As I type this, my desktop e-mail program, Eudora, is downloading hundreds of messages I read and wrote on my Gmail account while traveling over the last 18 days. (I use other people’s computers to check e-mail when I travel, simply because I spent my entire computer budget on a G5 tower and an AlphaSmart Dana laptop. The Dana, which runs Palm OS 4, is simply brilliant for writing—instant-on, 20-hour battery life, exceptional keyboard—but my version doesn’t do e-mail.)
In the past, I’d used Yahoo mail to check my various accounts, but at the end of a trip, I’d have to forward each message individually if I wanted to archive it in Eudora. In contrast, Gmail has a cool feature that lets you download mail directly to your desktop program via POP. It also updates the display immediately, unlike the unbelievably sluggish Y-mail. So I configured all my accounts to forward to my Gmail account, and used Gmail exclusively for 18 straight days.
Because I use zillions of folders to organize things in Eudora, I was initially leery of Gmail’s “use one folder for everything; we’ll help you search for it later” approach, but I grew to like the way it grouped message threads into “conversations.” After replying to a message, I could archive it to remove it from the Gmail In-box, and if someone responded, the whole conversation would pop up again.
The only difficulty I had was posting to a mailing list that expected to see my Batmosphere address. (Changing Gmail’s “reply to” setting wasn’t good enough to fool the mailing list, although that works on Eudora.) And, of course, now I’m busy sorting 428 messages into folders. I’ll also miss the way Gmail was able to display HTML e-mail, my only complaint with Eudora.
How do you sync your desktop and traveling computers?