By Ara C. Trembly
Most of us who work in offices sit down at a computer each morning and prepare to do battle with forces that would keep us from getting our work done.
These distractions and nuisances include volumes of unsorted e-mail, lost files, spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail), pop-up ads, and even spyware, to name a few.
The good news is that there is no shortage of software utility products designed to rid us of these problems. Following are some recent introductions from technology vendors.
Creo Inc., based in Burnaby, B.C., Canada, has introduced Six Degrees, version 1.5, a software application that “automatically connects and displays related e-mail messages, files and people on the desktop.”
According to Mark Lemmons, director of the Creative Software Group for Creo, the average person spends 49 minutes per day managing his or her e-mail–moving, filing, archiving, etc.
“Six Degrees automatically builds a comprehensive database of your important data. Youve got questions, it has answers,” says Lemmons. The desktop application provides keyword access by “relationship,” indexing subject names, who sent the message, who received the message, and other important parameters.
“It doesnt replace any other programs,” he adds. “It works alongside Microsoft Outlook.”
A setup of Six Degrees involving up to 50,000 messages takes about 90 minutes, says Lemmons. The utility operates on Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP and on the Mac OS X, but it will not run on Windows 98, he notes.
Six Degrees also updates automatically “in real time,” says Creo.
A free 30-day trial of Six Degrees can be downloaded at www.creo.com/sixdegrees, the company adds. The product is priced at $99.
Another suite of products that “builds a knowledge base of information on a computer” was introduced by Norwalk, Calif.-based Neutrino Technologies.
The NeuDESK Suite contains nine modules designed to help users manage their desktop information where “the average user spends 70% to 80% of his or her time during daily activities,” says Ashok Suresh, CEO and founder of Neutrino.
“Our view is that the computer should understand a users need, rather than a user having to learn how to use the computer,” he continues. The new suite “will virtually eliminate a lot of keystrokes, mouse-clicking and hopping through layers of menus.”
Using the suite of products, a computer can search, manage, link and display information based on commands input in “natural language,” says Suresh. “Plus, as voice technology becomes widely used, NeuDESK will allow you to input commands using your voice, further reducing typing and clicking.”
The user types natural language commands to get the computer to retrieve files, check e-mail, create notes, schedule tasks, look up contacts, get driving directions, and more, says Neutrino. The program builds a knowledge base of the users work that can be used for later searches, even if the user only remembers bits and pieces of what he or she wants to retrieve.
“The human mind remembers information by relating it to other bits and pieces of information,” explains Anup Suresh, vice president of technology for Neutrino. “Now you can utilize those bits and pieces for search and let the computer intelligently figure out what you want.”
Retail price of the suite, which operates on the Windows platform, is $99.95. Further details are available at www.nt4me.com.