Orggit: Your Firesafe in the Cloud

We all know that we should safeguard our critical data and documents in case of a disaster. Yet way too few of us follow the best practices of having these items backed up and kept in multiple locations. As a Florida resident conscious of the threat of hurricanes and wildfires, I know I should be better at doing this. But I hadn’t found a really good way to do so until I was given the chance to try out Orggit.

Some Monsanto executives learned the value of safeguarding their data the hard way when they couldn’t access key information they needed during the chaos after 9/11. So in 2003 they founded Morgan Street Document Services to help individuals and businesses protect their important documents from disasters. Orggit was launched recently to bring this service to a wider consumer audience through a user-friendly interface. Read More about Orggit: Your Firesafe in the Cloud

Must-have iPhone and iPod Touch Apps For Newbies

It’s WebWorkerDaily’s fault that I’ve bought an iPod touch (s aapl). (That’s my excuse, anyway.) As I looked at potential subjects to write about, I kept seeing cool apps, and I need to be able to test them, right?

But why not buy an iPhone, or a Palm Pre, which I’d had my eye on for several months? The Pre seems to be a good phone, but it doesn’t yet have the apps that the iPhone does. And the monthly fees for Pre service are considerably higher than what I’m paying now. The iPhone’s monthly fees are even higher, and many folks I’ve talked to don’t find it to be a very good phone.

So, keeping my current phone and buying an iPod touch seemed like a good compromise. I can get good Wi-Fi coverage in most areas where I live, so I’ll be able to go online, even without the phone function.

Many of my WWD colleagues already have iPhones. Aliza has recently written about good apps for web workers. Dawn’s shared her favorites, too. But with the holidays coming up, here are some of my ideas for apps to put on that brand-new iPhone or iPod touch: Read More about Must-have iPhone and iPod Touch Apps For Newbies

Simplifying Email

atsignAs web workers, we are often asked to help friends and relatives fix computer problems. For me, the majority of these problems seem to be related to email. It’s ironic, as email is now less popular than social networks.

So why is email such a hassle?

  • It’s more than 30 years old. Email has come a long way, but its underlying protocols haven’t changed much since the 1970s.
  • It’s really three different systems. Sending (SMTP) and receiving (POP or IMAP) are totally separate functions, and are often handled on different servers. That’s why I often hear comments like “I can receive, but I can’t send” from clients.
  • It’s being used for a lot of things it was never designed to do, like send images and attachments, highly formatted messages, signatures and calendar entries.
  • It’s been overrun by spam, and even well-designed spam filters aren’t perfect, and cause unwanted side effects, like messages that get misidentified as spam, or just go away.
  • Email software is too complex. These programs that were originally built for offline use; that is, they were set up so that users could read and write messages without being connected to the internet. Sending and receiving would happen in batches. That made sense when internet connections were slow, expensive and charged by the minute. Now that most people have always-on connections like cable or DSL, that process is less necessary. Desktop email client software is a pain to set up and use; as someone who helps many people with email, Outlook is the bane of my existence.
  • Many of us connect to the Internet in more than one place — at work, at home, and on cell phones. It can be very frustrating to realize that we’ve left the message we needed to reply to at the office.
  • Many of us have more than one email address. I try to keep my work and personal email separate, plus I have a series of email addresses that I use when registering on websites that might try to send spam. And I have several email addresses that were given to me, such as the ones that are automatically created when signing up for instant-messaging services like Yahoo, AIM and Windows Live/MSN.

What can be done to overcome these problems? Here are some tips that might help you and your clients and friends be more productive. Read More about Simplifying Email

Getting My Data From Anywhere

1159615_binary_code_3These days, when I leave my office — even if it’s just to go down the street to the grocery store — I know that I can grab my cell phone (a Treo 755p (s palm)) and have my contacts, calendar, to-do list and passwords with me. They’ll even be up-to-date, if I’ve remembered to use Missing Sync to update my phone recently! And my email is always available, as I use IMAP with Google Apps.

Thanks to my smartphone, I don’t carry my laptop very much, unless I’m doing a presentation or going on an extended trip. But it’s nice to have my desktop sync with my laptop, so that it’s ready when I need it. And that’s where things start getting complicated. Read More about Getting My Data From Anywhere

NVCA Discovers That Most VCs Are White Males

The National Association of Venture Capitals released a demographic study today that was pretty anticlimactic. They discovered that venture capitalists in charge of investing money were white (88 percent) and male (86 percent.) But the trade organization was encouraged by the fact that 81 percent of junior venture capitalists (senior associates and associates) were weren’t white, leading to hopes that the VC population overall will become more diverse.

In the meantime, if you’re a member of a minority you’re far more likely to achieve the exalted general partner or managing director status if you have a PhD. Almost a quarter of non-whites and 81 percent of those born outside of the U.S. earned Masters or PhDs, compared with 62 percent of whites and 61 percent of U.S.-born VCs. As a friend of mine put it, if you can walk on water, you’re in. Nice.