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Category: Communication (page 1 of 1)

The Death of Email — At Least Internally — At A Large Multi-national Company

The Death of Email -- At Least Internally -- At A Large Multi-national Company | 40Tech

People have been talking about the death of email for a while now. Every time there’s a new, communications-focused technology, most notably Google Wave — and we all know how that went — email eulogies pop up all over the internet. It seems likely to me that email is here to stay, at least for a while longer, but if other companies follow the example of Atos, a 74,000 employee French tech company spanning 42 countries, email may actually begin its prophesied decline.

Atos has banned email. At least, they’ve banned it internally. That’s right, those 74,000 employees can no longer send each other minutiae-filled email chains that may or may not ever get fully read. They will no longer be able to forward jokes and silly messages throughout the company or the office. They will no longer be able to send on-line emails to avoid the potential perspiration of actually getting up from their desk and walking over to their friend and asking in person. I say good riddance.

Atos announced the no-email policy in February of 2011, but have now officially implemented it. CEO Thierry Breton, who was also the French finance minister from 2005-2007, said that employee emails are only 10 percent useful, and are 18 percent spam — which seems about right to me, considering the emails I’ve received in companies I’ve worked for. All to often, the emails would be useless time-wasters — especially the ones that involved questions from co-workers that didn’t actually read the email in the first place.

Atos isn’t leaving their employees without a digital option for communication, though. They are using tools such as the Atos Wiki and their Office Communicator chat program to allow employees to collaborate on documents and projects, as well as chat, video  conference, and share applications and files.

I think the Atos approach is the only way for a company to successfully achieve adoption of internal social media tools and, so far, the only possible negative fallout I can see would be dependent on the tools they use and how user-friendly they are.  They seem to be doing okay in that department, however, as Atos has reported to ABC News that employee response “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.”

What do you think of the Atos no-email policy? Is it the beginning of a massive “kill email” movement? Will it lead to better outside-company communications as well? Discuss in the comments.

Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy [ABC News on Yahoo.com]


Sign and Send Faxes and Emailed Documents . . . Without a Fax, Scanner, or Printer

hellofax page

With the dominance of email and other forms of digital communications, the fax machine is dying a slow death. There are still times, though, where you’ll want to not only send a fax, but attach a signature to a faxed document. You can do so without a scanner, fax machine, or printer, using webapp HelloFax. HelloFax also supports the signing and sending of documents via email.

With HelloFax, you upload your document (so be forewarned if privacy is an issue) and enter the recipient’s fax number or email address. If you’d like, you can also add a signature or other marking to the document that you’re sending. The option box for this will appear after you’ve uploaded your document.

hellofax1

You have the choice of creating your signature with your mouse (probably quite difficult), uploading an image, or by taking a photo of your signature with your phone. HelloFax will process that, and isolate it for you. You can crop the signature image, as well as adjust the contrast. The background of this image will be transparent, so you don’t have to worry about it accidentally obscuring parts of your document. I found that my signature looked horrible by default, but I was able with to get it looking nice with just a bit of tweaking.

hellofax4

When you’re all done, just hit send, and your message will be sent. HelloFax allows you to send five faxed pages for free. After that, you need a paid account, which begins at $4.99 per month for 50 faxed pages. The sending of signed emails is unlimited.

How do you send faxed documents, if you don’t have a fax machine?

HelloFax [via MakeUseOf]


Word Lens: Real Time Language Translation (iOS)

Word Lens: Real Time Language Translation | 40Tech

File this under very cool and potentially useful. Word Lens is the kind of app you will want to have on you when travelling, or when presented with text in a language you don’t understand that you just have to know the translation of. I say “will want” because, so far, it only works with Spanish and English, so it is useless for your other translation needs. It’s still awesome, though — the bees knees, even.

All this iOS app needs is a device with a camera, and — with no network required — it will translate the text that the camera sees, in real time. It works surprisingly well, too! I think that, next to (prepare for Star Trek reference) a Universal Translator, this is best thing to happen to translation software in a while. Maybe Google will buy them and offer the tech for free some day soon. For now, however, even though the app looks free, it will actually cost you $10 per language set. That means that you need to spend $10 to get it to translate Spanish to English and another $10 for the vice versa. For what it does, though, and especially as it adds in more languages, Word Lens might actually be worth it.

Check out the video below:

Word Lens is a Mind-Blowing App that Translates Any Text Your Camera Can See On the Fly [Lifehacker]


How to Record Your Skype Calls For Free

Call Graph Toolbar There are a few reasons that you might need to record your Skype audio calls.  Perhaps you want to cherish and save all those calls that you make with loved ones, or maybe you conduct interviews for a podcast.  Whatever the reason, CallGraph provides a quick and easy way to record your Skype audio conversations.

CallGraph integrates effortlessly with Skype.  After Skype has started, a simple press of CallGraph’s Record button is all that is needed to record your call.  You can also set CallGraph to automatically record all Skype calls.  CallGraph gives you the option of recording to mp3 or wav format, and puts no time restriction on the duration of your recording.

CallGraph settings

CallGraph won’t replace high end audio equipment that can record audio channels separately, but for quick and easy recording, CallGraph is hard to beat.  But remember, aside from common courtesy, most states prohibit the recording of a conversation without the consent of the person on the other end.  CallGraph is Windows only.

What other tools do you use to record Skye calls?  Let us know in the comments.

CallGraph