Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Outlook gripe

While sitting with my blogger friend and sharing gripes about technology (of which we have many, even while we love it all), I mentioned a particular issue I have with Microsoft Outlook that is a real thorn in my side. I just can't help myself any longer -- I've got to make this one public. Maybe someday, someone from Microsoft who works on the Outlook team will see this post and will push this feature into an upcoming release (keep your fingers crossed).

My beef involves traveling for business. Imagine you work for a company that uses Outlook for calendaring. Let's say you are based on the West Coast. Then you travel to New York for a meeting next Wednesday. On that day, you've got a couple of con calls that are already booked in your calendar for that day with folks back in the West Coast office. You begin booking meetings with people you are meeting in New York as well. The problem comes in when you realize that the meetings next Wednesday are in Pacific Time. In fact, your whole calendar is in Pacific Time because the time zone setting is global. This means that if you have someone in your office in NY try and schedule a meeting for you, they will see your calendar expressed in West Coast time. If you try and place a meeting you have in NY into the calendar in NY time, it will confuse things thoroughly. So you end up trying to translate every conversation about time for NY meetings into Pacific Time, booking it in your calendar that way, and having to constantly translate. All your alerts get pushed to you in Pacific Time, and you are just simply screwed if you want to easily look at your calendar and understand your schedule. If you travel to multiple time zones on a trip, this process becomes impossible. Ugh.

I guess this is what happens when a monopoly builds the software. No need to fix real problems for customers when there is no real competitive alternative.

Inspirational blogger

I just had coffee with a friend from the go-go Nineties (ah yes, the good old days). He has taken a hiatus from life to travel the country and blog about his experiences. He does a terrific job of integrating the blogging process into his life experiences. You get a real window into his life and feelings. I'd strongly recommend checking it out at: If you are debating whether to produce a blog and how you might make it a meaningful personal pulpit, this blog can give you some inspiration.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Digital Magazines are Here to Stay

Let me start out by saying that one of my jobs is to run marketing for Zinio Systems. The company works with magazine publishers to produce digital replica versions of their print magazines. We also help sell subscriptions on our web site and distribute them to over two million readers in 95% of the world's countries. So I'm biased on this topic.

Having said that, we recently produced a research report which shows pretty clearly that digital magazine readership is growing really rapidly. Depending upon the measure, the industry has grown anywhere from 25-40% over the most recent six month reporting period. That's impressive growth, especially in the context of an overall magazine industry that is basically experiencing zero growth.

The report is available for free by registering through this link.