#email

From the piece on email newsletters I quoted yesterday, here’s David Carr:

Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.

This makes complete sense. On the infinite internet, it’s impossible to stay on top of everything. So find a curator you trust — and ideally, a few of them since, again, no one person can be on top of everything — and go with that.

Lucy Mangan:

Under the deal, which affects around 250,000 employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones – or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita. And companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to do so. Thus the spirit of the law – and of France – as well as the letter shall be observed.

While the initial headlines overplayed it, this is still pretty great. And very French. Viva la email resistance! 

Team Mailbox:

Today, we’re proud to announce a new service built directly into Mailbox that learns from your swipes and snoozes to automate common actions. Mute that thread you don’t care about, snooze messages from your friends until after work, and route receipts to a list — automatically. We call this service Auto-swipe.

Auto-swipe is something we wanted to release with the first version of Mailbox, but it’s only with recent improvements to our infrastructure that such a smart service has been possible.

This really is something the team has talked about since the beginning. And it’s potentially very powerful — think: Gmail filters re-thought for mobile.

Also, Mailbox and Android is here today. And, perhaps most importantly, Mailbox for Mac is nearly ready for testing. If you’ve ever tried to use the OS X Mail app with Gmail, this will be the best news ever for you. One might call it “a glass of ice water in hell”.

Harry McCracken:

In the end, Gmail ended up running on three hundred old Pentium III computers nobody else at Google wanted. That was sufficient for the limited beta rollout the company planned, which involved giving accounts to a thousand outsiders, allowing them to invite a couple of friends apiece, and growing slowly from there.

As much as I rag on email, it’s hard to imagine a world without Gmail. Actually, it’s terrifying. We’d still be using email, but it would probably look like this.

Sarah Green, looking into “the daily routines of geniuses” from the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. One finding:

A clear dividing line between important work and busywork. Before there was email, there were letters. It amazed (and humbled) me to see the amount of time each person allocated simply to answering letters. Many would divide the day into real work (such as composing or painting in the morning) and busywork (answering letters in the afternoon). Others would turn to the busywork when the real work wasn’t going well. But if the amount of correspondence was similar to today’s, these historical geniuses did have one advantage: the post would arrive at regular intervals, not constantly as email does.

It would be great to go back to such a world, where interruptions arrived but once a day. But I do wonder if there’s a way to simulate that through scheduling and discipline…

I love everything about this post.