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Happy new year! I’ve noticed some technology products and services that have the potential to have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives this year. Some of these can be real time savers and I believe merit consideration. Postman delivering mail

The first is a class of service promising to revolutionize snail mail. If you’re like most people I see, collecting, opening, filing, and otherwise dealing with the postal mail is a major drain on your time. There are now several services that can help you to organize things you typically get in the mail, such as Manilla and Doxo, but so far, the most promising I’ve seen is an Austin startup that actually retrieves, opens, and scans your mail right out of your mailbox for you. It can even unsubscribe you from catalogs and any junk mail you don’t want, which will save you time in the future even if you discontinue the service. It’s called Outbox. So far they are only available in Austin, but have a waiting list and are planning a national rollout in the coming year. UPDATE: Outbox has gone out of business. I’ve replaced it with FileThis,. It’s too soon to tell if I’m ready to recommend this without reservation, but so far it’s promising.)

How do you feel about having more and more of your life online? Do you think privacy could become an unattainable goal in the future? What about the generational differences? Younger people today have much different expectations about their privacy than those over 35. Do you think their perspectives will change as they get older? Which is more important to you: convenience or privacy? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments, or via email to maura at regainyourtime dot com.

Come back for the next two posts which will discuss two other new services: smart wallets and video calls. You can also add this blog to your RSS feed or receive it in your email by clicking on the orange square in the top right corner of this page.

Thanks for reading!