Newsletter #363 Preview: How I Got Liberated with IMAP

November 13th, 2006

The normal way of handling email is pretty basic. Your Mac or PC logs onto your ISP or independent email service, retrieves the messages and logs off. Forgetting the technology behind it, the system seems to work most of the time; that is, until you want to access your account from more than one computer. Then things get a little complicated.

Up till now, I’ve performed the fast-and-dirty method of synchronizing the mailboxes between my desktop and note-book Macs. That meant copying the files from one to the other and back again, as needed. Or I just accessed my email via the service provider’s online interface, but that creates a disconnect when I need to send messages. They won’t be copied during the normal backup process.

My Webmaster, Brent Lee, suggested going IMAP, an email scheme that provides a much more sophisticated degree of server-side management. The mail server would know, for example, whether or not I read and deleted a message, and could store my sent messages as well. I could easily move from one computer to the other and the state of my various mailboxes would be the same.

Unfortunately, the hosting provider that I use for this site and the others, Go Daddy, only supports POP rather than IMAP. This raised the possibility of switching to another service, which I rejected after doing a little research and discovering that Go Daddy is one of the highest-rated hosting firms out there.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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