Thursday, March 23, 2006

the gmail switcharoo

I've enjoyed using Gmail from the first day I started, but tonight I hit a turning point: I've decided to switch to Gmail for all of my personal email.

Up to this point I've lead a dual-email-system life: Thunderbird and fetchmail on my home server for Shaw email, and Gmail for a newsletters, Google Alerts, etc. News from family, kids soccer and hockey email, etc. would hit my Shaw account, and stuff like the Gentoo Weekly News would hit my Gmail account.

No longer. I've increasingly found working in Gmail to be a breeze (especially with tools like the Gmail Macros greasmonkey script for Firefox) and working with email in Thunderbird to be a pain. Don't get me wrong - Thunderbird is a great client. There are two things, though, that it can't help me with:

  1. Threaded conversations: related emails are shown in a timeline in Thunderbird in default. Using the topic view would only group them; nothing beats the integrated roll-up conversation view in Gmail.
  2. Labels for email management: the family Shaw email account contains email for Kim and I (and once in a while, the kids). Guess who usually wades through it all? Since I don't want to file a message into a folder that Kim or the kids should read, I end up leaving it in the inbox. There are hundreds there right now, just waiting (in vain). The Gmail Macros let me label and archive messages with just a few keystrokes.
So how will I shift messages from the family Shaw account to my Gmail account? Easy - just flip on auto-forward for all messages. The "send from" feature in Gmail is also smart enough to send replys to messages using the "From:" address they were addressed to, so this switch will be invisible to folks sending email to our Shaw account.

One last note: although I expect it unlikely that Google will disappear anytime soon, there is always a chance that my archived email might be lost. I've configured fetchmail on my server to continue downloading email from Shaw on a daily basis as a backup. That way, if for some reason my archived email evaporates at Google, I'll still have a copy (although not as kewl an interface to it).

No comments:

Post a Comment