Gmail as lifesaver

For several years I've been a big user of Google Apps. All my email routes to Google's servers and with the great IMAP functionality I've considered myself fortunate not to need to run email servers much anymore.

A few weeks ago I moved from using the powerful Apple Mail and MailActOn combination to using the Google web interface. While I still sync up with IMAP every day or so and will continue to use Mail both for offline access (though this seems to be coming along in Gmail) and some advanced features like integration with iLife and other apps, Gmail has a few features that Apple Mail can't match.

One of the big features is an addition to the labs tab in Gmail which provides a seemingly simple "Send & Archive" button.


Changing email from lines

I need a solution for re-writing the from fields of inbound emails. There are a few correspondents in the various areas of life who insist on not putting their full names in their email clients. In the cases where I've talked to people this is often in the mistaken belief that it will help keep them from getting spam. In reality it makes spam filters much more suspicious of the email and ultimately only makes it harder on the ultimate recipients.

Apple Mail does a decent job when you're looking at the individual message. As long as the user's real name is in the address book it shows their real name even if they've supplied something else. But in the list views there's a bigger problem. It is not much fun to try and figure out which of the 3 Mikes sent an email in a list where it would have been much easier if they'd had the courtesy to include their full name. Along the way perhaps there will be more education about not looking like spam. And then again maybe I'll get mail more than the once-weekly trip to the spam filters.

Email Solutions

Dave Winer has a solution for his e-mail problems. I use a slightly different variation on the same theme.

1) I use a domain that designed for only a few people.

2) E-mail for most any address in the domain is routed to the default account

3) When I give out an e-mail address (either on the web or in person) I give a different version of it. If you are ABC CO then my address will be

4) The Variation for webistes is that the address changes fairly frequently and includes a date. If you click a mailto in March 2003 there will be a 0303 in it. If you mail that address after March 2003 you'll get instructions on how to make it a current address. (A very simple challenge-response type system.

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