Outlook.com – neater, smoother…

With the nearly upon us launch of Windows 8, you can now subscribe to the new Outlook.com preview service.

If you have a Hotmail account, you can try out this new web version of Outlook for personal use here.

The screen presentation is simpler, with less busy, uncluttered toplines and a clear, elegant typestyle to display your folders and emails.

Social media integration is inlcuded of course…

with photos of your friends, recent status updates and Tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks.

We have been using Windows 8 Release preview on our laptops for remote client work recently. On a laptop, with no touch screen, the blocky, colourful layout is easy on the eye, but the key function is the Windows button, which flips you between the front end display and your last used interface. Clicking through to a traditional ‘desktop’ environment is where the real works get done.

On balance, the advantages to Windows 8 are clear – extra boot speeds and the ability to back up mirror copies of your installation, or to refresh the Windows build simply with one click.

These new Microsoft interfaces are easy on the eye, slick to use and very nicely integrated – an advance we think.

New Year – new resolution – new email backup

Clip2Our New year resolution is to keep our physical and cyber space desktops a bit tidier.

Pretty easy to implement in our various physical locations, but requiring a little more effort in e-space.

We use Mozilla Thunderbird as our default email client. We like it for its safe ease of use, ability to intuitively create folders and drag emails off the various servers across our partnership, so that our team members can consolidate their communication.

So far so good. We have recently implemented an email archive solution, to complement Thunderbird. Allowing individuals from their home offices, for example, a crucial back up of multiple emails from different sources, all into one folder or burned to a single dvd.

Partners chose Mailstore for use on their personal computers. A simple, easy to understand interface, which will back up and relocate not only Thunderbird folders, but also Microsoft Outlook, Express and Exchange, as well as Google Mail, IMAP and Pop 3 mailboxes and even Windows Live Mail.

We like it. You can find the freeware personal edition here.

You select the target folder to save to and declare the attachments you would also like archived, .pdf, .doc etc. Then back up.

Mailstore also offer business wide archival solutions on their website.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Letting go in marketing, client and partnership relations…

web2We are all emersed in blogs, code, newsfeeds and Friday ftp fatigue – as any IT or web services provider should be.

Circulating round the office this week was an article from the Wall Street Journal, detailing a new report on the reluctance to take up ‘Web 2.0’ marketing tools in the wider business community

Although this work by academics Salvatore Parise, Patricia J. Guinan and Bruce D. Weinberg can conjure images of immaculately suited Wall Street executives, pondering the failure of the banking system perhaps – there is a real message in the article about how charity managers and service/education organisations can engage with their community of interest.

‘Let go’ seems to be the message.

Embrace and intertwine a weave of web mail, weblog, wiki and social networking solutions to engage in a dialogue with your community of choice. If millions of your potential service users can embrace Facebook, why shouldn’t they have a dialogue with you about your service.

Your organisational blog can offer, not only news and updates, but also an opportunity, if well structured, to elicit feedback from service users too.

This could be scary…we don’t necessarily recommend entering Second Life, as the article offers as a solution to finding new customers for your service, but a more expressive way of having a conversation with your audience can only benefit everyone.

You can see the original Wall Street Journal post here.

It’s hard work to develop and implement a Web 2.0 strategy – we have in our small way at Thirdsectorweb the infrastructure, the technology and the knowledge – which still did not stop some quiet irony as we espoused a wonderfully hypothetical Web 2.0 engagement framework for our clients in the heat of conversation.

Still, we take the Franklin D. Roosevelt of such activity – ‘…happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort‘.

We soldier on with undiminished passion for our partnership vision.

(Interests expressed: Thirdsectorweb is a provider of web design, hosting and communication solutions to the public, charitable, education and childcare markets in the U.K.)

You can visit the Thirdsectorweb home page here.

Image by eyeliam