Issue 37 Jul 02, 2023

I love email


I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing it the same day as you’re going to get it, which is odd for me. It’s been quite a week though, and this is my first slow moment. Luckily, I can spend it writing an email.

You see, I love email. It’s gotten a bad rep, and numerous services and startups have both tried to replace it, and make it work differently. To me, email was never a bad thing, not since we moved over from POP3 to IMAP. Sure, there’s better and more secure technology out there, but the fact that my email account will work, and synchronise, with any device using standard protocols is great. Amazing, really. I don’t need a specific app for a specific service, not as long as I stick with the open standards (i.e., no Proton or Skiff). You can’t say that about Slack, possibly the worst solution to “the email problem” to date. There, you are stuck with the Slack app, which is basically the same as running the service in the web browser. And it whines at you in real-time, breaking your workflow.

Email just works. Well, it can go down, too, of course – anything online can, but it’s not particularly common with larger outages. I did experience one on Friday, some eight hours of work without email might sound like a good thing, but it was disastrous and disruptive. Email is a communication method for so many things. For clients not being able to reach you, logins that won’t work due to authentication links or codes, and the inability to reply to conversations where you’re expected to, that’s just not a fun experience.

Email usually doesn’t let me down like that, and to be fair, it didn’t. Fastmail did, and not for the first time either, so I’m definitely done with them now (see issue 31 for more).

The fact that email is something we’ve all got makes it the most natural way to communicate online. Not the fastest by any means, it’s an ad-hoc slow way of communicating, and for many things that’s superior. It’s also a way for me to reach a group of you with these letters, as it is for so many others now that the newsletter boom is in full swing. With social media deteriorating by the minute, email won’t.

The elephant in the room is how you manage your inbox. I know people with hundreds of thousands of emails marked as unread, clearly displayed in a notification badge. That doesn’t seem productive or intuitive to me, but it’s no fault of email that you won’t read it, delete or archive it. Inboxes can be swamped despite our best efforts, though. Too many newsletter subscriptions is one thing, many of which you probably were forced into while shopping online. Spam and phishing attempts can squeeze itself in, not to mention unnecessary notifications from online services you might use. It’s a nuisance, but you have the tools to handle them: Unsubscribe, mark as spam, delete delete delete.

My inbox has been overflowing a bit lately. I can’t keep up because I’ve added a lot of newsletters, so during the coming week, I’ll give it a culling. Then I’ll love email even more, again. How about that?


📞 Kev Quirk considered a dumb phone, but opted not to dive in. That sounds like a wise choice, and also the outcome (sort of) of my experiment a while ago.

🦆 A troll challenged the best fighting game player in the world, and the story ends with a duck furry.

🤬 Elon Musk is capping the amount of tweets you can see per day, probably to avoid paying Google Cloud, and Reddit has enforced its API so that you’re more or less forced to use the default app. There’s plenty of coverage on this, but I really don’t feel like linking the sources, which, ironically, are on Twitter and Reddit. Makes me wish that Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match wasn’t bogus.

📟 This was an insightful piece: How technology has changed the world since I was young. It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come.

👂 Speaking of technology, can AirPods Pro save your ears at a concert?

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, or tweeting to @tdh. Thanks!


📚 I'm reading another Dresden novel, this time I'm up to Dead Beat. They're improving with every installment.

🎵 I'm as surprised as the next fellow, but I've been listening to a yellow called Blake Sheldon, especially his latest album, Body Language. It's hit and miss, but there are some nice songs on there.

📺 We started watching Fatal Attraction, the series. It's promising thus far.

🎮 No time for games this week, but I hope to finish Mass Effect 2 after I send this letter. I'm playing it on my ROG Ally, which is fine but perhaps not the same experience as on an Xbox Series X on a big screen.

I was at a wedding yesterday, which means that everything is a little slow today. Social burnout, and partying in the sun, into the night, takes its toll. Luckily today has been rainy, and other than this letter, I’ve had nothing on my plat. I’m going to while it away, and then start the last working week before the summer holidays energized. Hopefully.

Until next week, remember your umbrella.

— Thord D. Hedengren ⚡

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