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October 2004 Efficiency Newsletter

Technology does not create productive people. We do.

All of you have listened to our positive reports every month, but it's been so long since we've worked with many of you, our friends and clients. Please let us know what's going on in your businesses and in your lives; and if you send out a newsletter, please include us. Tell us if there's anything we can do to make your lives with technology a little easier!

September was another exciting month for SET. For those who missed the fine pinot noir we poured at the Greater Baltimore Technology Council's Wine Tasting, you're going to have to be extra nice to win a remaining glass. Our presentation at the Center Club for the Maryland Association of Legal Administrators was also a very successful event. This month we're tentatively speaking for the Bar Association of Baltimore City on October 28th and are excited to participate in the Maryland Business Roundtable's Achievement Counts program. We at SET wish you a pleasant and prosperous October!

Tip of the Month

Use Categories for Mailing Lists in Outlook

Mailing lists, or "distribution lists," can be difficult to manage because you need to be in the list item itself to add or remove email addresses from it--there's no way to automatically add an address to a list when you've just entered their contact information. For a contact that belongs in several distribution lists, this can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. Fortunately, categories can simplify this process.

Every time you work with a contact in Outlook, on the bottom right you'll see a place to enter "Categories." Here you can type or select things like "Client, Basketball Buddy, Holiday Mailing List, Family" or other groups to which this person belongs (note that I separated the categories with commas if I'm typing them). Once a number of your contacts have been assigned categories, you can change your contact view to "By Category." One way to do this is to select the View menu, choose Arrange By, and click Categories.

Once you're in this view, be sure that you have the folder list displayed on the left pane of your screen. In Outlook versions prior to 2003, to display the folder list, select the View menu and choose Folder List if it is unchecked. In Outlook 2003, click on the Folders Icon or "Folder List" in the bottom of the task pane that is on the left side of your Outlook window. At this point your contacts should be grouped by category on the right and your folder list should be on the left.

To send an email addressed to all of the people in one of your categories, click on the bar that indicates what category is displayed (for instance: "Categories: Family" or "Categories: Client") and drag that bar (which will select of the contacts beneath it) over to the Inbox that is listed in your Folder List.

If you receive a warning that it make take some time, simply ignore it and click "Yes." If you get a warning that some of your contacts don't have email addresses, you'll need to enter email addresses for these contacts or remove them from the resulting email message. Now you will have an email addressed to all of the contacts that were in the category you chose. (One suggestion from here might be to cut and paste those addresses from the To field to the BCC field so that your contacts' names are not displayed.) Now you have an easy way to manage distribution lists as well as all your contacts!

Tool of the Month

For Cellphones: Short Message Service (SMS)

The rest of the world has been using SMS (or "text messaging") for a long time. It's time for us to take advantage of this wonderful tool that's built into most of our cellphones. Using SMS, one has the ability to send a short message to someone's cellphone without requiring them to answer or check their voicemail. Many phones even enable one to receive and read these short messages (up to 140-160 characters) when the recipient is on the phone at the time. Messages can be sent either from a computer or from an SMS-enabled phone. While many phones cannot send text messages, most can receive them.

So why SMS? If you want to inform someone of a message discreetly or quickly, SMS is the only way:

Here are some websites with more information on SMS. Contact your cellphone provider to learn what SMS capabilities are built into your phone.

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