Fast Company

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Mark A. Carlson say the "real value" of the news he gets through Mercury Mail and Castanet is that "it's easy to act on."

Channel Changer: Mark A. Carlson, 41, Java programmer with Redcape Software

Webcasting Service: Mercury Mail

Why I Tune In: To track breaking Internet news and follow trends with Java.

Business Channels: NEWSpot; Closing Bell

Things move fast on the Net. I use Mercury Mail to get daily updates, including developments with Java, which I'm most interested in, and other Web-related things. I learn about new technologies from competitors and technologies that we can use here. When Java's new management software came out, I learned about it first through Mercury Mail. Now we're using it in one of our products. And I don't just subscribe to Mercury Mail. I also use Marimba's Castanet software to receive the Gamelan channel, which updates me on all the Java applications out there.

The real value of the news I get through Mercury Mail and Castanet is that it's easy to act on. I subscribe to the HTML version of Mercury Mail, which means the messages get delivered to my Netscape Inbox. Those messages are in the form of Web pages rather than just text with links to the Web. I can look at a page immediately, save it to a folder, or send it to someone else. HTML email even lets me send active content to people. If I see a page with a cool effect that uses a Java applet, I just mail that page to my colleagues so they can see the effect for themselves.

Entertainment Channel: I subscribe to Closing Bell so I can track my stocks. I get an update a couple of times per day. It forces me to keep checking my portfolio and decide if I want to make changes.

Wish List: More customization options. The information categories - NEWSpot, SpotLite, ConsoliDate - are too broad. I'd also like agent technology that "learns" what I'm interested in by tracking my links. It could propose selections based on what it's learned from me and people with similar preferences.

Coordinates: Mark Carlson, mac@redcape.com

Sign Up: Visit Mercury Mail on the Web http://www.merc.com . The service is free. The HTML version requires Netscape Navigator 3.0 or a Web-based email account.

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