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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.


In OneZero. More on Medium.


If you lose access to virtual memory spaces, some of your memories might go out with it

The internet is a time capsule. Like an external hard drive or a diary tucked under your mattress, the email accounts, instant messenger conversations, and blogs of our past hold nostalgic and sometimes even crucial memories. But just as an external hard drive is susceptible to file corruption and a diary might get lost in a move, we can lose access to that essential repository of memories. If you haven’t somehow preserved that information — by printing out important correspondences or forwarding your emails, for example — those memories could be lost in the ether, never to be experienced again.

The new email service from Basecamp founders David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried is pricey — but for good reasons

What words come to mind when you think of email? The first two words I think of are “overwhelming” and “unending.” I’ve tried many different email clients, like Apple Mail, Gmail, and Spark, but I have always been disappointed by how little control I felt I had over my mailbox. No matter how much auto-sorting the client did, I still felt it was hard to find the emails when I needed them and I was constantly getting messages I didn’t want. No email software has ever improved my relationship with email. …

An exhaustive 2,700-email analysis of donation requests, emojis, and dog pictures

For all the influence social media has in our lives, it’s still far from a universal medium. It’s true that some 70% of us check Facebook at least once in a while, but only 37% are on Instagram. A Reddit AMA will reach only the 11% of U.S. adults who have ever logged into the platform, and just 22% of U.S. adults ever bother to peer into the pit of rage and despair that is Twitter.

But if you are a person on the internet in 2020, you almost certainly have an email address. And if you are a voting…


Many people complain that their messages are suddenly getting caught. Here’s what’s going on.

As a freelance writer who conducts many interviews with academics and other experts, I send a lot of cold emails. This takes a fair amount of time and effort, particularly since only about 20% of the people I reach out to ever write back.

That response rate used to be a bit higher, but a few months ago, I got a disappointing message in my own inbox from an expert: My first email, she said, had gone to her university email spam folder. Had I gained some kind of reputation as a horrible writer? Did everyone hate me? …


Workaholism is just the start

Every morning when I wake up, I roll over and check my email.

Usually there’s nothing that can’t wait: some press releases about new studies, the occasional email from an editor, and plenty of spam. The checking is a compulsion I’ve adopted in the past several years — one that only adds to my already significant anxiety, with few upsides (if any).

It is, in effect, making me something of a workaholic, or someone who is driven to work “excessively and compulsively,” according to psychologists at Norway’s University of Bergen.

Despite making attempts to create emotional boundaries between myself and…

Faced with powerful automated filters on Gmail, criminals have found a new, annoying way to catch your attention

A smart phone with the icons for the Google Calendar app
A smart phone with the icons for the Google Calendar app

My email inbox is a mess. Ever since my work email address became public, spam has torn through it like a Tasmanian devil trying to sell little blue pills. I’ve resigned myself to the disorder in my inbox, but my calendar is sacred. It runs my entire life, from work meetings to outings with my kids. But now spammers are trying to ruin that, too.

It works like this: A spammer sends you an invite to a “meeting” using the collaborative tools built into Google Calendar, iCloud, or other online scheduling tools. By default, these services add the event to…

From autocomplete email to algorithmic news feeds, technology has turbocharged communication, but meaning and signal is being lost along the way

Co-authored with Clive Thompson

At One Zero, we recently discussed the “efficiency delusion” in tech — the mistaken belief that removing “effort, steps, and hassle” always makes things better. We’re continuing the conversation here by talking about communication. The main question on our minds is this: When should communication be slowed down?

The following is an edited excerpt that captures the flavor of a recent dialog.

Evan Selinger: You recently said something that’s very interesting about how things have changed during the transition from your last book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better

The new services turn email into bloodless business speak. So why are we allowing Silicon Valley to dictate what we say?

If you’ve used Gmail any time recently, you’ll probably be familiar with Smart Reply and Smart Compose. Smart Reply is simple. Whenever you receive an email, three jaunty and heavily exclamation-pointed options pop up under its body: things like “Thank you!”or “That sounds great!” or “That works for me!” Click the option you like the best, edit (or don’t), and press send. Congratulations: an email that would have taken you 30 seconds to write has taken you two.

Smart Compose, on the other hand, helps you craft emails yourself. Up pops grayish text when you start to write an email…

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