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?

eastindyguy's picture

IMAP in Mail.app sucks...

because it can't even get the number of unread messages in a folder correct.

I tried using Mail.app for IMAP access to my email and I can't count the number of times that I would see a folder listed as having say 12 unread messages in it, and when I open the folder there were not 12 unread messages. Finally, the number would correct itself - but only for as long as I was working in that folder. As soon as I switched to a different folder, if there is any unread mail the count changes to some incorrect number.

At first I thought it was just Mail.app not playing nice with my Gmail account, so I tried it with my email account from my web host - same thing. After looking around, I found that this is a long standing bug that Apple has refused to fix. It existed in Mail.app in 10.3, and still exists in 10.5. Of course, Mail.app works perfectly with IMAP access to .MAC accounts.

The best IMAP client I have found for use on a Mac is GyazMail (recently added IMAP support). It still has a few small issues and may not be as feature-rich as some of the more "mainstream" clients, but I am happy with it.




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