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Return of mail!


Chaos has solved my problem; she pointed out that Pair lets users use port 2525. So I changed my email settings to use that port, and everything now works.

Thank you, Chaos! Extremely much appreciated; that'll make the next couple days a lot simpler and less frustrating, not to mention any future times when I run into the same issue.

Thanks to others for suggestions as well.

Tom's suggestion of using gmail, and my reaction to it, underscores something I hadn't quite explicitly thought about: the preferred model for email these days seems to be to keep mail on a centralized server and access it remotely, whether via a webmail system or by logging into a UNIX shell or by using IMAP. And that model just doesn't appeal to me. I want to have all my mail on my local machine; I want to be able to search it quickly, and to have it with me when I'm offline. (Which is kinda funny given that about 90% of the time I have broadband access in one form or another.) If you have mail on a server, you can access it from anyone's computer, which is cool; but if you have it locally, you can read and respond to it and sort through it on the plane (even though you can't actually send or receive it), which somehow is more important to me. Odd.

Anyway. The return of my ability to send mail underscores the fact that I haven't actually written responses to various recent messages, so I should probably do that instead of journaling.


Since you're thinking about e-mail models, and since you work at google...

What I'm looking for in an e-mail system and am not finding (and which I'd like to find for all my computing needs) is a combination of robustness, universal access, and security.

Having my e-mail on my local computer means having universal access (at least when my computer isn't sitting at the Apple Store awaiting back-ordered parts), having security (ditto), and having the level of robustness that I figure out for myself. But keeping the e-mail on a server ALSO would add a lot. Here's my ideal feature set to add to gmail, keeping in mind that I don't use gmail so some of these features might already be there:

1. Let me mirror my gmail to my local machine, with full functionality either on the client or the server, and with full 2-way updating so I only need to delete a message in one place (for example) to have it delete in both places.

2. Let me tag certain messages or folders as only local or only server, so I can keep sensitive items either off my laptop or off google's server, whichever I'm more concerned about.

3. Let me make an easy backup of my entire mail file, with the options of letting me easily download a single archive to burn to optical media (or split if needed to burn to CD) or paying Google a dollar or two to burn it. And if Google is doing the burning, let me set up scheduling the backups in an easy way. (And interact in a clear way with point 2.)

I sort of trust a server setup to do a better job of backups than I will. I sort of trust my computer to be available more often than my connection to the gmail server. I'd really like something that will give me the benefits of both models at a reasonable cost and with good ease-of-use.

Every time I'm reminded of how much of SH's IT infrastructure depends on your laptop, Jed, it surprises me all over again. :) (And I can't help but thinking of this Bruce Sterling speech that I can't track down at the moment involving some future hick town being wiped out by enraged netizens because the local cops had put the hassle on some hobo and in the process damaged his laptop, which contained the netizens' entire virtual community...)

It's funny -- your take on local vs. remote email is the opposite of mine for what actually seems like almost the same reason -- I keep my stuff on a Linux server and access it with 1980s-era tools exactly because I want to have access to it in (what seems to me like) the widest range of situations. If I kept it all on my laptop I'd have to take my laptop everywhere, and I'd have to have my laptop open and plugged in if I wanted to read/write personal email at work (which of course I do almost constantly). Of course that does mean I can't read it when I'm offline, but on the other hand I can read it in dodgy Spanish internet cafes or at the Apple store. (Though since they started taking the Terminal app off their display machines I've had to start downloading OS 9 ssh apps to do that -- gotta stay one step ahead!)

I think what might be the best of both worlds would be to be able to store all my email on my phone (since that's the minimum amount of electronics I'm likely to never be without)
but access it there via any handy PC or terminal. Not there yet, though.

Thatnk you, Chaos and Jed. SBC has been playing this silly game (rather badly, as sometimes mail will go through and sometimes it won't). I'll be back in the Bay Area on Tuesday and needing to send mail. I may be in touch if I can't figure out the port thing myself.

I fele the same way you do about gmail. it's very cool and all and I have an account, but for mail that is mine and regular and such, I like POp accounts where i can download it and have it on my server. It's just a thing.

Gmail does now offer POP, although not IMAP. It wasn't in the original feature set, so people may be unfamiliar with it.

My needs and wants are exactly the same as yours, Jed.

My solution is a .forward at my primary address that COPIES everything to my gmail account. I also bcc: my primary address whenever I send mail from gmail.

Thus, all my mail is solidly under my control on my home computer, AND all my mail (dating back to when the gmail account started) is also available from anywhere I can find a web browser. Best of both worlds. The only downside is that when I return to one environment from the other I have to manually mark as read all the messages I've already seen (and delete/archive them as appropriate, but gmail and Eudora filters help with that).

I wish gmail allowed me to set up a default bcc: value and specify my from: address, like mailreader.com does.

I think there are ways to tell at least some IMAP clients to download a copy of your mailboxes to your client, and then keep them in synch with the copies on the server in the future. This gives you the best of both worlds, if it works right; the main drawback is that you end up copying messages back and forth repeatedly as you work with your mail from different places. It might be worth seeing if your favorite mailreader has this option, though.

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