Hari's Corner

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Why I've started using a mail client

Filed under: Software and Technology by Hari
Posted on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 08:45 IST (last updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2008 @ 08:53 IST)

Anybody who has a gmail or Yahoo e-mail address can access their e-mail using a desktop client with POP support. Although I guess a majority prefer the web interface for its convenience, I think a mail client is extremely useful and makes e-mail management a lot more sophisticated - and you get the best of both worlds in this case (web access as well as client access). The main reason I switched to a mail client is because gmail's new web interface is far too slow and unwieldy.

I use KMail in my Debian box, since it's integrated with the KDE PIM module as well as KDE's address book.

Here are some reasons you might want to switch to client-based e-mail access:

13 comment(s)

  1. Yeah, the new gmail interface is horribly slow, that's why I use http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=1. The ui parameter tells it to load the old interface. It's still plenty slow, but the next alternative is ui=html which is static and doesn't have GChat.

    Comment by tuxdev (visitor) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 09:48 IST #
  2. Yes, tuxdev, it has gone from bad to worse of late, especially when I have a slow connection. Yahoo's new interface is only slightly better, but it's still too cluttered.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 10:12 IST #
  3. "Since messages are downloaded to your hard disk, you have a natural back-up for your important mail."

    But remember, if you're using POP, that natural backup is only on your hard disk, so it's really not a backup. It only stays on the server if you specify it to or use the IMAP protocol. Most ISP's don't backup users mails, especially the ones that use POP.

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 16:27 IST #
  4. Gmail now has IMAP, I believe.

    Hari, do you feel that there is a discrimination against slower internet connections on the web today (with the likes of youtube, clunky interfaces etc) and thus a discrimination against less developed countries?

    Users expand to fill the available bandwidth. For instance, the internet used to be just text. This loaded so much quicker at faster speeds, and then we started using images, slowing down again. It's a vicious cycle.

    However, is it fair that some people have crazy fast speeds and others are stuck on what amounts to dialup?

    (of course, not having fast internet is less of an issue than having enough food.)

    Comment by titanium (visitor) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 16:52 IST #
  5. Drew, yes, I was assuming that people don't delete messages from the server once they download the mail.

    Titanium, that's the way the internet works. I blame the bandwidth shortage on greedy ISPs who want to make maximum money possible by expanding their user-base indiscriminately without the necessary infrastructure upgrades.

    In a country like India you're lucky to get decent throughput at a continuous rate of half the bandwidth that you're promised initially.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 17:08 IST #
  6. Yes, Gmail version 2 or whatever does support IMAP. My accounts have this capability but I'm sure most haven't been totally switched.

    I guess I'm lucky to live in areas that offer broadband. I don't see a lot of issues on my own home connection or work. I guess if I ever had to resort back to dialup type speeds, I'd just do away with the internet altogether.

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 19:00 IST #
  7. Oh, I'm lucky too, Drew. BSNL is probably the best broadband provider in India at the moment - miles ahead of the private players in terms of coverage, reliability and service.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Dec 19, 2007 @ 21:01 IST #
  8. What about portability?

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 @ 15:32 IST #
  9. I still have the gmail web interface, so I can always access my mail from anywhere.

    Besides it's easy to back up e-mail in a format that is recognizable by other mail clients.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 @ 15:42 IST #
  10. I actually use Thunderbird now and both IMAP and POP for Gmail. Backups? Nah. I backup everything from my PC's HD to an external HD anyway.

    I use the IMAP for the spam box only, but I still get all the headers temporarily until the POP versions are downloaded.

    Comment by RT Cunningham (visitor) on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 @ 16:04 IST #
  11. RT, how do you set up IMAP in google. So far I've seen only the POP option. How would you download mail using IMAP? And how do you get at the spam folder messages using a mail client?

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 @ 16:55 IST #
  12. I think I answered this by email, but the instructions are at the Gmail site for both IMAP and POP. With IMAP, you're just downloading the headers unless you actually click on the header.

    Comment by RT Cunningham (visitor) on Sat, Dec 29, 2007 @ 11:02 IST #
  13. Thanks, RT. I'll take a look at google's site.

    I think google's features often depend on the locale setting (language) as most new features are introduced first in the US language locale and only then to the other google accounts.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Dec 29, 2007 @ 11:30 IST #

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