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The FuzzyBlog!

February 2003
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Updated: 3/2/2003; 9:42:02 AM.

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  • Makes email not suck!
  • Works with Outlook
  • Eliminates Spam
  • Color Codes Your Email


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 Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Very Cool: News Quakes

I found this over on Marc Canter's blog: News Quakes, a visualization tool for tying news to geography.  [_Go_]

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Need to Advertise to the PHP Crowd?

If you have something you want to advertise to the PHP crowd, perhaps training, support, hosting, books or more then you might want to look at advertising on PHP Classes.  Manuel is looking for additional sponsors and it really is a good site.  [_Go_]

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Spam versus Availability

Hanan, who has written an excellent piece "Why I don't write a personal weblog", sent me this by Bob Frankston:

Much of the spam isn't much different from the ads I've seen on TV for making money placing ads in newspapers or buying foreclosed merchandise. Much of the mail is not that different from the advertising flyers I see in my paper mail. In fact, I often see legitimate business trying to use these mailing lists as if they were paper mail lists.

In fact, it really is the same and it is the same as those telemarketing calls and other intrusions on our attention. And those who send spam are not intrinsically bad people though many are often naive. OK, some are indeed con artists but saying that everyone vying for our attention is a scammer is as bad as saying that anyone who hacks with computers is evil.

What we need are tools to manage our attention. Even if we assumed that people don't want to exaggerate, we can't expect important e-mail to be correctly labeled "important". After all, if you see paper mail that says "important" you know the odds are that it isn't.

The real importance depends on the particulars of the situation, the relationships between the two parties, the crises du jour and the dynamic state of ones tasks and attention. [_Go_]

Bob continues on with a very interesting discussion of how you could assign tokens to manage the priority and attention given to incoming email messages.  While I'm not certain that it would work in the large for unskilled users, I definitely agree with one thing -- what it really boils down to is the relationships between the two parties.  And, hang on now since I'm going to tout my own horn now, that is exactly what we did with our Inbox Buddy product.  We make it relationship centric with concepts like "Boss", "Client", "Prospective Client", "Friend", "Colleague", "Family" and more.  Both priority and display is altered by relationship so at a glance you can get a feel for what is happening with your email, what's important, etc.  We do this with a lightweight training model, which watches what you do in the background and then guesses at the relationship and asks you to confirm it.  This relationship model, coupled with a powerful spam filter, is working extremely well for our customers.

Bias: I run a company which makes a client side spam filtering tool, Inbox Buddy, for Microsoft Outlook.

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