1. Stop checking emails during family time
2. Stop bad texting and driving behaviour – use purpose designed apps in the car
3. Get a phone cradle for my car
4. Get more organised with work email
5. Use my time efficiently
6. Recommend Speaking Email to my friends
Speaking Email currently can miss emails that are in the past when using Exchange server. This happens because we sync back only one day by default. If you only want to listen to your latest email this is not a problem. But if you expect to see emails from a few days ago, you will not see them.
We have now added a feature under account settings allowing you to choose how many days to sync back. Our sync defaults to one day, which means it checks for new mail since yesterday (i.e. it will not download mail from the day before yesterday).
If you get lots of mail and are up to date on reading it, this is a good setting. But if you don’t have heaps of mail every day, or want to listen to your inbox back a few days, you will want to set it to longer.
I had this great idea for a feature for us to build into speaking.email. Wouldn’t it be cool if you started driving to work, and very helpfully, Speaking Email would read out your days’ agenda. That way, you could be heading to work, and Speaking Email would pipe up and tell you about a meeting you have in 20 minutes, in the other direction!
Anyway, it turns out that Gmail Calendar already has this feature. It will send you an email that Speaking Email will read out to you, while driving.
Over the years I’ve come up with lots of coping strategies to deal with the daily commute. I’ve tried music, but I only had one tape. I’ve tried calling someone for a chat, but they are usually also driving or busy – plus it’s hard to get the microphone setup right. Luckily gadgets have come a long way since the tape deck. I’ve had great success with audio books, and more recently podcasts on my phone. It was pretty hard in the early days of my palm 5 and windows ce clamshell type devices, but these days with Android and iPhone things are a bit easier for everyone. I’ve had the privilege to be right in the heart of seeing how these devices work, and how apps are built for them, being a programmer since the 90’s (oh man!)
Now, with our Speaking Email app, it feels good to be able to provide one more solution to the commute problem. The idea is that you get in the car, put your phone in the cradle, check your Bluetooth is talking to the car (or headset / hands free system) then open Speaking Email and start driving. You can catch up with your emails that came in over the weekend – just like you are listening to the radio or a podcast. When it runs out of email to read, it will wait until something comes in, then read that. Really good for making sure you’re right up to date before you get to work. If you have your phone mounted in a cradle, you can do a ‘2 touch’ reply to someone – e.g. press reply, then choose a canned reply you set up earlier such as ‘we need to discuss that’.
I’d be keen to hear if you have had a similar experience trying to get some useful time back during your commute. Have you had any other success with getting stuff done while multitasking – and does speaking email fit into your work day? We are really keen to improve it too, so tell me if you can see ways to change and enhance it and we can help you make your commute better.
I was on TV just before the PM, had to stand next to him quietly in the wings while waiting to go on. Paul Henry said he thought the idea was fantastic, said it could be the start of a billion dollar company, and wished me all the best. Was quite a rush!
A Kiwi web company has invented an app which reads your emails out loud to you while you’re driving. Beweb designed Speaking Email to help drivers who are tempted to keep across their work emails on the commute to work.