I pretty much live in Outlook. E-mail at the Commission runs on the state’s Exchange server and my use of Outlook allows me to sync my office and home PCs’ tasks and calendar via my Windows Mobile-running cell phone. Love it or hate it, I live in Outlook. So, when I heard about TwInbox, “the Twitter add-in for Microsoft Outlook” I was intrigued. A quick download and install and I had a new Twitter bar in my copy of Outlook.
Overall, the program is easy to setup and use. Just go into the options and supply your Twitter login information. (You’ll also want to choose a new folder for all your tweets in else they all end up in your Inbox.)
After a checking for new posts, all of your tweets will arrive as if they were individual e-mail messages. Posting and replying can be done via the Twitter bar at the top of Outlook.
Just like e-mail individual tweets can be opened, forwarded, filtered, searched, filed and printed.
Most interestingly, the program can also analyze all of your tweets and give you back some interesting statistics.
Overall it’s an interesting program. (Obviously I’ve not covered everything it can do.) But even with the way I work I don’t see the point. Tweets aren’t e-mail and to treat them as such sort of defeats the purpose. If I wanted to e-mail someone I’d send e-mail. Twitter just isn’t supposed to work this way. However, if your location blocks twitter.com I suppose this might be a suitable workaround.
Wonder what your therapist would think of you based on your twitter posts? If so, check out Twit Truth. Just sign in with your Twitter account and let the system analyze your posts. Ok, it’s not really psychoanalyzing you but it will give you some very interesting statistics about your posts and maybe make you rethink your Twitter strategy.
Microsoft has opened up a new service named Hohm (a combination of “H” for home and “ohm” the electrical unit of measurement, all pronounced “home”) designed to help you track what you spend on energy in your home.
Once you’ve signed up and have been accepted into the system, you’ll be asked to fill out a very detailed profile of you home including questions ranging from square footage, type of heating and cooling, whether you have a programmable thermostat to how many of what kind of light blubs you have installed. (In fact, it took me several sittings over a few days to get it mostly filled out and I’m still missing some information.)
In return, Hohm will give you recommendations on how you can reduce your energy expenses including estimated costs and benefits for each recommendation. (So far I’ve worked on changing out many of our old light bulbs and started insulating the water pipes in our basement.) The more questions in the profile you’re able to answer, the better your recommendations will be. As you add to or update your profile, the recommendations will automatically adjust.
Additionally, if your gas and electric supplier participate, you can authorize Home to automatically download your billing details into your Hohm account. In my case, neither of my suppliers participate in this new program, but I was able to do two things. First, I filled in the name of my providers with which Microsoft will send them requests for participation. Second, I was able to enter my payment data manually for the year so far. (I’ll also be entering the information as my new bills arrive.)
With all of this information Hohm will then provide you with a detailed report (mine is shown right) about your home and how much you’re spending on energy. If nothing else, this information has made me hyper-aware of how we’re using energy in our home. I’m hoping that this will show me a reduction in our energy costs in the long run.
Did you know that you can change the look and feel of firefox with Personas? Just head on over to getpersonas.com, install the add-on and then start choosing your themes. In fact, it’s so simple, you can see what a persona will look like by just hovering over it in the gallery. Like the results, just click and make it permanent. Here’s just a few examples:
Speaking of using good passwords, they most definitely may not be as easy to remember as less secure passwords. How about trying some software to store your passwords. KeePass Password Safe is an open source and free program to do just that.
You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).
We don’t get too technical on this blog all that often. However, I thought several of you would be interested in this one.
If you run a WiFi network that should be secured (i.e. a non-public network such as in your home) you may have heard that you shouldn’t secure it with WEP, but instead use the better WPA. (Let’s not worry about what those acronyms stand for now. If you really want to know I’m sure you can look them up.) If you haven’t heard this before, you have now.
Why, well basically, WEP can be cracked with a little skill and very little time. As this article from Lifehacker shows, all you need is a Wireless adapter, some free software, and the ability to type at the command line.
Don’t want to read the whole article, here’s a 7:44 video on how to do it.
So, check the security settings on your home router. If you’re using WEP to secure your connections, change it to WPA. You’ll infinitely more secure. (Oh, and be sure to pick a good password. A crap password won’t let you be as secure as you can be.)
Sometimes that new version of a program just won’t work. Maybe you’ve got an old PC that you’d like to set up for the public with basic Web surfing but it won’t run the latest and greatest software. And have you ever tried to find an old version of something on the publisher’s site? Good luck. Instead, check out OldVersion.com which contains and archive of hundreds of programs for easy downloading.