43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Desktop or web-based email?

After getting used to Gmail 3 years ago, I swore I'd stick to web-based email. With IMAP now available, I set it up last week in Apple's Mail client on my desktop to integrate better with offline storage, emailing links, etc, and found myself changing my ways.

It wasn't easy: The initial download took forever and I had to work at getting Apple's Junk Filters to cooperate. (I.e., still work on the 2 POP accounts I check in Mail while leaving Gmail's already filtered mail alone).

I'm a convert. I used to open a browser window with three tabs: Google homepage, RSS, and Gmail and check it throughout the day. Now I'm in Mail only when I need to be, and ignore RSS and news until it occurs to me to catch up.

I did really like the Gmail interface, with conversations, shortcuts, etc, but I've been trying to make Safari my full-time browser and it wasn't playing nice. I've found a surge of productivity by sticking to the desktop.

How do others find web-based vs. desktop email to impact their productivity?

LiamH's picture


As soon as I got my first mac in 2002 (if memory serves) I dispensed with web based email. .Mail is just a slicker experience. When I use web based email it somehow feels as if there's a fuzzy layer of something between me and my messages. If that makes any sense.

I do have a Gmail account as a form of back up grabbing all my emails from my work and personal accounts. Most days I read my mail, act on it immediately or delete it. I only keep stuff that I need for some reason or another. At the moment I have about 15 messages in my inbox. They'll be gone soon.

If I need an email again then it's bound to be on Gmail. I've never been able to make head nor tail of Gmail but it is fine to use as a searchable backup. Every now and again I do a cull of emails in Gmail and rarely get past 5 or 6% of my allocated storage. I am a happy camper.




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