Microsoft Office 365 Brings Cloud Email, Calendar, and Documents to Small Businesses for a Low Price

Last month, Microsoft finally unveiled its new cloud-based enterprise productivity and communications suite, Office 365. With more and more small and mid-sized businesses embracing the cloud-based potential of Google Apps, it’s not particularly surprising that Ballmer & the boys decided to fire their own volley. What is surprising, though, is just how robust, well-executed, and affordable the new Office 365 manages to be; for small businesses feeling encumbered by their current software systems, Office 365 might be the solution. Read More

WriteThat.Name App Helps You Keep Your Contact List in Check

You can almost bet that when people change their email address, phone number, or other pertinent contact information, they may not send out a mass email to EVERYONE in their contact list instructing them to update the changes, but you better believe they update their outgoing email signature. An email signature (if done correctly) should tell the recipient of the message everything they need to know to get in contact with you to respond to your message, in addition to leaving your mark/brand on every piece of information that leaves your possession.

On the other hand, your contact list may not reflect the most recent contact information about the people you correspond with and if left unchecked for too long, can leave you scratching your head when it comes to retrieving that important phone number, email, or web address LONG after the emails have stopped and been purged from your inbox. That’s where this cool little web app called WriteThat.Name comes in and checks your contact list’s information against the information found in a correspondent’s email signature.

It works like this – Every time you receive an email from a person, WriteThat.Name checks their email signature for contact information can compares it against the information you have in your contact list (That is, if you bothered to add them to your contact list in the first place). Once you sign up, login and connect your email account, you’re ready to allow the service to check your email messages. WriteThat.Name currently only works with Gmail or Google Apps contact lists.

The service is pretty simple and the only major setting you have to adjust is whether or not to allow WriteThat.Name automatically change your contact list as soon as it finds a conflict, or to notify you if there is a change. If you choose to turn off the Auto-update, you will have to manually make the changes yourself. I say if your contact list is already out of whack, why not let WriteThat.Name have a crack at it?

The service is free for the first month, after that you have the choice of getting billed $3 monthly, or opting for a discount and getting billing out of way yearly for $20. Drop us a line in the comments section if you would pay for a service like this, or if you’re as anal-retentive like me, and keep your contact’s list lean and mean?

Gmail Mobile Site upgrades to HTML5

Holding on to your feature phone with web access for fear of making the smartphone jump? Or maybe your exchange email setup on your smartphone is acting janky? These obstacles shouldn’t stop you from accessing your Gmail accounts via your mobile device. Gmail has a mobile site that breaks down the full desktop version and makes it “mobile friendly”. Now with the conversion to HTML5, the improved Gmail mobile site could get you out of a “I have no email access” jam.

One of the main advantages to moving to HTML5 is that pages load faster. Unlike before when you opened a page and got a separate “loading” page letting you know what is happening; emails, labels, and even options load within the same page and with minimal delay.

Another advantage is instead of searching your actual contacts on your phone, the mobile site searches your Gmail contacts. When you compose a message and start adding recipients, Gmail will display a drop-down list of possible contact results in an attempt to guess who your are addressing.

This last advantage may just be a reason why a smartphone user may opt to only use the Gmail mobile site over setting up an account on your phone – The ability to search ALL of your emails and not just those dating a couple months back; which is the average time-frame most people select when setting up their email account(s) on their smartphone. If you are vigilant and label, file or Archive your emails like you’re supposed to (instead of deleting them), you can now dig DEEP into your account and pull out some ancient emails all via the mobile site.

If you truly claim to be a mobile professional, why not use all of the mobile tools at your disposal? The Gmail mobile site, now upgraded to HTML5 has just become one of my tools. What about you? Check out the new site by visiting on your phone and let me know what you think? Do you see yourself using the mobile site more often?

Is it spam? Remain open to business but avoid trouble

As soon as your email address gets ‘out there’, you will receive spam.  It is a part of modern life.  So, how do you remain available to your clients and your potential new business contacts and still protect yourself?

One way to keep your inbox clean is to not let your email address get out into the public.  You can use a website form instead of publishing your address.  Your web designer can set up a form that will forward messages to the proper email recipient.  Another approach is to put your email address in a human readable format such as theboss AT that might thwart malicious web crawlers that harvest email addresses for spam.

The flip side is having a good spam filter.  Most commercially available spam filters will do a good job at catching the bulk of obvious spam.  The drug and sex come-ons, the fake degrees and the ‘login to your bank account here’ phishing scams don’t have too try to hard to get people to click on them.  It is just as easy for them to give a little effort in sending out thousands of emails hoping just a few click on through, so they don’t have to try complicated methods of getting past even the most basic spam filter.  Be sure that you chose a spam filter that will allow you to whitelist either domains, individuals or individual emails.  A potential client not getting past your spam filter means a lost opportunity.

My advice is to just be levelheaded in your attitude towards email.  If it is obvious spam, delete away.  No harm, no foul.  If it is too good to be true–it probably is.  If you aren’t sure if that really is your bank, Amazon, eBay, PayPal contacting you–contact them, don’t click through.  Don’t open attachments from an unknown sender.  If they look to be a legitimate customer, reply and connect before opening a file.  Most of us using our smartphones don’t have an easy time with attachments on our mobile devices anyway.  Just as if you have ever worked a cash register, the vast majority of customers who come in the door are there to be customers, but every now and again a quick-charge artist or other type of fraudster is going to show up.  You can be available and open for communication–just be smart about it. 

Like the Gipper always said, “doveryai, no proveryai”, “trust, but verify.”