email

If there is a will, there is a way. The story of Mahabir Pun and his quest for the internet.

Having just returned from a four day business trip, and listened to tons of people bitch about first world problems that are really pretty damn meaningless, I was so inspired by the video below. The story is so compelling, proving that if there is a will, there is a way. This is the story of Mahabir Pun and how he brought wireless internet connectivity to his village in Nepal, after six years of hiking once a month for 2 days just to check his emails.

The short film is by  . It is filled with amazing scenery, great cinematography, and such a great story. This was so inspiring after my two hour shuttle ride from Fort Wayne to Indy where the driver expounded the hollow racist virtues of Donald Trump. After sitting in the lounge at my hotel last night listen to people gripe that the free meal they got from the conference they attended wasn’t good enough. After hearing all the dumb ass complaints at the airport this morning.

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Almost but Not Quite. KLM Must See Map, no App.

KLM has been a big participant in promotional marketing campaigns grounded in social media for sometime. The video below shows the latest from the Dutch airline. The “Must See Map” is built on suggestions of things to do, and places to see from friends responses to a social media query. It asks the traveler to simply ask friends in their social network where they have been and what they have done, then gathers all of this information into a single source.

What is great about this campaign is the fact that KLM will send you a print on demand high-res physical map. What I don’t like is the fact that the map will take 3 weeks to arrive, and there is no dedicated smartphone app. The free online site does a great job of integrating with all of the major social network players, allowing the traveler to gather vast amounts of tips but offers no dedicated smartphone app.

While the physical map is a cool souvenir for your trip, and ties to all the places your socially networked friends tell you to go; it is quite surprising that KLM didn’t take this one step further. A dedicated app is much easier to carry and use than a physical printed map. A dedicated app allows for recommendations to come to you long after the map is printed. A dedicated app allows the traveler to post feedback on friends recommendations. A dedicated app, takes the concept to a whole new level, and extends use far beyond the interaction of the website.

KLM

This is a great concept, and I hope that KLM goes a little further with it. KLM currently has 10 apps that they have developed for the iPhone, so I could see them taking this to a whole new level. When they do, “Must See Map” will be a home run.

I’m Gonna Put My Email in its Place with MAILBOX.

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I have never had a problem with the email app for my iPhone. I think as far as mobile devices go, the way iOS handles email is pretty damn good. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. This is where Mailbox comes in. Finally a modern solution to a 30 year old way of sending information. That’s right email is 30 years old and pretty much functions the same way it did back then. Mailbox wants to improve on that, and I think they will.

Network An Animation by Michael Rigley.

I really love this animated infographic on data usage by Michael Rigley. He manages to take something, that to most people would be boring statistics and information, and convert it into a dynamic and rich display of captivating facts and figures.

If you ever wonder what happens to all that information you send to people via texts, emails, Facebook updates, Twitter etc. This little video will show you. One very interesting fact is how long cell providers keep the data you send on record. AT&T keeps every text and email you send via your phone for 84 months. That is 8 years people.

Atomic Contacts. Another Brilliant Idea I Wish Had Been Mine.

I am always on the look out for new applications for my iPhone that honestly help me. That is why I am really digging the Atomic Contact application.

Atomic Contacts provides a simple and seamless solution for managing all of your contacts.  Rather than having to update your address book as your contacts change their personal contact information, The Atomic Contacts application automatically syncs your contacts information to your address book via the cloud.  Watch the video, below, for a better overview of how Atomic Contacts works with your phone and everyone elses.

Atomic Contacts is available here for the iPhone and here for your Blackberry or Android phone.

I have had to update so many contacts over the last year, and this is the kind of application that is a real time saver. I am recommending this to all of my friends, and I hope they recommend it as well. The application costs $2.99, but if it saves me from having to manually update my contact list ever again, it’s worth it.

My Company Missed the Boat.

I’m going to break some of my own blog rules. I am going to rant a bit about work. I’m going to do some minor self promotion of my own design ideas, and I am going to say the company I work for missed the boat. (I’m not going to mention them by name)

I work for a company that makes the majority of its profit from ink on paper printed materials. Like most industries that use physical mail services, the art of actually writing with a pen or pencil, envelopes, stamps, etc. they have felt the impact of email, digital connectivity, and the shift to a more paperless society.

This item has been popping up around the internet for about 3 days. Pretty much every design blog and site has piggybacked off each others posts for a number of reasons, the primary one being that this is a really solid piece of design work. Clever, and unique, drawing old world forms of communication, and new technologies together.

It’s relevant to me, because over a year ago I proposed a similar idea, centered not around Google, but around Twitter, and it was dismissed as impractical and having no relevance for our target audience. So I am a little torn here. Do I post about something that I feel would have been a smart move on my companies behalf, or do I just post this item and say, “Hey look, this concept is going viral on thee web, and we could have had something just as cool in the market place 6 months ago.”

I’ll stick with the latter. While my wise crack about what we could have done might get me in hot water at the office, posting visuals of my concept definitely would. None the less Google Envelopes is an awesome idea.

Designed by Rahul Mahtani & Yofred Moik from the Industrial Design program at Syracuse University, Google Envelopes allow some one to map the course  the mail, and how it can tell a story. All of this is linked back to Gmail itself tying snail mail and email directly together. This is just a concept, but a powerful one that people can immediately understand. I hope Google is smart enough to actually produce this, because I really think it has serious possibilities.

Now if anyone from my office actually reads this post and is interested in seeing the concept and mock-ups that I finished over a year ago, shoot me an email. I’ll send you the PDF file.  And  another thought, if these kids have graduated, we should hire them. They’re smart, and talented.