Monthly Archives: September 2006

Yahoo! Mail Beta

Yahoo! Mail Beta
Today the Yahoo! Mail Beta software is being opened up for general release (previously it had been in a limited beta). It’s still “beta” software, but I know they wanted to make sure it was reliable and scalable before opening up to the general user base. (Internally, we’ve been able to run it for about 6 months.)

This release has been getting really good reviews. There’s a lot of AJAX magic going on that makes the UI look and act very similar to a desktop application. People used to running Outlook will probably like this interface as well. I like some of the nice integrations like the RSS feed reader, calendar status bar, and quick add event.

Yahoo! Mail users can now sign up to switch to the new Beta. You can also switch back to “classic” mail at anytime.

Some additional coverage:
* Read/Write Web – review and interview with Ethan Diamond from Yahoo
* Yahoo! Mail Beta Screencast – also with Ethan
* CNet – “It doesn’t take very much time with it to come to a simple conclusion: It is a fantastic email application.”
* Yahoo! Mail Blog

Future of Web Apps: Day 1

Had a pretty good time at Day 1 of the Future of Web Apps conference today. The presentations by Dick Hardt, Tom Coates, and Tantek Çelik were the best. The Yahoo! ZoneTag talk was pretty cool, but could have been shown better, maybe with an ELMO. The Google Calendar talk was pretty good, but the presentation ran a bit and didn’t do the product justice.

Oh, and the WiFi was horrible, basically useless. I don’t think it’s the workshop organizers’ fault (they probably spent a bundle on it), but the WiFi provider seriously dropped the ball on this one. Literally every single person attending has a laptop, so it shouldn’t be hard to do the math and bring enough bandwidth.

See more on and Flickr

The Future of Web Apps

Carson Workshops Summit - The Future of Web Apps
I’ll be spending the next two days up in the City attending the Carson Workshops Summit on “The Future of Web Apps“. Yahoo! is a gold sponsor, so I’ll be helping represent the company (as best I can…), but mostly trying to learn from all the talks and other attendees. Should be fun!

Product Brochures Versus Manuals

This post from Creating Passionate Users is a couple weeks old, but really stuck with me:

Why do so many companies treat potential users so much better than existing users? Think about it. The brochure is a thing of beauty, while the user manual is a thing of boredom. The brochure gets the big budget while the manual gets the big index. What if we stopped making the docs we give away for free SO much nicer than the ones the user paid for? What if instead of seducing potential users to buy, we seduced existing users to learn?

The key message here? Don’t forget about your existing users. Having spent time writing the typical user documentation and manuals, I can imagine all sorts of explanations for why they’re written that way, but the comparison image here really makes you wonder.

Creating Passionate Users: Why marketing should make the user manuals!

Reloading Firefox

Before and After
This week the hard drive on my Windows desktop at work bit the dust. I had most of it backed up, but still need to reinstall all the software and tweaks (yet again). To help me keep better track of this, here’s my definitive list of essential Firefox extensions:

Update 2006-10-24: Also see some updated extensions for Firefox 2.0.

Update 2009-07-24: The original author of CopyURL+ has not updated it for several years; instead, see CopyURL+ by Marbux for a more up-to-date release.