Mac OS X Mail Client
I'm beginning to use my iBook as my main machine more and more.
There is still work to do before I could switch from my Linux
desktop entirely, but I am spending more time at the white machine.
Of course, that means I need my email here. I have more than a few
choices, but I only looked at three: the built in Mail client that
comes with Mac OS X, Mozilla, and Eudora.
I've been using Mozilla on Linux for some time now, so of course
I'm fairly accustomed to that. I've also worked with Eudora now and
then and I do think it is a pretty goood mail client too. However,
it looks to me like the built in client is the winner for my
purposes. Learning about it was not entirely smooth sailing, but I
think I have most of it under control now.
The first problem I had was that I couldn't find anything but
the Inbox. I had added new mailboxes and had been able to file
messages in them, but I couldn't find any way to get at the darn
I kept clicking on "Mailboxes" and pulling down "View->Show
Drawer" but nothing would happen. I knew my mailboxes were there
since I could file to them, but I couldn't get to them - very
Googling around eventually turned up a screen shot that showed
what the "drawer" looks like, and then I realized the problem: the
Mail window needs to be smaller:
Ahh, that's better. Incidentally, I was pleased to note that Mac
OS X stores the mail in standard text mbox files (unlike the morons
at Microsoft who don't). You'll find these in your ~/Library/Mail
hierarchy. Of course they add indexing, but that's in separate
files as it should be.
Mac OS X mail has a very nice mail filtering capability that lets
you transfer, delete, reply, colorize, or redirect mail
automatically. The reply capability is particularly nice because it
lets you set different replies (or none at all) depending on the
message. I wish it had a little more power (I'd like to be able to
store some messages in multiple mailboxes for example), but it is
The new automatic spam filtering of Mac OS X mail is
My experience so far is that it works pretty well - you train it
by clicking "Junk" or "Not Junk" when you don't agree with its
decisions and it learns from your direction. I see no point in
leaving it in "Training" mode; the only difference between that and
"Automatic" is where it puts the Junk. As it becomes pretty good
very quickly, I see no reason not to just turn it on.
The decision making isn't done by the rules, except for where to
put the junk messages. There is a rule that controls that:
but that refers to a message already being "junk", which implies
that the decision has been made elsewhere. I see no place to
examine or edit the criteria, and that seems unfortunate because it
might very well need manual adjustment. I've beeen told that the
learning is done with some sort of Bayesian algorithm (and I
wouldn't have had a clue what that meant if I hadn't seen a show on
the Discovery channel about Bayes), but that's all I know so far.
Of course you can add to the Junk rule if the training doesn't work
out entirely perfectly, so that is a way to adjust its
See also Spamassassin
on Mac OS X
Redirect and Bounce
These two capabilities are not in Mozilla and should be. Eudora
does have Redirect, but not Bounce. Redirect lets you pass along a
message - it's similar to forwarding, except the ultimate recipient
doesn't immediately know that it was sent to you first (it's not a
security thing - just convenience). Bounce sends back a bounce to
the original sender that hopefully will make them decide that you
don't exist. Of course many spammers set false reply-to addresses,
but you really have not much to lose by trying - and since you can
apply this to an entire selection of messages, it's easy enough to
The final goodie is that Mac OS X mail can read aloud to you.
That's really a feature of Mac OS X, not Mail per se. I personally
can't imagine using this, but I suppose some people might.
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© 2012-07-09 Tony Lawrence