Our friend Jennifer Mathis just started

Our friend Jennifer Mathis just started a great decorating & renovation business…Blue Bowl Interiors (and exteriors) http://ht.ly/1Kf9C

BatchBook CRM teams with Rapportive to Offer Awesome GMail Features

Check out BatchBlue Blog for information on how you can better integrate the information in your CRM into GMail.

The tools pull pictures, tweets, flickr accounts, facebook feeds of the people you’re emailing directly into your email sidebar.  Have only a vague recollection of someone that contacted you 6 months ago?  And now they’re reaching out again.  No problem.  Rapportive Raplets+BatchBook help you bridge the mental gap.

The integration is so awesome that I’m looking forward to versions 2.0 and 3.0.

Here are some features I’d like to see:

  • Allow me to manually enter the look up email address for a person while looking at an email.

Example usage: I get emails from VRBO.com (the vacation rental website) about houses I rent on Dewees Island, Charleston, SC.  The from address that the BatchBook Raplet (“BBR”) tries to look up is inquiry@vrbo.com.  That does me no good. What I really need BBR to lookup is the email address for the lead that VRBO is referring to me.  Then I might remember that John Smith contacted me just last week about this same house.

  • Automatically scan through the email header and body for additional email addresses and allow me to tab through them until I see the information on the person (people) I need to respond to.  The tab functionality could work similarly to the tab function on Facebook when you’re selecting what picture should go with the link you’re appending to a post.
  • Ability to add to dos, deals, contact info to my BB account for this contact.  There’s already the ability to add notes, why note let me add more information to my database
  • Allow me to click a button in the sidebar to add this email conversation to my BB activity log for this contact.  I can do this manually by bccing my BB email address, but that’s several steps.  Let me hit a single button to track important discussions.
  • Show recent activity from the activity log.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could see that my partner logged information about this client yesterday that pertains to the deal we’re discussing today!?

I could easily go on with more feature requests.  The potential is awesome.

BB contact me if you want more ideas.

Things You Wish Report Cards Would Say

Third quarter report cards are out in Charleston County, SC.  Teachers get a comment section on the computerized form with far fewer than 140 characters (Twitter’s limit).  They resort to banalities like,

  • a pleasure to teach, or
  • good effort

Wouldn’t it be refreshing (horrifying?) if teachers said what they’re really thinking.  Here’s a starter pack of ideas:

  • did you drop this baby on its head at birth?
  • needs to learn to say, “do you want fries with that”
  • needs help, lots of it
  • can’t recommend your child too highly
  • bright, but still eats crayons in 10th grade
  • the only child left behind
  • breaths in and out with proficency, or
  • this grade was a gift

Got better ideas?  Post them here or on Twitter or Facebook.

What I Use – Newly Updated and Revised

Here’s an update of the list I published in December 2008 of the key technologies I use.

Here’s a quick list of the software, computers and other technology that I use along with some explanations:

  1. iPhone GS3 32 GB – great phone, okay service from AT&T (service has recently improved in the Charleston area, especially on the Ravenel Bridge); see separate list of iPhone Applications below.
  2. MacBook Pro – I use my computer at home, at a vacation home, at the office, and when I travel.  Since I bought an Apple Airport Base Station for my house, my WiFi connections are working much better and easier to manage.  That lets me move around more with my laptop.  I still use it like a desktop machine at the office, but at home I use the machine on the coach, on the dinning room table, in bed.  I use it in many more places.  I have extra power cords that I leave in the places my MacBook is most likely to run out of juice.  That way I don’t have to plug, unplug, coil and carry power cords everywhere.
  3. Apple Cinema Dispaly – I use a Cinema Display at work.  The visual quality and product design rock.  Interestingly Apple has stopped selling these displays.  I wish it was easy to hook 4 displays to my MacBook Pro.
  4. New Multi-touch Apple Magic Mouse – I only made one mistake with this mouse: I showed my kids how cool it is.  My wife bought one the day after she tried mine.  If you don’t have one, get one.
  5. Gmail – I LOVE the archive feature.  It’s great to be able to pull up old mail from anywhere whenever I want.  I only delete the junk and stuff that’s a security risk, like passwords.  When I’m mobile, I use GMail via the mail application on the iPhone.  I’m hoping the Google Mobile App for Mail gets better, then I’ll use it.
  6. Google Calendar – We use a dozen different calendars inside Google Calendar.  We have one for each family member.  One for Baby Sitters.  The name of the sitter goes in the event slot.  One for each big activity and school.  I wish every organization would publish a Google Calendar that I could automatically suck into my Calendar.  I hate re-typing year long calendars.  For example, I published a calendar for Ted’s soccer team when I was the coach this fall.  I shared the link with all the other parents.  I’ve started publicly sharing calendars for any activity that I’m in.  With a few clicks, I can save everyone else the hassle of typing the calendar into their system.
  7. Google Reader – I’ve bounced around on RSS feed readers.  Right now, Google Reader is my default and Bloglines Beta is the one I’m testing.  The key feature for me is being able to read it on both my laptop and iPhone.
  8. Remember the Milk on my iPhone – I’ve almost entirely stopped using RTM on the computer.  The iPhone version is so great and easy.  For to do lists, I still go through phases with how much I use RTM.  Sometimes I use it daily.  Sometimes it just seems like too much.  If you’re going to start using RTM it’s critical to read their How to Use RTM blog posting.  You also need to set up the feature for emailing To Dos to RTM, then program the email address into your email program and mobile phone.  It’s great to be able to email yourself a to do without clogging your email inbox.  I also use MyTaDaList for somethings, like list of birthday present ideas for other people.  I’m only using MyTaDaList once in a while now.
  9. BatchBook for Customer Relationship Management – We’ve just started using BatchBook at my real estate brokerage firm.  So far, I love it.
  10. Facebook – if you’re not on Facebook, you need to be.  Even my mom likes it.  Sign up today and reach out to two or three old friends.  Before you know it, you’ll be in touch with a whole network of friends.  Using it is a little like reading People magazine about people you actually know and care about.  Key tip: be sure to put up a picture of yourself.  Unless you’re the only person in the world with your name, having a picture up of yourself is critical to enabling your friends to find you.
  11. Twitter and Google Buzz – microblogging and real time search.  You have to use it to get it.  Don’t spam people.  Join the conversation.  Also if you want news about something that’s happening right now, then Twitter is the ONLY way to get it.  Mass market media is delayed hours or days for 99% of all subjects, if they carry the news at all.  If you want to know who just called the President a “Liar” in front of Congress, then Twitter is the only source.  Google just launched Buzz.  I expect it to become bigger and bigger.  It may rise to challenge Twitter and Facebook.  I own several related trademarks, including BuzzBack ™ replay.
  12. HootSuite – HootSuite has replaced TweetDeck as the way to interact with Twitter and Facebook.  I hope they’ll come out with a Google Buzz feature.
  13. WordPress – WordPress is the leader in blogging software.  Blogger, owned by Google, has fallen off the pace.  With WordPress you get built in stats about what people are reading on your blog.  I have a bunch of blogs up about a bunch of subjects.  See the blogroll on this blog for a list.
  14. Netflix– we dropped Blockbuster.com and subscribed to the cheapest level of Netflix.  We often watch their movies on demand.
  15. Hulu – we seriously considered dropping Comcast Cable this year in favor of Hulu and other Internet-based entertainment.  As Hulu gets better over the next few years, we probably will.
  16. Fancast – similar to Hulu, but not as good.  We occasionally watch Fancast in order to introduce our kids to Gillian’s Island.
  17. Weather Underground – it’s the best weather site.  I particularly like the hourly forecast.  It includes wind speed and direction.  Sailors in the Charleston area, see my blog post on M24Charleston.WordPress.com for detailed local wind and tide information.
  18. Amazon – become a Premiere member to get free shipping and go to town.  The credit card is also pretty sweet.  It’s very easy to see the rewards you’re earning.
  19. Costco – it’s the best warehouse store.  It crushes Sams on per square foot sales figures, demonstrating that it’s customers are finding lots of value.
  20. Lynda – this is a great online software training website.  The small cost is totally worth it.
  21. Craigslist – find and sell everything from appliances to cars to jobs.  It’s easier to use than Ebay, especially for heavy, hard to mail items.
  22. Firefox – It’s the best browser right now, although Safari and others have narrowed the gap
  23. Microsoft Office – I can’t wait until someone else comes out with an office suite that is more widely accepted so I can stop paying these ridiculously high licensing fees.  For now, Office is THE standard.  I’m hoping I’ve paid for Office for the LAST time.  I’m moving more and more to using Google Docs.
  24. Google Documents – Whenever you’re going to share or collaborate on documents, Google Documents are a great way to go.  I’ve used them this year for punchlists with a contractor, recording credits and debits to my kids money in the bank of Dad, and ideas on new businesses.  It’s much easier than swapping Word and Excel files.  School systems should drop Office and flash drives is favor of Google Docs.  Google Docs can’t get destroyed in the laundry.
  25. iPhoto – if I was on a PC, I’d use Picassa.  I’m thinking about moving to Appreture 3, but haven’t learned it well enough yet.  For most people iPhoto is going to be perfect.
  26. iTunes – it’s much more than a music player.  You can listen to audio books, download iPhone Apps
  27. Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 – professional website building software, only get it if WordPress can’t meet all your needs.
  28. Adobe Illustrator CS4 – professional drawing and illustrating software; amazing powerful, but complicated
  29. Adobe Photoshop CS4 – professional photo editing softare; stick with iPhoto or Picassa as long as you can
  30. Adobe InDesign CS4 – professional page layout software; only use this if you’re designing books or magazines
  31. Skype – great for talking to family and friends anywhere in the world; 400 million people use Skype, especially overseas where phone calls are more expensive; excellent videoconferencing
  32. Default Folder X – a very nice extension to the Apple operating system
  33. HP Photosmart C7250 All-in-One Printer Fax Copier Scanner – It works, it’s pretty cheap, it’s wireless; the software is a little bloated
  34. Skitch – my friend Travis Good recommended Skitch.  It’s a great little program for capturing and sharing stuff.  If it adds the ability to capture a full webpage, including the stuff below the fold, I’ll be dumping Paparazzi.  I wish PhotoShop or Illustrator made things this easy.
  35. MailChimp – I’m cancelling my Constant Contact account in favor or MailChimp; it’s very easy to use newsletter software that comes with built-in analytics and A/B split testing
  36. Logitech Squeezebox Radio – a fixture in our kitchen
  37. Vimeo, YouTube and Animoto – great for making and sharing videos of just about anything
  38. ShareThis and AddThis – I haven’t settled on a favorite; I use these 2 Firefox plug-ins to share cool stuff from around the web with family and friends
  39. Canon SLR Camera 7D – this camera can shoot both video and stills; very flexible, great pictures; I can’t wait for Canon to come out with GPS geolocation built into the camera.  Right now they sell it as a clunky add on.  If they don’t, then Eye-Fi will probably come out with a CompactFlash card that adds geotagging and enables wireless transmission of your photos.
  40. SurfacePad from 12South – stylish protection and padding for your MacBook Pro
  41. Garmin GPS – I bought the GPS about a year before Apple and Google came out with FREE turn by turn directions on your phone; life’s going to getvery tough for Garmin.  But since I have it and was cheap, it’s kind of nice to have it as a separate device.
  42. Executive Office Space – when I need a place to work, it’s great to have an office.  Space is so cheap right now, that it’s totally worth having.  I recommend you go with someone local and stay away from the big franchises like Regus.
  43. Comcast Highspeed Internet access – I get 16 MBS download; if they had 50 MBS, I’d go for that
  44. MyFax – totally eliminated my need for a home phone line; comes to me on my phone or computer wherever I am
  45. Google Analytics – if you have a website or a blog of any kind, you must use Google Analytics (or a competitor) in order to know what the traffic on your site looks like
  46. Dropbox – for sharing files with colleagues; I’d like them to improve Spotlight searching of my dropbox through Finder and add anti-virus protection
  47. Mozy – for online, off-site backup; I’d like them to add anti-virus protection
  48. 1Password – a great way to improve the security of the many online sites you use.  I sync 1Password to several different machines via Dropbox.

iPhone Apps

  1. Built in phone and address book – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  2. Built in Mail – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  3. Built in SMS (text) – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen
  4. Link to Google Calendar Online – on fast access bar at the bottom of the screen; I’ve stopped using the built in Calendar because the interaction with Google Calendar is clumsy
  5. Remember the Milk
  6. Built in Stocks
  7. Built in Camera
  8. iTimeLapse Camera – very cool time lapse photos
  9. Amazon.com – sometimes I order something right from Amazon while standing in a competing store that’s too expensive or out of the exact thing I’m looking for
  10. Built in Photos
  11. Built in Clock – nice little alarm; I use the stopwatch feature to time Ted (“How fast can you get ready to go on a bike ride?”)
  12. Custom welcome screen photo – makes it easy to know I have my phone and not someone elses
  13. Facebook
  14. WordPress
  15. Built in Calculator
  16. Built in Weather
  17. Built in Google Maps
  18. Google Mobile Apps – I really hope this keeps getting better and loads faster
  19. Built in iPod – I find it surprisingly hard to use the iPod on the iPhone, especially to listen to audio books; every activity disrupts the flow
  20. links to Tide information in and around Charleston
  21. Now Playing – movie listings
  22. Ebay
  23. Bank of Mom
  24. Ego – a quick way to access your Google Analytics overview data from your phone
  25. GoDaddy – when I get an idea about a new Domain name, this app makes it easy to find out if it’s available
  26. games – they come and go too fast to mention; I try to stick to the FREE games

Dropbox rocks – it’s file sync and sharing

Dropbox rocks – it’s file sync and sharing made easy. http://ow.ly/1dE2t Dropbox should also be scanning for viruses

To be even better, Mozy should add anti-virus protection

To be even better, Mozy should add virus detection. Mozy says its “Safe, Secure, Affordable Online Backup” http://ow.ly/1doPA So protect me.

Reggie Fairchild’s social media trademarks

Reggie Fairchild coined and trademarked three social media terms today:

  1. BuzzBack ™
  2. ReBuzz ™
  3. Buzzers ™

The trademarks where first announced on the Google Buzz network and then retweeted on Twitter.  The usage works like this there’s BuzzBack ™ reply, a ReBuzz ™ public forward, and Buzzers ™ participants in the social media.

Reggie Fairchild hereby grants a free license to all users for non-commercial purposes.  All commercial rights are reserved and can only be licensed in writing by the trademark owner.

What’s the best blogging site?

Today, a friend of mine asked,

What’s the best blogging site?

I thought others might be interested in my answer, with a few additional points.  So here it is:

WordPress is the unrivaled champ.

You can use it either at WordPress.com or on your own website using the stuff from WordPress.org.

I suggest you start with WordPress.com because it’s so easy to get started and it’s FREE.  Link to it from your own website.  As you get more familiar with WordPress, you can move to WordPress.org stuff on your own site if the situation warrants.

Hosting your own blog will eventually allow more flexibility, but it’s got a steeper learning curve.

Lot’s of successful websites use WordPress.com.  My personal favorite is CharlestonWaterkeeper.com.  Watch the URL address bar in your browser as you click on the link.  You will be silently redirected to CharlestonWaterkeeper.WordPress.com.  Notice that WordPress shows up in the middle.  This redirect is simple to do and it makes it easier for you to tell people the address for your website (or blog).  You simply say, “the address is XYZ.com,” instead of saying, “the address is xyz.WORDPRESS.com.”

I hope this helps everyone.  Feel free to leave feedback.

BTW, I just launched a Dewees Island, SC Vacation Beach Rental web site that’s built entirely on WordPress.org stuff.  That should give you some idea of the power of WordPress.  You don’t need to start with something that complex.  WordPress.com make it very easy to get started.

The Gadget I Really Want.

The new iPhone 3G S sounds cool.  But what I really want is to be able to smash my iPhone together with my Canon SLR camera. In particular, I want my SLR Camera to know the GPS location and direction for every photo I take. I know there are some add-ons, but geeze, they’re not integrated.  They’re a hassle to use.  So usage is low.  The iPhone adds GPS data to photos seemlessly.  Why can’t my $1,000 Canon do the same?

Ask Mexico to be Part of the USA

So much of American foreign policy at the moment seems to be done looking in the rearview mirror.  The news is focused on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba.  As a country, we should be much more focused on China and Mexico and other areas of the World.  Hopefully, we can be friendly competitors with China for eons to come, just as we are friendly competitors with England and Germany.

The situation with Mexico is much more complicated.  During the Bush years, we’ve spent billions “getting tough” by erecting a wall / fence between our southern states and Mexico.  We’ve spent billions more unsuccessfully trying to staunch the flow of drugs across the border.  The effect is to keep pushing our neighbor to the ground.  Why don’t we try the opposite approach?  Let’s extend a hand to Mexico and put the country and it’s provinces, if they want to be, on the path to statehood.

In the process, we would gain access to the huge oil reserves in Mexico and help our neighbors.  After a transitional phase, it will become easier to control our borders, as the border between Mexico and it’s southern neighbors is much shorter than the one between the U.S. and Mexico.

The biggest threat is the rampant corruption in some parts of the Mexican economy.  In addition, there would have to be some sort of phased in approach to wellfare benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and so forth.  It’s only right that Mexicans help pay for their benefits.

If Canada wants to join the fun, so much the better.  A United North America would be a formidable force in the world many natural resources, creative people, and positive cultural, educational and legal institutions.