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Mail Pilot: A New Approach To Email and Task Management [Interview]

Mail Pilot: A New Approach To Email and Task Management [Interview]

    There are so many people that just won’t get out of their email application to manage tasks. While this has been a problem in the past, new solutions like Asana and Flow allow for email and task management to be integrated within the task management solution. In many cases, the person who doesn’t want to go into the task manager can simply respond and check off tasks via email, removing a lot of the friction that can happen in a team environment.

    But there’s a new kid on the block that actually lets you manage things from within email — using your email inbox as a task manager. That’s something that many people do already, but in a very impractical way. Mail Pilot looks as if it will add the practicality that’s been missing from the equation.

    Mail Pilot is a Kickstarter-funded project that tackles email and task management in a way that is innovative and productive.

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    What does Mail Pilot do? Well, here’s the word on that straight from the source:

    “Mail Pilot is a computer application & service that lets you use your current email accounts in a way that is much more intuitive than today’s email applications. Mail Pilot reimagines email from the ground up, and is built to fit into the workflow of how people use email today.”

    But that didn’t answer all of my questions. So I spoke about Mail Pilot with its creators, Josh Milas & Alex Obenauer, shortly after the project went live on Kickstarter.

    Mike: I’ve taken a look at Mail Pilot, and it looks really compelling because people who are wanting to manage and/or use their inbox to manage things in terms of productivity and such. Why did you decide to start this thing up and what was the plan behind it?

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    Alex: So I was in a class in the fall semester and we had to keep a design journal. And a couple of weeks into the semester the professor said that he was going to be doing a check of our journals…and I actually hadn’t written anything in mine yet. So I went home and I tried to come up with a problem that was so big and so problematic that would fill a lot of pages. I chose email because that’s one of my biggest issues — I receive 80 plus emails on average a day, which is less than most people’s average.

    And so I started to write about it — and within three pages the entire concept behind Mail Pilot was there. It was very much a thing where I had such an issue with email and really broke it down try to figure out what the essence of email was, and how you would rebuild the client around that essence…ignoring all kind of prior implementations. Then I shared the idea with Josh the next day — and he absolutely loved it. He has very similar problems with email and we had shared our woes together about it.

    From there he explained to me that (this) was legitimately something we should act on, that this was much bigger than just changing the way that the two of us use our email, but that this is something that not only do we have the time talents and gifts to make — but something we really should.

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      Mike:  Now there are a lot of productivity apps out there right now where they tell users to “get out of your inbox”, essentially saying that they shouldn’t be managing from within your email. Did you guys decide to go that route because either you tried stuff other task managers and it didn’t work for you and you just kept going back to managing things from email or do you think it’s just that it’s hard to get people to understand that there is an inbox for email and an inbox for all of their stuff?

      Alex: It’s definitely both. You know, one of the biggest time drains for us is translating everything in your inbox into your to-do list and translating them into a calendar…stuff like that. And then trying to put something into your to-do list or put it on to your calendar because you need to follow up with it and then link to that email — it just became a kind of complicated interconnected web of ‘to dos’, events and emails. And it didn’t seem to make much sense.

      So we really thought that if you could clear out your inbox, but those messages could still be marked for review, or marked to pop back up — say, reappear in three days — then that would help you severely decrease the clutter in your inbox and you wouldn’t have to spend the time working with a to-do list or a calendar. And the other thing too is that email is a standard. You can’t really get the entire market out of the inbox. Google proved that in a big way with Wave. I really liked what they did with the project but it was clear you couldn’t get people out of their email.

      Mike: Right. So you’re raising $35,000 through Kickstarter. Where will that money go to? What’s the plan for those funds?

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      Josh: The plan is that once we meet that goal is to bring on some additional developers to help us really get the product to market. And their goal would be to then release a beta version by June. That will first go to all of our Kickstarter backers so they can start using it and we can start getting some feedback on it. So essentially, about three months from the end of our campaign the plan would be to release our beta.

      Most of the money that we would raise would go to additional development support, ramping up  our server space — because a lot of our features are really services that would take up space. It’s not just folders and stuff that goes into your normal inbox. We have our own data that we have to store with Mail Pilot so we do need an amplified storage space. That’s a pretty heavy cost so that’s where another portion of the money would go to. But then after that, hopefully we can get out of the beta, release to public and go from there.

      Mike: I think one of your biggest battles is that there is so many players in this space. What do you think you are going to be able to do to combat that?

      Alex: There are definitely a lot of players in the space, but we definitely think that the workflow that fits right into the core of Mail Pilot is just so deliberate to the way that most (if not many) people who have used their email or try to use their email. And we think that’s it. It works so specifically well for people that it would be a very preferred option.

      The other thing is that right now we are a two man operation and so we wouldn’t need a majority of the market just to be sustainable. And so we have been excited to see what we’ve gotten so far and we are really excited to see if we can gain enough support to stay sustainable and then to really start spreading the concept around to a lot more people. So far people’s reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive towards the idea in favor over so many other ideas just because it’s so deliberate in the way it really works with your workflow.

      (Editor’s Note: Now that the project has been funded, the expectation is that Mail Pilot will hit the market sometime in June of this year.)

      More by this author

      Mike Vardy

      A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

      What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 35 Quick and Simple Tips for Better Productivity 4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive

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      Published on June 5, 2020

      Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

      Best 10 Keyboards Under $90 on Amazon

      There are different reasons why you might need to buy an extra keyboard. Your keyboard may be wearing out and one can only imagine the frustration you get each time you type ‘O’ when you actually wanted to type ‘P’.

      Apart from your keyboard wearing out, desiring more comfort and flexibility and reducing pain in your wrists and fingers as you type might be your main reason. You may also want to maintain the recommended minimum distance of 40cm away from the screen[1] or just want to have some additional functionalities on your keyboard which are not available on most keyboards.

      Whatever the reason, we all want to have the best keyboard that will suit our needs.

      Here are the 10 best keyboards under $99 available on Amazon. They were picked based on their ergonomic design and extra functionalities.

      Why You Should Trust Us

      We checked Amazon to find the keyboards that have multiple functionalities, promises comfort, have received several reviews, and rated at least 4-star from real users. At a price below $100, we believe that you can find the best keyboard for you on this list.

      1. Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo

      4.3-star, 8950 Reviews

        The Logitech MK 550 keyboard has a constant curve layout and integrated palm rest to reduce stress, eliminate lower wrist fatigue, and help you type more naturally.

        If you want something that allows easy navigation, then this might be the best keyboard for you. It has 18 programmable keys that you will find pretty useful if you frequently use apps that require rapid navigation.

        It also has an accompanying precision laser mouse that makes screen navigation much easier and faster than using your touchpad.

        One of the things that set this keyboard apart from the rest is its long battery life. You can continue to use your keyboard and mouse for 2 years without thinking of changing the battery; the keyboard’s battery can even last up to three years.

        If you are a programmer, secretary, writer, or you do something that requires typing a lot, this is a product you might want to consider.

        Pros:

        • Long battery life
        • A combination of keyboard and mouse
        • Wireless keyboard
        • Integrated palm rest to reduce wrist fatigue

        Cons:

        • Only compatible with Windows-based PC. Additional set up might be required to use with Mac or Linux.
        • The keyboard can be a little noisy when typing

        You can buy this from Amazon for $46.99.

        2. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Wired Keyboard 4000 for Business

        4.3-star, 5388 reviews

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          This is an ergonomic keyboard with a cord (about 6ft long). It has a comfortable design that enhances your natural hand, wrist, and forearm positions when in use. It also has a cushioned palm rest which helps maintain a neutral wrist position, eliminating wrist pain.

          The keyboard has 5 customizable buttons that you can assign specific commands to make your work easier and faster. This may be the best keyboard for you if you love ergonomic keyboards.

          Pros

          • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux
          • Relatively quiet
          • Sturdy, doesn’t swivel around

          Cons

          • The keyboard is a little bulky
          • Spacebar might be sticky at first
          • It doesn’t have a wireless version
          • Not good for gaming
          • Some letters and characters might begin to wear off with use

          You can buy this from Amazon for $59.95.

          3. Razer Huntsman Gaming Keyboard

          4.6-stars, 1442 Reviews

            If you are looking for a superfast keyboard, the Razer Huntsman gaming keyboard is one to consider. Its new Razer Opto-Mechanical switches utilize optical technology for unmatched speed.

            The keyboard’s Razer Chroma syncs fully with popular games, and its Razer hardware supports 16.8 million colors on backlit keys. It has fully programmable macros that allow for the execution of complex commands through all keys and keypress combinations.

            This keyboard is originally made for gamers, but many users choose it for its super-fast speed rather than for gaming itself.

            Pros

            • Works for Mac and PC
            • Stiff enough to avoid typos
            • Superfast and customizable

            Cons

            • Because it’s clicky, it might be disturbing in an office environment
            • The Synapse software is bad and might not install on Windows 10

            You can buy this from Amazon for $89.99.

            4. Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

            4.5-stars, 3115 Reviews

              This is a membrane keyboard for enhanced performance, whether you are working or gaming. It is designed to give you pleasant gaming experience with three zones of tweakable RGB backlight.

              One of the features that make the Corsair K55 keyboard stand out is its dust and spill resistance, so you don’t have to worry about wiping off spills. It also has a detachable palm rest to reduce wrist pain when you are gaming or on a prolonged work.

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              It has multi-key anti-ghosting features so those keypress combinations are executed without hassles. You also have direct control over your audio with the dedicated volume and media control keys.

              Pros

              • Competitive at its price
              • No software needed for RGB lighting
              • Quiet keys
              • Programmable keys
              • Media buttons are included

              Cons

              • Caps Lock and Num Lock indicators might stop working intermittently
              • Game hangs for about 30 – 60 seconds whenever you use a controller

              You can buy this from Amazon for $49.88.

              5. Apple Magic Keyboard

              4.6-stars, 1328 Reviews

                The most remarkable thing about the Apple Magic keyboard is its rechargeable batteries and the fact that it can be used to enhance your typing experience on smaller devices such as the iPad and iPhone.

                This keyboard can pair with any apple device that runs on IOS 9.1 and up. Therefore you can use the keyboard to type long text messages and emails on your iPhone. This may be the best keyboard for Mac.

                Pros

                • Comes with rechargeable batteries
                • Though made for Mac, it’s also compatible with PC

                Cons

                • The keys are not lit
                • Some keys, especially the arrow keys are quite small
                • Be careful, refurbished items might be sold as new

                You can buy this from Amazon for $94.

                6. Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                4.1-stars, 20,735 reviews

                  This is another great product from Logitech, especially for people on a tight budget. Like MK550, this keyboard also comes with a paired mouse and does have a long battery life as well.

                  Although cheap, Logitech still maintained the connectivity signal of 2.4 GHz, so you can use the keyboard within a 10m range and there won’t be dropouts. It also has 8 programmable hotkeys to boost your productivity when you type.

                  Pros

                  • Long battery life: the keyboard battery lasts up to a year while that of the mouse lasts for two years.
                  • Programmable hotkeys to boost productivity
                  • Budget-friendly
                  • Optical mouse included
                  • Wireless keyboard

                  Cons

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                  • Build quality is low
                  • The paired mouse looks cheap
                  • There might be random keystrokes delay

                  You can buy this from Amazon for $24.99.

                  7. Redragon K552-RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

                  4.6-stars, 1482 Reviews

                    This is a mechanical anti-ghosting gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting and lettering and conflict-free keys (n-key Rollover) to provide ultimate gaming experience.

                    This keyboard has adjustable rear feet to give you a typing angle to work fast and comfortably. It also has 12 multimedia keys to enhance gaming.

                    You won’t have to worry about your keys in tough gaming conditions as this keyboard is built with metal alloy and ABS with plate-mounted clicky mechanical keys and switches. It comes with a high-speed USB cable and a connection to establish a firm connection so you can enjoy gaming without hassles.

                    Pros

                    • Sturdy and compact; saves space on your desktop
                    • It has swappable switches
                    • A good buy for its price

                    Cons

                    • Clicky keys and loud switches. It may not be suitable where some level of silence is required.
                    • Some LEDs might break with continued use
                    • Support for Mac is limited, only Windows PCs are fully supported.

                    You can buy this from Amazon for $44.99.

                    8. Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                    4.4-star, 1116 reviews

                      This is an RGB lighting keyboard and mouse. It’s an all-metal panel mechanical keyboard with a floating design. It has 104 keys and each of the keys has individual switches with full n-key rollover.

                      The keyboard is ergonomic and has a detachable wrist rest to reduce stress and pain on your wrist. The mouse is also programmable and has DPI levels adjustable up to 4800 DPI. You can even customize your own lighting layouts on the keyboard and it stores and retains your configurations.

                      This keyboard is compatible with Windows, MAC, and Linux. If you like mechanical keyboards, this might be the best keyboard you’re looking for.

                      Pros

                      • Impressive build quality
                      • Great buy for its price
                      • Universal compatibility

                      Cons

                      • The blue switches in the keys are pretty noisy.
                      • Some keys might begin to malfunction with prolonged use.

                      You can buy this from Amazon for $62.99.

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                      9. Havit Mechanical RGB Gaming Keyboard Mouse Headset Combo

                      4.4-star, 6772 ratings

                        This is a complete gaming kit with an RGB lighting keyboard, mouse, and headset, all combined and synced together to give you that ‘rave’ feeling when you are gaming.

                        The headphone’s breathable soft fabric earpads and memory foam provide exceptional comfort. It also has a 50 mm sound driver and virtual surround sound for precision audio as you game.

                        Keyboard and mouse are plug and play and has universal compatibility. The headphone is also compatible with different devices and games, such as PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox, Xbox ONE, Nintendo, mobiles, tablets, and laptops.

                        Although the value for money lies in using it for gaming, it works well for just any other thing that other keyboards can do.

                        Pros

                        • The keyboard is well built and looks great
                        • Keys are solid and clicky
                        • Bright LEDs are bright and come pre-configured with lots of different lighting patterns.

                        Cons

                        • The keys are light but loud
                        • The headset is a bit bulky

                        You can buy this from Amazon for $90.99.

                        10. Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

                        4.2-star, 3101 Reviews

                          You already know that Logitech produces wireless keyboards and mouse combo with batteries that last up to three years at an estimated two million stroke per year of office use. You also know that their keyboard has a cushion palm rest for the comfort of your wrist.

                          What you may find interesting in this particular model is its LCD dashboard that displays the icon status of your battery, caps lock, scroll lock, and number lock all at a glance. This might be the best keyboard and mouse combo by Logitech you can find.

                          Pros

                          • The keyboard is sturdy and does not wobble on a work desk.
                          • Keys are solid and soft, making typing comfortable

                          Cons

                          • Letters might start wearing out after some months of use.
                          • Only compatible with Windows operating systems

                          You can buy this from Amazon for $49.99.

                          Bottom Line

                          You will always find a keyboard with good functionalities for a price of less than $100. It is advisable, however, to choose one that is compatible with different operating systems and can connect to different devices.

                          Find the Best Keyboard for You

                          Featured photo credit: Gilbert Pellegrom via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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