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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 2:09 pm

RIP E-mail

In order to decease dependence on E-mail, starting today I will have an automated response channeling people to other routes of communication. Here is the template:

From: Roy Schestowitz – Autoreply Message

Re: %subject% – Message Received

%from%,

I am in the process of replacing E-mail correspondence with other, more effective & real-time means of communication. I still read my E-mail, but I do not read it regularly. I will collect messages about once a week, which makes manual filtering of spam a lot faster.

If you are willing to have a conversation with me, please consider creating/using an account in identi.ca < http://identi.ca/ > (or Twitter) where I can be contacted by handle @schestowitz. Alternatively, you can find me on IRC, under the Freenode network at channel #techrights

If the E-mail is urgent, please send mail to [redacted], which I will read more regularly. For an explanation of why I prefer to phase my E-mail accounts out, see < http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/email.html >

E-mail is still necessary for management of online accounts and sometimes passing of files (there are other means for that too). Due to high volumes of spam & phishing, E-mail is also dangerous. I wrote a great deal about E-mail since 2004. 6 years later I’m giving up.

2 Responses to “RIP E-mail”

  1. Scott Tobkes Says:

    “Who would’ve thunk it?”…although I believe people have their *legacy* e-mail automatically forwarded to a mobile or smart phone.

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Scott,

    After two weeks of almost no E-mail I decided that I might reattempt E-mail at a later stage. Someone sent me some tips regarding spam filtering and management:

    You should not give up email. Every other form of communication will eventually have the same problems, so you had better figure out how to defeat them. Email is the most mature protocol with the most mature tool set, so it is probably best at solving the problems. At the end of the day, organization and capacity are the solutions to spam until insecure software like Windows is history.

    You can defeat spam by creating filters for everyone you want to talk to. This is trivial in kmail, which has a right click “add filter” button and dialog with options for filtering by author, thread, subject or combination as well as many actions for matches. Each person I want to talk to has a sub directory tucked away in category subdirectories. My mom, for instance, has a maildir called “mom” in my “family” maildir. I regularly archive email from people by year so things don’t get too cluttered. My wife’s maildir, for example, has subdirectories, “1997″, “1998″ and so on to the present day.
    Kmail supports maildir, mbox and many other local and remote types of mailboxes. The bottom line is that when I get a message from someone I want to talk to, I know it without having to wade through my “inbox”. The only people who might get lost this way are people that might want to contact me that I don’t know about. I imagine all free software email clients have the features needed to defeat spam with this kind of simple white listing.

    Email Searching is effortless, unless I have encrypted the mail. I imagine gpg-agent will be used to solve that problem in the future because it can already remember my keys for sessions so that I don’t have to type in my passphrase every time I open a letter. This was a struggle to set up with KDE 3.5 but Evolution works that way out of the box. Eventually, this will be worked into search functions.

    Mobile devices, currently, may not have the capacity to deal with all of my mail and none of them have acceptable privacy. I only have 1.7 GB of mail, but I think this would choke most cell phone mail clients. What’s more important than that is that all cellphones are non free software devices. Even if I could get kmail, kaddressbook and other useful software on them, I would not want to share the contents with my telco provider. The smallest device I have for the purpose now is a 2.5 pound Thinkpad X30 with full drive encryption Debian GNU/Linux. One day, I might go back to having my current email repository on a desktop in my house and ssh into it, but I still consider US networks too poor for the purpose. When I want to stay in touch, I lug the laptop in a shoulder bag. If cell phone networks improve, I might get a usb dongle like Virgin offers.

    Tablet computers offer some welcome weight reduction without sacrificing size. and may yet work with free software. As a EEE pc user and a 2002 Sharp Zaurus owner, I can say that I’ve waited a long time for these devices to come up to speed. Gnome Palmtop Environment was ready back in 2004 but the devices were crushed in the retail channel. I’m not willing to give up my privacy and software freedom to get better than what my EEE PC gives me. I treat systems with non free software, like skype, like spies and don’t feed them current passwords or my email archives.

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