brockmann_minletI'm working on a new report, tentatively titled 'Mobilizing Email' which reviews the issues and requirements of the mobile email service experience. I'm developing the argument that email is a human-scale packet-switching service that includes time-shifting, broadcast and audit trail services that together make it useful for people.

Specifically, I ran into the need for a new term to describe the time interval it takes to travel in an elevator, wait for a street light to change, stand in line at a lunch counter. This unspecified and indeterminate time period varies greatly from occurrence to circumstance, yet is ideal for checking email, reading unanswered email and otherwise increase the utility of these queuing times.

Mobile email is perfect for these circumstances.

So, like applets are little applications, and oplets are little operations [from my A4 Networks startup days with Ravi Narayanan], I propose to call these time snippets 'minlets' and define them as:

A minlet is a short duration period of time, typically the duration of an elevator ride, pausing at a traffic light or queuing at a lunch counter where the person needs only to be partly attentive to their surroundings. A minlet is suitable for checking or reading email on a mobile device. 


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