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even more mail goodness

This is a techy one so I'll make it an extended entry. However, you may find some useful info here if you use e-mail a lot.

All righty then. I now have a crapload of mail in my Gmail account.

At first I didn't like the Gmail interface. You know how it is when you use something for a really long time, then have to change? Gmail is like that because it's different. For me, I was a long-time user of Mozilla Thunderbird. Prior to that it was Microsoft Outlook Express. What I'm saying is that I was used to client-based e-mail, not web-based.

Even though Thunderbird has built-in support for Gmail accounts, I figure that if you're going to use Gmail, you might as well go all the way and do the web-based thing altogether. So that's what I've been doing.

Here are my cheers and jeers concerning Gmail.

Cheer: "Converation" style display.

When you are trading replies back and forth, the most current reply is displayed for whatever is in your inbox, and header "flaps" are displayed for all the previous replies.

Example (apologies for the blurred stuff):

When you're viewing the inbox, instead of displaying each e-mail individually, the ones that have replies in them are "bunched" together with a number next to them.


Jeer: No ability to create custom folders

This is a long-time gripe of many Gmail users. I understand why the option isn't there because in effect it defeats what the interface is designed to do, however, even though it defeats it I don't care. I want my frickin' custom folders.

The only option you have is to "archive" your mail into the "All Mail" folder, but you can't drag/drop and you can't create anything.

Jeer: No colored tags

Mozilla Thunderbird has the ability to assign colored tags to mail received via filters, making them very easy to spot when certain e-mail arrives. I like that.

Gmail's options are to "star" a mail and/or assign a label.

If these labels could be colored, that would be awesome.

Cheer: Easy searching

Searching thru mail (especially if you have a ton of it) is easy. With the search options displayed, you can easily find anything.

Cheer: Auto-save of Drafts

Gmail is the only mail I've ever used that does drafts correctly. If you're composing a mail, it will auto-save a draft in the "Drafts" folder. Once mail is sent, it auto-deletes the draft.

Compared to all other mail I've ever used, when you have to re-edit a draft it's exactly the way it looked when you originally started composing, and places you exactly where you left off. All others I've used don't do this whenever you re-edit a draft. Something always goes wrong - but not in Gmail.

Jeer: Can't sort

Okay, this isn't entirely true. You can sort somewhat, such as by "starred" or labeled or "before [this] date".

But you can't sort by size or alphabetically. The default sort is by date. For anything else, you have to do a custom search or make a label to sort criteria.

Not good.

Cheer: Quick contacts

On the left is a "Quick Contacts" box where the people you send mail to the most are readily visible. All you have to do is click on the name and a compose window appears with the information already placed. Very nice.

Cheer: Snippets

When viewing the inbox, a small one-line portion of the e-mail is displayed, so you can see what it's about before you open it.

And yes, you can turn this off if you want, but I don't know why you'd want to as it is very informative.

Jeer: No themes

Yeah, I know, this is a frilly thing.. but it would be nice if you could change the color layout when inside Gmail.


And that's about it. I have cheers and jeers, but overall I like it and I think I'll be able to get used to it.

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