Gmail doesn’t work very well for me as a primary email client; I spend a lot of time dealing with email off-line and would rather not deal with switching back and forth between on-line and off-line clients.

But, for the past few months, I’ve been treating Gmail as my POP server, re-routing my email to Gmail and downloading it from there to my client. It was not without hiccups. A few times, the POP service stopped working for 20-60 minutes at a time. One time, Gmail’s POP service stopped working entirely for me, and to re-enable it, I had to turn off POP and turn it back on, forcing me to re-download thousands and thousands of emails. Ugh…

The final straw, however, was junk mail. Gmail has an excellent junk mail filter. I love it. And I like the idea of having a filter trained by all their accounts, not just mine (as I assume it is). However, it has way too many false positives. For a while, I would page through the spam, one 50-email page at a time, finding them, but with a monthly spam count of 11,000, that gets old real fast. Because my OS X address book is the one I use, not Gmails, the address book rule (not marking anything as spam that is from someone in my address book) wasn’t terribly helpful. And at some point, Gmail decided any email from my blog to me (e.g., notifying of new comments) was spam, too, no matter how many I marked as not spam.

I tried to configure Gmail to not mark anything as spam and let me download it all for spam filtering on the client, but no such luck. A feature to download even messages marked as junk would have worked, too; OS X Mail recognizes spam headers that Gmail could set, and it might have been a really effective way to get things done… but alas, no such feature.

So, I’m back to using my own server as my POP server. I’ll still route email to both my server and my Gmail account, so I can access my email in the rare case when I need to from the web, and I hope at some point to have Gmail be my POP server in the future.

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