So… A couple of days ago my pal Franz wrote a piece on “How I manage my email”.
E-mail management is one of my cross and delight since using a computer and up to a couple of years ago I used to try any e-mail client that crossed my way. The topic has an appeal to me and I could not avoid to reply in some form. But things got lengthy and I’ve decided to write a post on my own and backlink to his.
First of all I now have 19 active e-mail accounts. Some of them have mails since 1999 (I have lost two or three previous years). My inboxes have gone through Windows 98 up to Windows XP, then onto Ubuntu/Fedora and since 2006 to Apple’s Mac.
More, I come from years when you got only 50MB of e-email’s space by ISP, and still remember how huge the Gmail appearance was to us web-surfers. More than the search engine itself. That means that I have a deeply rooted habit of using POP accounts.
My local e-mail inbox was, and is, THE archive… while emails stored on the provider are a partial back-up (I expunge e-mails from the after 180 days, leaving me a 6 months safety net).
Given all this I can approac how I manage my e-mails.
Currently I use Mozilla’s Thunderbird as my main e-mail client. I use it since it was born and having left Eudora. The oldes inbox file has been created in early 2003, I think. On it I have set-up the greatest part of that 19 accounts, all in POP3 mode.
I have my personal emails, my hobbies email, my Linux-related e-mail archive and the newsletters.
Since working at CNR I am using Apple’s Mail client – this too in POP3 mode – to manage my working email, server logs. I’ve added a couple of account with Apple-related stuff (mailing lists and some promotional stuff).
Third comes Postbox, born form some sort of Thunderbird’s codebase fork when the main project seemed doomed to death years ago, empowered with some nice features like remote attachment management, and social integrations. Also the ‘conversation’ and some basic GTD features are part of the package. I loved the approach and purchased a lifetime licence. Here I am playing with IMAP for personal e-mails and WordPress related stuff.
I have a fairly large set of e-mails rules and filter to process all the e-mails I receive and sort them to the appropriate folder. I’ve got a folder for emails from Sitegroud, Namecheap, that ER-LUG mailing list, John’s newsletter, Ducati owner mailing list, logwatch and Nagios emails for Server1, Server2 and so on.
This leaves me with only 3 or 4 Inbox folders with ‘unscheduled and unattened’ mails with I process as the first thing. Second comes the emails from the servers, which I oversee in search of anomalies. Then I process the mailing lists … usually they are a precious goldmine of informations, tips, how-to and such that I can use in my workdays.
Then I process the newsletters, and that GDPR storm in last weeks has also helped me to clear a little my subscriptions list. And yes, I have an archive of your newsletter. So even if you delete it I’ll have a copy “forever” =)
At last I have the “pleasure” mailing lists: the motorcycle ones, the comics ones, the friend’s chat ones.
I forgot to mention that I use the color label system of Thunderbird / Postbox and replicated it to Mail … so I give the red color to important stuff, green color to addresses, cyan to evidence email with precious URLs in them, orange to some less important but still relevant content and violet for funny quote / URL / image / whatever.
I’ve tried to get rid of this archive-mania I’ve got, given how huge nowadays Gmail and company are, and leave there my emails. But I still fear having poor or no-connection at all, and remember vividly the times when this ‘cloud’ was 1000x more unreliable than today. So my approach is like a Linus’ towel … I am alway sure to have all my things with me, and be operational anytime, anywhere.