A long time ago, I toyed around with a relatively unknown application, GyazMail, after seeing it mentioned on the one and only DrunkenBlog. It was nice but somehow, at the time, felt too close to Mail to warrant staying in my Dock. How wrong I was. Fast-forward a few years and I have part of my clients hooked on the yellow stamp.
It is no secret to O’Reilly readers, I am a Mailsmith fan and have standardized our office around that one application. Crazy as it may seem, we are happy with Mailsmith, delighted with Bare Bones’ support and thrilled by the level of flexibility it provides us with. Mailsmith however is a robust email client for robust email usage. A lot of our clients are taking their first steps into email or manage their inboxes casually: they need something simple with lots of icons and a relatively limited feature set. At the same time however, they need something that “just works”.
A few months ago, I was setting up a new account for a long-time Mail user - since the Jaguar days in fact. Yet, for some reason, her Mail installation would refuse to read messages on the server: POP would just not work and fail to display anything while IMAP would take hours to retrieve the headers of the first message. To make things slightly worse, no amount of clearing the server and any Mail files on the local machine would help. A local problem, I am sure, a problem with a solution, certainly, but a relatively frustrating one, to say the least.
In a pinch, I installed GyazMail which was, despite my not having looked at it for a long time, exactly as I remembered it: Mail-like and yellow - oh, how I love that yellow. In a few seconds, we had all the required email downloaded, replied to and organized. Thanks to filters, we directly hooked into the server’s SPAM filtering system and made it even faster for my client to retrieve her mails by deleting Junk messages right onto the remote machine - as per her request.
Learning curve? None. Somehow, GyazMail feels more organized than Mail. Somehow, it manages to feature touches like a usable “Add to address book” sheet that make me want to give it a big hug. Somehow, it manages to feel upbeat and cheery. Crashes? None. In fact, GyazMail and Mailsmith are the only two applications to never have crashed after receiving 400 or so SPAM messages per day, from various, rather suspicious sources - not on our regular accounts, worry not, but on a few honeypots we have set up for our own education. Mail does rather well but for something as critical as email, rather well is often not well enough.
I love Mail for a great many reasons, however, and I still use it. I have a special bond to that application, an affective link if you wish, that makes it impossible to break ties. What’s more, Mail does plenty of things GyazMail does not including IMAP, encrypted mail and Spotlight. Yet, I found out a great many people could not care less about these features, at least for some accounts. POP is coming back for privacy reasons and encrypted mail never took off in small business circles - much to my pain, horror and dismay.
My only concern is that GyazMail seems to be somehow in a coma, having not been updated since March 28 - but then maybe it only is an impression. After all, Mailsmith itself is not updated frequently despite still being a thriving, supported application.