Brady J Frey is the founder and creative director of Dotfive and has a decade of print and web design experience. He is a well published writer of both fiction and journalism who is currently managing his company’s IT until he falls out of love with it.
It interests me especially that he uses Mail.app in an enterprise environment where other email clients are often preferred.
He uses a Dual 2 GHz PowerPC G5 with 4GB RAM running 10.4.4 on 250gb + 500gb internal harddive, backing up to a Lacie 500gb as needed; with *cough* 3rd Party Flat Panel displays.
HW: How long have you been using Mail.app? What other clients have you used (and why did you stop)?
BF: I was originally turned onto mail.app when I upgraded to Panther (very shortly after it was released). At the time I had been using a very buggy Entourage, and was looking for a robust alternative. Panther’s mail.app was very appealing from the get go — the clean icons (similar to Thunderbird), and most importantly the drawer that that would spawn a million alternative drawer[ed] applications. I had used Thunderbird, and while it had it’s pluses, namely stable interaction with Linux servers and extendability — it never has felt like a macintosh application should feel (nor does it play will with other macintosh applications).
For a short while I migrated to MailSmith from Bare Bones as well — but this application is more appealing to the developer in me, not the designer (as it is a text only mail application), and suffers from only POP support — once I embraced IMAP, I’ve never wanted to go back.
Entourage is another story in its own right — and I can thank its demise on my computer as a way of taking back my love for this OS. Its strong collaboration tools always seem to drag me back into at least attempting to make good use of its power… but it’s a flaky application on the IMAP front, its support for vCard standards is not full (though neither can Apple’s address book take that crown), it’s a completely unattractive and counter intuitive UI, weighed down by what seems to be lots of features, but no unified image. Every time I take two steps forward into resurrecting it, I always go five steps back.
HW: What plugins and extensions do you use to make your email experience better?
Mail Appetizer has replaced Growl Notification, as it’s more convenient to read a brief of my mail then simply know mail has arrived. The Daylite plugin works seamlessly in Mail to track communication between clients, co workers, and just about any user — I’m growing so fond of it, it’s starting to become a replacement for Address Book (though I still sync it, should I ever decide to work offline) — but it is still a Beta application, and could very well improve.
For a long while MailTags and Mail Act-on were installed — and though I think MailTags has strong promise, it always felt like a band aid for the larger problem of strong collaboration tools within the Apple OS. Much less, it’s tagging features are less relevant if you let Daylite keep track of your mail for you.
Mail Stamps is more aesthetic, and a hack that remedies one of my larger gripes with Apple — you replaced great icons, with silly icons. I see its unification, but I cringe working with them – Mail Stamps outright saved me from never opening mail again when 10.4 came around.
HW: What’s your favourite thing about Mail.app?
BF: It looks and feels like a Mac application; that’s what I love the most. I know I can make a smart folder, it will be indexed by Spotlight, it will integrate with iPhoto, it’ll play nice with Address Book… seamless. It’s why so many mac users love/hate Firefox or Thunderbird (and to counter that argument hate/love Camino — who feels wonderfully like a Mac application, without the strong developer features of firefox). I can enjoy my experience without thinking about how to use my application — passive.
HW: What’s your pet hate about Mail.app?
BF: It’s become as slow as Entourage for me… maybe not as buggy, but just as slow. My pate hate, excluding my gripe with 10.4 icons, is it’s drag with IMAP accounts. For this very reason, I am always at odds with jumping ship to Thunderbird and forcing that application to love my mac in some way or another. The irony is it’s pushed me more and more into chat interaction vs mail interaction with clients and co workers – and I’ve looked to web based tools to further unify communication while avoiding email. Makes you wonder, with GMAIL+GTALK married together now, if that’s the next wave of communication?
HW: If you could tell the Apple Mail development team one thing, what would it be?
BF: All it needs is shine. It’s so close to being a polished mail application — do what you do best; simplify and perfect. While Microsoft will make the next application with little focus on usability and loaded with partially completed features, streamline what you have from design to stability, and you have my devotion.
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You can read other interviews with developers and Mac identities talking about their Mail.app experiences by following this tag cloud link.
- Talking Mail.app: Giles Turnbull
- Email client poll: The winners and losers
- Mail.app: Reasons to be thankful
- On switching and choosing Apple Mail
- Making Thunderbird look more Mac-like
Tags: Apple Mail, Brady J Frey, dislikes, likes, mail.app, talking mail.app