21 Feb

Mailinator(tm) Blog – How Mailinator compresses email by 90%

Given the title of this article, the first thing that should pop into your mind is probably – “well, use a compression algorithm – right?”.

Right! Well, yes, well, not exactly. Read on.

via Mailinator(tm) Blog – How Mailinator compresses email by 90%. A fun journey through algorithms to find a solution to getting some awesome compression stats.

05 Jan

The Contactually Blog – E-mail is the Universal Platform

We believe that e-mail is the universal communication medium. It is the best way to reach anyone, anywhere, for whatever reason. Your e-mail account stores the greatest knowledge repository outside of your brain – who you’re talking to, about what, when. Regardless of the communication medium you may use primarily in an individual relationship, any meaningful communication touches your inbox at some point.

via The Contactually Blog – E-mail is the Universal Platform. I don’t put much stock in stories that say e-mail is dead for precisely this reason. It’s hard to replace e-mail with another tool that has so many advantages.

01 May

Campaign Monitor – Successfully building brand awareness with email marketing

When folks ask us about how to justify spending money on email marketing, we’re pretty quick to respond with two words – it works. With email returning $42 on every dollar spent in 2010 (by far out-performing catalogs and direct mail), it’s a very attractive marketing tactic with immediate impact. However, hip pockets aside, what’s largely overlooked is its ability to develop brand awareness.

via Campaign Monitor – Successfully building brand awareness with email marketing. Email marketing defiantly works to get me interested in purchasing a product.

15 Apr

The Economist – Legal disclaimers: Spare us the e-mail yada-yada

So why are the disclaimers there? Company lawyers often insist on them because they see others using them. As with Latin vocabulary and judges’ robes, once something has become a legal habit it has a tendency to stick. Might they at least remind people to behave sensibly? Michael Overly, a lawyer for Foley & Lardner in Los Angeles, thinks not: the proliferation of predictable yada-yada at the bottom of messages means that people have long since stopped paying any attention to it.

via The Economist – Legal disclaimers: Spare us the e-mail yada-yada. I despise legal disclaimers in email with a passion for the shear useless of them and waste of time and energy required in even seeing them.

24 Jan

The Invisible – How the iPhone mail app decides when to show you new mail

That is, if you are less than three messages down into your inbox, you’ll be returned to the top when you get a new email. Any more than this and you’ll stay where you are. Send yourself an email and try it.

This is serious attention to detail. It’s not something people will show off to each other on the bus, or something that you can put on an advert or trumpet on a feature list. It just makes the app a bit quieter and a bit more well behaved. The addition of this extra detail has made the app less visible than if the detail wasn’t there. Lovely.

via The Invisible – How the iPhone mail app decides when to show you new mail. Do you even need to know that this was done by Apple to know only Apple cares that much to work on this?

07 Jul

52 Weeks of UX – Email, the Glue of UX

These are just the basic ways that email is useful in providing a positive user experience. And despite the rise of social networking email is still the primary way for out-of-app communications.

via 52 Weeks of UX – Email, the Glue of UX. Email while being an unreliable (in that when it fails it fails completely) automated communication tool, is an easy and cheap and generally effective communication tool.

24 Jan

Ruling Backs Palin’s Use of Private E-Mail for State Work – NYTimes.com

An Alaska judge has sided with former Gov. Sarah Palin in a lawsuit over e-mail messages, finding that state law does not forbid the use of private e-mail accounts to conduct state business.

via Ruling Backs Palin’s Use of Private E-Mail for State Work – NYTimes.com. Absolutely awful call, the law should require that government business be conducted entirely via state email accounts.

09 Apr

Calling Something Factual, Doesn’t Make It Magically Factual

Specifically, this is another time in which I call out Republicans for their lack of attention to basic logic and understanding of facts. I received an email tonight from the RNC regarding Obama, Congress and the organization ACORN. In this email the GOP makes the claim that “It seems the Obama Administration has plans to rig the Census results.” The way this will occur:

Why is this important? The U.S. population has shifted in the last ten years. States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.

The trend illustrates that urban strongholds, which favor Democrats, continue to lose population to more decentralized areas in states more likely to lean Republican.

If the Democrats and their friends at ACORN have their way, the Census will only “estimate” state populations and therefore be subject to political calculations. And surely their estimate will be far higher than the actual number of people, and voters, present.

So if to be believed by the RNC, Obama and the Democrats through ACORN will manipulate the state population estimates to swing in favor of Democrats as opposed to what the estimate should actually look like.

Let’s start with a few things, first off the email never lists any facts, never links to any hard evidence demonstrating any manner of truth in the email. The only links are to unsubscribe, to the main GOP site and to donate to “help the Republican Party’s effort to spread the word about the Obama Democrats’ misuse of power and plans to end free and fair elections”. Also note this is the sort of classical conspiracy style formatting, this evil organization is doing something behind your back and we aren’t able to get our message out, but you can help us expose the truth.

The funny thing about the whole thing is that the Census Buera’s own estimates don’t prove the central point of the email, which is “States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.”

Specifically looking at the 2008 Census Bureau estimates found here: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-T1-R&-ds_name=PEP_2008_EST&-format=US-40S

Let’s take a look at each state listed by the GOP in the email, comparing the 2000 Census results with the 2006 and 2008 estimates, shall we.

State 2000 Census Results 2006 Estimate 2008 Estimate
Illinois 12,419,293 12,759,673 12,901,563
Michigan 9,938,492 10,083,878 10,003,422
New York 18,976,816 19,367,028 19,490,297
Pennsylvania 12,281,052 12,388,055 12,448,279
Arizona 5,130,607 6,178,251 6,500,180
Georgia 8,186,812 9,318,715 9,685,744
South Carolina 4,011,809 4,324,799 4,479,800

Notice every single state listed in the email is gaining population from 2000 to 2008, and the only state losing population from 2006 to 2008 is Michigan, which given the state of the economy there, I’m not entirely surprised.

Now I’m not entirely sure what the GOP is trying to argue at this point, because at this point the argument just really collapses amongst itself. They could be talking about percentage change, but the talk about the population not a percentage fall or even that the rate of the states gaining population is going up.

Or I guess the Republicans could claim that the estimate itself is wrong, and they have no proof for it, because the Census Bureau has been manipulating numbers for years in favor of Democrats?

The next question for me becomes, how does a community organization influence the population census, that I’m not sure, since the GOP doesn’t link to any article talking about it or go into specifics, also how do you manipulate the census. Personally, I thought the census was performed by Census employees, maybe the GOP is thinking that the Census with outsource the collection of data to ACORN?

That makes some sense though it still seems silly to blame an organization whose actions are very much blown out of porpition: “Both claims are breathtakingly inaccurate. There’s a huge difference between voter fraud and voter registration fraud. And while ACORN, which hires part-time, $8-an-hour canvassers to go door-to-door and register people to vote, has had widespread problems with phony registrations invented by employees who don’t want to work, the problem has never been that it sent people to the polls using bogus identities or to vote in any other fraudulent manner.”

This winds up being my fundamental problem with political organizations, the media, and politicians, left, right and center. Wild accusations, conspiracy like talk with no real definitive proof or even an understanding of basic logic.

I will say though when MoveOn.org and some other organizations send out emails to pressure for something, they link to real authentic news articles to make a case for themselves. It helps so much it isn’t even funny. It’s almost sad to say that it is refreshing to get their emails which actually make a case for their point even if I disagree with them.

Also GOP, why do you always repeat yourself in the PS part of the email, it’s annoying and stupid. Learn from the Democrats and say something different. Seriously, I get really bored knowing that you are going to ask me for money in exactly the same way you did earlier.