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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

I miss using email

19 May 2020 4 mins Email, IM, Skype, Teams

I miss good old email. You know the tool that anybody can reach you at, you can use any tool you want and basically can do anything with it yourself.

Let me give you bit of “messaging” history from my own world and I’ll circle back to email at the end.

Originally my email – long before Gmail, if you’d like to ask (yes, I’m not young anymore) – was hosted by whatever ISP I was using in dial-up era. Eventually I managed to get my own domain and used email together with my university email. At that time using Mutt and Linux/UNIX machines. Sometimes I miss Mutt a bit too. Later, for a while, I also installed/configured/managed Dovecot, Postfix and SpamAssassin on my server to handle my email. But it’s too much effort when doing it just for self, in my opinion.

Then IM became more popular. Basically, everybody here was using ICQ. That was good, as again, you could reach whoever you wanted without too much hassle.

As ICQ was getting out of usage other platforms came, I remember AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and eventually pure Jabber. Some people were on AIM, some on Google Talk and so on. Luckily multiplatform client programs were available, I personally remember Pidgin, Psi and Trillian. It was bit of a mess, true. Eventually, at least in technical rings, Jabber became de-facto standard and everything was more or less fine. Plus, email was still working.

Now we’re getting into Skype era. Again, it mostly won at its time and was easy to reach people and people could reach you. In fact, Skype is my go-to “talking” platform even today.

And finally, nowadays it’s Teams, Slack, etc. And I don’t like the current state. Let’s take Teams, which I’m facing most often. I’m not saying it’s a bad product, it’s just that my usage is very incompatible with these platforms. I’m “guest” in multiple organizations in Teams, the desktop app basically doesn’t handle this, in iOS application I have to switch manually. But I also have regular (non-guest) account. Even more mess. If somebody from some organization wants to have a call with me I either need to be again invited as a guest or have an invitation link (if there’s some other option, I’m sorry I’m just an ignorant user and it never happened to be obvious to me or the other side). The link doesn’t seem to be too bad, right? The catch is that at that case I can’t use the chat (and I can’t use it in Firefox, my currently default browser). And sadly enough, Teams does not have an application in Microsoft Store.

I’m not saying all these platforms are bad or that email would work fine in all these cases. But even a quick look into my phone I see Facebook Messenger, Skype, Teams and WhatsApp to be able to reach people I care about. My usage is different, I don’t work for a single company, on a company laptop, etc. I often use just instant messaging and calls on all these platforms, because for the rest it sucks if you’re not 100% in.

I wish people used email more. It’s not bad or anything. It works – everywhere, always – and works fine for half of the stuff that the above-mentioned platforms are trying to force on us at least in technical rings, where I’m mostly. Especially if you want to have stuff neatly organized, organized your way. I miss email.

Do you agree? Send me an email. Additionally, if you want great email provider, I can’t recommend enough FastMail (link with 10% discount).

Profile Picture Jiří Činčura is an independent developer focusing on data and business layers, language constructs, parallelism and databases. Specifically Entity Framework, asynchronous and parallel programming, cloud and Azure. He's Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and you can read his articles, guides, tips and tricks at www.tabsoverspaces.com.