Monday, December 14

Things I wish about Email

Someone asked me:


I read your last post on Thunderbird and noticed you said [...] that you were "over client based email".  I use Thunderbird.  Why do you say that?  What don't you like about [...], client based applications?"  -- Yes I paraphrased.  But spelling is intact.
-- I would like the ability to shut off Spotlight indexing.  Meaning, I don't want to download all of my Mail locally.  It's IMAP, that means keep it up in the cloud.  I don't want it here.  Also?  Very slow when dealing with Gmail.
-- I would like the "new" ability to "archive" an email with a keyboard shortcut.  In Thunderbird 3.0, I can mash the "a" key and the Email that is currently selected is archived.
-- Threading.  Threading is awful.  It works GREAT in Gmail, and is perhaps Gmail's best feature, bar none.
-- No way to bottom post.

-- Same as as far as the Spotlight indexing goes, except, I can shut it off in Thunderbird (awesome!).  But I don't want the client to download my email.  Period.  I want it kept in the cloud with no local copy.
-- Slow.  SLOW.
-- Threading, same as, Threading sucks.  Again, Gmail has this down.
-- Too much CPU
-- Too much RAM.  (600 Megs?  Are you kidding me?)

-- Slow
-- Can't open attachments, (yes, I know what you Mutt guys are going to say, but still, I would like the ability to just click (or tap a shortcut key) and open an attachment.  Not having to do a bunch of crazy nonsense to tie apps together.
-- Threading, I rather like the threading that Mutt has, and the customizability of Mutt beats everything else, bar none.

-- Seriously, Outlook sucks.
-- Why am I including it here?
-- No way to bottom post
-- Inconsistant GUI
-- Slow
-- No way to bottom post.  Check out this fix (
-- No addons
-- No archiving
-- PST size limits
-- Bad rule granularity.

I solicited feedback from Twitter, regarding the above, and these are the responses I got.

"Lack of keyboard for control wrt to moving from folder to folder.. GMail makes that very easy." -- @jasonish

"The difficulty in working with the OS address book - Thunderbird vs Windows 7 contacts comes to mind (complicates my iphone sync)"
-- @tomsellers

"haven't found one with a conversation view on par with gmail."
-- @jjarmoc

"1) Folders < Labels (ability to 'symlink' emails to multiple tags) 2) i use 3-4 devices to check mail 3)Gmail's thread handling"
-- @jamesjtucker

and in the interest of fairness.  I'll get on Gmail too.

-- I want the ability to mark two conversations and make them thread together.  For instance, let's say there is a thread, then someone answers that thread, but the mail client for that person adds "UNCLASSIFIED" to the thread.  The Thread is then broken, visually, but it is still the same.  I want to be able to combine them.
-- Your IMAP implementation really sucks.  Bad.  Oh, and it's slow as hell too, almost artificially.  Seems like you really don't want people using any other email solution except for the web.
-- Drag and drop of attachments.  This should be possible in HTML5, or at least with Google Gears
-- Lack of Google Gears (and thusly, no offline gmail support) for Safari/Snow Leopard.  Can we get rid of Gears and be HTML5 compliant please?
-- Lack of Bottom Posting option.  No, addons through Greasemonkey do not count.  Want to really impress me?  Reformat an entire email (when I hit reply), to flip the thread around based upon indexing, (come on, you guys can figure that out), to read top to bottom.
Check this out Google.  Do THIS and all would be awesome --
-- GPG/PGP support.  I don't use it, simply because it's a pain.  So I don't.  I probably would if I could.
-- The ability to filter on more headers.  Ideally, I'd love to be able to perform regex on headers.  Similar to procmail.
-- Label based signature blocks.  Or at least account based.


Jason said...

I agree that threading kind of sucks in, but similar to how it sucks in GMail.. Hard to track the flow of replies. For the most part I find that the threading in Thunderbird is similar to Mutt.

Mutt and GMail are my primary clients, but I'm giving Thunderbird an honest shot for a few weeks.

Joel Esler said...

Yes, I did use it exclusively, however, I found it to be very crashy on Snow
Leopard. But, yes, I own a license for it.