As a determined Mac person I am generally displeased when I am forced to work in a PC environment. Unfortunately, I happen to work 8-plus hours a day in such a place. Having to transition from the intuitiveness, fun, and freedom of a Mac to the cold, hard computing of Windows is generally a bummer, especially when I have to work in Outlook. Recently, though, I found a great tool that makes me look forward to looking at my inbox every day. That tool is called Xobni.
Xobni, which is Inbox spelled backwards and pronounced Zob-Nee, is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook. It changes the way you use your inbox by allowing you to view your messages and contacts by threads, view user profiles, and even see which of your friends are on popular social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Nothing is more disturbing than seeing a picture of your buttoned up boss holding a surfboard and flashing a peace sign, but I digress.
Xobni is incredibly easy to use. First, navigate to xobni.com. The download is free to individual users and it installs in minutes. After a reboot Xobni then asks to do a quick indexing of your messages. At a later time when you are away from your computer it will do a full indexing of your system for more complete results.
The Xobni box sits on the right side of your screen. When you click on a message or contact it gives you vital information. It tells you the number of messages you have sent them, how many they sent you, the rank of that person in terms of message volume, and what time they mostly likely will send messages to you. It also searches popular social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for them and lets you know if they are members of those sites. If you are friends of theirs, it will also give you real-time status updates and tweets from those sites.
Another great feature is the message threading. When you click on said contact or message it shows you all messages send to and from that person. It is a quick way to keep track of messages if you working on projects that are complex and require a lot of messaging over a long period of time.
Xobni also keeps track of all attachments between you and your recipient.
One of my favorite features is Xobni's integration with Outlook's calendar. From within Xobni if you are looking at a contact and wish to schedule a meeting, you simply click on the schedule a meeting button. Xobni automatically generates an e-mail asking for a meeting, using your Outlook's calendar feature to determine when you have open times.
There are other features that I am still learning to use, such as Hoovers that gives you detailed company information for a contact as well as lighting fast and real-time search of your inbox, but I'll let you discover those for yourself.
If you use Outlook regularly but find yourself wanting for improvements, Xobni is the answer. It is robust, useful, intuitive, and most importantly, it is a lot of fun.