Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where is Jim today?


I have a large production run to finish, hopefully the last one of the summer. I'm behind, as usual. Beastly and I are pushing to get it done.

So, no time for the internets today. So sorry.

However here's something I'd like you all to weigh in on:

Have you heard of this service? It's called Hit Me Later. Say you get an email, it's important and you need to deal with it - just not right now. You wish you would have gotten the email later, say in a couple of hours or so, when you had time to address whatever issues it contains. So, what you do is you forward it to XX@HitMeLater.com (where XX is any number between 1 and 24, indicating the number of hours before HitMeLater sends the email back to you).

Um, OK. I get a moderate amount of email, not nearly as much as I did when I was working for the government, but I can't see any situation where I'd need this service. Really. If I get an email, like the one simmering in my inbox from a certain UCFer at the moment, and I don't have time to deal with it, I flag it "unread" and come back to it later, or I move it into a hi-pri subfolder. If I'm feeling really organized I dump it to MS One-note, or Project, set a reminder and keep snoozing it until it goes away.

Here's the thing, apparently a lot of folks use this service. Business folks. HitMeLater's disclaimer says that your email is stored on a secure server and nobody reads it. OK, I have no reason not to take them at their word, and there's no reports of chicanery at HitMeLater.com, but if I was your employer I'd be just a tad peeved to find that you're forwarding company email to an unknown (read non-bonded and secured) email site.

My first impression was that this would be the ultimate identity theft honey trap. My second thought was that this would be a great way to perform corporate espionage, and do it legally - after all, people are willingly forwarding their email to this site.

I don't see anything on the site or on the web that give me a warm and fuzzy about this.

What do you think, tech and legally savvy people?


  1. You can't just leave the damn thing in your inbox until you're ready to deal with the issue?

    Or is this service for people who have OCD about having an empty inbox?

  2. The later I'm guessing.

    And YES, I do know that I owe you an email. I do. I do. It's gnawing at me, like a tiny little rat in my brain.

    And you too, you know who you are. And yes, you too, the other one. Today. This evening when I come in from the shop. A couple of hours, promise.

    My wife is finally home from her "Business Trip" and I'm getting caught up.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Now, back to the shop.

  3. If I'm worried about forgetting (which does happen), I'll flag it and put a reminder.

    I would never use this service, mainly for the reasons Jim stated. But then again, I do go through the puffer machine at the airport, unlike Jeri. ;)

  4. I just mark things as unread and move on.

    Or sometimes I'll wait to open an e-mail, which makes it easier to get back to later.

    I'm pretty sure such a service would be a big problem where I work--I'd hate to see patient data sitting on a third party server.

  5. I think it sounds like a really terrible idea. I understand the functionality, actually: I've been known to mark a post as "unread" so I can come back to it, only to have it sink down several pages over the course of a day or more--Hit Me Later forwards the message in a way that it pops back up at the top of your inbox.

    One of the red flags here, unfortunately, is that the service is free. Which either means there's a hidden catch or that it's unlikely to be particularly secure. I.e. if one takes the (unwarranted) assumption that "pud" (and it's not a good sign that his nom-de-guerre is a slang term for "penis" usually used to describe someone as a dick--e.g. as in "stop being such a pud") even if one assumes "pud" is just that nice, what are the odds a charitable soul has secure servers and isn't judgment-proof if something goes awry? And if "pud" isn't doing this for kindness or coolness, then what's his angle--buried ads, like "free" Google, or something more nefarious like generating e-mail lists for spammers or phishing the data?

    No thanks.

  6. I have a tangentially related story about a colleague. He keeps all his email in his inbox unread until he handles it, then he deletes it. Poof, gone, not archived.

    Which totally freaks me out. I have years worth of multi-megabyte email archives.

    This guy? He saves and archives HIS OWN sent mail. It contains a good portion of the same email threads. But in the final analysis - what he cares about is what he's saying, not what he's reading.

    Pretty hilariously egocentric.

    And I'd never use a service like that - I get a couple hundred professional emails a day. I keep them unread until I deal with them, then flag them if I need to come back to them.

    I'd definitely see it as a huge violation of our document retention policies. We have to be able to produce - or, correspondingly, affirm we've not kept and have a consistent lack of record of - documents and correspondence related to financial and regulatory matters in response to subpoenas, audits and other regulatory cases.

  7. Jim,

    You sooooo need to respond to your emails. I'm on deadline.


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