Tuesday, February 22, 2005

How I use Gmail and why it really is so great

Gmail - Inbox

Gmail is getting ready to go public. I have about 50 "invitations" to handout. Good time to mention how my use has evolved.

1. My desktop email has become a repository and backup store. I do most of my work in Gmail. Messages go out with a return address to my public (spamcop) account but my Gmail account is well known to spammers so this is not critical.

2. I don't use the "labels" much. I thought I'd use 'em more. I'm very post-hierarchy these days. (Labels are an attribute that can be used to emulate a non-hierarchical folder with multiple inheritance.)

3. I "fork" my mailstream. (Relatively few people can do this, I control my mail domain.) Mail to my primary address is replicated to my POP box and to Gmail. So there are two copies everywhere. Works very well with two downsides:
- I have to remember to cc myself if want my replies or messages to be in both repositories. (I wish auto-cc was a Gmail feature, it's not.)
- I have to deal with spam twice, fortunately the filtering I use works pretty well. Gmail keeps a steady level of about 6000 spams in my spam box -- about 30 days worth.

4. Gmail is also a repository for files of less than 10MB that I want to quickly backup or pass around.

5. I use the "star" feature quite a bit.

6. My Inbox is emptied on reading. If I want to come back to a message I "star" it.

Things I really like about Gmail:

1. speed, speed, speed.
2. did i mention search speed?
3. no filing
4. keyboard shortcuts (see speed)
5. smart address book and adress completion
6. elegance
7. reliability
8. useful and interesting ad links

Things I want:

1. auto-bcc feature so I can copy replies to my personal repository
2. IMAP support (I'd pay)
3. more capacity -- 1GB will last me about another 2 years. (I'd pay)

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