Posts from March 2006.

What People are Saying About ClearContext Information Management System

Over the last few weeks there have been several reviews on our new product that I wanted to share with you.  All of these folks were Beta testers and extremely helpful in getting the product out.

Garth Kidd – Productivity Tools

"[ClearContext] Assigns priorities to mail based on thread and participant, and colour-codes and sorts your mail by those priorities. That doesn’t sound as amazing as it is. I’ve never put down my credit card faster than when told my trial had expired."

Robyn Tippins – Email Management Is Essential For A Growing Web 2.0 Business

"I’ve been using the beta for several months now and I am impressed with the ability to organize my email.  In fact, I’m able to defer some emails to a later date (set by hours, days or weeks) and they arrive back in my inbox as if they are new emails."

Jason Clarke – ClearContext 2.0 to be released tomorrow

"The 2.0 version of ClearContext
comes with a raft of new features, tons of fit and finish, and
effectively turns Outlook into the email management solution it should
already have been."

William Bartholomew – ClearContext Evolves

"Anyone who has worked with me would have heard me rave about ClearContext; an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that is invaluable in controlling your deluge of email."

Shawn Morrissey – ClearContext V2 – Get it. You’ll love it.

"Deva, Brad, and the rest of the folks at ClearContext have created the most powerful Outlook add-in I’ve found. You will find yourself touching every email exactly once (and some not even that often!) as ClearContext helps you file, defer, and followup on everything that comes through your inbox, and touching the most important items first after ClearContext automatically assigns priority based on your personal ruleset."

Finally, on Friday I had the opportunity to talk with Perry Reed on for The TabletPC Show #32.  Perry has been a user for quite a while and was kind of enough to let me talk for about 35 minutes on our new features.  Perry writes:

"We talk about how the tool prioritizes your email and facillitates filing and organizing it. We also discuss the new version 2.0 of the tool and the new features it offers. We then go over some of the technical details, particularly the difficulty of writing an Outlook plug-in and the remarkable stability of ClearContext. And we mention the integration between ClearContext and ActiveWords."

Thanks to all for helping us put the word out on ClearContext and most importantly, helping us get v2 to where it is today.  If you’re looking for more customer comments, see our testimonials page.

What’s New in ClearContext Information Management System

As I mentioned earlier, today we announced the release of ClearContext v2.  The new product line includes IMS Pro, our professional grade information management system and Inbox Manager Personal Edition, a free add-in for Outlook prioritization and filing.  For a comparison of the two products, see our products pages on the website.

IMS Pro v2 represents a giant leap forward for the ClearContext product line.  See our five minute flash demo for an overview of v2 functionality.  Here are some of the new features:

 

 

RelatedView: A window showing all related Outlook items (emails, tasks, appointments) plus a history of all activity within the conversation.

 

 

ActionView: Provides
a quick view of all pending action items (tasks, appointments, deferred
msgs, etc.) and can be filtered by dates, category, etc.

 

 

Defer: Remove emails from your inbox and have them reappear at a later date when you need to deal with them.

 

 

Followup: For any email you send, automatically create a reminder for you if you don’t receive a response within a certain time

 

 

 

Task/ Schedule: Automatically create tasks and appointments from email with a single click.

 

 

 

Delegate: Delegate emails for other people to address

 

 

 

Orig Msg: Following action (Reply,  Task, Schedule, or Delegate) automatically file or delete the original message.

 

 

Inbox Views: A
number of new views are available to organize your Inbox, as well as a
new "Grouped" option. The View Selection Wizard displays samples of the
views.

In addition, we have implemented numerous improvements "under the hood" – increasing prioritization performance, streamlining error reporting, and implementing WordMail support.

Inbox Manager got a v2 refresh as well.  Most notably, we now offer the product free of charge.  If you’re looking for a smart tool to help you get a handle on your Inbox, Inbox Manager Personal Edition is a good place to start.

On a final note, our free license program is still in effect.  Write a review of the product in any public forum and we’ll send you a key for IMS Pro.  Just forward the link to us at info at clearcontext dot com.  See our initial announcement for more detail.

We’re really excited about this new release.  Take a moment to review our new website, download the product, and let us know what you think.

ClearContext Launches Two New Products to Manage Email Overload

I am very pleased to announce that we have officially released ClearContext v2!  I will write a longer post on v2 a little later, but wanted to share the press release below…

——————–

ClearContext
Information Management System Pro and free Inbox Manager Personal
Edition help Microsoft Outlook users efficiently cope with increasing
volumes of email by utilizing automated email prioritization,
organization, and email-driven workflow capabilities.

   

San Francisco, CA – March 22, 2006 —
ClearContext Corporation today announced the release of ClearContext
Information Management System Pro (IMS Pro), a Microsoft Outlook add-in
to help individuals efficiently manage email, tasks, and appointments
in a fully integrated fashion, and ClearContext Inbox Manager Personal
Edition, a free product to automatically prioritize and organize email.
Both products utilize patent-pending email and contact prioritization
algorithms to highlight a user’s most important email and provide
features to quickly organize and file related emails by project.

   

IMS
Pro includes additional functionality to create, process, and organize
not only emails, but also tasks and appointments. “As business users
face ever increasing email volumes, taking quick, effective action on
messages becomes vital,” said ClearContext CEO Deva Hazarika.
“ClearContext IMS Pro allows users to instantly identify critical email
and with a single click create action items linked to that email –
transforming Outlook into a powerful information management system.”

   

In
addition to instantly converting emails into tasks and appointments,
IMS Pro also allows users to delegate email to others or defer emails
so they disappear from the inbox and reappear at a later date. “Defer
is like a snooze button for email,” said Brad Meador, ClearContext’s VP
of Operations. “The combination of these features and automated email
prioritization allows busy users to very quickly perform ‘email triage’
on their inbox.” Outgoing message features include the ability to
generate reminders if a response is not received within a certain
timeframe and automatic filing of sent messages into project folders.

   

To
help users manage their action items, two powerful new dashboard views
have been integrated into Outlook. ActionView provides users with a
consolidated view of all pending action items (tasks, appointments,
deferred messages, and flagged messages) filtered by project, enabling
individuals to more efficiently manage and organize their workday.
RelatedView displays all related emails, tasks and appointments along
with a history of all activity within the email conversation, allowing
users to at a glance see when emails were sent or received and view all
action items generated from these messages.

   

ClearContext
Inbox Manager Personal Edition is available completely free of charge.
ClearContext Information Management System Pro is priced at $69.95 per
single-user license with a 30-day free trial available. Both products
can be downloaded at www.clearcontext.com.

Great Email Productivity Tip: Pretend You’re Flying

I started to write Shawn Morrissey a note about this, then thought it’d be more fun to share.   Shawn writes:

"I found that, given the right seat on an airplane so I actually have
room to open a laptop, I can get lots and lots of work done.  I don’t
know why it took so long to break through the “duh” factor, and I
finally started doing the same thing when I’m on terra firma.  I’ve
started setting aside 90 minutes or so every day, and set Outlook into
Offline mode.  Then I can do tearing through my inbox without
distraction."

Once, for a big project, I traveled back and forth from San Francisco to NYC almost every weekend for about two years.  I flew so much that United sent me a gift.  "We see that your travels often take you to New York, so we thought you might like a New Yorker desk diary."  That’s when you know you’re on the road way too much.

The point is, I’ve never been more productive then when I was on that plane.  My team HATED when I flew, because after I landed I always connected up and sent off 50+ emails that had been written while in the air.  It was my time to catch up on all of the unanswered email of the week, take a project status check, and get my my team’s ducks in a row for the following week.

I think Shawn’s on to something.  If you need to focus on your Inbox for a while, take Outlook offline and pretend you’re flying.  If only I could figure out how to get a complimentary drink and bag of peanuts, too…

Productivity Spawns Creativity

Before you read the article below, answer this question:

What word is related to the following other three? Cookies, sixteen, heart.

The answer is in the text and I unfortunately read it before I thought about the question.  Is it patently obvious or not?

Fortune Magazine’s Anne Fisher asks the question – if Archimedes were taking a quick shower instead of a bath, would he have formulated his displacement principle?  The gist of the article is that it takes blocks of time to come up with the really smart, creative ideas and our interrupt driven, multi-tasking work environment is making this increasingly difficult.  Here’s a quote:

"What scientists have only recently begun to realize is that people may do their best thinking when they are not concentrating on work at all. If you’ve ever had a great idea pop into your head while you were washing your car, walking your dog, or even napping, you already know what a team of Dutch psychologists revealed last month in the journal Science: The unconscious mind is a terrific solver of complex problems when the conscious mind is busy elsewhere or, perhaps better yet, not overtaxed at all."

Now, as I read it, this is what David Allen has been trying to tell us all along – get your daily tasks under control so you don’t have to think about them to free your mind to be more creative.  This is certainly true for me – I do my best thinking on my walk to work when and my creative pursuits always benefit from downtime.

Email Triage for Success

Jason Clarke has some great comments on why effective email management is essential to success in business and life.  I can’t say it better, so go read it now.

On thing I’d like to add – there is a huge sense of satisfaction you get when you keep your email (and consequently, your life) organized.  This is one place where David Allen and his GTD disciples are dead right.  I start to feel a lot of anxiety when the messages pile up in my Inbox.  It’s a constant reminder that I’m not on the ball and I find myself wasting time, going back through my email to make sure I haven’t missed something.  It’s a relief when I can finally sit down and action all those emails.  Don’t underestimate just how much of a difference this can make in your life!

IMS Pro v2 Release Candidate 2 is Available

We made a few minor changes to the application.  Details and a download are here.

PodTech Interview at TechCrunch 5

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to pull myself away from Release Candidate testing for a few hours and go to the TechCrunch Naked Conversations Book Launch party.  It was a much needed break, plus I got to meet a lot of innovative people and pick up a copy of Robert and Shel’s new book.  Thanks, Michael for throwing a great party!

Buzz was nice enough to introduce me to John Furrier, and we talked for a little bit about ClearContext.  Check out his podcast from the party.  I come on around minute 4:50.  After the pitch, John asks "So you’re simplifying people’s lives?"  Clearly John is a very perceptive individual!  Thanks, John!

IMS Pro/ Inbox Manager Features Comparison

In our v2 Release Candidate announcement, we posted plans for the v2 product line, including a description of the features in IMS Pro, our full-featured Information Management System, and Inbox Manager Personal Edition, our free email prioritization and inbox management solution.  For more detail, here’s a high level features comparison:

Features_grid_1

– This feature is limited for non-licensed customers.
* Features available to licensed Inbox Manager customers only

See our previous post for more detail on these two products and some screen prints.

Everybody’s Doing a Brand New Dance Now

I couldn’t let this pass without note.  Microsoft research is working on a foot pad interface to manage email.  Using a Dance Dance Revolution video game controller users can process their email – it’s touted as a healthy way to stay productive.  I’m not making this up – check out the video!



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