one thing that xmh got right

At MIT I used the xwindows program xmh to read my email. It was a pretty bare-bones program, but had one really great feature. Instead of having to drag a message to a folder to refile it, you could just right-click on the folder title and it would mark it as beign destined for there. Then you could commit all of the moves in one fell swoop. Neither GMail nor Thunderbird nor Mail.app seem to have this feature, which I regarded as a genius piece of interface in what was otherwise a pretty ugle program, all told. Maybe I’m the only one who got a lot of mileage out that feature, but I can’t help but think that our modern mail clients are missing something.

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6 thoughts on “one thing that xmh got right

  1. Erin has a point. In Mail.app you can also drag & drop, which isn’t too different from moving your mouse over to the folder to click it. For those folders that you can’t quite set up a filter for.

  2. See I don’t see the point in filtering all my mail before reading it because I then have to check 50 different folders. I filter my mail in GMail because it just allows me to autotag. If Mail.app would let me apply a filter to messages that would assign them to a folder after I read them and clicked “dispose” that would be fine.

    Drag and drop is significantly different from right click to assign and then expunge, especially when you have a laptop and mousing is bad for you.

  3. You do have to check a bunch of folders, but you can easily NOT check the mail that’s going to folders you care less about, rather than have to skim all of it in the inbox and figure out which ones are more important to read. I have folders in my Yahoo mail that I only read once a week or less, even if I get mail to them almost daily.

    I can understand the laptop issue – but then, I use a mouse with laptops whenever I can because I just HATE trackpads that much.

  4. See I get a lot of mail that I do need to do something about but that has to get filed into many different locations — e.g. different research projects, class stuff, seminar-related stuff, personal emails, etc. If I had all the personal emails autofiled into a folder I would be even worse about responding to them than I am now.

  5. I bet you wouldn’t.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve used a non-gmail client with filters (my current mail is split and both goes to gmail and stays on the umich servers where I’ll check it with pine as a back-up if gmail is down). However, when I did do that, I found that I could separate my mail checking time between “business” and “pleasure” e-mail checking, which makes keeping up with personal correspondence easier AND allowed me to actually work and monitor e-mail without having to deal with crap like ec-discuss until I was ready to.

    Oh, who am I kidding. If I can write a personal e-mail that entertains me more than an e-mail to my advisor that contains work stuff, I totally will because that’s how I procrastinate. (And the other thing I do is leave meandering comments on blogs and livejournals.)

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