If Rambo Had Email...


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This is a guest post by Craig Huggart. He is the author of Escape From Email Hell and blogs at Tech Rest.

How would John Rambo manage multiple email accounts?  Isn't that the question that everyone is wondering as the latest installment in the Rambo movies hits the big screen?

Managing your email can feel like bailing water from a sinking boat. The water is coming in faster than you can bail it out. It's even worse when you have multiple Inboxes and you want to get them all to empty. So what can you do if you are like me and you have multiple email addresses that you use all the time? The answer is to consolidate all your mail into one desktop email application.

Why one place? It's so much easier to manage one big list than two or more smaller lists of email. Also, when you use one application all the time you can get lightning fast with it.

Why desktop application? Even with a fast internet connection, desktop apps are just faster. In addition, they have more robust integration with Calendar and Tasks.

How do you get it set up? I use Outlook 2007 and pull in my Gmail and Yahoo accounts via POP3. For details on how to set up Gmail see Setting up your Gmail with Outlook 2007. For Yahoo see Setting up your Yahoo mail with Outlook 2007. I paid about $20 USD for a pro Yahoo account. On the other hand, there are programs out there that will get you around this. If I had to do it over again I would probably stick with Gmail. I've just had my Yahoo address too long to make it easy to switch.

Why Gmail? It's got great *S*P*A*M filtering and the POP access is easy to set up. Also, you can set Gmail to archive all your read messages (see partial screen shot of the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab of Settings). So after I pull my messages into Outlook from Gmail, my Inbox in Gmail is empty. With Yahoo, I would have to manually more them. Yahoo users, if you know of a way to do this automatically let me know.

Why not IMAPP? I tried IMAPP and there were two things I didn't like. One, it downloaded ALL my messages to Outlook. Two, I didn't like having two separate lists in my Inbox when it was done. For those of you not familiar with IMAPP the big advantage is that it keeps your mail in sync when you access it from multiple places. So, for instance, you delete a message when you are reading your mail on you PDA and it would also be deleted from the server.

How about a portable solution? Thunderbird is a great email client. If you want a portable solution you might try putting Thunderbird on a thumb drive using Portable Apps. I use the Portable Apps version of Firefox and love it. With Thunderbird on a thumb drive you could have your desktop email client with you wherever you go.