How many Personal Folders Files do you have?
Most people that use Outlook as their mail client know exactly what I'm talking about (especially those people that used to delete their e-mails until a colleague burned them by claiming to never receive an e-mail that you know you sent, but deleted). For the uninitiated, Personal Folders Files (PFF) are a Microsoft Outlook file (note that on ealier versions of Outlook, these are referred to as ".pst" files -- somebody explain that one) that allow you to store messages (primarily messages, but also contacts, notes, etc.) on your hard drive rather than on your company's server (ever gotten the message from your Administrator that tells you your mailbox has "exceeded its quota" and you can no longer send e-mails?) -- within each PFF, you can set up multiple sub-folders to help you organize your e-mails. The longer you use an e-mail client, the more ridiculous the amount of PFF and sub-folders within each PFF gets. Most people come up with some sort of scheme to organize messages, but this can result in bloated PFF files that may become corrupted (statistically, PFF files in excess of 1GB are bound to become corrupted).
What if there was a search application that could search within all of your e-mails, regardless of what PFF they're in -- you could search not only the subject line, but also all of the text inside the message? What if the program did this at near-real-time, so that as you typed in a word, it was automatically providing results? What if this program also indexed and allowed you to search in all your e-mail attachments and files? Though the point of his article is something else, Seth Godin makes reference to a company called X1 that provides just such a piece of software.
I just installed the software. It's been indexing my har drive while I've been working on this blog and talking on the phone. The free download lets me use the software for 15 days before I have to buy it. Cost to purchase the software is $99 and includes 1 year of updates. Think I'll pay for this software? You bet!