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Dr. Sendmail or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Google Apps for Your Domain

February 8th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was reading about some suggestions for people to take when changing email addresses, intended to help you avoid losing any email from people that only have your old address. Most of the comments on these blogs are about the benefit of having your own domain so you have a permanent email address for life.

I’ve had the dodd.org domain for about 8 years now. There’s a whole ‘nother story ’bout getting the domain, but I’ve had my same email address that whole time, through 4 moves in two states. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I relied on the email address that my ISP provided, because I’ve been through 8 different ISP’s in that time. I expect that I will have this email address for the rest of my life.

There’s a downside to this too. Because I’ve been using this same email address for years now, it’s well known by spammers and I assume it’s included on all of those “marketing” lists that I see being sold by dubious outfits that help people get started on a new and exciting life of being a spammer for fun and profit. I get about 130 spam emails a day (~4000/month). Incidentally, most of those fall into three categories – porn, pharmaceuticals (mostly ED and weight loss drugs), and financial services. Good thing I know that these aren’t targeted advertisements, or I might develop a complex.

To handle my email, I’ve done everything from a simple POP3 account handled by my ISP, to running my own Netscape Mail server (because I was doing this at work), Exchange server on Windows Server 2000 (for Outlook integration and shared calendaring), to sendmail on Linux at my house (mostly for the geek factor).

I had tried different email clients too, but settled on Microsoft Outlook around 1998 because it was the best integrated email/address book/calendar app at the time. I really liked being able to flag emails and organize them into folders. It’s been good to me. But there were problems.

My biggest issue was that I travelled a lot on business. If I wanted to get my personal email while I was away, I had to rely on some workarounds. I would configure a POP client on my laptop to get messages, but leave a copy on the server so I could still get them on my home computer when I returned. As long as it actually left copies, I was fine… as long as I remembered to close Outlook at home so it would stop downloading messages.

IMAP was another possibility, but I had some issues early on with IMAP clients getting out of sync with the server and this turned me off to the idea. I was happier when I could control my email and know that it was safe on my computer, under my control, and backed up.

Well, a few years ago, ISP’s started offering webmail with their accounts. Now I could read and reply to my email on the road and it would still download to Outlook when I got home (as long as I remembered to close Outlook before I left). But the problem with those solutions is that these ISP provided webmail solutions were almost intolerably slow, any replies I sent were difficult to integrate back into Outlook, and I didn’t have my address book on there. I tried to like webmail, but it just didn’t work for me. Until Gmail that is.

Next time, I’ll talk about the switch to Gmail for my personal domain and how you can sign up for Google Apps for Your Domain too.

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