Friday night topic: How do you e-mail?

— 8:29 PM on May 4, 2007

E-mail is one of the oldest "killer apps" on the Internet and arguably still one of the most important. Yet the persistent plague of spam and the rise of instant messengers, VoIP apps, and web-based discussion software has reduced e-mail's role for some of us. On top of that, e-mail itself has been transformed by new types of clients such as integrated "info manager" tools like Outlook and web-based apps like Gmail. So I'm wondering: how do you handle your e-mail now? Do you use a traditional client app (and if so, which one?) or do you use a web interface to access your mail? How much other information do you access alongside your email, and what type? Calendars? Shared discussions? And how do you handle spam?

I'll start. Believe it or not, I still use Outlook Express, but with what must be over 100 custom mail filters sorting messages into folders. I use server-side anti-spam and AV combined with a client-side Bayesian spam filter and client AV app. (Raw unfiltered, I receive roughly over a thousand messages every 24-48 hours.) I also access mail via a web app, mainly for training the server-side filters and for access to a slick Ajax-style calendar and document sharing program we use. I've considered going to all server-stored mail and relying on the web client, but haven't yet made the leap. All told, I use four accounts and two more aliases to make incoming mail easier to sort and prioritize.

What do you use, and how important is e-mail to you now? Could e-mail be made more useful with widespread adoption of protocols to authenticate senders? Discuss.

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