ccLoop wants to improve email with smart mailing lists

ccLoop wants to improve email by making it into a better and more streamlined communication tool. It effectively offers a business-focused take on the familiar kind of mailing list functionality provided by the likes of Google Groups and Yahoo Groups.

Communication app Convos shutting down: What are the alternatives?

Convos, the group communication tool, has notified its customers by email that it will be shutting down as of June 30, 2011. Organizations that have been using Convos have several alternatives. If you don’t need a full project management solution, here are some options to consider.

Old-school Collaboration Tools That Rock

Not everyone that we need to work with wants to have to learn a new tool in order to collaborate with us online. Sometimes simple “old school” tools, like IRC and mailing lists, can work just as well as, if not better than, the new tools.

Google Apps Adds Groups

Google Apps (s goog), the suite of productivity applications that’s a favorite of WWD, has had Groups, a discussion group application, added to its array of tools. In addition to providing email using your own domain, Google Apps offers a number of ways for businesses and organizations to collaborate, including Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendars and over 20 other applications. But competitors like Zoho have had discussion groups for some time, so Google definitely needed to catch up.

The Google Apps version of Google Groups looks much like the public version of Groups that can be used by anyone. It has a plain but functional interface. However, groups created through Google Apps can be branded with an organization’s logo, and can be administered through the Google Apps dashboard to, for example, make Groups visible only to those with email addresses from the organization.

This new feature is not available in the free Standard Edition of Google Apps. To get access to Groups, you must purchase Google Apps Premier Edition, which costs $50 per user per year (a free 30-day trial is available). Groups are also available to users of Google Apps Education Edition, which, despite the name, is available to any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the U.S., as well as to schools. The Premier Edition also offers video hosting through Google Video, technical support, uptime guarantees, email archiving, and other features.

Do you use Google Apps? Will the addition of Groups enhance your collaboration abilities?

Tgethr: Simple Group Emailing

tgethr_logoTgethr aspires to replace listservs, Google Groups (s goog) and Yahoo Groups (s yhoo) as a way of managing email groups. It scores over Convos (which I recently wrote about) with its very easy setup, useful help and simple web interface, although it doesn’t have some of Convos’ additional features.

During setup, admins can specify the name of the group they wish to create and the email addresses of the group members, along with the email address that will be used to send messages to group members (at the domain — [email protected], for example).

Discussions are presented in Twitter-style message streams on the group’s Tgethr web site. Group activity is searchable, and administrators can use the web site to edit and delete messages, or entire conversations.

No one in your group really needs to use the Tgethr web interface, though; members can participate via email only if they choose. Tgethr supports two-way email encryption, tgethr-tagsTwitter-style #hashtags (which can simplify searches) as well as a few other useful tools, but the service is really very bare-bones, which may be exactly what you need.

Tgethr offers several pricing plans, ranging from a free starter plan to a $99-per-month plan with unlimited users and 20GB of storage. A 30-day trial is available at all levels.

If you need simple group email with the minimum of fuss, Tgethr may be for you.

What do you think of Tgethr?

Milestone: 20th Anniversary of Portable Mac Era


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the original release of the Macintosh Portable — the first truly untethered Mac, thanks to its internal battery.

There’s a quote attributed to Steve Jobs: “Do not trust a computer that you cannot lift.” The original compact desktop Macs were offered with an optional carrying case, and some pioneer Mac-users did lug them around, but analogous to the tiny Mac mini today, they couldn’t be considered truly portable due to the necessity of a wall-current umbilical.
The Mac Portable development project was launched in 1986, not long before Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple (s aapl), and the product was first released for sale on September 20, 1989. It was featured on the cover of the November 1989 edition of MacUser magazine, which called it “by far the most complex piece of machinery devised by sale by Apple computer.”
While it incorporated a laptop-style foldable form factor with a front-mounted carry handle/lockdown lever, the Mac Portable weighed only about a pound less than contemporaneous Mac Compact desktops — a hefty 16 pounds, due partly to it having a robust lead-acid battery. It wasn’t cheap either, selling for a likewise heavyweight $6,500 — or $7,300 with an optional hard drive. Read More about Milestone: 20th Anniversary of Portable Mac Era

Google Mobile for BlackBerry Gains Voice Search, My Location

fishnchipsMy fake British accent isn’t worth a darn, so folks in the UK will have to test Google’s (s GOOG) new features on a BlackBerry (s RIMM) for me. The latest Google Mobile client for BlackBerry includes support for British English (sorry, no Pig Latin but I hear it’s omingcay oonsay*) for voice searching.
You won’t have to specify where you’re looking for something any longer, either: My Location is also in the gooey center of this new release. Just point your ‘Berry at to downoad and artstay peakingsay. I mean: start speaking. Sadly, there’s no Google Mobile love for the Storm yet. Other supported BlackBerrys need OS 4.1 or better for the app; you’ll need 4.2 for voice search.
* translation source