43 Folders

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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?

tychoish's picture


Though my email system is organized around gmail, I must admit that even when I could only get pop through there, I used it with Mail.app, and I've always tended toward offline clients.

They just seem to work better and I like the process of writing email in it's own app. Also, I really like not having to keep web browsers open. Browsers are slow, resource hogs, and I don't have a lot of trust. Also my computers always work better, when I only have browser window or two (with maybe a half dozen tabs, mostly references, not tasks)

I have to say that I'm sort of slowly working on learning mutt for reading email and editing mail with textmate (I know, a real geek, right?) and then see where it goes from there. But t his is a slow process, both in the set up, and in the learning curve, but Mail.app is inefficent, and pokey, really no matter how I seem to play it.

And it is of course nice to have the option of using web mail as a back up when I don't have my computer with me, or something. It's nice to not have to choose, and having IMAP makes that even easier.




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