Pierre Igot is a professional translator, writer, and Mac technical support person living in southwest Nova Scotia, Canada. He maintains his own web site of literature, music, and visuals at http://www.latext.com and his own blog at http://www.betalogue.com.
His primary home office machine is a Power Macintosh G5 Quad with 4.5 GB of RAM and two 500 MB Seagate hard drives, used with a dual-monitor setup consisting of an Apple Cinema HD 30″ display and an older Apple Cinema HD 23″ display. He uses all kinds of software in his daily computing activities, including Mac OS X 10.4, Mail, Safari, NetNewsWire, iTunes, iPhoto, GarageBand, Pages, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite 2, BBEdit, FileMaker Pro, etc.
HW: How long have you been using Mail.app? What other clients have you used (and why did you stop)?
PI: I switched from Eudora to Mail via Mailsmith in August 2002. I even wrote an article about the adventure at the time.
Basically, I was a long-time Eudora user, but had become disappointed with the lack of progress of the Mac OS X version. The program was in endless beta mode, there were lots of glitches, many core Mac OS X features were not supported, etc. Since I was also a long-time user and fan of Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit (mostly for web site authoring), I figured I would give Mailsmith , their e-mail client, a try.
I was thoroughly disappointed by Mailsmith. There was no integration with Mac OS X’s Address Book (at the time), and its own address book was really poor. (It didn’t even distinguish between first name and last name, forcing you type the names in reverse order to make sure they would be properly alphabetized!) But it had rather impressive filtering capabilities. I was willing to live with the flaws, but the deal breaker was the program’s performance, which was simply unacceptable.
I was also very wary of using a program where my entire e-mail archive was stored in a single (huge) database file. That was one of the primary reasons why I never even considered switching to Microsoft’s Entourage, even though I owned a copy of it as part of Microsoft Office. (As a long-time Microsoft Word user, I am also all too aware of the poor quality of Microsoft’s software for the Mac in general. I know that Entourage is supposed to be better, but on the handful of occasions where I actually tried using the program, I wasn’t particularly impressed. Things haven’t changed significantly since 2002 as far as I can tell.)
When I decided to switch to Mail, I was fully aware of its limitations. But there were too many benefits that outweighed the limitations: full Mac OS X integration with Address Book support, support for core Mac OS X features such as Quartz text smoothing, use of the “.mbox” file format for storing e-mail mailboxes, etc. And the price was nice too, of course.
I have been using Mail for nearly four years now, and, in spite of all the trials and tribulations, I haven’t regretted my choice. One thing I should emphasize for prospective switchers, however: If you want to switch from Eudora, make sure to use Eudora Mailbox Cleaner. I wasn’t aware of this application at the time, and ended up using the built-in import features in Mailsmith and then Mail to import my extensive archive of old e-mail. I am still living with the consequences of this process (badly encoded accented characters, HTML rendered as plain text, etc.) in some of my old e-mail.
HW: What plugins and extensions do you use to make your email experience better?
Tags: Apple Mail
, Pierre Igot
, talking mail.app