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Google! - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
skywhisperer
skywhisperer
Google!
First: I'm making a batch of boudin and a batch of chicken and apple sausage tonight. If they turn out well, I'll post recipes for them this weekend.

Second: In yet-another of my moves to organize my life, I've tackled my email.


I had email scattered nearly two dozen different folders, going back to somewhere around 2001. I'm not a hoarder of email - I delete almost everything, but I do save things I think I might want go back and look at some day. The trouble was that when I wanted them, I could never find them. The worst thing to find were registration codes for software. I could find which file they were in with grep, but then I could never figure out what message they were in when I opened that file in a mail reader.

A lot of my friends have moved to gmail. I grabbed an account early to sit on the name, but I never really used it. I didn't want to give up my domain name, or my email filtering.

But a few days ago, I got suckered into the Google Personalized home page. I use Calender a bit already, and the home page was like a much-more-customizable version of MyYahoo, which I'd been looking to replace anyway. Then I found the RSS aggregator, which integrated well enough for me to give up Bloglines. And then I got thinking about gmail again.

I started by merging all my mailbox files scattered all over my system into one big file, then I concatenated that to the end of my existing mailbox. I pointed gmail (GMail? Gmail?) at the POP3 interface, and over then next hour or so, it sucked in over 1000 messages. With the help of the most excellent filtering system I sorted them all in a few hours. There's only one feature I wish the filters had - 'if it matches this and this, and it's more then x days old, do this", but I didn't have that before, and I can live without it for now.

Then I set up gmail to automatically respond as if the email was from tina@tripacerdriver.com. I turned off the POP link to the old account, and modified my server to auto forward all email to Gmail (I think that's the right capitalization), as well as deliver it to the local box. This way I receive all email at tina@tripacerdriver.com, and send out email as tin@tripacerdriver.com, making the Gmail part transparent except as an archive. And since I'm also keeping a copy of the mail on my server, if it doesn't work out, I haven't lost anything.

The next step will be to write some code to suck down all the email I have archived in Gmail through their POP3 interface once a month, and store that as a mbox file on my server. I'll lose the organization, but at least it'll give me a complete backup if anything ever happens to Gmail (like, their ads become intolerable, or they start insisting on adding annoying lines of ads to the bottom of outgoing emails. But I repeat myself).

There are a few things that annoy me about Gmail, but the only one worth mentioning is the spam filter that you can't turn off. Out of a bit over 1000 messages, it identified about 15 of them as spam. That's a 1.5% false positive rate, and that's honestly unacceptable. However, I'll admit that a lot of very old email is a bad way to judge a spam filtering solution, so I'll give them a shot for now.

And the thing that makes me happiest is how easy it is to integrate it with everything. Need to move email in? use POP3. Need to move email out? Also POP3. Contacts can be imported from or exported to CSV or Exchange. RSS subscriptions can be imported or exported using XML (my list is here). There's very little risk - if you don't like it, just grab your data back and take it somewhere else. This is a huge shift from so many service providers, where once you get data in, you can't easily get it out.


So far, I'm happy. We'll see how it goes.

The best part? Reconnecting with all the people who I haven't sent email to in years.

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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