Map Your Email Connections

If you and gmail go back a ways, MIT have created a very interesting online tool. Immersion can show you who you communicated with, at what times, who introduced you to whom and how your various contacts are interrelated. Data is displayed as a web of connections, and clicking on the individual nodes/people drills down into their specific statistics. MIT do not scrape your email content, just the from, to, CC and timestamp fields, and that seems to be enough to generate some fascinating information.

Switch Your Email Painlessly

If you've fallen out of love with your email client and want to try another service, TrueSwitch might be of interest. TrueSwitch automatically informs everyone in your contacts of your changed address, then forwards all of your email and contact data to your new account. Transfers between services partnering with TrueSwitch is free (Gmail, AOL and Outlook). For everyone else, a fairly reasonable $29.95. So, if you are one of the "90% of users [who] consider email interruption a barrier to switching to an ISP of their choice", procrastinate no longer.

Making email work for you

If you use email, you know how much spam rubbish and general clutter floods into your inbox. Some estimates place the amount of unwanted email traffic at 95% (fortunately most of it is filtered out before it afflicts you). Yet despite this white noise, email is still one of the most powerful marketing channels, social media notwithstanding. Most people still maintain an email address, and most still read their email. If you have clients and potential clients you'd like to reach, email is a very good place to start. But beside coming up with attractive, interesting content, you will want your email communications to look professional, and you will need to track the metrics of your various email campaigns. Vision6 and MailChimp offer users a low cost and easy-to-use entry to the world of email marketing. MailChimp in particular offers an absurdly generous free service to users generating less than 12,000 emails per month.  Plus they have a cute monkey avatar that dispenses cheerful backchat.

Preserving your online data

As people move more of their information onto the cloud and rely on servers in faraway lands, backups have become an issue. You may elect to occasionally download your online records to your own computer, but if you use a large number of cloud services, the process of backing them all up will soon become time consuming. As usual in such cases of Internet need, geeks have figured out a way to monetise this new service niche. Backupify (a rather unlovely business name) offers a one-stop backup service for all of your cloud services, including GMail, Twitter, Basecamp, Flickr and more. If you are comfortable with their pricing, then your only worry is handing all that potentially personal information on to a third party, whatever their strict privacy policies.
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YouSendIt, We Get It

Many Internet Service Providers place a fairly low limit on the size of email attachments they will allow. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) offers an alternative for moving large files, but the receiver needs to have their server configured to receive such files. Other options include uploading files to your own website (if such you possess) and emailing the file location to the intended recipient.  However, if you only need to send large files occasionally, and to a range of people, YouSendIt is a far simpler solution. At this stage the 'Lite' level of service is free. The user simply joins at www.yousendit.com, enters the recipient's email and a brief message, locates the file (or zipped collection of files) to be sent and presses the "Send It" button. The receiver soon receives an email inviting her to download the waiting file -- a one-click process. YouSendit offers pay-per-use services also, featuring document tracking, online storage facilities and the ability to send even larger files.  YouSendIt now offers plugins for use within Outlook, Acrobat, Photoshop and others, so users can send files directly from their native application. So far, YouSendIt is all upside. Perhaps email as a medium will eventually adapt to the new demands placed upon it, but until then YouSendIt is an elegant stop-gap.
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