Internet Tech

Xobni is changing the way I manage emails

xobniXobni (“inbox” spelled backwards and pronounced zob-nee) has produced a free downloadable software that, once installed, indexes all the e-mail in Outlook and makes those messages quickly and easily searchable.

The most useful part of Xobni is how it indexes and threads content. The program lists emails in “conversations” a la Gmail, so you’ll see all the back-and-forth replies to any message together in one window within Outlook (Xobni runs as a sidebar inside the program). Having all that info so readily available, without even having to navigate away from your current message is quite convenient.

Xobni also saves you time on searching for those old email attachments. When you have an email open, Xobni’s displays a box that shows you every single file you’ve ever exchanged with a person and lets you easily access them.

xobni in outlook

Another neat feature is you get all their contact info, including phone numbers extracted from their past emails. Xobni will pull their digits from their signature and save them for you, without you ever having to do a thing.

Xobni comes with many more features such as analytics, people relationships, etc…

The company was founded by two former graduate students who met on internships in Washington in 2006. Last year the co-founders went through a Silicon Valley start-up boot camp, called Y Combinator, where they received an initial investment and temporary offices.

In February, Bill Gates demonstrated the program at Microsoft’s San Jose developers’ conference and called it “the next generation in social networking.”

News Tech

Operate your computer by power of thought

Russian scientists won a $750,000 award for the development of the systems of the mental computer control. For the next 18 months they are going to develop programs and make a research that will help them to create such a system.


How does that work? Special equipment catches brain signals that go through the metal helmet with electrodes. Then with the help of a signal enhancer the signal will go to the computer.

This will make the life of disabled people much easier. Those who can’t move will be able to write email letters and even IM people around the world.


What people see (and don’t see) on a webpage

The truth is people don’t read very much, often scanning text instead of really reading it. On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely. This is at least what recent eyetracking studies showed.

In the study, the authors instrumented 25 users’ browsers and recorded extended information about everything they did as they went about their normal Web activities.

Among other things, the authors found that the Back button is now only the 3rd most-used feature on the Web. Clicking hypertext links remains the most-used feature, but clicking buttons (on the page) has now overtaken Back to become the second-most used feature. The reason for this change is the increased prevalence of applications and feature-rich Web pages that require users to click page buttons to access their functionality.

So, what do people really see on a page? Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.

reading pattern eyetracking

Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.

Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.

Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.

Click here for full results survey results about the F-shaped pattern.

Other interesting results:

Banner ad blindness: Users rarely look at display advertisements on websites. Of the four design elements that do attract a few ad fixations, one is unethical and reduces the value of advertising networks.

Fancy formatting is ignored: One site did most things right, but still had a miserable 14% success rate for its most important task. The reason? Users ignored a key area because it resembled a promotion.

Numbers are better then letter: It’s better to use “23” than “twenty-three” to catch users’ eyes when they scan Web pages for facts, according to eyetracking data.

Talking heads are boring: Eyetracking data show that users are easily distracted when watching video on websites, especially when the video shows a talking head and is optimized for broadcast rather than online viewing.

Internet iPhone

Top 10 Apps Download Websites

Looking for apps for Windows, OSX or Linux? Want to pimp your iPhone, Myspace or Facebook? Here is a selection of the top 10 resources:

Art Random

The Zero Energy Media Wall


GreenPix – Zero Energy Media Wall – is a groundbreaking project applying sustainable and digital media technology to the curtain wall of Xicui entertainment complex in Beijing, near the site of the 2008 Olympics.

Featuring the largest color LED display worldwide and the first photovoltaic system integrated into a glass curtain wall in China, the building performs as a self-sufficient organic system, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark, mirroring a day’s climatic cycle.

The project was designed and implemented by Simone Giostra & Partners.