The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: July 2012

Traveling with #noemail

We recently took a tour of London and the Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Istanbul). Five countries with five currencies and none on the Euro. Thank g*d for ATMs. And several different airlines (United, EasyJet, Croatian, JAT, Turkish, Luftansa) plus buses.

TripIt logoHow to manage all of that without email? First I admit I used my wife’s email as a backup. But the real win for reducing email and going to achieve #noemail is using and their great mailbox scanning feature.

I’ve used TripIt for years and found that it makes setting up and dealing with your itinerary almost painless.
In the past, you simply forwarded your email to TripIt and the invisible monkeys transformed all that information from the airlines, hotels, etc into your itinerary automagically. You can then edit and add the non-mail driven bits — in our case buses, home stay addresses, sites visits that we needed to schedule, etc.

Now you need not even forward the email. TripIt can and will with your permission scan your Gmail box and the monkeys get to work without you even asking them. Pow you have an itinerary without even reading mail.

And this serves as a good answer to the needling question: Isn’t someone reading your email for you? You can answer: If my email is related to my travels, it’s read and acted on by the invisible monkeys at TripIt.

While I’ve written only about email scanning, TripIt has many other great features including maps, directions, expense tracking, and automatic calendar integration. Explore, it’s worth your travel time.

Disclosure: I have no relationship with TripIt other than as a satisfied client. I have never met someone I know to be a TripIt employee or investor.

How to Build an Android

Philip K Dick Android in happier times

In June 2005, we visited Chicago and Wired’s NextFest where we met (and I blogged about) the Philip K Dick Android:
Our visit with Philip K Dick
Words of Philip K. Dick
But in January 2006, Dick went missing. Missing: Philip K. Dick Android
Now David Dufty has written about book about the stories behind the PKD Android: “How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick’s Robotic Resurrection” which draws in very small part on those post and include at bit of the bit about PKDA’s words.
Nice to have been a very very small part of that.
Official PKDA site:

Catching up with #noemail

We’ve had a busy past few months from end of semester to a summer seminar in London followed by a trip around the Balkans: Croatia > Serbia > Istanbul > Bulgaria > Serbia. It’s time to do a little catch up on the state of #noemail.

* Whilst in London, we met up with pioneer #noemail er Luis Suarez aka @elsua. Besides visiting his favorite dim sum shop, Luis offered some insight into his first steps away from email.

Luis realized that while email was touted as a way to increase cooperation and comradely interactions that it was largely being used as a way to CC higher ups on discussions in ways that actually put a damper on cooperation and decrease trusted interactions — and of course filled up everyone’s mailboxes with unnecessary reports and discussions. Team members spent more time looking over their shoulders than acting like a team as managers were flooded with with chitchat. No one was winning and most people were frustrated by the overload.

* I offered a couple of my own insights — later tweeted into the #noemail stream:

  • When the Buddha said you should avoid attachments, I’m sure he was referring to email and PDFs
  • Email is like a bunch of squirrels. Cute & amusing at first then timewasting, destructive, overmultiplying, & finally *evil*

Friends have been keeping me up on new #noemail articles:

* Joe Bob Hester sends: How useless is email? Two new studies weigh in which leads us to a GigaOM piece what plays down the kind of gossip and small talk that builds social bonding. Yes there is a lot of that in email, but there it’s annoying and almost not work the cost. Unlike, say, the News Feed on Facebook or a Tweet stream both of which are designed, well-designed, for skimming and sharing in a small talk and social way. What in email is weighed toward being a time sink are positives in more social environments.

* Paul Valach alerts us to a new Pew Internet report: Teens love texting and social networks but ignore e-mail
This builds on reports and studies referenced earlier on this blog and by Pew itself. Amongst the interesting numbers are:

35% of all teens socialize with others in person outside of school on a daily basis.
29% of all teens exchange messages daily through social network sites.
22% of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others.
19% of teens talk on landlines with people in their lives daily.
6% of teens exchange email daily.

Teens would rather use a land line than send email!

But Texting is the dominant daily teen communication channel. “Texting dominates teensí general communication choices. Overall, 75% of all teens text, and 63% say that they use text to communicate with others every day.”

* Don Sizemore tells us of the need to redesign email using a “new protocol [that] should be a todo list” in a ReTweet from @hackernewsbot on Replacing Email I think the hackers miss the point. There are a lot of communications protocol and even print drivers that we’ve dropped and reconceived over the years. The whole concept of email should be dropped and reinvented.

* Stacey Devine was the first to alert me to this New York Times article “Disruptions: Life’sToo Short for So Much E-Mail” by Nick Bilton Nick notes most of the same points raised in this blog about email — and he even comes to similar conclusions:

Since technology hasnít solved the problem it has created with e-mail, it looks as if some younger people might come up with their own answer ó not to use e-mail at all.

So Iím taking a cue from them.

Iíll look at my e-mail as it comes in. Maybe Iíll respond with a text, Google Chat, Twitter or Facebook message. But chances are, as with many messages sent via Facebook or Twitter, I wonít need to respond at all

UnifiedInBox lets us know of Rachel Woodlock’s post on “Experimenting with managing email overload (or how to ease into #noemail)” which includes disposable customized email addresses for mailing lists aka bizSpam and discouraging .vacation messages and autoresponders. Good ideas and suggestions here from Rachel.

* Luis Suarez and Chris Brogan and others like John Cox’s notes on his “Vacation from Email” which is really an essay on work life balance. Log off and live. Nice work if you can get it.

* Beth McNichol of the Carolina Alumni Review did a bang up job writing on a tough subject – me — in “Geek Poet Strikes Back” Lots of my person story as relates to #noemail there. Recommended.

[more to be added as I catch up]

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