Like a lot of folks, I have multiple email accounts in Mail.app, checked automatically on a fairly rapid schedule (5- or 15-minute intervals usually). While the program’s Bayesian spam filtering is quite spiffy most of the time, there are occasional “false negatives” that get through. In addition, when I’m busy working it gets to be annoying to be bothered checking email when often it’s not that important.
A couple of years ago, I decided to leverage the power of the
say command (
man say for more info), which converts text to speech, and use its
-o option to create .aiff files.
First, I created one to announce email for my celsius1414.com account:
say -o 1414.aiff "Message received for Celsius."
This spawned an AIFF sound file, which I dropped in my
~/Library/Sounds folder. Then, within Mail’s preferences, I made a new Rule with a condition matching all email for the Celsius1414 account, performing a “Play Sound” action, matching that 1414 sound. Right on!
However, within about a half-hour I realized that this would, naturally, match all messages for celsius1414.com including false-negative spam. Whoops! So I added another condition that the sender be in my Address Book. I also turned off any other Mail sounds (easily added back in with simple Rules). Much better, as my computer announced email that I’d probably want to look at and left me alone to work otherwise.
Taking it up a notch, I created a few more sounds and accompanying Rules to match specific people and specific groups, creating something akin to Uhura announcing incoming messages from Star Fleet. :) Somebody emailing you too much today? Turn off the Rule corresponding to their address.
Eventually, this notion led to the Ringtones for Mail.app idea previously posted here. Nowadays, though, I’ve moved more toward the idea of Minimizing Mail, trying to keep it as unobtrusive as possible.