Ming the Mechanic:
My E-Mail Wish List

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 My E-Mail Wish List2003-02-12 18:01
13 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

My e-mail program is a constant element of annoyance in my life, because it doesn't do the things I'd need it to do, and I get way too much mail for it to work right. It is Eudora 5.2, which is a fine e-mail program as it goes, but I need a whole other level of functionality. These are things I need:

- I need to keep track of my correspondence with different people. It should be easy to immediately see all prior incoming and outgoing messages in chronological order between me and a certain other person.
- I shouldn't have to create special mailboxes and filters to do that.
- Some people have several e-mail addresses, and I might have several e-mail addresses. I still want to be able to see my conversations with one person in one place, no matter what address we used, and no matter how we spelled our name that day.
- When I get a message, my e-mail program should know whether this is somebody I know or not. Certainly it should know right away whether it is somebody I've ever exchanged e-mails with, and it should tell me somehow.
- It should preferably also know if it is a known member of some group I'm in. There are 7000 people in the NCN directory. I'd like my e-mail program to recognize one of those people if they write to me, even if we didn't exchange e-mail before.
- I'd like my e-mail program to have a reasonable assurance that an e-mail really is from the person it says it is. The SMTP protocol allows anybody to enter whatever they like as sender, so I need some kind of ID mechanism built in here.
- I need SPAM recognition that I can train, like Apple's Mail program. I don't want centralized anti-SPAM blacklists, because they work badly and block things that shouldn't be blocked.
- Any message that isn't from somebody I probably know, and that doesn't have proper digital ID, should go into a totally different place than messages that are from real people.
- I need to be able to put a given message into any number of folders at the same time, without creating several copies. I need more dimensions. I want to always remember that a certain message was sent or received, so in principle it shouldn't actually leave my outbox or inbox, but at the same time I might want to file it under several different subjects, and give it various flags, and find it according to any of those keys.
- I want statistics. How many messages do I get per day, how many did I answer, how many did I send, etc.

None of those things are overly hard. Hardest part is probably the digital ID. The rest I could probably program myself, if I had a few weeks with nothing else to do, which isn't very likely. I need similar things for my Instant Messager programs. Actually I want continuity in my conversations across several different applications and platforms. Has anybody solved these things well in a program I don't know about?


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