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Friday, May 13, 2005

ClearContext 1.1

First off, I'd like to express how happy I've been with the
folks over at ClearContext. I identified an issue with an older version of
Outlook, suggested a fix and they sent me a revised exe. That is awesome. So,
besides good support, what does this program do? Well, I can't say that I've
explored 100% of the functionality but am using portions of it every day. One
of the easiest and most handy functions (to me) is depicted below.

Before I jump in – an intro –

From my perspective, the main change to my day-to-day life
is the addition of a series of views, a new tool bar and the concept of ‘topics’
and priority using colors and rankings.

I loosely associate topics to categories but they do not map
to one another.

The tool bar shows up in the inbox view and in the message
view (the one problem I had was the icon on the message view).

In Outlook 2000, when starting a new message the icon would replace whatever I had on the clip board. Not cool when I was cutting and pasting information from one document to a new e-mail.
Very frustrating and I hope they include a fix in their next release.

Here is how I set up a rule for auto handling – expense related

First, I select an item.

Second I click "Auto Assign" and a Dialog box will
pop up. This dialog allows me to select from a number of different options.

  1. Name –
    I name the rule… would be nice to know if I’ve used a name before.

  2. Sender
    – I can select a sender or multiple senders to which I can associate the rule.

  3. Received
    by – If I have multiple accts, I could associate rules to each one.

  4. Subject
    – I can select a string to associate with the rule – allowing me to either
    have the full subject or a match to any “keyword” in the string.

  5. Body –
    similar to subject as far as the options go.

Actions –

I can associate the item to a specific topic and/or assign a

I like being able to select whether – the e-mail gets filed
immediately and to apply the rule to the inbox.

I’m unclear so far on the hierarchy of execution… e.g. if an
e-mail comes in that matches 2 or more rules, which one runs first.
I need to play with that a little more.

In this example, I’ve selected an item with the subject of ‘submit

I’ve clicked the “Message subject contains” item.

And have left it as the default value that was carried over
from my inbox.

Now I’m selecting from a list of “topics” that I’ve already entered.

Here, I’ve decided to file these messages immediately.
Who needs to look at this stuff again???

And as a last step – I’ve told ClearContext to file every thing in the inbox right now.

Now – under another folder called “ClearContext Topics” a folder is created with the same name as whatever I used as the name
of the topic. Easy!

Pros – automated, easy to use, intuitive, seems stable.

Cons – don’t like the icon/clip board issue above, has some
issues integrating with the “Getting Things Done” add in but I think this is
only for Outlook 2000.

Overall, I think it’s worth it.

Good luck automating.


At 8:38 AM, Blogger Brad Meador said...

Thanks for the review, Lance. We have posted a link and talk about a couple of items you mention on our weblog: http://blog.clearcontext.com/2005/05/clearcontext_au.html . Enjoy the product!


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