Saturday, March 31, 2007

Windows Live Mail Desktop: Email integration software. Gmail + Hotmail + more

I'm going offline for a few days to sort out my life. Spring cleaning.

Will also be cleaning up my new hard disk - and getting all new software re-installed.
Priority to get software that makes my life easy and saves me time.

Got to check out and download: Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta

Nifty little thing, just what I need. Check this:

• Speedy access to multiple e-mail accounts in one place (even AOL, Gmail, and many others)
• Compose and manage e-mail while offline: simply connect to the internet and your messages are sent and new messages downloaded
• A reading pane and drag-and-drop features, so you can quickly read and manage your mail

Ah! I *just thought* hours ago that I needed some application to be able to write my mail offline. This does it!

I have another question, though. Why do Microsoft websites look so boring? This Windows Live Ideas seems to have quite a few goodies. But I didn't know! Just wandered here. *Shaking head*

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Restoring my E-Chi - Part 3: The E-Soul, Saved!

Here are the steps I have taken to re-store the energy of my electronic life. You can use similar strategies; I bet they'll work.

Time-waster#1: Comments on my blogs
Time-saving solution: Disable comments. Those who really need me will find me. And cheap talk will be reduced. No need to prove blog popularity by comments - the people who like my blogs most never commented here anyway, but in real life. I enjoy that!

TW#2: My comments on other blogs, especially [blog name]. 2-3 hrs time lapsed. Brain damage by crazification.
TSS: NO COMMENTS. Those who agree with me, don't need me. Those who don't agree with me, also don't need me. / SEEK info through blogs; if I have to GIVE info, I should do it through *my* blogs. Use RSS reader for blogs so comments don't tempt. Though, hell, some blogs are more rich in comments than posts! - Afterthought: meet *really* important people in real-life or mail. Forget knowing everyone personally.

TW#3: Orkut scraps and responding to them. 1-1.5 hrs lapsed at a stretch
TSS: I thought scrapbook could be locked, but it doesn't seem to be an option. So. I am deleting all old scraps; and leaving a message NO MORE SCRAPPING. From now on, those who need me will find me; I will find those I need. No more impulse scrapping.

TW#4: Window Live Messenger - 2-4 hrs. Soul split.
TSS: Mail/ call brother abroad. Call all pals in city. Mail/ call pals abroad, occasionally to keep in touch and for important matters. Mail business contacts. FIX ONLINE MEETINGS with business(-like) contacts via mail for important discussions.

TW#5: Google Talk - indefinite time. Brain damage.
TSS: Delete/ avoid. Only use when urgent meeting with business contacts who use G-Talk. Use in need.

TW#6: Multiple email accounts. Soul split.
- Hide quoted text -

TSS: No solution yet; most likely converging to a couple only.

TW#7: Too many subscriptions. Mind chaos.
TSS: Take 1 hr to cancel not-needed subscriptions. Take 2 hours to list subscriptions NEEDED and keep/seek those. Divert all subscriptions to one account; not to be used for correspondence. Delete subscribed mails each month. Use Google for info when needed. Google hai na!

TW#8: Too many unchecked emails, messing up inbox feng shui
TSS: Restore inbox chi by taking one hour each day for a week to delete old mails. Delete subsequent mails when info digested/ action taken. Learn Gmail's archive function, and use it.

TW#9: Searching and typing in contact info
TSS: Update contact book; make templates for standard info and replies.

So. I took some of these actions in the past two hours since I started the crack-down. And I already feel better. Actually *lighter*. And I now have time for three yoga practices a day.

Now *that's* what I call restoring the chi!

Restoring my E-Chi - Part 2: The Brain Hijacking Squad

I realize that each time I am working on my desktop AND using an instant messenger like Windows Live Messenger, I am splitting myself in to. Add to that parallel conversations. Just when I am getting in touch with the brother studying abroad, I have to deal with a business proposition. Then interferes a comment or an email where a person who never used their brains wants to pick mine. I do feel like many people pick the entire brain up, and I have to
regenerate a new one to keep up with the family banter with my brother. Meanwhile, one part of my ego has to split to consider a novel business
proposition that came my way.

And then there are friends who demand I join facebook, hi5, and some zzazza gazzazza dazza. The automated invitation messages that come from them when they sign up at new sites make me feel like I'll be their pal no more if I don't converge with them on gzzazza plaza.

All these people were on Orkut, the first social network of its type that I joined right then in 2004. And now they are hopping all over the place - taking my email address with them, passing it on to God-Omnicient alone knows what kind of companies. I don't like it, pals. I never got to trust that pzzazza lazza thing I was invited to.

But this docile network hopping is nothing compared to what really gets me: Requests for "help." Asking for help in Pakistan as as unique as Pakistani truck art, and you have to come here to see what it really is. Basically - and I hate to say it - but most Pakistanis are subjected to not using their brains in early age. So we learn very early on not to use our minds, and ask everyone the what, how, when, where, why, and whom of everything. The curiosity-killed kittens grow up physically, but sadly, most keep their minds right where they were: in a tomb-shaped skull and not showing any sign of projecting out of it. Mentally, I meant.

I am in the business of - by choice - media, and social enterprise. Some equate "business for good" with free work. It gives my shy self pain to point out that neither do I do it for free, nor does my life's worth of work reduced to helping people plug in a few words in so that they can find the link to

No. They'll ask. On trivial matters - and them some important ones. Classical attempts to pick my brain with a pitchfork, dislodge it, walk away with it, and then blame me for somehow not having things worked out go something like this. "Hey, I have thought of a dream project. It's about how to increase Pakistan's productivity by 69% and irrigate 90% of the land. It's very important to me. How can you help?"

Translation: "Do a lot of research on *my* project; consider this your three-liner brief."


I can't decide if I do despise these strangers more than those who take an interview on my life and work only to reply with, "I don't agree with it." Reason: they "think" so. No logic, no facts, nothing is required. Not in Pakistan - and I am afraid I've been all over the Net but only seen these anomalies in Pakistan.

I have several good friends with whom I share a lot of ideas - and we give and take right back. This illustrations above apply to complete strangers, who come across me through my blogs, communities, and mentoring. Well.

So. Well. Enough!

I have decided to drastically cut out on the splitting of my virtual soul. And I have taken some steps on tackling the biggest Time-Wasters.

What are these steps? Watch this space!

Restoring my E-Chi - Part 1: Splitting of an Electronic Soul

Today, I decided I had had enough of an overly busy "virtual life." The tools that we created to simplify our lives have actually complicated it badly. So after a conversation with my pal Jaguar who reminded that I spend too much time "helping" people, and that he, too, is cutting on things and people that waste his time, I decided to do something about it.

I draw up a list of major time-consumers of my "virtual" life on one leaf of my diary. On the opposite side, I wrote solutions. Well, some things and people just have to go. I am closing down some IMs - and devising old-fashioned ways to getting in touch with people. It's by the phone for those in the city; and an occasional call or mail for those abroad. Strangers are welcome to read my blog - on which I am disabling comments as part of my drastic time-saving measures - and enlighten or endarken themselves. If they agree with me, they have nothing more to say. If they disagree, I have nothing more to listen.

After all, I didn't build my life out of a blundering accident - I think through what I do - so thank you, half-baked free advisers, but you are worth as much as I
pay for your services!

Frankly, it was time for this action.