E-mail Detox: who’d-a-thunk?

January 26, 2008

This week I somehow deviated from our RSS feed blogs and came across BlackRimGlasses, which Dave had mentioned before in class. From scanning this blog by Ethan Kaplan, head of technology at Warner Bros. Records, the most recent ones have him calling out to the blogsphere for help managing his desktop and challenging someone to create an integrative system which combined e-mail, RSS, bookmarks, web history, chat transcripts and other online tools. Both posts more or less relate to this week’s topic of open source software; as a potential solution to Kaplan’s organizational woes.  However it was the challenge post which got me thinking.

This post was based on another by Tim Ferriss over at Four Hour Work Week, who suggests that people who receive an obscene amount of e-mail (authors, blog writers, business people, etc) could outsource their inboxes. By restructuring how they receive e-mails and hiring a couple of assistants, answering their daily e-mails are no longer 6-8 hour activities. I thought this suggestion was pretty convenient way for these people to maintain communicational efficiency and prioritize electronic mail. However it wouldn’t be as plausible for the average user. What about users who can’t afford an assistant? Or doesn’t get upwards to 1,000 emails daily, and just wants a stylish, easy-to-use solution to getting organized with an all-in-one interface.

So I guess what I’m getting to is have there been any open source software programs or applications created which can enable people being drowned in electronic mayhem get organized? I’ve heard of smart folders for filtering, but do any actual applications exist?



3 Responses to “E-mail Detox: who’d-a-thunk?”

  1. Dave Says:

    I don’t think I would use it to replace Outlook or my Mac apps, but to give you an example of open source trying to solve this problem, take a look at Chandler. Chandler is an open-source project creating a new PIM (personal info manager). Chandler got a lot of attention early because it was started by Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus, it it had ambitious plans. Chandler now seems slow in coming to market and hasn’t gained much traction.


  2. Dave Says:

    BTW, good job tracking down some interesting content beyond the required reading.

  3. Tasia Says:

    Thanks Dave! I was looking at it, and the chandler project does look pretty cool. Maybe in a few years, more people will begin using these types of open source software.

    here’s pictures of what the prototypes desktops may look like:


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