technology web

RSS Is Your Key To Success

Couple of months ago I did a little “research” – I asked people around to find out if they know anything about RSS. Turns out – none of my business-oriented colleagues knows that term. Even more – they have no idea what news aggregator/reader is and actually read news from all the web sites they are interested in by actually visiting those web sites.

Here is your chance to shine. Offer your clients/dealers/affiliates an RSS stream of company news, price updates, discounts. Make sure they know what it is. Make sure they know how to use it. Stress that RSS, unlike e-mail, will not be a stream of spam, so they can read your content free of spam and annoying ads. Customize RSS feeds so that it will supply different information to different groups – customers, dealers and affiliates.

Next thing you know – RSS may have a chance to replace e-mail in your company altogether. It’s cheaper, faster and more reliable. Too bad no one notices.


Is that email message legit?

CNET runs an interesting story about analyzing the source of the e-mail message in order to determine how legit it is. Similar things have been popping up here and there for a while now, but it’s good that mainstream started to pick up on consciousness of the simple process of reading e-mail.


Outlook 2007 to Mozilla Thunderbird mail database conversion

Outlook to Thunderbird conversionEver since I purchased Office 2007 with Outlook 2007 for my business this question was haunting me – how do I convert my 700MB Outlook mail database into other formats? Obviously, converting it into a (really really large) bunch of EML files is definitely not an option. Outlook’s own Import/Export functionality is very limited (to put it nicely). So I set a realistic goal – convert my Outlook mail database into Thunderbird e-mail database. Or at least find a tool that can realistically do it.

Similar problem had risen year ago, when I was transitioning from TheBat! mailer to something more user-friendly with calendar and contacts manager built-in (namely – Outlook 2007 Beta). TheBat’s mail format was unique and non-exportable to anything but EML files. The only sensible way to transfer three years worth of e-mails from half a dozen accounts was (I kid you not!) drag and drop all e-mails into IMAP mailbox (I used my personal AOL account), shut down TheBat!, fire up Outlook, open and sync AOL account there, drag and drop e-mails from that folder (must have different data file and folder for that) into the main inbox (or specific folder). Took me several hours on broadband connection to move everything properly.

But, there is no way I was going to do same thing again. Among many various solutions, including, but not limited to, exporting the whole thing into Outlook Express format and then converting from OE to Thunderbird, I found a software I wish I’ve seen a year ago. It’s called Aid4Mail by Fookes Software and it “understands” bunch of formats, among those Outlook (PST, MSG, MAPI), TheBat!, Eudora, Pegasus and, of course, Mozilla-compatible mailboxes. The conversion is guided by simple wizard and only took me about 20 minutes to process all Outlook folders. The only drawback of the program is its licensing structure – the Standard version ($24.95) does not support Outlook formats (most popular, as far as I know) and in my opinion simply useless. Professional has all the necessary features but will cost you $49.94 and up (depending on number of licenses). Given the one-time use nature of this program fifty bucks isn’t cheap, but not unrealistic. Site license (the one that doesn’t require activation) costs astronomical $1999.95 and I have no idea who it is aimed at. As to my understanding the pricing structure was created with single goal in mind – to push the Professional ($50) version of the product. Why the other two prices exist at all remains a mystery.

However, in spite of 90-s web site and messed pricing structure the software itself worked flawlessly and fast enough to complete conversion during lunch break. Additional perks include mail filtering during conversion and ability to skip the duplicates. Must have if you do a lot of experimenting like this.