Happiness is a Warm E-Mail Filter

I am getting way to much email. Some of the email I receive is from lists that I subscribed to but cannot unsubscribe from. Oh I try. Some sites claim to unsubscribe me but don’t. Some sites won’t unsubscribe me because I can’t give them the right email address. All of this adds up to way to much email.

Enter my gmail filter. For each unwanted email stream, I click a few buttons and voila! all new emails are delivered to my trash can.

Oh sure – I do feel guilty that I’m wasting precious computing resources but I figure at some point google will get smart and start blocking mail from sites that are filtered in this manner.

At any rate, I am looking forward to less noise in my inbox.

I love Vlingo – Voice Recognition that works!

I just downloaded a new voice recognition app to my BlackBerry. It’s called Vlingo and boy was I impressed. Every voice recognition system I have ever used has been terrible. If I am talking to an automated sales agent on the phone I always have to ask to talk to a real person. Now comes Vlingo – an application that I install on my phone.

You use Vlingo like a dictaphone. You press a button, speak and release the button. Vlingo then figures out what you were saying.

To test Vlingo I tried several test. For my first test said “Google World Peace”. Vlingo figured this out correctly. My next try was “Google Whirled Peas”. Ok Vlingo messed up on that one but it got my next request: Google Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” perfectly!

I then went on to test twittering, emailing, texting, creating notes, creating reminders and calling. When I wasn’t trying to trip the system up with Whirled Peas, it worked perfectly.

My only complaint is that in some cases you still have to look at your phone and press a button in order for Vlingo to carry out your commands. This ruls out using the Vlingo when driving but this is still an impressive and useful speech recognition application.

More fun from the Near Future

Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots is Boldy Privatizing Space

Michael Belfiore
In the ‘second space age’, human spaceflight is no longer the domain of governments. Dream-chasing entrepreneurs and clever engineers are aggressively blazing new trails into the heavens and preparing the world for an era of space tourism, ultra fast point-to-point earth travel and even orbiting hotels. Having gained inside access into the top private space programs, science journalist Michael Belfiore will share his many insights on the history-making flights, the failures and fatalities, as well as the enduring passion and dreams of the real estate tycoons, dot-com billionaires, a video game programmer and other business mavericks for whom the sky is no longer the limit. They are fueling the highest-flying private rockets ever built, testing ‘vertical dragsters’, and preparing to launch an inflatable space station – with the mock-up already in earth orbit. Can your ticket to ride be that far behind?

Stories from the Near Future

The New Yorker Conference, “Stories from the Near Future,” took place on May 8 and 9, 2008. Here are a couple of good videos from the event:

23 and You

Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki talk with Michael Specter on genetics.

Yoky Matsuoka, the director of the neurobotics laboratory at the University of Washington, discusses how brain signals can control prosthetic limbs, and other advances in the hybrid field of neuroscience and robotics.

My Failing Mac Experiment

Recently I migrated from a PC to a Mac. As part of the experiment, I wanted to use the client side apps written for the Mac (Address Books, iCal, Mail.) Today I just got rid of Mail. Not in favor of some other client program but in favor of Gmail. The primary problem was that I want to archive mail. As far as I can tell (and as far as I can google), there is no way to archive mail from Mail. I can read mail. I can delete mail. That’s it. The ability for Mail to tell Gmail to archive a message is non-existent. If someone can tell me how to do this, please let me know.

I really would love to keep using Mail because I now have two problems.

Problem 1: I use Omnifocus to organize my tasks. This means that I need an easy way to copy mail from gmail to Omnifocus. It also means that when I get around to dealing with the mail, I probably need to pull up the original email in gmail. Both of these tasks are doable but Omnifocus has a tight integration with Mail. Going back and forth between gmail and Omnifocus is less efficient. This probably means I need another gtd that integrates with gmail but is not part of gmail. I don’t think such a tool exist right now. 🙁

Problem 2:Calendar invites that I get through gmail are not interpreted correctly in google calendar. This is very frustrating. I now have to manually enter in calendar invites until this get fixed by google.

If anyone on the Interweb has any suggestions to solve these problems, please let me know.


Update: Paul Paradise showed me the error of my ways (see comment thread). Mail.app is back for now.

Video Video Everywhere

Today I am guest-working at the downtown Los Angeles offices of The Groop. I wanted to spend an hour catching up on my “reading” and found that it was not possible. Much to my surprise, more than half of the articles I was supposed to “read” contained video.

Normally I would just plug in my headphones and consume the media in my rss inbox. However yesterday while sleep walking through LAX, I managed to step on my headphones. Not having headphones forced me to notice: A year ago this would not have been a problem. I year ago I was consuming text. Maybe I didn’t even have an RSS reader. When did I start consuming so much video?

I am not complaining. I think video is a very useful medium for communicating information. I am just surprised that video has become such a substantial portion of my information mix.

Maybe I should post this on Seesmic. 😉