Not too surprisingly, my email traffic has grown since I took this job, in volume, diversity, and importance. I’ve had to do a few adjustments to my email handling, and I figured I’d share.
First, to deal with the volume changes, I unsubscribed from a lot of mailing lists that I was subscribed to for less than ideal reasons. I’ll miss some community news, but that’s the lesser of N evils.
Second, after struggling with leaving stuff on gmail, I’ve given up on gmail as my primary email storge. Instead, it serves as an additional spam filter, a front-end for when I’m on the road without a laptop, and a good search engine. A lot of my email goes through gmail, but it gets forwarded to an IMAP account, which is my primary mail server. (Side question: does anyone know if gmail cheerfully does loop-detection, so that it’s safe to forward bidirectionally between a non-gmail server and gmail, in hopes of redundancy with two entry points?)
It’s easy to forget how much better IMAP is than POP. Folders that are stable across clients. IDLE push (although Merlin Mann would object). And with Lemonade, it’ll get even better. In particular, the iPhone’s mail app works wonders with IMAP, meaning that I can do some email processing (and I do mean processing, such as deleting, triaging, etc.) on my phone in interstitial times, and not have to re-process emails. I wonder if MailCo shouldn’t do a public advocacy campaign for IMAP over POP…
Finally, after watching Merlin Mann talk about Inbox Zero again, I looked around for Thunderbird extensions to help with my email workflow and settled on Nostalgy. It takes some personalization and isn’t quite ready for the mass market as is, but for old email hands, it’s just what the doctor ordered. What I use most so far: custom shortcuts to file emails into Archive, RespondTo, DoAction, and Personal with single keystrokes, and the very handy
key to do automatic subject/sender filtering toggles. I suspect there are a few more features that I’ll really love.
One of the beauties of the Mozilla extension infrastructure is that extensions like Nostalgy can be born, and grow up as extensions, and then the best ideas can be rolled into the main product. I don’t know that I can point to any specific feature of Nostalgy that I think qualifies right now (after all, I’ve only played with it for a few minutes), but some of its features like the
key toggle helps me think more broadly about how the product could evolve.