Friday, October 25, 2002

My wife and I went down to the Goodman Theatre last night to see The Beard of Avon. A very funny play that investigates who really wrote the many plays attributed to William Shakespeare.
9:54:27 AM      

I have been using Zoe for a couple of weeks now. Time for some observations. First, I have found that I cannot use Zoe alone as my email client. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Zoe organizes mail by arrival date. If I miss my mail for a day or two, then I need to go back through Zoe's archives to find it. Zoe provides a nice weblog style calendar interface for doing this, but the process takes longer than I want. Second, Zoe does not mark mail that I have already read (visited and unvisited links use identical styles). That means I have to keep track of "already read mail" myself. Finally, Zoe does not appear to organize daily mail receipts in a chronological order. All of these combine to make it fairly difficult to use Zoe as my sole email client.

Workaround. I have found that using Radio to subscribe to Zoe's RSS feed provides an improved email client interface. Radio organizes postings chronologically and makes it easy to keep track of what I have and have not read - through visited/unvisited link distinctions and by allowing me to delete "news/mail" I have already processed. I have had to change one setting in Radio to make this feasible. I have bumped my archive settings from three hours to twenty-four. This enables me to check the Zoe email news feed in Radio just once or twice a day without missing anything. Even so, I need to be diligent about shutting down Radio overnight and especially over the weekends to ensure items don't slip through the retention window.

Where Zoe Shines. I have found Zoe to be terrific at indexing my mail. I frequently use its search facility to locate email by subject or author. Zoe's is a friendlier and faster approach than Microsoft's Outlook. I also like the way Zoe handles URLs in email. When I click on a link in an Outlook email, it seems like Outlook stalls and takes an inordinately long time to fire up the browser. Kind of like when the fuel filter gets dirty in your car and the engine sputters for a moment when you punch the accelerator. Zoe, on the other hand, moves very quickly when processing a link. This is great when reading mailing lists digests that are rich in links. I also like the way Zoe automatically saves my attachments. Sure, some of it is junk that I don't really want, but with cheap disk space I think I will put up with the wasted space rather than going through the hassle of manually evaluating and saving the stuff myself.
9:40:15 AM    Google It!  

This is so cool. What a great way to produce maps to my house. Plug your phone number into Google's search, click on map. Voila! More from David Weinberger.  Google really is amazing, isn't it? [ernie/the/attorney]
8:56:41 AM      

Ernie points to an interesting article on the future economy and intellectual property law. It is very good reading. I particularly liked these two excerpts:
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
--Thomas Jefferson
And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.

8:54:09 AM