Bagging Mail

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Date: Friday, February 11th, 2005, 08:11
Category: Software

If you’re like me you were elated when Apple announced that they’d be shipping their own email client with Mac OS X and that it would be integrated with a contact manager (Address Book), calendar application (iCal) and a synchronization program (iSync.) The best part is that it would all be built into the lowest level of the operating system. Woo hoo! I could finally remove a major Microsoft application (Entourage) from my daily routine. Read more…


If you’re like me you were elated when Apple announced that they’d be shipping their own email client with Mac OS X and that it would be integrated with a contact manager (Address Book), calendar application (iCal) and a synchronization program (iSync.) The best part is that it would all be built into the lowest level of the operating system. Woo hoo! I could finally remove a major Microsoft application (Entourage) from my daily routine.
We I originally considered migrating from Entourage to the iApps I was most apprehensive about moving to Address Book with its hokey interface, minimalist features and molasses performance. The other thing I feared was integration. Entourage does a great job of displaying links to the last email from and to a contact when you open their contact file, for example, Apple gives you brushed metal. Yawn.
Which brings me to my problem with Apple’s bundled “productivity” suite – speed. I appear to have reached the logical limit of Address Book and am constantly waiting for the beachball to auto-complete an email address in Mail. What’s worse though is Mail.app. Once you’ve accumulated more than 1000 email messages (not many by today’s standards) Mail starts to seriously bog down. What’s even worse is searching, it’s deplorable in Mail.app. I spent more than an hour the other night “searching” for an email that Mail.app couldn’t find, yet when I found a printed copy of the email and sorted by date I easily found the message. This has happened to me numerous times recently and frustrates me to no end.
Searching for an email is something that most people do often and find it helpful, but when Mail returns zero results, I second guess myself and wonder if I ever received an email on the topic I’m searching for. Don’t even get me started on Mail’s cheddar rules implementation and lack of email templates. Also annoying me is Mail’s habit of “re-indexing” mailboxes incessantly causing the beachball to spin for minutes at a time.
Now granted, I have about 2000 contacts in Address Book and more archived email than John Dvorak on a slow news day, but c’mon Apple? No search results? I’m sorry but that’s unacceptable. And Mail’s abysmal performance? no thanks.
This seems to be a trend with Apple’s bundled software these days and it troubles me. It’s Ok to use it for a while and get totally hooked on it, but when performance drops Apple expects you to drop it and buy something more professional. The same thing happened with iPhoto, Apple got us all excited to manage our photo libraries with it only to discover that it becomes unusable once you’ve amassed a few thousand photos. I had to laugh when Apple announced that the new version of iPhoto actually worked with more than 10,000 photos in your library. That’s a feature?
Don’t get me wrong I still rely on iPhoto, although I detest it’s ridiculous file pathing, and will continue to use it. But I am putting Address Book, iCal and Mail.app on notice that they’re on the way out (Hello Entourage 2004!) and with Apple’s new litigious streak I feel more comfortable with Bill Gates peeking at my email than I do Steve Jobs anyway. Read the Mail and iSync End User License Agreements (EULA) carefully before you blindly give your personal information to the “New Apple.”

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