Things That Made Me Go “Cool Beans” This Week

The title isn’t very Google friendly, but you can’t have everything. But here indeed are a few things of interest this week.

- I’ve been using a neat little application called Xobni recently, which is a free app that helps you manage email so much easier. It works as an extension to Outlook and really saves time. Essentially, when you highlight an email in your Inbox (Xobni spelt backwards, geddit?) you can see lots of relevant stuff about the sender, like contact details, email thread history, (clickable links to) files exchanged, people you share in your network and more.

It saves lots of time and that’s valuable for free. It’s currently in Beta, but I have 12 invites if anyone wants one.

I’m not sure whether Xobni’s existence isn’t a terrible indictment of Microsoft or very clever of the folks from Redmond. On the one hand, shouldn’t they have thought of this type of tool? I mean one of the frustrations of Outlook is trying to find people’s phone numbers if it’s not in their sig – you have to click on Contacts, then search for the name again – yeuh. A horrible user experience.

The other view is that maybe one company shouldn’t even try to do everything, but launch the basic product and let others use it as a platform to perfect and customise it. Certainly, this is very Googlesque or Facebookian, but I wonder if it’s a small piece of evidence that Ray Ozzie is beginning to make some impact.

Anyone have a view on what happened here?

- Tomi Ahonen asked me to write a foreword to his book of Pearls, that I wrote about recently. Very flattering.

Incidentally, Tomi’s new eBook project (does he ever sleep?) is his Almanac, also on sale for Euro 9.99 . In his own words:

So if you felt the need to know what is the mobile phone penetration rate of Colombia, or what percentage of mobile phones accept memory cards, or what regions does the Orange telecoms operator carrier group cover, or how many mobile subscribers are there in Malaysia or how many camera-phones are in use worldwide, or has Turkey launched 3G or how many consumers are active users of MMS picture messaging or what is the average price of SMS text messaging or do they have MVNOs in Belgium or how many unique mobile phone users, rather than total subscriptions, there are in Russia, etc, this is your Almanac.

Whenever I need a stat, Tomi seems to have it, so I’d highly recommend this for any aspiring mobile fact junkie. And, no I don’t get commission or anything grubby.

- AdMob got into Fast Company’s Fast 50 – the only advertising company that wasn’t a creative agency to do so. W00t.

- Finally, another useful service is BackType. This allows you to create alerts (like Google) except it only tracks comments in blogs and news sites. This allows you to follow what people are saying about you and your company – which not even the mighty Goog tracks, or at least reports on. It’s certainly not a replacement for Google alerts, but it’s a very useful complement and one I’ve already used to good effect.

That’s all for this week from me. See you all in Barcelona!

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