Thursday, January 05, 2006

How I manage email

Some time ago I received an email asking how I deal with my email. Here are my requirements:

1. I want to download my email to my laptop for offline access
2. When I'm away from my machine I want web based access
3. I don't want to pay for any of this
4. I don't want to download spam
5. I want my non-spam email automatically sorted
6. I want an email address that I control
7. I want access from my laptop to be secure

My solution is a combination of my own domain (which is the one thing I pay for), Google's Gmail service, Mozilla Thunderbird and POPFile.

Mail sent to any address is forwarded to a Gmail account. Gmail filters out the spam (and a number of hand written filters deal with some other unwanted mail for me). The nice thing here is that I've wasted no bandwidth on the spam or unwanted mail. (Some spam still gets through and POPFile handles that later)

If I'm away from my machine I can pop into Gmail and look at my waiting mail in the standard Gmail inbox. My laptop runs Mozilla Thunderbird which uses Gmail's POP access to download the filtered mail. But the mail is proxied through POPFile (using POPFile's SSL access for a secure connection to Gmail) which automatically sorts the mail into categories. A small number of simple rules in Thunderbird pick up POPFile's X-Text-Classification and automatically move messages to the appropriate folders.

The only thing I don't have is POPFile style sorting in the Gmail account. So if you're listening Google and interested, I'd be interested in working with you to add POPFile functionality to Gmail.



Blogger Kevin said...

I use a service called Mail Filter ( which does a very similar job. If you give it POP account login details, it will fetch, filter and forward your email - effectively removing any spam and viruses it finds.

But I agree that the standard Gmail spam and virus filters are plenty good enough for most people.

2:52 AM  
Blogger JoeChongq said...

I use somewhat of a similar setup. I really like Gmail, but it certainly would be a lot nicer if they had POPFile's catagorization power.

I don't trust Gmail's spam filter not to have too many false positives so my mail is forwarded there as well as a normal POP account.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

That is an absolutely brilliant idea :D
Although probably nothing to you, to us mere mortals it is a really cool idea. It's knowledge like this that makes the internet valuable to me.

3:12 PM  
Blogger a said...

The only addition I'd really like is imap access to gmail... I thought I've read somewhere that there are tools that fake this, but haven't had time to look into it. Any suggestions?

3:47 PM  

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