Thursday, March 21, 2013

Finalizing my contact list

Contact listsWell, it’s finally finished.

At Christmas, I resolved that I would get my contact list sorted out.  The problems started when I linked Plaxo to my Windows Live account; the two resonated off of one another and created over 3000 entries from the original 700.  I had to disconnect all of the social network syncs, the start with “A”, correcting, weeding, and merging all of the contacts in Windows Live.

I use LinkedIn as my business network, so I sent  invitations to everyone as I went along, hoping that if they kept their information up to date, then my address book would be too.  Auto-magically.

I estimated a one-month job: t took three.

But last night I finished , ending up with around 1000 unique contacts.   I exported the result, then moved the whole set over to Google Mail, where there are better tools for cleaning the list.  I auto-removed duplicates, then cautiously merged in data from Skype, Facebook (the F2G app works great), and Plaxo, watching for trouble.

But the seams held and the data blossomed into usable points conencting all across my social/business grid.

  • LinkedIn claims to have found 325 more links than I did  and sent requests.  I hope that I didn’t end up spamming a lot of business associates.
  • Goggle+ is starting to grow itself, the People tab has spontaneously populated on my Nexus.
  • Outlook.com is tracking as well; Windows 8 should be improved.
  • I’m still looking for how to get Skype synced into the flow.
  • Then there’s Twitter…

Contact linksIt’s all pretty much how I hoped it would be.

The next task is to deal with the pile of business cards stacked on my desk.  I’ve looked at card scanners, but they cost 100’s of euros and I already have a scanner.  After a bit of searching and experimenting, I settled on the ABBYY Business Card Reader: it’s a 25 euro software app that takes a scanned image of up to 12 business cards and OCR's them to create vCard or CSV output.  It’s not perfect, but for the price it’s fast and pretty accurate.  I did 50 cards this evening and they slipped up into the contact list very easily.

With all of this coming to life, I’m finding that it simplifies other tasks.

Last night, I was reading an article about urban archaeologists on the Nexus.  I remembered a recent conversation with a friend who studied archaeology in college, but hadn’t been able to find a job in that field.  I hit Share, entered a few letters in his name, added a sentence to say ‘hi, and  it was off to him, in about a minute. 

Very cool.

The usual disclaimer: I select and purchase everything I use: nobody has asked me or compensated me to write about their products

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