Posts by "Ryan"

The Day We Launched a Rocket in the Workplace

Sometimes your job will challenge you, it’ll make you go above and beyond what’s expected of you, to do things you didn’t sign up to do. Galaxies from your original role description. 

But these are the things that are going to make you a more experienced person and shuttle you towards the unknown.

If you think we just migrate Emails here, then think again.

We also send rockets into the sky. Well, higher than the office and in a more environmentally friendly way than the common exploration. It just takes teamwork, water, air and a bit of manpower…

It started with an idea (as most things do). To connect with our potential clients in a different way than an ordinary email. 

To cut a very long story short, we decided to send rockets to a specially selected group of people who we thought would benefit from our email migration tool.

But before you send a rocket by mail to someone, there are a series of safety checks and tests which need to be applied.

You should know that we take our work very seriously and this perfectly measured experiment was essential in the progression of our careers, but sometimes you just need to get away from the desk and have some fun!

With that said, Rocket Science isn’t easy and things don’t always work the first time you try. But after some true team perseverance (see what I did there), we had success with the third attempt!:

The first one needed someone with a science degree to assemble it. None of us have one of those.

With the second attempt we managed to get it off the ground! A staggering 50cm.

And the third one. Well watch the video to find out…

Jeff Bezos, eat your heart out! I’m just waiting for my offer from NASA.

Letter it be

Recently I took a break from writing emails. I picked up a pen, moved it towards some paper, and started to scribble. 

Apart from discovering how much the quality of my handwriting had deteriorated since I was at school, I quite enjoyed it. It felt more personal and meaningful than, say, typing a WhatsApp message.

Before this, the last time I wrote a letter was to my childhood love, a whopping 20 years ago! Kelly lived across the road from me and we would exchange letters and notes everyday for weeks. I couldn’t wait for the sound of the letterbox snapping back against the door. And then I got my first mobile phone…

It just crossed my mind that there’s people in the world (probably mostly those under 20), that have never even written a letter! But then, why should they when they have an endless supply of messaging apps at their fingertips?

I think Instant messaging is fantastic and convenient, and it has greatly improved making plans. but at the same time it can be very noisy and, ironically, disconnected.

We can sometimes forget how important and powerful words are. At the end of the day it’s not so much about how we write them it’s how we use them. It’s about what we say.

The point isn’t that we should all live in the past and start expressing ourselves like Shakespeare, but that words can still make a difference.

I know for sure If someone took the time and energy to write something to me with ink, I would appreciate it a lot more than the common approach. But at the same time if they decided to write to me the modern way, but with some thought and heart to their message then I’m going to remember it equally.

So the next time you write to someone, make it count. 

Or even better, put it in a letter!

I’m still waiting for my reply. Maybe it’s lost in the post…

Migrating from AOL to Gmail if you have 2-step activated

Some third-party email apps require you to enter a single password for login credentials. 

If you’ve activated 2-step verification for your AOL account, you’ll need to generate and use an “app password” to access AOL Mail from these apps (you can read more about this here). Now generate this “app password” and then try starting the import using this newly generated password information to login: 

1. Sign in and go to the AOL Account security page.

2. Click Generate app password. If this option doesn’t appear, you’ll need to enable 2-step verification.

3. Select the app you use from the drop-down menu.

4. Click Generate.

5. Follow the instructions provided to use the app password.

– Be sure to enter the password into your app without any spaces.

6. Click Done.

Once this is done, you are ready to import!

Knowledge Shared = Knowledge Squared

One of our core values at ShuttleCloud is to learn and teach. Naturally we want to learn more about the industry, get better at our jobs and guide our colleagues who are aspiring to succeed. But it’s also important to step outside the norm and explore new things. After all, the world is a massive place and there’s more to it than Email Migration!

With this in mind ‘Gather Up’ was created. Every 2 weeks we get together on a video call with one chosen person talking about something they know and love. Followed by Q&A – which can sometimes last as long as the talk itself. I am really proud to be part of it. Here’s a few Gather Up benefits:

  • Getting to know the team on a deeper level and discovering their hidden talents (Jay is a Rubik’s cube expert).
  • Catching up with the remote workers who we don’t see much of.
  • Learning about something that we have little or no idea about.
  • A good experience for those who don’t usually present – I love seeing the different ways that people visualise their presentations.

I would encourage any company to invest some time in this. What would your topic be? Here’s a handful of ours:

  •  The Effects of Architecture on the Brain
  •  How to get songs on Spotify
  •  The history and future of podcasts
  •  Wealth Inequality from the stone age to the XXI century
  •  Eigenfaces 

The internet in a Minute

In the time it takes for you to make your morning coffee or read this post. Trillions of things are happening around you. Especially on the internet. At ShuttleCloud we love statistics and numbers. I think because email is so vast, breaking it down into digits helps us comprehend it, whilst also giving us insights and a better understanding of the data. 

So, around 150,000 emails have been sent in the last 60 seconds, but what else has been happening?…

These are pretty big numbers for such a small amount of time. To save me from writing another post about ‘what happens in a day’ just multiply them by 1440!

And here’s some non-tech things that have happened in the last minute:

  • 255 babies were born
  • 5.5 million pounds of garbage was thrown
  • Your body produced around 150 million red blood cells
  • 25 million coca-cola products were consumed
  • 4.7 billion bath tubs of rain will fall
  • At least one person read this article

If you have any other interesting numbers please send them our way! We really do love them!

How to Get Stuff Done

I’m 3 weeks into writing a poem per day for one month. It started when I randomly wrote a few rhymes on a post-it note, which then turned into this little personal project. 

I’m not aiming for profound pages of sculptured genius. Sometimes just a few simple words about something I see or things that only make sense to me. I’ll pick up my phone and write something down; On the train, in the supermarket, in the early hours of the morning…

But why should you care what I do with my free time? Well, you don’t need to. The thing is, I’m just sharing something I love to do, showing how things can evolve if you stick with them, and I think that everyone should have their ‘poem a day’. Their own personal projects, that come with some addition benefits:

I believe they give you a new outlook, make life more interesting, take conversations beyond small talk and can increase your general productivity with everything else.

A few days ago someone suggested the poem thing in this article (but I’d like to point out that I thought of it first ? ). They also mention a load of other interesting things to do when you have nothing to do. Or even extra things to add to your list.

But don’t leave it for tomorrow! For a long time my motto has been ’To Begin, Begin’. You don’t need to wait for the right time to do something. It doesn’t have to be on January 1st, or when you feel inspired, or after you’ve done another thing. Get the pen to the post-it now and the rest will follow. 

Perhaps I’ll develop the 30 into a book of 100 poems and self-publish it on Amazon (for my family to buy and think I’m clever for writing a book), or maybe it’ll just be something I can look back on as proof that I can achieve things.

I’ll leave you with one of my 20 (and counting) poems and challenge you to start something new, if you haven’t already. Please let me know how you get on.

I think next month I’ll try the daily plank…

What if we run out of ideas?

Everything you see was once an idea,
From the tallest of buildings to the tiniest screw.
But at the top of my list of the things I most fear,
Is if we run out and nothing is new.

The quota has maxed; weʼd thought everything up,
Theyʼd re-write songs thatʼd been written before.
Weʼd picked the last gem from the genius cup,
It’s all been done, there’s no room for more.

But I shanʼt lose sleep, weʼre safe now I think,
And Iʼve had an idea, it’s a pretty good one.
Iʼll write a poem as if ideas were extinct,
Or maybe I wonʼt, I think it’s been done.

Where does Spam come from?

I was surprised to discover recently that the word ‘Spam’ comes from the famous BBC television comedy series – Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The sketch is referring to a can of meat. Popular in the 70s. I can’t say I’ve ever tried it, but I’m interested to know the mystery ingredients contained within this packaging:

Spam (the email kind) is very annoying, but nowadays our email provider will automatically detect it and keep it away from our inbox. Although it is fun to occasionally take a peek into this strange folder to see what’s being thrown at us.

I was also interested to discover that over 20% of the world’s Spam comes from Russia. Followed by the U.S with under 10%. The statistics show the most common sources of unsolicited commercial emails in the first quarter of 2020

Not surprisingly Spam has dropped significantly in the last 6 years mainly due to the GDPR laws which started in Spring 2018….

It did begin to sneak up again since, as did sales of the canned meat version. So a Spam free world isn’t likely anytime soon. Can anyone confirm if it’s worth a taste?

Email & Collaboration Industry Fortnightly: October 9, 2019

New Productivity (ben-evans.com)

This is a very insightful post describing the rise of productivity tools that cater to specific professions.

The Future of Work: Announcing a New Strategic Partnership with Dropbox (bettercloud.com)

Our friends at BetterCloud are on a mission to bring order out of the chaos of SaaS sprawl, and I personally am very happy to see them partnering with one of my favorite SaaS services.

WhatsApp to add disappearing message feature in future build (9to5google.com)

We’re not sure whether WhatsApp will continue to focus on consumers, businesses or both. This update hints at cloning a popular Snapchat feature.

Slack Stock Hits Its Lowest Close, Down 37% since Debut (marketrealist.com)

Slack is very popular but Microsoft is not an easy company to compete against in the enterprise software space, and that seems to worry retail investors.

Email & Collaboration Industry Fortnightly: September 25, 2019

Slack releases “shared channels”, a new feature to collaborate across companies

Slack has grown extremely fast based on the premise of improving internal communications at work. With “shared channels”, they’re hoping to “break down the walls”, as their announcement says, and go beyond internal chat. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve heard good things about it.

The latest version of Yahoo Mail helps users find attachments and deals

The product team at Verizon Media continues improving Yahoo Mail more and more. We’re big Gmail fans at ShuttleCloud but I’ve been using the Yahoo Mail app for my personal email and was quite impressed. Their 4.6 rating in Google Play shows I’m not the only one.

Kik Messenger is set to shut down, so here are five solid IM alternatives

There are a few interesting things here. On the one hand, I have never tried Viber and I’m amazed it got so big. A lot of these messaging apps were started around the same time, and several found success even though the network effects in the messaging world encourage consolidation. I think that the number of people online grew so much in the last decade that it allowed several competing apps to coexist. One of the most authoritative bloggers in this space is Fred Wilson, who on his blog post about Kik’s shutdown says that Kik still had 10mm monthly users and almost 5mm daily users, many of them teenagers.

Hangouts Chat gets bottom bar redesign with ‘People’ and ‘Rooms’

I’m happy to see Google improving their internal chat tool so they can better compete with Slack and Microsoft Teams. Admittedly, they’re years behind the leaders, but they have competitive advantages like their ability to integrate with Gmail. We’ll be watching them closely.

Email & Collaboration Industry Fortnightly: September 11, 2019

Gmail for Android updated with ‘swipe-to-switch’ account gesture (9to5google.com)

Google continues making improvements to the Gmail app. Many people have multiple Gmail accounts, for work, personal purposes, etc. Gmail for iOS already has a very convenient gesture for switching accounts and this is now available for Android as well.

Google wants to kill text messages and the networks aren’t happy (wired.co.uk)

“RCS is an SMS upgrade” says Nick Lane of Mobilesquared, a mobile market research company, which estimates that there’ll be more than a billion monthly active users of RCS messaging by the end of the year. Up from 311 million users at the end of June 2019, and 3.2bn by 2023.

Google Calendar makes ‘Working Hours’ more prominent, enables by default (9to5google.com)

More and more tech companies are encouraging work-life balance and Google Calendar is now making its “Working Hours” feature more prominent and enabled by default. I personally find that a bit passive-agressive ????

Yahoo Mail down: Huge outage leaves users across the world unable to sign in, with AOL also suffering problems (inews.co.uk)

Yahoo Mail, which is still very popular with hundreds of millions of people, suffered a major outage last week.

50 U.S. states and territories announce broad antitrust investigation of Google (washingtonpost.com)

Will this be anything like the big Microsoft antitrust case of the late 90s? We’ll keep you posted.

Microsoft’s MyAnalytics work assistant now encourages you to slow down and focus (www.pcworld.com)

Microsoft is improving their personal productivity software with data from Office 365 and other sources.