Looking at the world of media: from music to RIA.

gMail + Thunderbird: How long will I last?

November 2nd, 2007 Posted in Rich Internet Applications, web integration

gMail rocks my world…About a year ago I jumped feet first into the world of gMail and ported over all my Fake Science accounts so that they forwarded to gMail. Once I had the ability to send emails from gMail that looked like I was sending them from my many FS accounts life became a beautiful thing. The main driving force for me to port everthing to gMail was that I started consulting as a Flex Interactive Architect and I no longer found myself on just two machines (home/work). Email access for FS was crucial because I was handling all our Customer Service issues and that is always time sensative. Its also helpful when you find out your boxes are down or some other crap that stops your site from working a-okay.

Recently, the internet has been all abuzz about gMail’s new IMAP integration. It was conceptually interesting to me but I had yet to commit to trying it out. Today, I decided to experiment with the system and see if I prefer using Thunderbird as my mail client or gMail’s web interface. There actually is another reason I have jumped onto the bandwagon: gTalk.

One of the issues that I have had with gTalk is that its a Jabber client and a company I work for has a very strict firewall which blocks all the Jabber ports. That meant the only way I could communicate with my friends who use gTalk (mainly my girlfriend) I had to use the web client. It was never ideal because I always ended up closing the gMail window/tab. Often I had to restart the browser because Firefox is a memory hog, or I was testing code, or I crashed the browser due to some bug in my code, or totally by mistake (which always pissed me off).

Over the last year I have gotten really good at not closing the window/tab but I still don’t like the workflow. Now that I am working at home four days a week the Jabber port issue went away and I finally got around to installing Adium. Since gTalk is now in its own IM client and I don’t have to use the web interface, I may as well hack at Thunderbird.

Thanks to this brilliant article over at Lifehacker on setting up Thunderbird it appears to be working great. One of the benefits I am looking forward to is the ability to have nested folder/labels. Yeah, I know I can run greasemonkey scripts to create a folder hierarchy for my labels but it never felt right for some reason. This parent child relationship is very important now that I have multiple clients. This allows me to create a logical organization structure so that it is much easier to track who is doing what, etc.

So far I like it… but its only day one. I will see if I learn to hate or love this set up in the coming weeks.

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