Email Reply Patch 2.0

Emails piling up? Too many friends? Freaking out figuring out which emails to answer? First? And which little lovelies might not even need a reply at all? Well the good programmers at MicroSpot are worried sick about this. And they've just released the beta version of Email Reply Patch 2.0 . It runs off Eudora, Outlook and many web-based platforms. Last weekend, I downloaded it for a test drive. Lord knows I need it. The way it works is simple. It scans through your incoming mail and color codes the message body according to a simple scheme which lets you read between the lines without having to read between the lines.
  • Black means declarative.
  • Pink means 'almost a question, but not quite.'
  • Green is rhetorical. We don't have to answer that.
  • Purple means 'technically it's a question, but taken in the context of the entire email, it really could count as rhetorical.' No action necessary.
  • Red is definitely interrogatory. This could require action.
  • Orange (String of Questions) Too many questions in a row. No answer necessary.
  • Blue counts as 'I have no idea what they're saying. Answering would only demonstrate this and might even hurt someone's feelings. Better to just not say anything.'
In this sample, the sender is a student who is studying in Brazil. I met her when she sent me some feedback pertaining to a web site, I maintain.
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 9:42 AM

B, for bacon?

My studies? HAH! Yesterday I was just betrayed by a few of my 'class mates'. I think it is worthy of Shakespeare's play 'The Merchant of Venice'. You know, the trial scene...Shylock. personality is nothing like Shylock's...I'm innocent (serious). The whole thing is ridiculous though. My end of term exams start tomorrow and end on Monday. I will take the ACT on the 8th of December. I am going to return to the states. I officially withdrew myself from school today with my mother. I wasn't allowed to leave at the end of last year. You see, you have to give them a sixth month notice! Leaving has nothing to do with my classmates.

I noticed that you have changed your website. I like the painting on the opening page! 'That is not what I meant at all./That is not it, at all.' Is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock one of your favorites? My English lit. exam is tomorrow. I am very sure that I will have to write something about a general theme, 'death' or 'time and age' etc. and talk about Eliot, Larkin, and Auden and use of language. I will also have to analyze a poem that I have never seen before. Yikes!

As for my webpage. I am not for sure what I am going to write about for december. I have a few ideas though. Perhaps compulsive paper product disorder?

We get Martha Stewart over here. She explained how she makes cinnamon toast. She 'broils' the toast. When the bottom is golden brown she removes it, butters the top, sprinkles her cinnamon mixture onto the buttered side and sticks it back in. No, Martha can't use the toaster! The really sad thing is I just may try that one day- grrr


ERP 2.0 then calculates the 'magic number' by taking the black to red ratio (in this case exceeding 20:1) divided by the relative distance to sender's geographic location minus 3.5 x the actual number of times I have seen this person in real life (1.5 with a decent photograph). This magic number is then partaligized among several unknown factors and a response date is generated. According to ERP 2.0, I did not have to respond to this email until 2007. The program then used a sophisticated modeling technique called mega-friend-fractals (MFF), which is the same technology used by the Israeli air force. The MMF calculates if and when we should expect another email, to well within an accuracy of nine days give or take two years. It told us to expect another one in about ten minutes. Boy was I ever sold when I got this:

Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 9:52 AM
Subject: 'Me You Them - Eu tu Eles'

No, I did not get a chance to see this film. I know exactly which one you are talking about though. I am assuming you watched this with subtitles. Unless you speak Portugese and have failed to mention this to me :p If I see this film Eu tu Eles, I am going to need the subtitles too. Part of this has to do with the fact that i know if I watched it w/o the subtitles I would only understand half of it. I am coming home for Christmas, hopefully I find a copy to rent. You know, I have a lot of films to watch now. You may like Bossa Nova. This is a movie I can watch w/out subtitles all thanks to Amy Irving! She plays an English teacher in Rio. The movie is over a year and a half old. Maybe you will see it one day. Have you ever scene Indochina? Catherine Denueve? Vincent Perez? or Deja Vu? Ok, all of these are chick-flicks. Look on the bright side. They aren't cheesy or sad.

Rural Brazil. A sad truth - I don't travel far from the city. I have only travelled three hours max by car. I cannot say. I have been to Foz do Iguacu. My mom wanted to go to the Amazon for xmas but I am going back to the states. It would be nice to go to the Amazon. Yes, I should take advantage of the fact that I live here, however, my family is expecting me.


According to ERP 2.0, the next email would occur in approximately one week. Can you believe my reaction when I looked in my mailbox and found this:
Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2001 5:19 PM

Hello there. How has life been treating you lately? My life- well, nothing too exciting yet. My headmaster is not being very cooperative about me moving. It is driving me crazy! I had him filed under 'bastard' but he truly deserves to be filed under 'dirty bastard'. I feel like Dexter (when his sister Didi enters his sacred labratory and causes havoc), annoyed and on the verge of spazing.

I did ok on my English lit exam. I arrived at school to find out it was a closed text exam (did I memorize any quotes? no.) and yet I passed! I had just written an essay on 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' so the poem was fresh in my mind (this may sound dorky but I was so excited while writing of his preoccupations) I was able to throw in some quotes by Larkin- another favorite of mine. I concentrated on the poems 'Next Please' and 'Ambulances'.

I head back to the states on the 17th of Dec. My mom has given me two books to read: Atlas Shrugged and Armadale by Wilkie Collins. Do you have any suggestions? The book must be interesting! I also need to build up my vocabulary. When I get to the states I am going straight to the bookstore.

I hope all is well! Take Care.

The program now tells me, all things considered, I have about three days to write back. Now, let us move on to another correspondent. This one is a musician living in Boston. She responds to my wholesome suggestion to see 'Amelie'.
I've heard about that movie from a friend, but I haven't seen it yet - it is on my list.

Thanksgiving was good - a much needed break - lots of food... good food. My sister was here to visit. not me necessarily, but the schools here - she's graduating and looking at colleges - namely Harvard and MIT. smart girl - good grades, high test scores - we'll see. She doesn't know yet what she wants to do.

the semester is about to end.

Must be another friend? ERP 2.0 also asked to see a copy of the email I sent her. Actually, it was a set-up. I happen to know this person doesn't like me. At all. In fact, this person very much dislikes me and would prefer never to hear from me again. I know this because she has said it on multiple occasions. I email her about once a month. According to ERP 2.0, I should probably not write this person again and having the last correspondence addressed to me could be useful in court. ERP 2.0 says it will be approximately seven months before I appear in court. ERP 2.0 also says there are plenty of other fish in the sea and did I know that. It says my next email will probably look like this:

Can I see your list?

Brown: Oh please, not him again. Would you like me to delete this for you?

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