Words in Boxes

Nouns, verbs, and occasionally adjectives.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Great E-mail List Subscription Purge

One of my projects this weekend was cleaning up my Gmail account. That mostly involved hitting "archive" about 200 times and replying to e-mails that I should have replied to weeks ago. But the most important thing I did was unsubscribe from most of the 17 discussion lists I'm a member of and delete all their messages.

Chances are, if you do any programming work, you're subscribed to several such an e-mail lists. And, chances are (if you're like me), you only actually participate in perhaps one or two. My typical use pattern for most lists is to filter them into folders, browse them while I'm procrastinating, and search them when I'm looking for information. Gmail, with it's near infinite storage, encourages this archive-and-forget attitude. But the annoyance of having this background information clogging up my results when searching for my own, actual e-mail was starting to wear on me.

But no more.

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Although the logo makes it look like its from the early 90s, MarkMail is the Google of e-mail lists. It's a collected archive of thousands of discussion lists, with a great interface and a powerful search. It's also great for browsing current messages. Most of those lists already have public archives, but next to MarkMail, they all suck. A lot. Especially the third-party archives whose sole purpose is to increase the Google presence of their host. You know who I'm talking about. It's gotten to the point where I'm actually frustrated if an e-mail list isn't on MarkMail.

This lets me use my Gmail for what it was intended for — mail. Recommended.

I'm James Sulak, a software developer in Houston, Texas.

You can also find me on Twitter, or if you're curious, on my old-fashioned home page. If you want to contact me directly, you can e-mail comments@wordsinboxes.com.