gee, mail

Just spent the weekend sorting out my emails using the Mail Application on my Mac.

i really wanted to use the app when i got my macbook last year but due to my ignorance i configured my gmail account to a POP setting instead of IMAP and was getting frustrated because emails i wrote or deleted were not being reflected on the server.

a silly problem (easily fixed by googling info on setting up IMAP for gmail) but one that prevented me from using the Mail app for a while.

I only started using it again because of the new iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade. One of the new features was note syncing (YES!) but only with the Mail app (GAH!)… so i was again confronted with the [wrongly perceived] problem of setting it up.

Boy am i glad that i decided to sort it out once and for all!

I really enjoy using gmail. the almost unlimited storage and ease of searching through all my stuff is a real helper when it comes to sorting out mails from a myriad of sources. I also don’t really mind the use of labels instead of folders for sorting out stuff as I find labels to be far more dynamic. They’re sort of like tagging for email.

The only thing that i can’t stand is that due to the stackable nature of the mails (all your mails related to a particular email are ‘stacked’ together so that they can be easily viewed in sequence) i tend to ignore stupid emails that should be deleted. This bugs me because i don’t really want to waste space on them (a habit i picked up from using yahoo mail in the past with their earlier 10mb and then 250mb quotas). I also like my mails to be sorted into folders and my inbox designated for mails that have not been read yet.

Gmail cleverly circumvents both of these issues through the near endless storage space and the use of the search mail feature so that you could have an inbox with 200+ messages but you never have to physically scroll through the lot just to find that one particular email. This is a great time saver.

But time saving aside, it looks very unappealing to be faced with a mass of unorganised mails. Seeing so many emails tends to make me think there’s a LOT of items left undone. And i’ve long harbored the desire to zealously sort my inbox and limit it to only the most recent ones.

This is a problem with gmail as it does not support the dragging and dropping of mails into various labels… something i find puzzling. It’s a drag (oh the irony) to have to individually label all of your emails and then press a 2nd button to archive them so that they don’t appear in the inbox anymore. Ok, i do realise that now you can actually use the ‘move to’ drop down menu to do both at once but it’s still essentially the same boring process.

Maybe it’s just that it feels less tactile or that you’re not physically in control of where things go that bugs me. So i’ve never enjoyed it. When the number of emails in my inbox went past 300 i knew i had to do something about it.

Hence my earlier foray with Mail. I had heard rave reviews about it from friends who had used it at work or uni. So i thought, why not? i’ve used mozilla thunberbird before, how different could it be?

And it is good and it is fun to use and it’s very intuitive and has loads of useful features. Smart folders and spotlight search are seriously amazing tools that make working on email offline a breeze. And now that i have managed to get it to do what i want it to, it’s helped me to finally sort out the thousand+ emails sitting there in my mailbox.

The one thing that it does that gmail doesn’t is that it allows me to select many many emails and then chuck them into the proper folder. The application then does the rest.

Awesome.

Finally in years, since i started using gmail, i feel organised and able to take full control of my emails.

ok, some things still don’t fit 100%. For example i can’t really take advantage of the label feature of gmail. Also the fact that i’m using gmail via a desktop mail client means that the speed at which i access my mails and do everything, from transferring from folder to folder to deleting mails, depends on my internet speed.

but those little problems don’t really matter coz I finally have some peace of mind knowing i have all my emails exactly the way i want them.


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