Goodbye Windows Mobile

This weekend, I picked up the new HTC Evo 4G, which has been sold out of Sprint stores for the last month. And while I’ve only performed a cursory evaluation of the OS, I’m worlds happier than I was with Windows Mobile 6.1. The operating system isn’t new to me, however, as I spent nearly a day-long barbecue stealing Itay‘s Nexxus One and spent the last year looking over Zeh‘s shoulder as he fiddled with his MyTouch. Needless to say, I liked what I saw. My geekiest of friends had given Android 2.2 two international thumbs up, so my purchase was clear.

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Spam-blocking sub-domains

A long time ago, around the time I started compiling my “Best Practices…” list, I began creating forwarders for ecommerce accounts to distinguish who was sending me solicitations and to be able to stop them easily. If you give someone your email address, say “joe@joe-co.com” then you have no idea where the soliciations are coming from and the only way to stop them is to increase your SpamAssassin rating—potentially losing false positives—or to get a new email address.

But, if you create “hsbc@joe-co.com,” and forward that to “joe@joe-co.com,” you can see who sold your email address and promptly disrupt the flow of spam by simply deleting the forwarder. Well, after a decade of online business through my company, ERA404, I have a veritable bee’s hive of forwarders floating around. And, as I’d like to do some house-keeping to keep them organized, I’ve decided to create a sub-domain to create easily visual recognition of what is an actual forwarder (i.e., don@ forwards to don.citarella@) and what is a spam-blocking forwarder (i.e., hsbc@ temporarily forwards to don.citarella@).

Here’s where I need your assistance. Fill in the blank:
Solicitor: “Sir, in order for me to process your order, you need to provide a valid email address.”
Me: So I’d like to provide them with: “[solicitor name]@_____.era404.com” where ______ is the word I’m seeking.

Here are a few that I thought of: @firewall, @temporary, @spam, @commerce, @solicitations, @junkmail, @junk, @delete, @block, @protect, @safe, @safety, @protection, @temp.

Here are a few suggestions by friends: @refuse, @trash, @scrap, @waste, and my personal favorite, @is-a-dirty-dirty-whore. (Imagine providing the following: “The email address is: hsbc@is-a-dirty-dirty-whore.joe-co.com“). Ah, it’s the little things in life. It truly is.

So I appeal to you, gentle readers. What would be the best spam-blocking sub-domain? While my preference is to go with @solicitations, I worry it will be too long: networksolutions@solicitations.joe-co.com. And does @trash have that certain je ne sais quoi that I want, so that solicitors think “I see what you did there. Well played, dear sir. Well played.“?

What is Google Chrome OS?

Telling the story of Google Chrome and how it inspired an operating system. Produced by Epipheo Studios.

BTW, I have Google Wave Preview and about a 1/2 dozen colleagues on it, yet, I still haven’t manage to catch someone online to play around with it. Will you add me so I can test with you?

Make any image into Google Maps, with UMapper

I’ve been following the success of UMapper (formerly GMap, provided by the good folks at AFComponents.com) since a client of mine asked ERA404 to build a dating search with results based on proximity around a geographic area. And while the site has taken a slightly different direction since then, UMapper piqued my interest. In their latest newsletter, they cited creating Google Maps-style widgets from any image. And sure enough, it works!

I started to think of all the useful applications this could have for my companies and clients. For instance, Lyrek CEMS, which manages our clients’ contacts, events and venues, could plot their contacts on a world map. Clients seeking geographic searches (such as the dating site, previously mentioned) could now brand and custom design their national or global maps. Game developers and Facebook Application developers could use this functionality for GeoDart Games and MapWikis. And who is to say that the map has to be a geographical representation of land? Any application where a user would want to plot points of interest/note on a 2D plane would work: It could be a hi-rez scan of an organ or anatomical figure for physician studies, or a zoomed micro electron slide of pond water for biological research. The possibilities are endless.

And with AFComponents/UMapper’s analytics tools, you can also create surveys, questionnaires, tests/quizzes, census studies and a whole host of other information-gathering applications.

Watch their video, here: