Author
 Mitch Irsfeld

Profile of Mitch Irsfeld

Blog Posts: 43
Articles by Mitch Irsfeld

Goodmail Saga Continues, Dyson Tells It Like It Is

3/23/2006
Applause goes out to Esther Dyson for her recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, You've Got Goodmail. She points out that Goodmail's service is like "FedEx for e-mail," except that Goodmail provisions its service atop the ISPs' services. So it's more like FedEx without its own planes. But I sort of like that analogy because the opposing forces seem to be conveniently overlooking some obvious facts h

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Getting Ahead Of Ourselves: The AOL E-Mail Battle Continues

3/15/2006
The can of worms that has become America Online's certified e-mail delivery strategy just won't go away. It's not that other e-mail providers haven't offered the very same or similar services; it's just that this can of worms is being used to catch the biggest fish in the lake. AOL will soon begin offering a fee-based, guaranteed e-mail deliver service based on GoodMail's Certified Email technology and the DearAOL.com coalition is ratcheting up the pressure against the move. One assumes that t

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More E-mail Management Tips

3/8/2006
You can't have message management without messaging policies and you can't have policies until managers can decide and agree on what they should be. Ferris Research recently published a list of some of the key decisions in implementing messaging a document archiving projects. The first thing on the list should be rather obvious, but determining who has responsibility for archiving can set the tone for the whole project. Raise your hand IT department because it ca

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How Does An Optional Service Become An "E-Mail Tax?"

3/2/2006
AOL must be feeling a bit picked on at this point. A collection of organizations that starting making noise last week about its upcoming fee-based certified e-mail service has banded together into a coalition of at least 50, mostly non-profit, organizations decrying the service provider's plan to deploy Goodmail's Certified Email as a destructive "e-mail tax." And AOL has a right to feel singled out since it is far from the first e-mail provider to engage a third party like Bonded Sender, Habea

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E-mail Admins Play "Which Would You Rather"

2/24/2006
To illustrate the challenges of managing e-mail, Osterman Research took a humorous route in its survey of more than 100 IT pros, sponsored by Zenprise, with a series of "which would you rather" questions. I guess this group of administrators has it pretty tough. The survey focused on a single support ill; they were asked to rate the level of difficulty in determining the underlying cause of e-mail problems. The Survey revealed that:

Hip And Cool Means Growth, And More Security Concerns

2/24/2006
A little while back I blogged about how messaging technologies have become "cool" and are enjoying "hip" status among those that define "hip" standards for our society, the youth and young adult markets. Well, I'm thinking the vendor and service provider communities are finding this all pretty cool, as well. The Radicati Group Inc., in a series of recent reports, projects some pretty heady growth for messaging-related products and it's not all coming from me

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Presence Meets Collaboration On The Conferencing Front

2/21/2006
The integration of collaboration and presence technologies continues to fascinate me for two reasons. First, because it all makes so darn much sense. I mean you can work with a virtual room full of people from your PC in Timbuktu or down the hall. Presence capabilities take the remoteness out of remote collaboration. And the other reason it's fascinating is because the enabling technology is all available, but it requires vendors and service providers to work together to integrate and provision

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On Campus: Combining Social Networking and Social Media

2/8/2006
College students have long been amenable users of any technology that allows them to communicate about common interests and now they can combine the best of all the social networking sites and the available social media on one site. The new Uspot service, from Los Angeles-based Uspot, allows college students to create, share and communicate in one location and through common interests such as entertainment, social events and hobbies. Uspot claims to unite two

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Working In Unreal-Time

2/3/2006
There's no getting around the fact that the current generation of knowledge workers is overworked. The messaging technologies that promised to make our lives easier have, instead, made us more efficient and elevated performance expectations. We are now able juggle more balls at once and require less support personnel to accomplish bigger projects in less time. And we're working harder than ever. David Ferris of Ferris Research recently wrote down his thoughts in the Post a Comment

Who You Gonna Call?

2/1/2006
Will IT managers throw up there hands trying to manage multiple messaging environments from multiple vendors while trying to prevent malware attacks and meet compliance requirements? And by throw up their hands I mean hand the whole mess over to a service provider. That seems to be what Postini is hinting at in its annual Message Management & Threat Report, which was released earlier this week. In the Post a Comment

Messaging Becoming The Sizzle On The Steak

1/25/2006
Did ya happen to notice that messaging is really cool? I'm not basing this observation on the fact that our nation's youth are walking around clicking on their cell phones like there is no tomorrow. They obviously think its cool, and so do the service providers, but the software development community must think messaging is pretty cool, too. All the recent really big, really cool software product announcements have included some form of integrated messaging. Yes, finding unique and useful ways

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Power To The User: Do It Yourself

1/12/2006
Making users responsible and accountable for managing their own e-mail is one way to reduce the burden on overworked IT staffs. And according to a recent Osterman Research survey, that is exactly what is starting to happen. It's not like the technical staffs managing large corporate e-mail servers don't already have enough on their hands taking care of things like disaster recovery, legal discovery, compliance and storage management. So why not make

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Let There Be An Upside

1/10/2006
Reading all the year-end wrap ups and 2006 projections for the messaging market, you'd think messaging and collaboration were a scourge rather than a productivity enhancing technology. All the reports I've seen talk about viruses and worms, phishing attacks, regulatory demands for retention, archiving and discovery, and warn of all the new problems we'll face when mobile messaging really takes off. And after the past year, who can blame the pundits for painting such a dark picture? But still, t

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A Mobile New Year

1/6/2006
The new year kicked off with a mobile slant, not surprising since the giant Consumer Electronics Show also kicked off this week in Las Vegas. Microsoft got things rolling quickly at the event by telling its MSN Messenger users that it isn't about to let Skype consume all of its VoIP lunch. Deals with Philips Electronics and Uniden to make VoIP phones available for use with the new Windows Live Messenger should make Micr

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It's Time For Another Look At IM Federation

1/4/2006
With all the year-end and New Year IM network attacks and threats of attacks, perhaps it is time for another look at instant messaging federation, especially if your users are becoming avid IM hounds while you are trying to discourage internal use of consumer IM services on your network. While secure, real-time collaboration and presence are valued capabilities, you've learned the hard way through your experience with corporate e-mail systems that company communications need to be be authorized

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Get A Room, Already

12/23/2005
New plot twists in the never-ending Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice saga of public messaging . . . As we spy on our free-loving foursome—Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Google—, we see them still in the throes of monogamy but don't expect that to last. AOL has now cozied up with Google, leaving Microsoft somewhat rebuffed. I say "somewhat" because Microsoft has never been an easily discouraged suitor. Don't forget

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Extreme Postdating: Mail To Yourself In The Future

12/20/2005
Remember when time capsules were all the rage. You could bury or otherwise hide objects and documents from the present time in hopes that sometime in the distant future, other beings from other worlds or maybe just future humans would uncover them to help answer questions about life "back in the day." The only problem with time capsules is that they are rather unfulfilling. You could only imagine the curiosity, confusion and shock that some distant traveler might display upon uncovering your box

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A New Year's Eve For All To See

12/15/2005
We tend to splurge in large amounts on New Year's Eve, so why should our messaging activity be any different? According to messaging provider Mobeon, based in Stockholm, Sweden, New Year's Eve 2005 will see the largest number of video mail messages ever sent. With the growing installed base of 3G phones out there, and the proclivity of teens and young adults to employ the multimedia capabilities of these handsets, Mobeon believes this younger market will use

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Is IM Poised For Greatness, On A Microsoft Scale?

12/13/2005
Microsoft hasn't provided much on an overall strategy for melding its instant messaging and VoIP technology yet, but the software giant is sure interested in keeping skin the game. A week after Yahoo! announced it would add computer-to-phone calling capabilities to its instant-messaging service, Microsoft said it is expanding its VoIP offerings via a deal with MCI to let PC users place calls to land line telephones

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IM Interoperability On The Horizon

12/7/2005
Oh, what the heck. I made a prediction for the New Year yesterday, so I'm on a roll. Here's another, albeit no so far fetched prediction: We will see true interoperability between the major instant messaging services in 2006. Hey! No fair, you cry. Microsoft and Yahoo! have already struck a deal to have their networks talking to each by mid next year. That's not a prediction, you say, it's just an expectation that they will carry through with the agreement. Well, yes and no. We're still waitin

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The Beginning Of The End For Spam

12/5/2005
Here's a shocking prediction: The volume of spam is going to fall off in 2006. Why? Because it has to. It will outlive its usefulness to spammers. It's become it's own worst enemy, too prevalent to be effective. Spam needs people to open e-mails and attachments, and no matter what new enticements are tried anymore, we don't trust them enough to do their bidding. Ok, some of us are still learning, but we've all had to deal with spam. We know what it looks like, smells like and feels like, even w

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A Thorny Tangle Of Blackberry Vines

12/1/2005
I can see it now. Your restraint has reached its breaking point. You are a nanosecond away from bursting into your boss's office and hurling forth with a resounding "I-told-you-so," the vehemence of which can result in only two outcomes, your firing or your promotion. There is no in-between. Ever since the first employee sparked a support ticket to get his Blackberry device hooked to the network, you've felt the ill wind of insecurity, knowing it was only a matter of time before mobile devices

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Necessity Is The Mother

11/29/2005
If you've spent any length of time supporting users, you know that there is no end to the imaginative workarounds they can come up with when a system goes down and they have work that still needs to happen. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention, or some other kind of mother, but when it comes to e-mail workarounds, the inventiveness of users can cause problems. And it's hard to quibble with their intent. Businesses can no longer build slack into their schedules as a just-in-case measure wh

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It's Just An Operating System

11/22/2005
"The operating system doesn't matter." -- Research In Motion Co-CEO Jim Balsillie, keynoting the recent Harvard Cyberposium 11. It's not the first time such a sentiment has been uttered by executives who find themselves competing against Microsoft. And many, many more of us wish it could be the case but Balsillie and the rest of us know that Microsoft continually makes the operating system matter. At the core of his argument Balsillie is right. While Research In Motion is running in

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Two Decades Later, We Still Do Windows

11/18/2005
It can't be possible. Has it really been 20 years since I took those 5.25-inch floppy disks and loaded a new operating system called Windows, of all things, on my PC/XT clone with the amber monitor, and remarked to myself, "Now What?" The answer to that question was not immediately forthcoming. In fact, it took a few years to figure out why Windows would ever be important, and perhaps a decade before we all went, "A-ha." Windows in the mid-80s was essentially DOS with a graphical overlay. It ca

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Technology Can Help Distinguish Between Control And CONTROL

11/16/2005
Controlling the use of the messaging infrastructure is a fight as old as business itself. The challenges today are more complex, to be sure, but essentially unchanged since the Romans, Egyptians, and Babylonians sent teams of runners covering more than 200 miles per day. We want our communications to be secure, accurate, and limited to the mission(s) of the enterprise. In my own experience, that quest has led to some rather extreme and unsuccessful attempts at control. I've worked for a compa

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A Phishing Top 10 List

11/14/2005
In case you are among the lucky few who never get those annoying phishing e-mails—the ones that inform you that your account with an organization that you don't do business with is going to be suspended unless you respond and give them all your personal information— here's the top 10 phished organizations on the Internet, according to data collected by CipherTrust from thousands of customers using its IronMail gateway appliance. Now these are all reputable organizations that would nev

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Is E-mail Old School. . .

11/10/2005
. . . or are IM users still in school? AOL today released the results of its annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey which reported a significant spike in IM usage over last year. At first blush AOL's survey, conducted by independent researcher Opinion Research Corp. and based on responses from more than 4,000 Internet users in the 20 largest U.S. markets, would seem to fly in the face of comments I made in Post a Comment

You Know It's Getting Bad When . . .

11/7/2005
Message technology vendors and service providers: New capabilities and features integrations in the messaging space are fine and dandy but given their druthers, users would opt for just getting rid of the plague of spam/spim and other malware. Even the Holy Grail of the "universal inbox" takes a deep back seat to once-and-for-all locking out all the junk that continuously floods our message servers. In our most recent reader poll, 85 percent of the readers said they would take a final heave-ho

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Mobilization By The Dashboard Light

11/3/2005
I was chatting today with Paul Fulton, CEO of Orative, a maker of enterprise mobile telephony software, and he said something that got me thinking once again about this whole notion of presence and the intersection of enterprise applications and mobile voice and messaging technology. Fulton mentioned the old separation-of-church-and-state that has kept mobile devices from truly integrating with enterprise communications and data systems: Consumers own the devices; carriers own the networks; and

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Truth Is Stranger Than (Science) Fiction

11/1/2005
FaceTime Communications says it has some good news for you. The company feels so confident about some new patent pending technology that it is offering a "worm-free guarantee" to users of its IMAuditor 6.5. FaceTime's confidence stems from new discovery techniques that utilize behavioral attributes such as message frequency, content matching and URL identification, in addition to traditional threat signatures. T

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Shoot The Messenger, Not The Medium

10/28/2005
Black lists and white lists . . . what does it all mean? To many of us it all looks like spam. I once asked an associate of mine on the sales side of the house what makes for legitimate advertising. His response, while understandable, was a bit disturbing. His philosophy was any ads that are paid for are legitimate. It took me a while, and I didn't like myself better as a result, but I started to see his point. As a culture, we've accepted without necessarily appreciating the notion of advertis

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Collaboration Brings New Life To Web Searches

10/26/2005
As the trend continues to extend collaboration capabilities into all facets of our computing and communications experience, why not include our most often used Web tools, the search engines? Why not, indeed, say bevy of new search players that are starting to put meat on the bones of the "Web 2.0" movement to make the Internet a more collaborative environment. While Web applications in general have become more collaborative, search engines have been slow to follow suit.

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An E-mail Archiving System And A Floor Wax!

10/25/2005
That old Saturday Night Live skit about the dessert topping/floor wax was made for people like me. Ever since I was kid, I was a sucker for tips and tricks on how to multitask the things you already own, making them perform tasks you could never dream of on your own. My friends might have considered me too loosely wired when I roasted an ear of corn on my car engine's exhaust manifold while driving down the highway, or when I poached a trout using the rinse and wash cycles while running

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As Teens Abandon IM, What's Left?

10/24/2005
Forrester recently issued a report confirming what many of us have suspected for some time: Instant messaging isn't the cool thing that it used to be and there is no loyalty among users. The last statement is rather obvious because loyalty has never been a major part of the strategy. You can't have closed networks and expect users to play on your turf exclusively. Imagine where the mobile handset market would be if you could only talk to in-network users. Microsoft and Yahoo have decided that

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Are You Going To Answer That?

10/20/2005
A reader responding to my most recent blog about a user survey and the future of e-mail brought up an interesting point about the nature of always-on communication technology. He said his life pattern had changed once he started using his Blackberry device, and that he felt somehow more compelled to read e-mail on his Blackberry the moment it is received, akin to the urgency of answering a mobile phone. He ended with a lament that he and his associates spend more time looking at the device and l

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Playing It Safe Doesn't Always Work, But It's A Good Start

10/19/2005
Does sender certification work as a method of ensuring the legitimacy of e-mail senders? According to Habeas Inc., provider of the popular Habeas Safelist database of certified senders, it does. Habeas claims that it is now receiving more than 20 million requests per day from messaging systems worldwide. That represents a ten-fold increase in traffic in the last six months.

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E-mail: Is It In You

10/19/2005
I've become as dependent on my e-mail as the next person, but for me it's still an office and an occasional home activity. I consider traveling on business or pleasure an extension of my professional and personal lives so I'll include laptops in my mix of e-mail devices. I rarely, and I do mean rarely, use the Internet capabilities of my GSM network provider. I find it intrusive, but then I will also turn off my phone when I'm out camping, fishing, and mountain biking, checking once in a while f

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You Can Believe The IM Numbers . . . And Then Some

10/12/2005
We've seen some heady projections recently for instant messaging growth, a fact that leaves some scratching their heads, but not me. Sure, it’s a technology that IT managers love to hate. Sure, it's a market already consolidating behind some big players. Sure, there are standards issues that would appear to be slowing its adoption, at least in the enterprise arena. But hey, it's a hot, real-time communications technology that promises to keep offering ever-better functionalit

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