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Author Topic: The Bat: Great program, terrible documentation and support  (Read 20678 times)
superboyac
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« Reply #50 on: February 25, 2011, 12:10:45 PM »

Can this Bat of yours be customised, plug-in'd or otherwise extended? If so there may be a way to shoehorn in a better editor while retaining all the other fine features of the program.
You can write plugins, but very very few people have.  One of the best ones is AntiSpamSniper, which I love.  Great example of how to properly program something.  I doubt you can easily write something to replace the editor without it being klunky.  I mean, to the Bat's credit, they offer the plain Windows editor as an option, which I use.  But I miss some of the coloring features in Microed if you do that.  but I stick to it because the wordwrapping works.

But back to the plugins question, the real problem is that the Bat developers just don't spend much time developing the program.  So if you tried writing a plugin, you'd start wondering how to tie it into the application, and you'd need documentation and support form the developers.  but you wouldn't get any.  There isn't even basic documentation about using the program, there's going to be no documentation for developers.  You can't even communicate with them by email.  You have to use their bugtracking system.  So that means when you ask a question, you'll wait a day before a response.  And if you have a followup, another day, etc.  So a simple question that could be taken care of in an hour or two by bouncing emails back and forth, now takes a few days.  So you just won't be able to figure anything out.  And if you want a community to talk to, the only real option is the usenet forum, which means only a very select kind of people will be there, so it probably won't be too helpful.

The Bat has just set up a system that isolates themselves from the community.  No emailing, no discussions, nothing.  It's clear their goal is to spend as little time as possible to keep the program merely functioning.
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Armando
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« Reply #51 on: February 25, 2011, 03:44:33 PM »

[slightly off-topic]

"Windows coders" (whatever that means) are basically a tad stupid and incompetent, while "Apple coders"  (whatever that means) are superior beings who magically just know how to do elegant and intuitive things right.


Since we're sharing anecdotes, I'll share a few of my own.


----

I remember using the calendar app on my gf's mac a few years ago. I felt severely limited. It was also slow and ugly (to me... obviously... others might feel differently).  smiley I was so happy to get my Outlook 2003 back. So flexible and powerful, speedy and relatively light on resources (yup... and I'm well over 1 GB pf data). Not perfect, of course.

----

There's one application I really dislike but which I need to keep because I own an ipod Touch (which I like, btw) : iTunes. It's slooooow (semi-objective statement). It's heavy (semi-objective statement). It does a million things (objective statement... heck : I can install apps using itunes, buy stuff on the web, browse, etc.). I have to image my whole C: drive everytime I update the monster in fear that it'll break something (it does almost everytime, believe it or not). And yet... it's from Apple, king/queen of elegance and intuitiveness (according to marketing and forum posts here and there). Frankly I don't like it... Your opinion may vary.

----

Don't get me started on intuitiveness and elegance in general. Hard to define buzzwords. You see, I find my coffee cup elegant, but you might not. And my girl friend certainly doesn't either. And, you know what, while I find her quite elegant, I wouldn't drink in her cup either...  smiley  Absolutely no pun intended. Please.

----

The grass is always grayer on the other side.

[/slightly off-topic]
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 03:46:12 PM by Armando » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2011, 04:57:22 PM »

I think it's on-topic, Armando!  Yes, you bring up the subjectivity in all of this.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not really praising Apple programs on the whole.  Whether or not we agree about elegance, I think it's clear that Apple programs are going to be generally more intuitive than their pc analogues.  I'm not saying their programs are better; if they were, I'd be using them.  But I need the power and flexibility, so I stick to Windows stuff.  What I'm trying to push for is a nicer marriage between ease of use and power than I see (generally) today.  Programs like Editpad do a good job of this.  So do mouser's programs.  I do think Windows offers an environment where this can be accomplished more so than Apple.  Why?  Because Windows doesn't place as many restrictions...even if those restrictions naturally tend simpler, easier programs.  You won't find a lot of good, powerful alternatives for programs on Apple, but you will find several with Windows.  THe price we pay is usually more complicated interfaces and more difficulty learning how to use.  Some of this may be unsolvable.  Maybe you just can't have all this freedom and power without expecting a little complexity along the way.
So I'm in no way defending one or the other.  However, with the Bat, i think they are extreme enough to warrant some criticism.

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JavaJones
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« Reply #53 on: February 26, 2011, 01:29:44 AM »

One thing I can categorically disagree with is that Apple's way sells more software. Clearly the actual OS and software markets disagree. Oh, yes, of course there is the fact that Mac OS and software only work on comparatively expensive Macs (maybe not feature-for-feature expensive anymore, but the minimum cost to enter is still high). But that too is part of Apple's way, and part of what makes their way a "success" (despite having less than 10% of the computer market). Like it or not the "complex", "ugly" Windows way is actually way more popular than the Mac "our way or the highway" approach.

I also have to say I find all this discussion about Apple elegance a tad ironic given that it's in a thread about The Bat which, from my 2 or so years of using it a few years back, is one of *the* most *hardcore*, non-Apple-ish apps there is. You know what's a lot more Apple than The Bat? Gmail. Or heck, even Thunderbird (but only by comparison to The Bat; Tbird still needs a lot of polish). Whenever someone talks about their need for The Bat and how they love it except for all its problems, I can't help but think of an abusive relationship. As in those cases I wonder, what exactly are you (in this case "the user") getting out of it? What makes The Bat so much better than Gmail, Thunderbird, or heck the Mac mail app you seem to love (but mysteriously aren't using instead of The Bat)?

Edit: I say this about The Bat as a purchaser and former user of it who successfully converted to Gmail and hasn't looked back. I thought I needed massive power and flexibility too. Turned out all I needed was to find the right system that worked for me, despite its many limitations (and yes there are things I miss in Gmail or that bug me, but less than The Bat by far; I find GMail at least a pleasure to use on a day-to-day basis). In a way I kind of found my own Apple-style app in Gmail, with a focus in fast, easy to use, intuitive, but with fewer compromises and more creativity (e.g. labels, labs).

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 01:33:13 AM by JavaJones » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #54 on: February 26, 2011, 01:52:58 AM »

At this point, you're right, it is a love/hate relationship with the Bat.  The reason why I use the bat is because i need to have all of my emails stored locally on my harddrive.   There is no better program for that than the bat.  I also prefer standalone apps over cloud apps.  I am very much against cloud apps because I don't have complete control, like I do with local programs and files.  I hesitated for a long time before using google's services online.  And I've been very happy with Google's services, but I don't think I'll ever commit entirely to them.  I treat it the same way i treat my ipad: a convenience.  It's a convenient way to get my email no matter where I am.  But my homebase is still the Bat.

I know I can be super duper critical at times, but it's usually because I care a lot about the program, not really because I'm trying to be an asshole about it.  I wouldn't discuss it this much if I didn't care.  I like the Bat a lot, and I feel it has the opportunity to fix a lot of holes it has, and make it a tremendously awesome application.  It really doesn't have to be hardcore at all.  It's an email application.  It's a matter of spending time and money, and putting in buttons and conveniences.

I also know I'm on an Apple kick lately, that's why it keeps creeping into my posts.  I think the disconnect between myself and a lot of other users here is that..well...I make a big deal out of what most people here consider insignificant things.  i know this. That's why it makes me sound like a douchebag.  I have nothing to say to that, it's true, what can I say?  I know I can just "let it go", and not expect everything to be perfect.  I just feel compelled to point it out a lot.  believe me, I'm constantly criticized for this.  The thing is, like the rest of life, it's both my strength and weakness.  It makes me sound like a douche, but it also has led to the talents I have.  So I don't fight it too much anymore, but I will apologize for offending people, because that is not my goal.

Back to the point, I'm very very obsessive about having ALL of my data in my control.  I doubt many people here have gone to the extremes that I have to do that, especially on a personal level (not for work).  I think it defines me as a computer user.  I wouldn't even care about Windows and Apple if I were not obsessive about my data.  Anyway, someone called me defensive yesterday...I think he's right!
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JavaJones
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« Reply #55 on: February 26, 2011, 02:16:00 AM »

Sure, I can understand the desire to have control of your data. The question is what does that mean to you? Does it mean "in a format I can easily convert to other formats if desired"? Does it mean "easily backed up"? Does it mean "not on someone else's server ever, for security reasons"? (in which case you're basically screwed when it comes to email)

I'm sure I'm never going to change your mind, but I keep wondering exactly why The Bat is *the* solution to your problems.

- Oshyan
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superboyac
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« Reply #56 on: February 26, 2011, 02:39:09 AM »

yes, yes, and yes.  I never want my stuff on other people's servers.  At least, not exculsively.  I must have my own copies here locally, so that I can back it up and all that.  I've written here about my backup methods, which are somehwat extreme for an individual user.  I must have spent thousands of dollars on it...and this is not even for my business!  The bat, despite my complaints, is probably the only program that has the power necessary for me to be comfortable with the future of all my life's emails.  The only other one that I used to use is Pegasus mail, but I switched to the Bat after I came to DC.  One great thing about the Bat is that you probably don't have to worry about the future of your data.  The way they've done it almost guarantees that you'll be able to get whatever you need out of it if things change later.

But it really comes down to keeping my data locally.  Seriously, if not for that, I probably wouldn't even use Windows.  If I did not care about my files and folders in an obsessive way, there is no way I'd even care about computers that much.  I don't care about operating systems, I don't care about gadgets and software (other than the "cool" factor).  i wouldn't care if things were cloud or not.  I'd be like my friends who just use whatever is there.  The same way i am with cell phones.  I could care less about losing all the data on my phone or my ipad.  So I just use them because I have to.  But the pc is where my life is basically stored.  So that's why I have this love/hate thing going on.
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timns
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« Reply #57 on: February 26, 2011, 11:56:01 AM »

Actually, I'm with you, superboy. I have to have all my data locally. I would never, ever, trust my (or my company's data) on some server out there on the interwebs. What if they are hacked? What if they catch fire? What if my internet connection goes down? What if a disgruntled employee erases random data? What if they have a hardware failure and restore an older backup? What if they are DDOSed? What if they suddenly raise their rates by 10x?

All of that I believe is covered here by me personally with a UPS, shadowing, and off-site daily backup.

Plus, I do so hate going to some website to run an 'app' - for me, an application launches instantly on my desktop.
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Armando
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« Reply #58 on: February 26, 2011, 12:52:02 PM »

I understand too the need to have all data locally. I do exactly the same.

But what do you need to do with your email, apart from classifying, sorting, filtering, searching and finding info in it?

Like many others I have my Google account (and others) synced with Outlook 2003. Never have a problem. And I back up my pst file everyday.

I use Windows Search to index my outlook stuff. I find everything, anything... in a flash. Same for my contacts, calendar etc. The cool thing when using Outlook is that you can also more easily use several handy features, like the "mail merge" function in MS Word (a great and not known enough feature), using your various outlook contact lists.

Oh, and everything in Outlook is easily exportable. You could even export all your emails to Gmail via imap (e.g. : for online backup purpose, if you trust Google).
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timns
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« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2011, 01:31:45 PM »

I understand too the need to have all data locally. I do exactly the same.

But what do you need to do with your email, apart from classifying, sorting, filtering, searching and finding info in it?

Classify, sort, filter, search and find info in it - all the way back to 1995. I don't use Outlook, and if I only want to search my email, I find Thunderbird's searching ideal. I would not be happy having all of my email archive anywhere but on my local drive. It's over 4gb.

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JavaJones
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« Reply #60 on: February 26, 2011, 05:04:24 PM »

There are ways to backup Gmail. Other than the "local storage" issue, it answers all the other concerns as far as I can see. *shrug*

- Oshyan
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timns
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« Reply #61 on: February 26, 2011, 05:16:34 PM »

There are ways to backup Gmail. Other than the "local storage" issue, it answers all the other concerns as far as I can see. *shrug*

- Oshyan

Yes, and sorry to be off-topic. But I don't want to use gmail. Admittedly we do weird things with email here, and it's not stuff that we'd achive on google's servers. I'm sure cloud storage is excellent for most people. But we're not most people, and I even forgot to mention we have NDA's in place so shouldn't have files outside of locked buildings.  embarassed

But for Joe Blow, I'm sure the mechanisms described above are super!

Out of interest, how long would a 4gb email backup take from gmail?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #62 on: February 26, 2011, 05:25:00 PM »

Companies all over the place are using Google Apps/Gmail, so either they don't care about security, or they've had assurances that it's secure somehow. All your email passes through multiple mail servers to get to you (and to get to your recipients) anyway so security with email is somewhat a moot point IMHO.

I wouldn't backup the full mail store every time, just do an "incremental" of sorts. The easiest way to do mail backup on Gmail for me is to run a POP or IMAP message sync. It will only update what is new. Then you just backup the resulting file (incrementally, ideally). Speed is not really an issue.

So what are these "weird things" that you do with email that Gmail can't do? Honestly I've still yet to hear a specific, concrete example, much less one that makes me think "Ohh, yeah, that makes total sense.". cheesy

- Oshyan
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timns
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« Reply #63 on: February 26, 2011, 05:35:45 PM »

Companies all over the place are using Google Apps/Gmail, so either they don't care about security, or they've had assurances that it's secure somehow. All your email passes through multiple mail servers to get to you (and to get to your recipients) anyway so security with email is somewhat a moot point IMHO.

I wouldn't backup the full mail store every time, just do an "incremental" of sorts. The easiest way to do mail backup on Gmail for me is to run a POP or IMAP message sync. It will only update what is new. Then you just backup the resulting file (incrementally, ideally). Speed is not really an issue.

So what are these "weird things" that you do with email that Gmail can't do? Honestly I've still yet to hear a specific, concrete example, much less one that makes me think "Ohh, yeah, that makes total sense.". cheesy

- Oshyan

I have two objections:

1. What happens if we lose connectivity to gmail for whatever reason

2. An email coming through to me, yes, passes through countless locations. But that's temporary. GMail is a centralized target for attack. I may be completely wrong about this.

The "weird stuff" we do includes regex searches looking for "items of interest" also data extraction, automatic filing and auto-response, and some basic CRM integration which could be improved upon.

All of that feels like it's under my control at the moment. Call me a luddite, but I would not feel that way if all my email files were elsewhere.
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superboyac
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« Reply #64 on: February 26, 2011, 07:04:15 PM »

JJ, I can speak for myself: I do not like using cloud applications.  It's not because they "can't" do anything.  I'm sure they can all do everything anyonoe can want.  That's not it.  First, I don't like using software through the browser.  Everything is slower and browser-y.  I almost always prefer a local app.  So I'll have a hard time getting past that first point.  Furthermore, cloud apps tend to be subscription apps...yet another reason to avoid them.  i hate subscriptions.

I'm just against the idea of cloud computing.  I don't think they are nearly as responsive as local programs, including google's free ones like gmail.  Now people will ask me, what do I mean by "responsive"?  Clicking things and doing stuff is just....not as responsive.  I don't want to get into a technical thing here and measure times with a stopwatch.  I know gmail is plenty fast enough and all that.  But I don't want to use the browser as my OS.  There's a reason why I prefer Windows over other operating systems.  You really can't compare Windows to Firefox, if we're talking about using them as operating systems.  Just because we are so used to using the browser as an OS these days, doesn't mean it's better.  The local OS is still much better....in so many ways.  I'll fight committing anything to the cloud as long as I can.  I will spend money to avoid it.  I will go to very extreme measures...I'll use the Bat instead of webmail...I'll run a server to avoid Dropbox...and so forth.  If you are not concerned about using the cloud, then go for it.  But if you are after true independance, local programs are the only way to go.
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Armando
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« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2011, 12:07:10 AM »

I understand too the need to have all data locally. I do exactly the same.

But what do you need to do with your email, apart from classifying, sorting, filtering, searching and finding info in it?

Classify, sort, filter, search and find info in it - all the way back to 1995. I don't use Outlook, and if I only want to search my email, I find Thunderbird's searching ideal. I would not be happy having all of my email archive anywhere but on my local drive. It's over 4gb.





Hi timns. My last post was actually speaking to superboyac... smiley
What I meant was : "what more than these functions do you need ?" (i.e. : Is the bat really necessary ?)
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superboyac
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« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2011, 01:07:39 AM »

Yo!  Armando...sorry, didn't respond...
I see your point.  No, I don't use all the features of the Bat, but I use enough of them where gmail just doesn't even come close to meeting my needs.  But it is extreme, my reasons are often making a mountain out of a molehill.  I'm a person who has a very difficult time just "accepting" something.  I'd rather deal with the headache, than give up the one little thing I'm obsessed about.  Anyway, some of the features I use in the Bat that are not possible with other email solutions:
--managing multiple email accounts in just the right way
--locally stored files.  easily shared between applications.  Even Outlook is not as easy to share as people seem to think, but I don't want to get into those details
--quick templates; they let me automate a lot of things.
--layout control.  most other programs don't allow you to modify the layout as much as the Bat.
--powerful filtering.  gmail doesn't have it, nor does outlook.  Gmail's is way too simple.  Outlook is just odd and stupid.
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« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2011, 09:25:09 AM »

Sort of OT here, but just wanted to chime in: I have a license for the Bat! 4.x but haven't had it installed, let alone used it, in over a year. Hell, maybe even two or three years (as I get older the time compression thing is getting much more problematic for me*). Anyway, I started out with PINE in grad school (1993) and used Eudora for several years at home, then Outlook Express and then Outlook 2000 (around 1999). I haven't really looked back. I've tried Netscape Messenger, Thunderbird, and others along the way as well. I'm currently using K9 on my Android devices. It's fair - bettter than the built in client. The iOS 4.3 email client is alright as well. WP7's email client, though it lacks an integrated inbox, is MUCH better than either, though, IMNSHO. Have used MacMail on my OSX Snow Leapord system but am now using Outlook 2011. Much better (for me!), though I concede superboyac and vizaac's points about Mac's mail client. There is a lot to like about it.

My main e-mail client is Outlook 2010, and I have no significant complaints about it. Actually, I can't think of any.

*Wrinting cogent, topical, and interesting posts is also a challenge  embarassed Too lazy to do much about it, though (also age-related: can't be asked!).
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« Reply #68 on: February 27, 2011, 09:11:15 PM »

--managing multiple email accounts in just the right way
--locally stored files.  easily shared between applications.  Even Outlook is not as easy to share as people seem to think, but I don't want to get into those details
--quick templates; they let me automate a lot of things.
--layout control.  most other programs don't allow you to modify the layout as much as the Bat.
--powerful filtering.  gmail doesn't have it, nor does outlook.  Gmail's is way too simple.  Outlook is just odd and stupid.

Of course, I understand your obsessions. I'm pretty obsessive myself. However, I find that all the above can be done in Outlook well enough. Not to mention that it's much easier to find devices and services syncing with Outlook than with any other software. Yes, Gmail is way too simple for my needs also. That's why I don't manage my e-mail with it... I use Outlook to do so.

But... We obviously have different needs. And so I'd be curious to know what important action -- very specifically -- can be done in the bat which can't be done with Outlook...?

(Darwin : Hi ! smiley )
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« Reply #69 on: February 27, 2011, 09:32:49 PM »

It's not really a matter of what can the Bat do that Outlook can't do.  Outlook can't do all the things I described in the particular way that I prefer.  And to get it to do so is a huge pain in the butt.  So whatever my complaints are with the Bat, I have WAAAY more with Outlook.  Outlook's filtering rules are very annoying to me.  It's almost impossible to do certain things.  Most things I'd like to do with Outlook would be much harder than with the Bat.

I don't think it's really a matter of different needs or anything.  I know you are pretty obsessive also!  I think the difference is that I make a bigger deal out of minor things, and most others would just let it go.

But to be specific, Outlook's filtering rules are really annoying to me.  In the Bat, you create filters from scratch.  So you set up the scenario, pick some actions, and you're done.  It's very powerfula nd flexible.  With Outlook, they sort of have these pre-made filter templates which work for 90% of the time, but not for me because I'm always trying to do something a little differently than the expectation.  So I try to somehow get Outlook to do it, but it's always a big pain because it's just not as flexible.  It drives me nuts.  I use Outlook at work, and the Bat at home.
And I'm not willing to get my fingers into the VB scripts to customize it.  I also hesitate to get plugins and third party tools for Outlook which tend to be bloated and overpriced.  Outlook is also just generally slower, bloatier, and not as tweakable as the Bat.
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« Reply #70 on: February 28, 2011, 08:48:33 AM »

The rules in Outlook can be tamed (I've done it!) but it's also hit and miss - ie, I can't always remember from one day to the next *how* I managed to get a rule to do what I wanted it to do! Having said that, I'm pretty sure that I haven't created a rule in Outlook 2010, possibly didn't create on in 2007, either. I've been using SimplyFile by TechHit in lieu of creating new rules and all has been well for about a year. The add-in doesn't really replace rules per se, but in combination with rules it's a snap organizing my mail just how I like it.

I wish Microsoft would make organing favouries and rules and other content more intuitive... Favourites management is about the only remaining thing that I miss from Firefox.
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vizacc
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« Reply #71 on: March 02, 2011, 06:24:19 AM »

MacMail is straight forward.

When you have a mail where you last moved it in 3 or 4 different folders, it gives you a choice to move it to the last 3 or 4 locations where you last moved it to.

For example, those PayPal emails... you file it under [ISP], [Rent], [Mac Programs], [Windows Programs], the next time the same email comes, it gives you a choice to file it under any of those last 4 folders you want.

If it's from that user, click [File] or [Thread] to file all the threads under that folder.

Click on To-Do, if you have WiFi, it flows to your iPhone or iPad

Top notch.  Thmbsup

I still remember the time spending many hours filing my emails with TheBat
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« Reply #72 on: March 03, 2011, 11:13:22 PM »

MacMail is straight forward.

When you have a mail where you last moved it in 3 or 4 different folders, it gives you a choice to move it to the last 3 or 4 locations where you last moved it to.

For example, those PayPal emails... you file it under [ISP], [Rent], [Mac Programs], [Windows Programs], the next time the same email comes, it gives you a choice to file it under any of those last 4 folders you want.

If it's from that user, click [File] or [Thread] to file all the threads under that folder.

Click on To-Do, if you have WiFi, it flows to your iPhone or iPad

Top notch.  Thmbsup

I still remember the time spending many hours filing my emails with TheBat


Sounds a lot like what SimplyFile does...
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Armando
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« Reply #73 on: March 04, 2011, 12:30:24 AM »

SimplyFile sounds nice...  smiley
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JavaJones
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« Reply #74 on: March 05, 2011, 02:13:56 AM »

I totally understand where you're all coming from. What I love about Gmail is... it stopped me really caring about filtering, for the most part. The search is (usually) good enough that I can find what I need without having filtered it. I do use a medium-sized set of labels, but only about 10% of them are used frequently (things like "Financial"). I could and should probably get rid of at least half of them, I really never use them, they're just they're for archival organizing purposes.

Anyway back to the search. It's good and it's fast. But it's not perfect. Gmail does have some glaring omissions, like the ability to control sort methods (e.g. sort by author, reverse date sort, etc.). But again the important point is that ultimately I found the mail I'm looking for as quickly or more quickly using search than I would with filtering, folders, tags, etc. So that's a win for me.

The pitch of Gmail then is essentially "let go and let Google" (manage it). A scary mantra for many, I know. But it works for me. It's the same thing they're essentially saying about web search.

All I can say is that it can be incredibly liberating to realize you don't need all those folders. It's like the feeling Everything (file search) gives you for your file system. I care a lot less about which drive folders something is in now too. And as our volumes of data get larger and larger, I think good search (and largely auto-generated meta data) are going to become the *only* ways to really manage it, at least while maintaining your sanity.

All that being said if I could have a desktop interface to an IMAP store that does everything Gmail does as well as things desktop mail clients are better at (like sorting), then I'd be even happier. But that doesn't seem to exist yet, and desktop mail clients are not better for my needs than Gmail at this point. Too many advantages in Gmail's favor for my usage.

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 02:16:05 AM by JavaJones » Logged

The New Adventures of Oshyan Greene - A life in pictures...
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