“Brad Choate wants a better e-mail client”:http://www.bradchoate.com/past/001449.php. I can understand him. For a long time, I thought e-mail permanently had ended up in the land of uselessness.
At some moment, I started spending more time managing my e-mail rather than reading and responding to it. I had to create elaborate multi-layered filtering schemes to sort my mail. My filtering needs quickly outgrew the capabilities of the clients I were using, and I found myself testing one client after another, and usually I ended up uninstalling the client in less than two days.
I also started spending time killing e-mails even before they got to my inbox. I started ruthlessly killing mail that used the wrong character sets. I cannot read any Asian languages, nor am I interested in Korean teenage porn, or Taiwanese or Chinese pirated DVDs.
Then there was all the legitimate e-mail I was getting. Mailing lists, personal and professional mail. Feedback from usenet. Mail regarding my websites.
At one moment, it ended with me requesting anyone I knew who were using any sort of instant messaging, to use that, and only that to contact me. That almost helped. It at least kept the time for managing mail at a constant.
Then came “Opera 7”:http://www.opera.com/. I spoke to one of Opera’s developers when they had just started coding M2, and I was a bit sceptic. I thought that M2 was going to solve some of the issues I had had with Usenet clients, but I didn’t for one second believe it could solve my e-mail problems.
I am glad I was wrong. When I first started testing M2, I also ran a couple of other e-mail clients, comparing the time I had to spend with managing e-mail. What struck me was this: Opera didn’t require me to manage anything. Mail just was where I wanted it. No fiddling with filters.
Opera works with something called Access Points. All mail is stored in a central database (and in standard mbox format, as far as I can tell), and access points are just custom views into this database. Many of these are created automatically
* Opera keeps track of the contacts in your address book, and automatically creates access points for these contacts when needed.
* Access points are automatically created for active threads. These are threads in which you are actively participating. Using Message-Id, In-Reply-To, and References-headers.
* You can flag/label messages in seven different categories by pressing L and a number. All labels are available as access points.
* There are access points for attachments, so when you need that image or zip-file someone sent you, and you can’t remember who sent it, you can find it in the appropriate access point.
* Provided a mailing list provides the proper List-Id: header, mailing list mail is automatically recognized as such and placed in an appropriate access point.
* Suspected spam is placed in it’s own access point for easy deletion.
* If I need to search for e-mail the search functions are easy to use, and searches automatically create permanent access points.
* If you need it, it’s also possible to create your own access points. In over two months of use, I have created three. Compared to the zillion filters I had had to create in any other client.
After constantly looking for an e-mail client for five years, I have settled. I am now reading and responding to my e-mails instead of managing them.