Tag Archives: email


Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave is my blogging spirit animal. I like blogging, and I like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Medium. Of those platforms, I get the most return from Facebook. But blogging AND sharing to Facebook and Google+ are just too much work. So I’m going to start focusing mainly on the blog, and just automatically share links to Google+ and Facebook, until those platforms become easier to deal with in conjunction with a blog.

I’m working on figuring out a way I can share short updates directly to those services and to the blog simultaneously. This will involve automated email and plenty of duck tape.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, or on Facebook or Google+. Or just stop reading, even if you’re a close friend or member of my immediate family. I do not require other people to participate in my peculiar hobby.

I will revisit this decision when it doesn’t seem to be working for me, or when the tools for sharing blog content to social media get easier to work with.

I’ll keep mirroring my posts to Tumblr and Medium because that’s easy.

And I’m still trying to figure out what to do about Twitter.

Tech PR tips

Two tips for tech PR people:

  • Get to the point right away. Get to the point, get to the point, get to the point. I am literally scrolling through hundreds of PR pitches every day, looking for two or three a week that I might write about. ANYTHING that speeds up this process will bump a pitch incrementally higher to the top. Embed content in the email rather than sending it as an attachment — that’s particularly true for Microsoft Word documents. Eliminate ALL throat-clearing prior to getting started. Even salutations (“Hi, Mitch! How is your Monday going?”) are superfluous.

  • Don’t start your email telling me something I — and my readers — already know. Don’t tell me that the cloud is becoming more popular, or that networks are under attack by hackers, or that software-defined networking delivers cost benefits and added flexibility. If the first paragraph of your email starts with something as kindergarten-level as that, it makes it hard for me to read any further.

How to unplug when you should

Do you obsessively fiddle with your phone all the time? Win back some mental space with these tips – Michael Duran, Wired

I see many articles like this. They all recommend similar steps. Don’t put your phone in your pocket, keep it in your desk where you have to make some effort to get it. Go a couple of days without connectivity.

These tips are not helpful. Keeping my phone out of reach would create more problems than it’s worth, because it’s a legitimate inconvenience when my phone is out of reach. The problem is that I fiddle with the phone at times when I should be doing something else. THAT’S what I’m looking to control.

Going a few days without connectivity is like going without electricity. It’s doable. People call that “camping.” And it’s good for you. But it’s kind of a big deal. Not to be entered into casually.

One tip that is helpful: Turn off nearly all your notifications. You do NOT want to be notified when you get new email, a mention or comment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You just don’t.

Emails renew questions about Clinton Foundation and State Department overlap

Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — A new batch of State Department emails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

The documents raised new questions about whether the charitable foundation worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department, a charge that Mrs. Clinton has faced in the past and has always denied.

In one email exchange, for instance, an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the United States ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.

These allegations are enormous, pointing to potential criminal activity on the part of the Clintons. Or activity that should be criminal — but, sadly, US election laws have legalized bribery.

In a normal election, this would be the most important issue and would prove fatal to the Clinton campaign. However, this is no normal election — to put it mildly — and I’m currently expecting a blowout victory for Clinton. And this election is so crazy that I expect I will actually be happy about that victory.

Trump attacks Clinton after Iran executes nuclear scientist

Elise Labott and Ryane Browne, CNN:

The execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist accused of spying for the US is reverberating from Tehran to the presidential campaign trail.

Critics, including opponent Donald Trump, are slamming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having received emails mentioning him on her controversial personal email server.

Trump took to Twitter on Monday to link Clinton to Shahram Amiri’s death, writing, “Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.”

The emails mentioning Amiri were were part of a tranche released by the State Department last year pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request in the wake of the revelation that Clinton used a personal server to conduct official business. The FBI has said there is no direct evidence the server was hacked, noting such evidence would be hard to come by.

Maybe it’s just that I’m tired but I’m having trouble following the logic here:

  1. Clinton had email about this Iranian scientist on her private server.
  2. A Republican-led investigation required Clinton to disclose that email.
  3. Therefore, it’s Clinton’s fault.

By that logic, if a Republican punches me in the face, it’s my fault because I have a nose.

There is a real problem here but the Republicans are missing it. It’s not email. The Clinton email server scandal is done. The GOP lost. But they will not let it go. Which is not surprising. The GOP never learns anything and never forgets anything.

The problem is that the nuclear deal with Iran is starting to look rotten. It’s looking like a foreign policy blunder. If it is in fact a good deal, Clinton and Obama need to do a better job explaining why.

FBI Director James Comey did say Clinton was truthful about classified email. Pretty much.

Peter Daou, Blue Nation Review:

Out of 110 emails that Comey testified contained classified information (which constituted only 0.2% of Hillary’s 55,000 emails), only three had any markings indicating the presence of classified material. And Comey conceded that those three were improperly marked.

He further testified that it would be a “reasonable inference” for Hillary to assume that those three emails were not classified.

The Clintons have been slimed by the opposition for 25 years, but the simple truth is they are more honest than most politicians. On the other hand, politics is a dirty business.

FBI suspects Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails to get Trump elected.

Or maybe the White House planted this story to get the email leak discredited? Or maybe both? Ow my head.

FBI Suspects Russia Hacked DNC; U.S. Officials Say It Was to Elect Donald Trump – Shane Harris, Nancy Youssef, the Daily Beast

The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.

The theory that Moscow orchestrated the leaks to help Trump, who has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and practically called for the end of NATO, is fast gaining currency within the Obama administration because of the timing of the leaks and Trump’s own connections to the Russian government, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and developing quickly.



There’s potential prison time for every millennial who shares his Netflix password and employee who asks a coworker to log in to his email. You can thank the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed before the Web was even a thing.

Brian Feldman reports for New York Magazine:

Punishment under the CFAA can be severe. Threatened with the prospect of years in jail for downloading millions of articles from JSTOR, the nonprofit digital library, cyberactivist Aaron Swartz committed suicide in 2013. This past spring, journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison for providing his Tribune Media log-in credentials to vandals who changed a Los Angeles Times headline for less than an hour.


Mossberg: Slack users complain about fear of missing out, messaging overload

I’m an email evangelist. Dismissing it as old people’s technology, as many people do, undervalues what email is good at. You can either check it right away or let it wait, whatever is more convenient. It’s vendor-neutral – you’re not locked in to a single provider. It’s archivable and searchable. Emails can be any length, as short as text messages or as long as a Game of Thrones novel. They can include multimedia. And they’re portable to any device, from mainframe to iPhone.

I’m not allergic to other channels. I use iMessage and Lync daily, and Messenger and other messaging services sometimes. And I’m intrigued by Slack.

But don’t count email out.

And moreover, whatever we use to replace email will take on email’s problems – too much noise, and too much need to keep on top of it. As Walter Mossberg’s column, above, demonstrates.


Obama defends Clinton’s email practices, but has a different standard when prosecuting whistleblowers. [David E. Sanger and Mark Landler – The New York Times]

WASHINGTON — When President Obama defended Hillary Clinton’s email practices in a television interview over the weekend by saying, “there’s classified, and then there’s classified,” he was only repeating what critics of government secrecy have long contended: that most of what is classified is merely sensitive, a little embarrassing or perhaps a policy debate still in progress.

But these are distinctions the Obama administration has not necessarily made in its treatment of classified information when dealing with news organizations, whistle-blowers or government officials accused of leaking information.

The White House has overseen some nine leak prosecutions, compared with just three under all previous presidents, drawing sharp criticism from news media advocates. The administration denounced the huge trove of confidential State Department cables released by WikiLeaks as damaging to American diplomacy, and it created task forces to counter Edward J. Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency – some of which involved genuine secrets, and some of which did not.

In a case involving Thomas A. Drake, a former official of the National Security Agency accused of wrongly providing information about the agency’s practices to a newspaper, the judge blasted prosecutors for putting Mr. Drake through “four years of hell.” He was sentenced to community service.

One standard for Obama’s crony, another for everybody else.


For Generation Z, Email Has Become a Rite of Passage

They’d rather use messaging apps, but have to learn to use email to get along in the adult world, including the workplace, says Christopher Mims at The Wall Street Journal.

Interesting piece. I’d also be interested in learning how those of us from older generations, who used email first, have branched out to use messaging apps.

Messaging isn’t just an alternative to email; its’ an alternative to shouting. Julie and I communicate by iMessage extensively throughout the day, when we’re on other sides of the house.

The chief advantage to email is that it can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Messaging is synchronous – the default is that the recipient sees it right away and an immediate reply is expected. Email can wait if the recipient is busy.

Stay on top of Apple Mail using Mail Perspectives

I was pleased to once again have a two-minute audio tip featured on Mac Power Users. In it, I describe Mail Perspectives, software that lets me stay on top of email by displaying a mini-window showing key information about recently arrived messages.

My tip starts here.

Listen to the whole episode here: #309: I Haven't Discounted The Possibility That You're Crazy

New! Get the Like I Was Saying Blog as a daily email

Get an email of all the posts on Like I Was Saying: Subscribe here.

What you can expect: A daily email, sent 4 am PDT, of the full content of all the previous 24 hours’ posts on LIWS.

What else? Probably a couple of bumps as I make design changes and fiddle with the settings. For example, I might change the time of day the email goes out. But I will do my darndest to make sure none of these bumps result in your receiving more email than you signed up for. Because nobody likes that.

What you can NOT expect: Spam. I won’t send spam. I won’t sell your email to spammers.

Note to folks who’ve already signed up to receive this blog by email: Right now, you’re getting every post as I publish it, many emails per day. If you want one daily email of all the posts, I’m afraid you’re going to have to unsubscribe from your current subscription and resubscribe to the new one. Sorry about that. If you don’t want to change, just do nothing — you can continue your current email subscription for the foreseeable future. (In other words, if you like your plan you can keep it — where have I heard that before?).

I’m fiddling with the blog

  1. I created an automated mailing list. Subscribers get daily updates from this blog. Sign up here.
  2. I cleaned up the RSS — less clutter for people who subscribe to the feed, or follow me on Tumblr, or get the new newsletter.

If you sign up for the mailing list Friday after reading this post, you’ll see this post again when you receive your first email Saturday. Inception!

Goldman Sachs wants a judge to order Google to delete an email from its recipient’s inbox

Goldman asked a US judge to order Google to delete an email from a Gmail inbox, after a contractor accidentally sent confidential documents to that address.

The breach occurred on June 23 and included “highly confidential brokerage account information,” Goldman said in a complaint filed last Friday in a New York state court in Manhattan.

Goldman (GS.N) did not say how many clients were affected, and wants Google’s (GOOGL.O) help in tracking down who might have accessed the data. The Wall Street bank also said Google “appears willing to cooperate” if there is a court order.

The contractor meant to email the report containing confidential client data to a “gs.com” account, but instead sent it to a similar, unrelated, gmail.com account.

The judge should deny this request. The items of an inbox are the property of the recipient. One the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in. If we start granting this request, the floodgates will open.

Goldman says client data leaked, wants Google to delete email

More on how email makes us unhappier and less productive

But there’s hope.

At Bandwidth, a tech company with 300-plus employees, CEO David Morken grew tired of feeling only half-present when he was at home with his six children, so he started encouraging his staff to unplug during their leisure time and actually prohibited his vacationing employees from checking email at all—anything vital had to be referred to colleagues. Morken has had to sternly warn people who break the vacation rule; he asks his employees to narc on anyone who sends work messages to someone who’s off—as well as those who sneak a peek at their email when they are supposed to be kicking back on a beach. “You have to make it a firm, strict policy,” he says. “I had to impose it because the methlike addiction of connection is so strong.”

Once his people got a taste of totally disconnected off-time, however, they loved it. Morken is convinced that his policy works in the company’s self-interest: Burned-out, neurotic employees who never step away from work are neither productive nor creative.

Are You Checking Work Email in Bed? At the Dinner Table? On Vacation?