Archive for January, 2008

Xobni feedback: Missing tooltips

January 16, 2008

In various areas in the sidebar, when there is not enough space for a string, ellipsis is used, but when I hover over it with my mouse, I expect to see a tooltip showing me the entire string, so I don’t have to make room for it to see what the string is. This is common UI pattern, which is missing in Xobni.

Sample for such problems can be see in panes titles (such as “People connected to…”, “Conversation with…”), messages subjects and some more.

Xobni makes excessive use of “what’s this” tooltips at the upper part of the sidebar, explaining each of the items, and also when the links for a person (“schedule time with…”, “e-mail…”) are truncated in a narrow sidebar, the tooltip shows their full text, but that’s less important. The count in the end of a pane title, or a message’s full subject is much more important, and for this, Xobni fail to show tooltips.


Xobni feedback: Limited contact information

January 16, 2008

Xobni will only let you store one phone number per person. But what if someone has a work number, home number and a cell phone, and you decide what to use based of his daily schedule and the time of the day?

It would be very convenient to be able to assign several number to a person, and then, when this person is displayed in the Xobni side bar, all his numbers would be displayed, and you could choose what to use.

Another problem with person contact is that when you edit it and add a number, you loose the information Xobni collected from e-mails, so if you added a picture for a person, or mistakenly set a phone number for him, you have no way to ask Xobni to use the person contact details it gathered from e-mails.

There should be an option to tell Xobni to revert back to use data from e-mails, and also there should be a way to edit this information or to add data like picture without affecting this information.

Xobni feedback: Missing right-click menus

January 16, 2008

Although they bragged about adding right-click menu to the sidebar, I still miss having all the options from the relevant Outlook menu when I right click a message, a contact or an attachment.

For example –

  • If I see an attachment in the Xobni bottom panel, I’d like to be able to save it to a file.
  • If I see someone name in the people pane, I’d like to be able to open it’s related Outlook contact.
  • If I see a message I’d like to be able to move it to a different folder (and also to know what folder it is currently in, but this is something for a separate post…)

Xobni feedback: Almost no options at all

January 16, 2008

It looks like Xobni is following Google in many ways. The recent Gmail-like invitation is an obvious example.

The problem is that they also follow Google line of “we know better than you how our software should behave, so we won’t let you configure anything” (I already ranted about it here and there).

So currently, Xobni doesn’t let you control what PST or folders will be indexed, and what times index should not work as you want your Outlook to be more responsive, etc.

It also doesn’t show you the current index status, so you don’t know if it finished going over all your mail, and I’m still not fully convinced about it’s search capabilities, and when I want to find something in my e-mail for sure, I still turn to X1. X1 also enables me to have advanced search such as all the e-mails sent by me which have “Xobni” in their subject. This can many times come handy, where just searching for “Xobni” isn’t good enough, as it brings too many results.

Xobni can really use an Advanced Search option

Xobni feedback: Tooltips for hidden text

January 15, 2008

Well, here is my first post in a series of Xobni feedbacks. They have no meaningful order – it’s just the way I found them and had the time to put them as a post.

The Xobni sidebar puts data in categories. These categories’ titles can be partially hidden if the sidebar is too narrow. It would be nice if hovering over the title would show the entire title text in tooltip like one would expect, e.g. like it is in Outlook folder tree or messages list. When a text is not fully displayed, hovering over it should show a tooltip.

This will enable me to easily see how many people Xobni sees as related to someone, without having to widen the Xobni sidebar to see the entire title of the “People Connected” section.

Currently, it seems tooltips are only used in Xobni to explain some fields in the person details area.

New tools

January 15, 2008

I recently came by several new neat tools: Bookmarks (Firefox extension)

Evgeny asked me if I know of a way to synchronize his browser’s hierarchal bookmarks with his Google tagged bookmarks. I recommended him switching to, knowing that such a popular site must have a synchronizing extension. A little search revealed that after Yahoo purchased, they wrote a extension to do exactly what I looked for, and it seems to work extremely well.

One of the main benefits of the extension to me is the option to bookmark an opened Firefox tab while offline, counting on the extension to later synchronize it to when I’m back online.

The only problem is that I have used many, many tags, and this translates to a very long Tags menu. Obviously, the guys at Yahoo thought about it, and added the Favorite Tags feature, but still, if I look for a tag not in my favorites list, it can be annoying. I really need to clean up my list of bookmarks, but that’s not related to the Bookmarks. It would be better, though, if they could put the list of tabs in multiple-columns menu, like the programs menu in Windows’ Start menu, but I don’t know how easy it is to do it in a Firefox extension.

Miranda IM

When I first realized I use several IM clients, and could use one tool that will aggregate them all, I started using Meebo, especially as I was impressed with the Web and AJAX abilities they demonstrated. But then I realized I prefer a non-browser solution, which will not depend on my browser (which is an important working tool for me), and will show me tray notification on events. I picked Pidgin which looked nice.

But recently  I realized I’m having too many problems with it. It didn’t do Hebrew spell checking, it often got stuck while writing messages, it didn’t display Hebrew properly with talking with my boss via MSN, and some more. I started looking again, and found Miranda. Miranda look very nice, and it seem to have a plugin for anything I could think I need. I especially liked the SMS plugin which sends SMS via ICQ for free I so liked it, I recommended it to friends, and even installed it on my wife’s machine, so she can use it for sending SMS (thought she is still using Google Talk for chatting).

The only current problem is that Miranda doesn’t handle Hebrew spell checking well as well. I posted something about it. I hope it will sometime be fixed.


When I saw the Xobni video I fell in love and signed up to their closed beta. I recently got an invitation to the beta and started using it. Surprisingly, It doesn’t slow down my Outlook and seems to work very well. I do have some complaints, but because it is too long, I’ll post them in separate posts.

Fireshot (Firefox extension)

I don’t use Nitobi’s products, but after reading Alex’s explanation of how he built the FishEye widget, I subscribed to his blog which sometimes have interesting ideas or links. He recently posted about the Fireshot Firefox extension for taking screenshots from the browser. There are many screen capturing programs, and my favorite is  MWSnap, but his extension allows you to easily edit the captured image – crop and blur areas, add annotations etc. I even used it to open an image captured outside of the browser with MWSnap, by opening the image in Firefox and re-capturing it, just for the editing.

The only problem I’m currently having with it doesn’t have an Undo feature, which means that if you made a mistake in your editing of the captured image, you have to re-capture and start all over again.