Gmail & Thunderbird IMAP Goodness

Is nicely explained by the Lifehacker crew. It’s not the exact setup I use, but the main point is the same.

Upon reflection, one of the fascinating consequences of GMail using IMAP (which, by the way, is a very significant technical achievement, as IMAP, while a very powerful protocol, is also very hard to implement in a scalable way) is that people can now get free email with an IMAP server. This is important not just for power-users like the Lifehackers, but also for people using smartphones (iPhone, Treos, etc.). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other major webmail providers coming out with IMAP support as well. We may see yet see IMAP get its fair market share.

For many, IMAP support turns GMail into a high-performance mail server with spam filtering, which by the way can be used with a web front-end — as opposed to what it was last week: a webmail system with POP access.

This email world is a lot more fluid than people realize.

Gmail enables IMAP

It’s nice to see that Gmail now supports (at least for some accounts) IMAP access. It will make talking to it from the iPhone much nicer — as I mentioned last week, IMAP is just a much better protocol.

It seems that they’re mapping labels to IMAP folders, which is an natural but non-trivial idea, as multiple labels can be assigned to a single email, but AFAIK IMAP doesn’t have the concept of a single email message in multiple folders. Also, the labels are per-conversation, not per-email, so the metaphors don’t line up perfectly. I wonder what happens to conversational labels if one uses IMAP to move a single email across folders…

Gmail POP access throttles?

I’m using Thunderbird’s nifty Gmail interface to pull all of my gmail email down. Yesterday, things were fine and it was getting 400-500 emails at a time. Today it seems to be throttled down to 1-4 emails at a time, meaning that I’m still getting stuff from July 2006. Is that a known behavior? Makes Gmail’s POP interface somewhat less useful…

[update: filed a bug w/ google, got a followup which explained that they were working on it, and now that I’m back on my home mac, the problem appears to be solved!]

Is it possible to use the “direct GPRS” connection to talk to the net on

I’m trying to get the Gmail mobile app to work on my BenQ-Siemens EF81. I have a Fido account with a GPRS plan.

I can get to the web using the built-in browser by setting up a “Connectivity Profile” that points to, and creating a “Internet Profile” that specifies a proxy address of (from here). However, gmail doesn’t work then (gets stuck on “Loading…”).

I’m thinking it’s because I should be using a direct GPRS connection instead of WAP (whatever that means in practice), as Google suggests.

Any idea how to do so?

I hate technology that makes me feel stupid, and this phone UI, combined with the acronym soup that is telecom, makes me feel stupid.