How do people deal with email?
As part of writing a new mail client I'm wondering about how to change my email-life, and how other people process/handle their incoming email.
I sort my incoming email into folders at delivery-time using procmail. Mail is generally filtered into mailboxes on the basis of the company that sent it, the person that sent it, or the machine which generated it.
Because I manage a lot of machines personally I've split things up so that I have a folder per host. So on a morning I might have unread mail in the following folders:
machines.steve.org.uk/ machines.da-db1/ machines.da-db2/ machines.da-web1/ machines.da-web2/ machines.da-web3/ machines.da-web4/
The per-machine mailboxes usually contain a single mail every day from LogWatch, along with output from any cron-jobs. For example today I received the mail:
From: Cron Daemon To: email@example.com Subject: Cron firstname.lastname@example.org /home/steve/bin/download-check URL http://nodejs.org/ - no longer matches v0.10.9
Generally speaking I don't need to read the per-machine messages. I'll keep the most recent 100 for reference, but only need to look if something seems "off" on a machine. But if I don't look I'd not see the node upgrade notice, so find that I do read them after all.
This suggest to me that email isn't the right way to handle this kind of thing. Instead I should use a notification system - at work we have a central service called MauveAlert (yes, Red Dwarf reference). Mauve receives "alerts" of various kinds, via UDP. The alerts are then fanned out to appropriate people via XMPP, Email, or SMSs.
I have a similarly-inspired system I use on my Debian Administration cluster. A (node) service runs non-stop collecting UDP messages and showing them on a dashboard. I look at it throughout the day to see when slaughter runs, etc.
Anyway in conslusion I get a lot of mail. Some of it is related to random projects, and all ends up in the steve.org.uk/ mailbox, some of it relates to machines, and gets filed away, and I have regular conversions with folk so I have a .people.kirsi/ folder which receives a lot of attention, for example.
ObRandom:daily() - Mark ~/Maildir/.machines.*, etc, read.