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Friday, February 17, 2006

End of week, e-mail ethos.

I spent some time at work organising my inboxes. All staff were taken off time table to concentrate on ethos, it’s a catholic and very much linked to our pastoral values. Which given my personal situation has been invaluable at the moment. The staff meet people from similar departments in other institutions and discuss ethos and good practice. Well I thought I’d look at my e-mail ethos. When I got the mac, it was an experiment, so I set up my mail and had a couple of folders. Since then I have become a big mac geek and use it as my prime machine only turning on the PC either for Napster or to keep the mail archive complete. As such my inbox had appx 2300 emails just flat no structure. Well given my now work wide famous anal retentiveness it was making me feel ill just having them all strewn about to be honest it’s a testament both my own memory / spotlight finding the ones that I couldn’t. I made folders for people and folders for projects and systems. All in all it took a couple of hours. Now I have a multitude of rules siphoning off mails as they come in into folders based on sender mainly. Though I was wondering how healthy that is, having both project folders and people folders ? If x sends me email about y I think I want it in the folder y, but unless they always have some keywords in a subject it’s difficult to make a rule about this. I do now have like 20 rules, 6 smart mailboxes, and folders for family friends, work, projects etc. Then there are sensitivities people who are friends but only e-mail from work don’t want to be lumped under the work banner. Now it’s becoming slightly OCD that I must clear any inbox mails immediately, quite worrying, with all those rules and filters e-mails struggle to stay in my inbox. Will it benefit my productivity, initially no, as I’m finding I’m now searching a bit harder for e-mails or when I don’t want to write another inbox rule and I must drag it somewhere and I have to scroll a bit and drill down etc.
I’m currently writing an app that will output to pdf and I have a quandary, the text the users enters on a web form must fit on a single side of A4. This is difficult to do as if I put a limit on the text box for say 35 lines then the on screen text box must be the exact same width which is a pain to do, even more so as the users have a summary screen that they can alter the text on that has to have thirty such text boxes all really tiny on the single screen. I can’t limit by number of characters as if a member of staff writes really short lines then they could be within the character count but be on line 72.
Mrs. BR isn’t in for some of next week and I’m funeral’ing on Thursday but when Mrs. BR is in we’re having power lunches each day and she’s going to be using Justin, her iBook, in work. So I’ll have to put in some serious indoctrination time with her. I was discussing with one of my converts, lets call her Margaret, whether pages is a desktop publisher or a word processor ? I argued for the latter. I still maintain it look and feels more like DTP than it does a word processor, however apple’s own literature claiming it’s a Word Processor, yes it can do contents pages and mail merges, but look at the templates, far more publishing stuff than word processing, discuss !


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