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Hosting my neilmcintyre.ca email with Google

A little while back I realized that it might be worthwhile to direct all my blog-related email through an @neilmcintyre.ca address, and leave my regular Gmail for personal correspondence.

I set up neil@neilmcintyre.ca and began using it for blog business. But I’ve never liked using standalone email clients like Thunderbird or Outlook. I prefer web-based email, specifically Gmail.

Luckily, Google had recently busted out yet another new service: Hosted email. For those with domains, Google would host your mail for free once accepted into the beta program.

I applied for the program and only a few days later was provided with the required invite code to sign up. I’m using the Gmail Manager extension in Firefox to keep track of my regular Gmail account and my neil@neilmcintyre.ca account.

Here is what the customized login screen looks like:

email hosted by Google GmailSince the readers of this blog are hip and “with it”, I don’t even need to extol the virtues of Gmail over the traditional mail organization systems found in Outlook et al. Suffice it to say, I’m loving Google’s hosted email service!

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Sell your services over the phone using Ether

A week ago I was trading blog posts with David Rachford about accountants marketing their professional services using MySpace. The discussion had resulted in both of us signing up with the mega-popular site in an effort to understand the potential opportunities.

Results are still out on that avenue, but out of the Web 2.0 ether, comes Ether. How it works, according to them, emphasis mine:

We all have something valuable to say. Whether you’re an accountant, a computer expert, a blogger, or a good gossiper, you can earn money selling what you say to others over the phone or through email.

Sounds like an interesting use for the new web. The step-by-step details:

  1. You sign up on the site and set up an Ether phone number.
  2. You set a price for your services, either per the hour or the minute.
  3. You decide when you want to take calls.
  4. Then you market your Ether phone number and people give you a call when they want to pay you for your knowledge.

Sounds pretty cool actually, and although I can’t see myself building a career out of something like this, I could see someone with some basic accounting knowledge (a bookkeeper, perhaps) selling it to those who need the information.

What do you think?

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Web

Using MySpace to market professional accounting services

David Rachford has floated the novel (to say the least) idea of marketing a public accounting firm using MySpace.com.

For the last couple weeks – I’ve been wondering – With MySpace.com becoming the most popular website in the world – does that matter to me? (I don’t have a myspace account – thank you) but many companies do have them. In fact, my colleague’s assistant is in a band which recently went on tour, and they promoted their tour almost exclusively through myspace.com.

It’s a crazy idea, but those kinds of ideas have a habit of working well. The mayor of my city, Toronto, has his own MySpace page, as does my favourite Canadian cultural icon, George Stroumboulopoulos. The site works well for personalities as well as bands, but how would it work for accounting firms?

I quick search for ‘accountant’ yields some people who are accountants, but no one seems to be using the site to market their services just yet.

So in that spirit, I went ahead and signed up for MySpace. Over the next few weeks I’m going explore it in-depth in the context of marketing professional accounting services. And if you’ve already got a MySpace account, add me as a friend!

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Google continues to improve Spreadsheet

Last week Google released an update for their Spreadsheet web app, and it shows they’re continuing to improve the product. This is a good thing, as I previously wasn’t too impressed.

Google ExperimentalNow you can right-click on cells and select basic options from a context menu such as cut, copy and paste, and insert and delete rows and columns in a similar fashion to Excel.

Best of all, Google isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel through the way users interact with the spreadsheet. Tables aren’t a new thing and we’re all comfortable with how they work.

Not so good, however, is that I can see the day when I may have to eat my original words – that this thing wouldn’t catch on. If Google keeps this up, it just might.

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Web

Online whiteboard perfect for collaboration

GE has designed a free web-based whiteboard you can use without any registration and can invite others to join your session via email or instant messenger.

The service offers more advanced drawing tools than just scribbling around freestyle, too. You can create shapes, type text, create straight lines, change the background colour, and stamp various symbols. It’s crying out for a tablet but is still pretty useful.

I may try to incorporate something like this into a future audit planning meeting, as soon as I’m experienced enough to run one.