Faint insights into (mostly) the world of automation

Mail Configuration

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Lots of posts today. In recording my Snow Leopard experiences, it occurred to me that a decision I made recently regarding handling of sent mail had not been documented.  Since I am pretty satisfied, it seems time to document it. This is NOT specific to any particular mail client other than it probably does not make sense with Google mail and it’s tag approach.

For years, I have told the mail client to put a copy of each message I sent into a “sent mail” folder.  I have sometimes chosen to purge messages I did not think were worth keeping from there, sometimes just offloaded the whole file yearly into another tool, and sometimes tried to move messages that went with particular conversations into a folder with the rest of the thread.

I have also played around with BCCing myself on messages.  This lets you know the message made it out (for most mail clients) and also forces you to think if there are any more actions to take now that you have sent the mail. Possible actions include 1) scheduling a follow-up, 2) recording the data you supplied in the message in another system, storing the message in folder with the rest of the thread, etc.

About a month ago, I have decided to no longer store sent items on the server but rather to store them locally on the client, to BCC myself on all messages, and to automatically purge local sent items after 30 days.  My operating approach is the BCC’ed message that falls into my inbox gets immediate attention and I will process as appropriate as well as make a long term archive decision.  Sent messages will hang around from where they were sent for 30 days in case something goes wrong — most of the time, the only thing that goes wrong happens very soon since messages that I don’t decide to archive don’t have any long term value.

Anyway, that is my new steady state approach for mail where I have folder- control and I like it.

The other half of my mail is served by Google.

I am presently letting Google do what Google does .  My present thought is that if I were to use Google through an IMAP interface and use the above approach, I would not be successful because Google would only have one message (not the BCC one and the sent one) and if I auto-delete (tag as trash) I’ll lose the ones that are also tagged with something else (appear to be in a folder) but I have not experimented yet.

Update 9/13/2009: Outlook 2007 won’t BCC the sender without extra code or a plug-in (sigh).