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E-mail As the New Database

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the saving-for-a-rainy-day dept.

Databases 389

jira writes "BBC has an article confirming the trend of using inbox as a sort of personal database. At my workplace I can personally attest to the growing sizes of those pst files and an unwillingness to erase any emails because of 'loss of information'." From the article: "The trend has become more pronounced as the services have dramatically increased their storage capacity in response to upstart Gmail offering a free service with 1,000 megabytes (Mb) of storage." Update: 04/22 23:03 GMT by Z : To reflect that the story is at respected news organization BBC, not a BBS.

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First Mail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318477)

Daer Sir...

Guilty (2, Interesting)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318482)

I must say, I'm very guilty of this.
I only tend to delete spam. It DOES get handy when I need something though.
3 gmail's search.

Re:Guilty (4, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318516)

Why feel guilty? It's a good database, with a pile of space. You're going to forget, your hard drive is going to die, your house is going to burn down with all your notes inside, you're going to get fired. What's left? Your Hotmail account, your Gmail account. I pay 20$ a year for virtually infinite data storage with incredible reliability. With Gmail, I get it for free. I pass e-mail between the two for redundancy and as a result the only thing that will kill all my data is an apocalypse or massive economic failure.

Re:Guilty (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318588)

You are not getting it for free, you fucking moron.

You agreed to allow Google to sell your data and (this is where non-zealots and innocent people get involved) the data of everyone that sends email to your GMail-account.

If I catch any of my employees sending company-data to or recieving client-data from a GMail-account, she'll be out before she can say "Gobble!".

GMail my ass. Fucking Google-astroturfs.

Here's something for the Google-bot: gmail unreliable shit privacy-invader insecure lawsuit pending

Re:Guilty (3, Funny)

Spirckle (872312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318615)

Hey, don't you have to go manage somebody about now?

Re:Guilty (2, Informative)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318632)

WWWAAAAYYY off. Go read their privacy policy.

Re:Guilty (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318660)

I bet your corporation / company does more evil than they do, and has a worse way of looking at privacy than this.

Additionally, if you're going to call me a moron, you might as well not do it anonymously. Otherwise you're less than a man, not even approaching a moron.

Email contents and usage. The contents of your Gmail account also are stored and maintained on Google servers in order to provide the service. Google's computers process the information in your email for various purposes, including formatting and displaying the information to you, delivering targeted related information (such as advertisements and related links), preventing unsolicited bulk email (spam), backing up your email, and other purposes relating to offering you Gmail. Because we keep back-up copies of data for the purposes of recovery from errors or system failure, residual copies of email may remain on our systems for some time, even after you have deleted messages from your mailbox or after the termination of your account. Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public.

Re:Guilty (3, Informative)

Anonymous Crowbar (692255) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318529)

Sure, but try synching that inbox to your PDA. I will be first in line for the windows CE phones with 2 gig HDs.

Re:Guilty (1)

thegamerformelyknown (868463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318595)

Thankfully, I don't have one of those. If I were to ever get something like that, I'd just get myself a nice laptop :)

...just like the entire planet is guilty (5, Interesting)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318626)

It must have been a *really* slow news day, or someone at the BBC is rather slow. Techies have been doing this since the 1st email message was received, and everyone else has been doing it since they discovered email.

I know a small handful of people who tend to keep their email cleaned out and very small. For everyone else, it's a huge. mostly convenient database.

This "story" is only about 1% less sill than reporting that "recent study shows people prefer to breathe than to stop".

props 2 the GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318485)

    • left handed people should all be made slaves for the genetically superior right handed race

Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal. [mailto]

Correction (4, Informative)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318486)

Gmail is up over two gigabytes now.

Correction #2 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318538)

Google never offered 1000 megabytes.

They started at 1 gig.

Re:Correction #2 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318590)

IIRC, their service said 1000 megabytes rather than 1024 megabytes. Anyhoo, it's all a moot point now since the storage keeps rising so we don't need to be concerned with engineering numbers vs. marketing numbers.

Re:Correction #2 (2, Informative)

eurleif (613257) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318624)

One gigabyte is 1000 megabytes. Perhaps you're thinking of a gibibyte?

Re:Correction #2 (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318725)

You can't change the accepted use of something mid course and expect people to use it.

If you need to invent a new universal quantity for measuring computer storage, then feel free to use a new acronym, but don't steal existing ones.

(I know this rant is not aimed at the parent poster, more about the shitfit of ambiguity that this subject brings up, and whoever green lighted this as a proposal should be shot. I'll stop now, sorry)

Gmail at 2g+ (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318488)

Actually Gmail is at 2 gigs and counting...

Actually... (1, Informative)

eviltypeguy (521224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318490)

Actually, GMail is offering:

"Don't throw anything away.
2121.042690 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message."

Their new Infinity + 1 storage technology or some Jazz like that (hey their marketing words not mine) ;) At the very least 2GB. I'm sure at the time these things were created in response it was because of the 1GB thing...

Re:Actually... (-1, Redundant)

eviltypeguy (521224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318620)

It's not a redunant comment idiot moderators. When I posted there were zero comments listed. Just because you saw another person's before mine doesn't mean I was posting redundant information.

Re:Actually... (-1, Redundant)

eviltypeguy (521224) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318727)

Welcome to slashdot, where all the slashbots enjoy moderating you into Hell if they don't agree with you. Thank I have Karma to burn.

Wow, 2 gigs... (3, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318712)

I remember when I could not afford a 2 gig hard drive. I remember how hard it was filling my hard drive with useless programs and games. Now I have 2 gigs for email!!

I am suprised the RIAA has not gone after email companies yet, they have to be an attractive target. It is going to be an easy way of sharing MP3's. I might have a CD, rip the best songs to MP3's and email all my friends. Hell, maybe we'll even form an email group that does nothing but share MP3's. I wonder if the RIAA will come after them if that becomes the next trend.

Why on earth would a person need 2 gigabytes for email? If it is a company, they must have their own storage, nobody would want to trust a free email account for buisness.

More Storage! (0, Redundant)

jeffChuck (818709) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318492)

I guess it will become even more popular now that Gmail offers 2121.041570MB of storage!

Mb vs MB (4, Informative)

Rheagar (556811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318494)

Mb = Megabits MB = Megabytes

8Mb = 1MB

I hope this clears things up!

BBC not BBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318495)

It's BBC not BBS.

Re:BBC not BBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318528)

Somewhere out there a Brit just rolled over in his grave.

But he's right folks, it's not British Bull Shitting Company, it's British Broadcasting Company.

Re:BBC not BBS (1)

shibbie (619359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318580)

Its not a company either Its Britsih Broadcasting Corporation

Re:BBC not BBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318611)

Oh yeah, you're right. :\
Well, I guess it's excusable cause I'm American right? ;)

Re:BBC not BBS (1)

jimi the hippie (725322) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318681)

It's not called British Broadcasting Company. However, It IS still a company.

Re:BBC not BBS (2, Informative)

Jack Taylor (829836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318602)

Actually, it's the British Broadcasting Corporation...

(and they turned me down for a job last week, the ignorant fools ;)

2120 MB (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318496)

Thanks to Google's Infinite Improbability Storage Drive [] , storage space is now at 2.120 GB to 1 and rising.

Re:2120 MB (3, Insightful)

DosBubba (766897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318548)

The article was written on February 8th, 2005 or about two months before gmail started their storage increases.

Re:2120 MB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318568)

Yeah, I realize the article was written a while ago... I'm just providing more up-to-date info without pointing any fingers at them.

1G of space? (2, Funny)

flicman (177070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318497)

Doesn't GMail offer more space than that now? When was this article submitted?

Maybe it's submissions get rejected immediately but take weeks to be accepted? This one clearly sat in the queue for 3 weeks.

Old news... (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318510)

not that anyone's paying attention, but google offers 2+ gigs of storage now and it's going up up up.

That, and who doesn't use the simplest way to store and retrieve information? For my roommate it was his pda and 1 gig SD cards. For me, it's email and google able to store 10mb attachments for 2gigs worth of data and my pda. it almost completely negates the need for a pc these days with online storage and pda's.

cept for those cube monkeys (shudder) who actually sit in front of one for hours on end. what a waste. (perhaps I'll explain that one later in my journal?)


Re:Old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318616)

thanks for the redundant info keith....why don't you shut up and donate to yourself already?

BBS? (0, Redundant)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318511)

Zonk meant to type BBC...

They need it all and they need it all the time (2, Interesting)

ARRRLovin (807926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318513)

It's not uncommon for users to have several GB of email on the server and multiple archive files. Disk is cheap, backup windows are MASSIVE. At what point does reliability outweigh convenience? According to users? NEVER.

1,000 MB? (1, Funny)

soloport (312487) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318514)

Am I the only one with 2,000 MB?

And, yes, e-mail as a pseudo-database is wonderful -- well, with the conveniences gmail offers, at least. But with .pst files?! Pulllllease. That's SO 1990's. ;)

Re:1,000 MB? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318536)

Am I the only one with 2,000 MB?

Yes! You won it! Congratulations soloport!

Re:1,000 MB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318571)

Am I the only one with 2,000 MB?
Yes, yes you are. I have infinity + 1 MB. They must just hate you.

Managers never delete email (4, Informative)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318517)

Yep. I do desktop support and nobody wants to delete anything. that's their paper trail and the one email they delete may mean their job down the line as people are looking for somebody to blame and heads to chop. Most communication is done through email with proper CCs (and sometimes BCCs) and they require it even between people sutting next to eachother just so there is that paper trail at a later date. When they've told somebody or reported an issue, they want to show proof they've done so later if somebody else drops the ball and there are people looking for blame.

Re:Managers never delete email (4, Interesting)

barzok (26681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318630)

My employer's former CEO and COO kept less than 2MB in their mailboxes from what I understand. The reason? So there was no trail of anything, no record of any possible wrongdoing on their part, etc.

Re:Managers never delete email (2, Insightful)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318692)

At the huge corporation I work for, our company policy is to delete everything by default ASAP. WE have to jump through hoops just to archive stuff for at most two years. The lawyers think this is a great thing because they hate it when executives get their email supoenaed, but us engineers think it's a terrible idea, given how much work and technical discussion is recorded in email.

Re:Managers never delete email (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318749)

At the huge corporation I work for, if it's in the inbox for 30 days, it's toast. Keeps you on your toes if you want to leave something in there because you'll "...get back to it later."

Heh. Burned me more than once.

Re:Managers never delete email (1)

johndierks (784521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318734)

Some of our users have 5+ GB in each mailbox, which sucks because most mail clients aren't very good at maintaining databases of that size. It's not unusual for a user to lose lots of email due to corruption.

Actually... (3, Funny)

civman2 (773494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318520)

"Gmail offering a free service with 1,000 megabytes (Mb) of storage."

I don't know about you, but my Gmail has 2121.046851 megabytes of storage space. I mean 2121.047702 megabytes. I mean 121.048913 megabytes. I mean...

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318593)

I mean 121.048913 megabytes.

Looks like they shafted you after the 3rd second.

Re:Actually... (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318741)

I did some calculations and I think the space's increasing by about 3.5 MB each day. That's more space than I ever receive at maximum, let alone at average... So for all practical purposes, I consider my gmail account infinite now :)

E-mail - address book (1)

ZeeExSixAre (790130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318523)

I can see an e-mail to address book conversion utility being useful. There are some mass resume analyzation programs online that pull important information out of plain-text resumes and place them in the correct fields with great accuracy... I know because I used one to unsuccessfully find an internship for this summer.

Such a program that can pull relevant information out of an e-mail message, especially one with sigs in them, and place it correctly in an address book format sounds like a great add-on.

Why not? (3, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318526)

Personally, I think it is a good idea, I would really like to see Google Implementing some kind of "GDrive", where I can have all or most of my documents, I know there is an ap for doing it in Gmail but, I maybe a Google's service with web page and file browser interface (as cool as their Gmail interface) would be nice.

Of course, I would like it to be free (as all other Google's services), and I would not mind having the ads at the side if for example I have a document (.DOC, .ppt etc) talking about Scotland vacations, I get some ads about vacations.

My personal database.. (2, Funny)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318531)

My personal database says that I'm a pervert with a small penis who uses lots of prescription drugs financed by taking a 2nd mortgage and my relative in Nigeria.

Doesn't anyone else just think that email totally sucks? I can't remember the last time I checked my email other than to hit 'confirm' when I signed up for some stupid web service like

Every time I try to save an email, it ends up getting deleted anyway when I'm throwing out the spam 100's of emails at a time. Email is useless as it is and nothing important should ever be done with an email.

Mailinator (5, Informative)

calebb (685461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318621)

No, that's what Mailinator [] is for. (to hit confirm when you sign up for a service like nytimes).

Welcome to Mailinator(tm) - Its no signup, instant anti-spam service. Here is how it works: You are on the web, at a party, or talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Wherever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email. You know if you give it, you're gambling with your privacy. On the other hand, you do want at least one message from that person. The answer is to give them a mailinator address. You don't need to sign-up. You just make it up on the spot. Pick or - pick anything you want (up to 15 characters before the @ sign).

Later, come to this site and check that account. Its that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. No signup, no personal information, and when you're done - you can walk away - an instant solution to one way spammers get your address. Its an anti-spam solution for everyone. The messages are automatically deleted for you after a few hours.

Let'em spam.

Re:My personal database.. (1)

pmazer (813537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318622)

Actually, I use to feel that way until Gmail rolled around. Gmail seems to have a 99.9% success rate for blocking spam for me and since I only get around 10 spam a day, checking to see if there's any good things in that spam folder is quite easy.

Re:My personal database.. (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318690)

Every time I try to save an email, it ends up getting deleted anyway when I'm throwing out the spam 100's of emails at a time. Email is useless as it is and nothing important should ever be done with an email.

It sucks and blows, but the only way to manage it is to first go through the pain of changing your email address and notifying everybody you've ever dealt with that your email address is different. Also, implement some spam filtering such as SpamAssassin. Kill it before it even reaches your eyeballs. You might get a few false positives and it'll discard a few important emails, but since you don't seem to value your email much these days I can't see it being any worse.

I've even contemplated having a yearly rotating email address, such as which I'll update every January 1 to reflect the new year. That way, anyone sending personal email can figure it out but I'll likely still need to go through the effort of updating various online accounts.

Until we get to the point where you have to explicitly authorize any new person contacting you, spam will continue to ruin email.

email as file cabinet (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318532)

gmail works as a file cabinet.

I send myself email sometimes with information I find useful and will want later. Then tag it with the gmail category.

Instant file cabinet and fully searchable. (I used to use apple's notepad for this, but its not in osx).

Re:email as file cabinet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318714)

Good luck when your file cabinet ends up as a searchable item on

That is, when it already isn't being pawed over by Google employees and government officials.

Oh and backed up indefinately for safekeeping by Google.

use GMail == pwned

Not 1Gig (0, Redundant)

FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318533)

Google's up to ~2Gig now. Just FYI.

Spam (1)

spidereyes (599443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318534)

More like instead of deleting my spam because of space concerns I can simply store it indefinitely.

Re:Spam (1)

Construct X (582731) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318650)

With that being said, a single tear rolls down my cheek as I make my way into the 21st century.

Sounds like a Press hit to me. (3, Interesting)

Hoch (603322) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318545)

PR [] As stated, trend reports are almost always PR. At least it isn't a dupe.

It says something about trends in sw development (2)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318552)

Like other people I have all this information (emails, ebooks, papers, photos, mp3s, whatever) but there really aren't any good applications out there for organising it. In fact, the best applications out there are probably file systems but they aren't exactly smart. It's incredible that the organization software we have is so bad that people are finding that their email clients are serving this purpose even though their ability to do this is basically a side effect. Only now have companies like MS and Apple finally realised that searching though data is something important. Why has it taken this long?

Re:It says something about trends in sw developmen (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318637)

Only now have companies like MS and Apple finally realised that searching though data is something important

MMmm, I think Google realized that some time ago, and there where other file searching applications before the indexing based search programs started to gain popularity

Re:It says something about trends in sw developmen (2, Insightful)

switcha (551514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318755)

Only now have companies like MS and Apple finally realised that searching though data is something important. Why has it taken this long?

I'd say metadata, and its acceptance.

When people used to have a couple hundred mp3s or photos, it wasn't a big deal to just operate by file names or date imported. This is completely anecdotal, but I'd guess people are starting to be smarter about tagging their docs, pics, music, etc properly and thoroughly now that your average user is acumulating larger and larger amounts of data. I know with iPhoto and iTunes, I've found that investing the time is a good tagging strategy had made life a lot easier.

Now that users are using metadata, makers of OS's can utilize metadata to make a better product.

I want a real RDBMS (3, Interesting)

leandrod (17766) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318553)

I really love my 600 MiB FastMail [] account, specially because it's IMAP -- the main reason for my avoiding GMail up to now.

But searching sucks, and I depend on Evolution to do virtual folders. I'd love it even more if my email server was actually a true RDBMS where I could have, besides the traditional IMAP interface, a D [] (Tutorial D [] or D4 [] or something the like) language interface where I could query at will, and save my queries as views that would show up in IMAP as (virtual) folders.

BTW, even non-relational ISO SQL would be so much better than what we have now.

Re:I want a real RDBMS (2, Informative)

As Seen On TV (857673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318652)

Sounds just like Spotlight to me. You should consider getting a Mac.

Re:I want a real RDBMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318684)

You're probably looking for something like this: []

Re:I want a real RDBMS (1)

Miffe (592354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318724)

What you should really do, is get a computer with is connected to the Internet all the time. Run fetchmail and bincimapd on it. That is your personal imap server, with unlimited storaget, as long as you have enought diskspace....

Wrong!!! (1, Redundant)

OccidentalSlashy (809265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318562)

1000 megabytes is 1000 MB, not Mb! 1000 megabytes is 8000 Mb. Honestly. Does every single story have to have some kind of error? WHY DON'T I JUST READ CNET?!?

Corporate Policy (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318564)

It's kind of hard to do when the company's legal weasels insist on nuking all email older than 30 days. I understand the reason for the policy but I think it's short-sighted.

Video Rip of BBC news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318574)

BBC news recently did a piece on the same topic. video rip here []

Worst. Submission. Ever. (5, Insightful)

michael path (94586) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318575)

"BBS has an article confirming the trend of using inbox as a sort of personal database. At my workplace I can personally attest to the growing sizes of those pst files and an unwillingness to erase any emails because of 'loss of information'." From the article: "The trend has become more pronounced as the services have dramatically increased their storage capacity in response to upstart Gmail offering a free service with 1,000 megabytes (Mb) of storage."

pst = Microsoft Outlook .PST
Gmail is no upstart, they're run by Google [] . Gmail currently offers 2121MB (that's Megabytes, not Mb - which is MegaBITS)

This isn't news. This is what Google had in mind when they started the Gmail service.

Re:Worst. Submission. Ever. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318640)

Blame it on clippy, it always works for CmdrTaco.

better than many file systems (1)

xlyz (695304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318581)

using mail to store file for years.

ever sent a file to yourself just to have it in the mail box?

in one shot you get:

- use of your mail client search tools
- easy retrival trough web mail
- possibility of categorizing it
- nested in the thread it belong to :)

My work e-mail (1)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318583)

My work e-mail account is currently about 550MB. This account contains all email traffic dating back to summer of 2003 till now. So it a filing cabinet? If it is, it's pretty big and fat.

The CYA file... (1)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318601)

It's _really_ good to be able to pull an email up months later and say

"No, this is what you agreed to" or "No, you were informed. Here's my email and your response".

I keep a some emails for months. Some of it _never_ gets deleted. It's a b*llsh*t deflector that's saved me from career damage more than once.

A few email tips I try to live by (4, Insightful)

prototype (242023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318604)

These are a few tips I've found on the net that I've picked up and try to follow.
  • Remember, your Inbox is your Inbox. It's not your To Do list. You don't use your paper inbox as a filing system, do you? (Okay, maybe you do. So how's that working for you, anyway?)
  • Block out time to "process" email. And when you do, "process" it. Don't spend more than a minute or two on an email--and don't start down the road of firing off two or three emails for everyone you get, or diving into a project after you get to email 13 ("oh, ya! I owe him a project plan!" or "I should blog about that..."). Put it on your To Do list, and keep processing your inbox. If you can't do that, there may be other kinds of help available.
  • Don't use your email as a filing system. And for heaven's sake, don't rescue a co-worker who is looking for something you happen to have tucked away in an email folder. Let them rescue YOU! If someone else owns a document/plan/conversation, let them store it for you. Chances are if you need it, someone else has it.
  • Ignore Incoming Email until you have time to process it. Can you imagine if snail mail was real-time? Would you wait by your house's mailbox, and open each piece of junk mail as it came in? Thank goodness it only comes in once a day! And even though you pick it up daily, I bet you process that "inbox" only a few times a week. Change your default view on Outlook to open to your Calendar and Task List, rather than your Inbox. Turn off the popup toast and reminder sound when email comes in. Don't respond immediately to each incoming email.
  • Pick up the phone once in a while. You'd be surprised at how much you can get done in a phone call rather than on email.

People switching from hotmail (2, Interesting)

spidereyes (599443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318609)

One possibility is that Hotmail's market dominance could be affected by rival services better equipped to search through thousands of e-mails.
You're telling me. I've had about 10-15 people fed up with hotmail ask me for Gmail invites and they're spreading them to friends and family as well afterwards. Lately I've been having trouble with hotmail and completely switched over to Gmail because of it. I think hotmail had its time to shine, but hasn't been able to keep up with the any of the new services. The one nice feature that Gmail includes that hotmail doesn't ironically is the ability to forward e-mail, unless I'm just totally blind they seemed to have removed it. The other item I noticed is the decrease in spam after I switched, I barely get any and I use my gmail account to sign-up for everything!

Re:People switching from hotmail (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318703)

You are totally blind.

3rd button from the left on the tool bar right above the header.

Lots of email here... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318617)

I started out using the email client in Netscape 2 back in 1996. Then came Netscape 3, 4.04, 4.61, and then the Mozilla suite which I've upgraded a bunch. I'll probably move to Thunderbird eventually. Anyway, each upgrade has been compatible with, and preserved, my earlier emails so that I have nearly 10 years of emails sent and received online which has become a very useful tool, just by itself. I doubt that anyone has done that with Outlook...or if they had, they probably would have spammed all of their friends a few dozen times by now.

What I would like to see (2, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318629)

Is there any technology that a sender can use to nuke their own email after a set amount of time? Any technology that can disallow for an email to be copied or saved? I would like to see a streaming DRM email system, where I can control how my content is used. For example, I don't want past girlfriends posting emails I sent them 5 years ago, especially to girls I am now interested in.

Back in the days of paper, people had document shredders, if they did not want a record of a conversation it was easy to convey information without having a record.

Re:What I would like to see (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318744)

There is technology like that -- we researched it at my last company, where one of the goals of the marketers was "we want to be able to send this PDF to people, but we don't want them sending it to other people, because it's got value."

We got somewhat close with an email vendor that let you do that -- basically, you'd send it to something like, and it'd get sent to the user, but they'd strip out content and put it on their website, and all you'd get would be this HTMLized, JavaScripted monstrocity that would get stuff directly from their website for you to view. If everything went OK, you wouldn't necessarily know this is even happening until, say, you tried to forward it, or it expired. Of course, if your client was set to not fetch external images, or you were using a CLI MUA (I use mutt, you insensitive clod!), or a variety of other things, it'd fail, occasionally spectacularly.

Oh yeah.... (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318639)

bdr@zaphod:~ $ du -hs Maildir/
186M Maildir

I should really clean up a bit.

OK, but.... (1)

twnth (575721) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318653)

the article only seems to look at on-line email services (gmail, aol, hotmail...). I had expected them to address what this practice is doing to corperate mail servers. Or is this article just trying to tell the suits that they can use gmail and to quit harrassing tech support for a larger mailbox?

Getting Things Done (2, Informative)

Rikardon (116190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318663)

I've just started using David Allen's system Getting Things Done (GTD) for organizing my work, mostly in response to a new position at work that has me involved in a lot more projects than before.

It's the lowest-overhead way I've found of staying organized. One of his tenets is getting your Inbox (both physical and virtual) to empty. I've done it.

Here I am on a Friday afternoon with exactly three items in my email Inbox, and none in my physical one -- although I've been working on three different projects today, and am currently involved (off and on) in a usability role in half a dozen others.

The biggest benefit so far in implementing this system has been rapid context switches: the biggest benefit so far has been faster context switches: I'm moving from project to project, meeting to meeting, and nothing gets lost - email, papers, usability test results, are all quickly and accurately accessible.

I guess my point is that even if email is being used as a personal database, it probably shouldn't be. Or at least, it should be structured in such a way that items are (1) only archived if they need to be for future reference, and there's no action to be taken on them, or (2) filed because you're waiting for someone else to do something, but you think you'll need to act once they're done.

I've only been at this for two weeks, but the benefits thus far have been dramatic, with very little overhead. Look up the book in your library or favorite local bookstore; I've been very impressed.

Re:Getting Things Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318753)

Hear hear! Getting Things Done has totally changed my life for the better. I can't understand how I ever managed to cope without it.

That's nothing... (1)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318667)

[mikew@romulus mikew]$ du -hs .mail
575M .mail

David Gelernter's Lifestream (3, Interesting)

AsOldAsFortran (565087) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318668)

Computer scientest David Gelernter proposed a organization for all the material we produce as a "lifestream", a date-stamped list of all electronic documents in our lives. When I first heard of I thought, naa, too ill-organized.

But, I find my email working in exactly the way he proposed. My email package provides the best database I have of my work and communication. Searchable by date, correspondent, content, subject; control-click to organize by date, sender, header; automatic filters to sort by same; subfolders; attachments of all kinds accessable by the search; and I can add to it from anywhere by emailing myself. I use email to mainain to-do (email myself), I use email to maintain a calendar of past activities by searching for email on the topic (when did we do X?) , I use email to store minor documents and search for them as attachments. By using pop and downloading all email to my harddrive, I have no limitations of an account.

So, while dubious about "lifestreams", I've backed into it as the core of my work habits.

Why? (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318678)

Why do you need the e-mail of every person who's ever contacted you? Why is it better than, say, using a normal database? BTW this reminds me of this thing i found that lets you use a g-mail account as a virtual hard drive.

The Power of Search (1)

fupeg (653970) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318682)

I have done this for years at work. Of course my employers have (almost) all used Exchange/Outlook. With 2003, I don't keep anything locally in .pst file, everything on the server (I do local caching on my laptop, though) but I have Google Desktop Search. So I can instantly search through thousands of emails without having to worry about Outlook soaking up too much memory. I actually used the MSN desktop search on my work computer for awhile because of its tighter integration with Outlook. I was already using GDS at home, but switched at work too when they added Firefox/Thunderbird support.

All my personal email goes through GMail, but I always access that either through Firefox or I routinely download everything through Thunderbird just for kicks. I email things to myself (bookmarks, pictures, and mp3s especially) on GMail all the time so I can take advantage of its portability, storage, and searching.

I wish I had a solution for my linux mbox (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318687)

archives... all 3Gb of them. Google local search does a fine job on my 3.5Gb pst.

How about actually making a database? (1)

isolationism (782170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318689)

That is to say, using an existing, good database technology? Yes, I use my email as a database and store lots of data in there. I never want to delete anything because I don't want to get caught with my pants down when someone calls me out claiming "I never said that."

So -- Is there a package out there that actually uses a FOSS database like MySQL or Postgres for us email hogs that makes searching records, cataloguing items, making backups, separating attachments from body content, etc. more convenient? Or should I just shut the hell up and stick with what Outlook (and soon-to-be Evolution) give me because they already work, albeit slowly?

Outlook makes this a nightmare (4, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318691)

Ever have to deal with a bloated and corrupted .pst file?

No fun.

Users that like to keep everything on the planet should probably think twice about trusting it all to Microsoft Outlook (or any local POP email client, for that matter)

IMAP rocks. :-)

Gmail wildcard support (1)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318697)

One major problem with Gmail Search: NO WILDCARDS [] . This is a serious problem, IMO.

BTW, Don't try to use your regular mailbox to store important documents. I tried this recently, and some jerk in a uniform comes along, and stuffs in more SPAM and BILLS which causes my important documents to become disorganized. Every single day except Sunday.

Could have confirmed that trend several years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12318698)

Course when the muppets hit 2Gb, bye goes all that "important" data. Hmm, how to persuade people to archive and delete all that crap they have lying about.

Size of GMail (1)

willy_man_33 (551185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318700)

If you look at the script on their login page and do a little math, you find that they're adding a gig a year. (In increments of one byte).

File storage... (1)

RazTat (826437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318701)

I personally use RoamDrive ( [] ) to store my files on my Gmail and Hotmail accounts.

I'm doing some beta testing for them on the next release and it supports linking together multiple accounts. I currently have two Gmail accounts and one Hotmail account setup for a total of a bit over 6GB of online storage. (4GB of which is free... but I pay for hotmail.)

Occasionally Gmail will change something and the program will break but they usually have an update out within hours and the program can automatically update itself.

Only bad part is that it has a banner at the bottom of the app. No other adware or spyware stuff, though.

If You Live In Email, Email Is Your Life (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318704)

I did this for several years at a previous employer, with Lotus Notes. Hated it as an emailer, but it was just fine for retaining and finding stuff. I'd even mail Word or Excel files to myself.

When I left, my inbox was several thousand files deep, and that was typical.

Two problems (1)

whysanity (231556) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318708)

besides the incorrect figure of 1000 megabytes (it's currently more than 2GB), the writer marked the units in megabits (Mb) instead of the correct megabytes (MB)

Nothing new here, shall we move along now? (5, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318709)

Well, except maybe for the 1 GB versus 2 GB error everyone is commenting on. A new error is not very interesting. However, I do have two substantive comments to offer:

In spite of Google's business principle against evil and in spite of the my frequent use of gmail, I think it is fundamentally bad and potentially evil. "Possession is nine points of the law", and there is no good reason for Google to be in possession of *MY* email. A few GBs of storage is *NOT* the issue, and I have plenty of free GBs right here in my possession, even including space for the indexes. Perhaps Google really is a good company and they will never abuse the power of possessing someone's email--but the historical evidence does not support that belief. Every power gets abused sooner or later.

In simplest terms, here is the threat of online gmail: Would you want your worst enemy to have access to all of your email? If you have put it into gmail, then all it would take is a single password leak.

The constructive alternative is obvious. Gmail should live primarily on your own disk, preferably integrated with the Google Desktop. The nine points of possession would remain on *YOUR* side, since you would still possess all of your email.

Many extended services could then be built on that model...

Interesting article .. (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12318717)

Interesting article ..
I don't believe it is true ..
But I'll forward it to my GMail account for later reference ..
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