October 07, 2008

Trying new things...

This new job has given me the opportunity to test drive new ways of doing things, mostly by trying out new applications. And, most of it isn't earth shattering. I'm just trying to better manage my activities and time in the new job.

One of the unexpected changes in the new job was my ability to use Mozilla Thunderbird for my e-mail. The Outlook client works okay here, but Thunderbird appears to do better. This has been good and bad. I was surprised at how used to Microsoft I was and to get what is already in Outlook, I had to find several add-ons for Thunderbird. Not unreasonable, but still it took time and some of the add-ons, well in the end they don't really meet my need. The two "biggies" were installing a calendar and Thundernote. I used the Notes feature of Outlook some in my old job and for whatever reason, don't really care for Thundernote, though it's not a whole lot different from Outlook's. I had used it for various notes to myself. This past week I've begun experimenting with Google's Notebook and it looks like it might work well for my random thoughts and notes.

Thunderbird does allow for tags, which excited me until I realized it simply changes the font color in the Inbox. There is a plug-in which might help, but apparently I've gotten very used to the way g-mail uses tags and was disappointed that it doesn't stick my tag in front of the subject line. I will eventually try the plug-in and see if that helps.

The Thunderbird task list doesn't work for me either. I tried a couple of different applications, but the two I vacillated back and forth between were Remember the Milk and Toodledo. I've wound up going with Remember the Milk for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it integrates with my iGoogle page. The iGoogle page is another recent for me. I've set up one to keep track of my work g-mail account, my tasks, calendar, etc. I've also set up one for personal stuff and the big surprise for me is that it seems to be working. I've only been doing it this way for about a month, but so far I think this will prove to be a good way for me to organize my work items.

The other thing I did was give in to curiosity and set up a Twitter account. I am totally fascinated by Twitter. Not necessarily about watching what others are doing, but seeing how others are using Twitter. I decided to see what the Presidential candidates were doing with Twitter. Both of course have Twitter accounts, but what's fascinating to me is the different ways they use them. I'm sure some folks got really excited when Obama started following them as well. I, on the other hand, thought clever, but wondered what poor worker on his campaign is glancing through updates of 98,000 plus people. Odds are no one is. I've also had several people follow me for marketing purposes, which I find curious. I know there are guides for using Twitter to market, but if I don't follow you back, what good is it? Do you just ignore the feeds of those you're following and hope they follow you in return? I guess I should read one of the guides and find out.