Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cool Tool: Remind Me Attachments

I am sure this only happens to me, but it happened a couple of times this week and is one of those things that quite frankly is embarrassing: forgetting to attach a file to an email.

Email: Please see the attached file for your review and comments.

Response: Uh Rick, nothing attached.

Me: Doh!

So today one of my colleagues was kind enough to point me toward Remind Me Attachments. She said she recently started using it and it helps. I checked it out and the developer only charges US$5 and is compatible with Outlook 2007. Cool. I will try out almost any software that saves me time or frustration for less than $50.

It was a slight pain in the neck to get installed and working, but the short FAQ was helpful. There is no documentation, and I actually tripped over the settings dialog while I was looking for the add-ins dialog in Outlook. Once you have it installed (simple Setup.EXE) you need to go into the Outlook Options dialog. A new tab is added for the Remind Me Attachments. This new page has a checkbox to turn the feature on and five text boxes for keywords to be recognized. I added:
  1. Attached
  2. Attachment
No sooner did I get it installed I found myself testing it out purely by accident. It already has saved me once. A dialog is displayed if you don't have a file attached and one of your keywords is found in the message body. You still can send the message after the warning without attaching a file.

So far I have not run into any compatibility issues. I don't know if it is compatible with Outlook versions prior to 2007. But so far it saved me from one embarrassing moment, which completely makes it worth the US$5!


Friday, May 01, 2009

Southwest Fox 2009: Registration Opens

Months of preparation come to a climax today as we announce our speakers and sessions, and get rolling on the registration for Southwest Fox 2009. Even though this is our third year doing this, it is still exciting and still fun. We also added some new wrinkles into the event.
  1. Sleep in a little more in the morning - 8:30 start times instead of 8:00.
  2. "Green option" for registration to skip the conference binder, but still get materials in PDF before the conference.
  3. New registration application to electronically send in the registration.
  4. Super-saver, early-bird, and regular registration levels and times.
  5. New "Technology" track looks at tools and technologies to make life as a developer easier or more productive, including such things as virtual machines and source control.
There still may be a few surprises to come too.

We also worked very hard with the budget to ensure people had the opportunity to register for the same price as last year. We are doing the best we can to continue to make Southwest Fox fit into your budget this year. The conference center hotel rooms are the same price as last year, and the conference fee is the same price as last year if you register before September 1st.

Topping the first five Southwest Fox Conferences is not an easy task. Coming up with new ideas while retaining the best of the past is a challenge each year. Still, I think we have put together the foundation to make this year the best ever.

One of the other new things is our first ever Ceil Silver Ambassador. Cesar Chalom is coming to represent the Fox Community from Brazil and South America. We made this announcement a couple of weeks ago. Since the announcement I have heard from a lot of people who are really excitied to meet Cesar in person. I know I am one of his fans and look forward to seeing him in Mesa.

Over the last six months or so we have been working very hard to encourage some new people to share their knowledge with the Fox Community. This has been a goal of the organizers since day one. Over the last couple of years we had a few speakers who have not spoken in a while return to the speaker circuit and have introduced a couple of new people, but not to the level we initially hoped for. This year is completely different though and I am really excited that we have what I am refering to as the fab five freshmen (Steve Ellenoff, Walt Krzystek, Jody L. Meyer, Paul C. Mrozowski, and Jim Nelson) speaking for the first time at Southwest Fox. Jim and Walt took part in the "Show Us Your Apps" session last year, Steve spoke at Fox Forward a couple of years ago, and Paul and Jody deliver regular presentations at their local Fox user groups so they are not really rookies. I think this is super important moving forward to grow the speaker community and this is a huge step in the right direction.

Naturally we are also bringing back some seasoned favorites too. Menachem Bazian, Rick Borup, Craig Boyd, Mike Feltman, Toni M. Feltman, Tamar E. Granor, Doug Hennig, Cathy Pountney, Rick Schummer, Alan Stevens, and Christof Wollenhaupt. A terrific line up.

Some of the great things you already expect from Southwest Fox:
  1. Terrific selection of sessions from great presenters.
  2. 28 regular conference topics, 4 simultaneous sessions, 4 pre-conference sessions, and a keynote will pack your days with learning opportunities and inspiration.
  3. White papers from every session (mandated by the organizers) so you can read about sessions you can't fit into your schedule, or review material you saw at the conference when you return home.
  4. Lunch Thursday if you register for two pre-conference sessions
  5. Lunch Friday and Saturday for all attendees
  6. Dinner Friday night
I hope you take some time to review the sessions when you have a chance. I also hope you will consider joining us in Mesa this October.

All the details are posted on the Southwest Fox Web site. Watch for more news on our conference blog and follow us on Twitter too.

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