't need:

  1. QWERTY keyboard - I'd rather have an awesome camera and flash than a touch or QWERTY keyboard. And for me touch keyboards are just as good as QWERTY.
  2. Email (Email is dead to me (ok email isn't dead but my resolution is to take any email thread  that I need to keep that has more than 2 replies to a wiki or blog); I continue to use it  for work and to communicate with "normal" folks!) - If the browser is as good as the iPhone's, then webmail clients work just fine.
  3. Touch (would be nice, but not convinced Nokia has the software chops for this; I am not interested in S60 transmogrified with touch, I would prefer touch to be part of a totally revamped user interface that's NOT S60.) - Unfortunately it appears that Nokia's current touch interface s*cks. I hope I am proven wrong by my N97 trial.
  4. Micro SD card slot
  5. Calendar (would be nice but that's what my laptop is for :-) !) - Again with a good enough browser a web client would be good enough)
  6. IM (Twitter is IM enough for me and I am fine with using it in the browser)
  7. VOIP is dead to me except for Skype
  8. MMS - I am not convinced I need it, I can always use ShoZu email photos :-) but I was wrong about SMS (so maybe I am wrong about MMS) - I am pretty sure I am wrong about MMS and I am pretty sure (unfortunately) I will be MMSing my relatives with pictures since they all finally seem to have MMS plans and devices and none of my luddite :-) relatives still use flickr or any of the other public or private photosharing sites!


 

Gravity S60 Twitter client is the exception that proves the rule

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2009-04-06 02:57

Gravity s60 twitter client Screenshot0069

Gravity, the fantastic S60 Twitter client proves that German S60 developers continue to rule the moribund S60 apps ecosystem (unfortunately the S60 app industry is a cottage industry compared to the iPhone app industry). First, profimail ruled the world (back in 2004 when I bought my first S60 phone and thought the mobile email was relevant, just say no to mobile email, just say yes to short form customized mobile two way communication like Twitter) and now gravity rules. And if you don't believe me that the iPhone app industry is clearly dominant over the S60 app industry than that's your prerogative and I'd have to wish you the best of luck making money with your S60 apps!

Behold the awesomeness of Gravity in my Gravity Screenshot set on flickr!

Movamail - need to blog or at least de-cloak

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2006-02-15 23:14

I am pretty sure I know who these people are. I am pretty sure they are in Vancouver. I think they should "out" themselves and blog or at least identify the team before I do :-) ! 

From Movamail - Home.:

QUOTE

Send and receive email via your mobile phone: Supports most modern mobile phones. Including NOKIA®, Motorola®, Sony Ericsson®, Siemens®, Sanyo®, Samsung® and other recognized leading mobile phones.

Consolidate your email onto your mobile phone: Supports most email accounts, including Hotmail®, Yahoo! Mail®, MSN®, AOL®, Earthlink®, Mindspring®, Juno®, and all POP3 or IMAP mail accounts.

Far faster than any other Mobile Email: Mobile Mail is up to ten times faster then most of the default email applications that are included in some of today’s mobile handsets. This dramatically reduces frustrating download times and increases usability.

UNQUOTE

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