My recent computer meltdown had really highlighted few areas I need to get in order. Email turned out to be huge glaring hole in my setup that completely crashed from simply losing access to main Opera installation.
And so I started to tweak.
My problems with email
I was far from email fan for years. Still not there. For me it is necessary evil (at best). Not in the productivity sense but I consider huge issues of email being:
- unreliable (messages just poof at times);
- non-realtime (IM way better for conversation);
- too damn important with numerous accounts and password retrieval options getting tied for what is essentially third party service that may crash some day.
Photo by SC Fiasco
My accounts and their problems
Over years I ended up with three email accounts (there were more cut off long time ago). Separately they were bearable with different shortcoming for each, together they became one troublesome mess:
- oldest personal account from local free email service – POP3 only, no relaying (can only send with its address), terrible web interface, problems with mobile access on N810, emails constantly starting with remarks how other party had figured which country I am from;
- Gmail account – ugly name (one of the very few where Rarst was taken), was not going to use this and ended up with bunch of Google services tied to login I don’t like;
- domain accounts – as much as I want with any name on them, POP3 only, terrible web interface (way more terrible than mentioned above).
Mess, isn’t it?
What I was looking for
- single email address, I have full control over (using my domain) for all communications;
- better backend, capable of consolidating multiply accounts under that single address;
- fast and flexible frontend with IMAP access and whatever else needed to get mail on the go as well as at home.
I had chosen Gmail to handle backend and frontend with single umbrella domain address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Set up and verified Gmail to use domain address for all outgoing mail.
- Set up main and extra (admin, wordpress) domain addresses and personal account to redirect everything to Gmail.
- Cleared out all POP3 accounts form Opera M2 and made IMAP connection to Gmail instead.
Now all mail flows to one place and whatever address it came to I always reply with umbrella address.
- the way Opera M2 works with IMAP is quite different, needed some folders disabled and I am confused all the time between Gmail spam filter and Opera internal filter;
- it will take me a lot of time to get used to Gmail web interface, I am bordering hateful about web apps;
- I am used to deleting email I no longer need, Gmail’s desire to save everything forever is slightly annoying;
- I considered going for Google Apps to get rid of extra redirect but saw tweet from @BenBarden that it causes logging out issues with main Google account and something else.
- IMAP is wicked fast, more secure and pleasure to work with;
- I had automated daily database backups from this blog so they are stashed under separate tag in Gmail and don’t require manual action from me every time;
- Gmail provides RSS feed for unread email which makes extremely interesting and low-traffic unread indicator;
- turns out all Google Talk chats are automatically cached in Gmail. Not sure I really need this but might be useful at times.
Problem with email and free email services that at first you don’t plan your usage and suddenly it’ is years later and you have mess of issues to deal with. I do not care how many of those gigabytes of storage Gmail offers but it does offer most excellent technical features while allowing to use third party address.
What kind of accounts and services you use for your email?