Recommended Email Client for Mac?

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trystwiththemoon
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:18 pm Post

I've been tearing my hair out for a couple of days, and then it struck me that fellow Scriveners may have some good advice :-)

I'm a _relatively_ new Mac user, and have stuck with the default Apple Mail for my email. However, now that I'm starting to use it in anger, I'm hitting a few frustrations and am wondering what other, more experienced users have chosen for their email clients?

Thanks in advance...

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Luciano
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:28 pm Post

I'm pretty happy with mail.app.

I just added mailtags and mailacton from http://indev.ca/ integrating it with iCal and making easier moving messages around.

What are your frustrations about it?

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alexwein
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:45 pm Post

Yes, it would be helpful to know what you find lacking in Mail. I've used other email clients but am quite satisfied with Mail these days.
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
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trystwiththemoon
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:46 pm Post

Perhaps it's a general thing rather than a Mail thing.

I've been trying to create an email signature which includes a small image (company logo). It looks fine when I send a test to myself, but when I sent to a friend on a Windows Outlook client (which I imagine most of my recipients will be on), they had various odd characters showing up in the text.

It's fine if I set my message to be plain text - but that sucks as far as presentation is concerned. I'm not just making it look pretty for the sake of it - this will be a marketing email so it needs to look good :-(

Grumble grumble grumble....

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alexwein
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:49 pm Post

Hmmm, I have never had this problem, and I too use a graphic with my signature. I have, however, had an issue with question marks appearing after every sentence for some Windows users. I didn't experience this with Entourage, but I have't used it for a while. I too would be interested in what others have to say about this.
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
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Luciano
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:58 pm Post

trystwiththemoon wrote:I've been trying to create an email signature which includes a small image (company logo). It looks fine when I send a test to myself, but when I sent to a friend on a Windows Outlook client (which I imagine most of my recipients will be on), they had various odd characters showing up in the text.


Being the non-hacker that I am I would ask my friend if I can prepare my signature at his computer in Win/outlook, send it to myself and copy it.

Worked for me :oops:

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fldsfslmn
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:38 pm Post

There are ways in which Apple's supposed cleverness has actually had a stultifying effect on software development in some pretty basic areas. Mail.app, iCal, and Address Book are all borderline legacy apps as far as I'm concerned. They are, each in their own way, woeful bits of software which have managed to corner the market and make it difficult for anyone—commercially or in the open source community—to develop a viable alternative. Same goes for iTunes. There is no work being done to contest its dominance on the platform. (Yes, there is Songbird, but I don't want another web browser.) It doesn't look like OS X 10.5 is going to address much of anything in this respect, but you will certainly be able to add fancy background images to your email messages.

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AmberV
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:44 pm Post

This is the one really frustrating area for me with the Mac. There simply isn't a really good email client! I have tried so many, and all of them have critical flaws. Mail.app, like most Apple consumer level software, is only good up to a point. If all you need are the extreme basics out of a program than it'll probably do just fine, but the moment you need anything more advanced (or aren't sold on the AppleWayOfDoingThings) you are completely out of luck. With Mail.app, the fact that I cannot force plain text display by default and must look at every company's ugly idea of what a newsletter should look like buggers me to no end, let alone what ordinary people with no design taste at all think are good display fonts and stationary designs. I don't want to see Any of that. I just want what was being said. But then, since your issue is trying to attach images to your signature (?!), I guess this isn't really something that bothers you.

The second big missing feature is certification and encryption. Yes, there are plug-ins which provide that, but they are essentially hacks which may or may not work when new versions come out. Encryption of important data is not something you want to mess around with and leave to somebody's hobby; hoping they'll keep updating the plug-in whenever Apple breaks it. There are a lot of other little things that I don't like. Why does it need its own format for storing emails--for example? Why not just use mbox?

Thunderbird is the most frequently proffered alternative to anyone needing advanced features. I should give it another spin one of these days, but in the past I've found it to be extremely slow, and lacking in OS X integration. It has the same problem that a lot of archaic email clients have; a clunky, highly idiosyncratic interface.

You'd think that after all of these years, somebody would have come up with a decent alternative to the old terminal based Pine/Elm/Mutt email clients. Alas, no. These are still by far the best email clients for me.

After posting: fldsfslmn, absolutely my problem. Apple has created a wide variety of applications in rather important positions, and then distributed them for free with the operating system, while making them at a quality level which could only be described as a "gateway drug." Good enough for the casual user, but that is it, and meanwhile choking the market because how do effectively compete against pervasive freeware that is professionally designed and just slick enough to make it extremely difficult to quality match for an independent software house? It's the same problem Netscape ran up against when Microsoft started forcing Internet Explorer on everyone. Browser quality took a universal nose dive for a long time because of that. There are similar blind spots all over the software arena on the Mac because of the iLife suite and other bundled applications. Lots of really great specialist programs like Scrivener--but a decent PIM? Good luck.
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Ioa Petra'ka
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trystwiththemoon
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:17 pm Post

Thanks everyone, at least I know it's not me being dim (this time...).

I've been testing different variations for hours and can certainly replicate the problem, having dusted off my old Windows PC. Incredibly, it seems that I'm going to have to use that for 'serious' emails.

Thanks again to all :-)

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Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:47 pm Post

I'm pretty happy these days with Mail.app/SpamSieve and my assortment of plugins (Mail Act-On, Dockstar, and MailTags) but I found Entourage to be a pretty nice mail client during the couple of years I used it. Hard to recommend though if you didn't already need Office. Others have already mentioned Thunderbird, but other than it's cross-platform architecture, which is a big plus in some situations, I prefer Entourage or Mail.app. Eudora is highly regarded by some folks, but I always found it a bit odd relative to other email clients I've used. There's also Mailsmith from Bare Bones. I've not used it, but I've used BBEdit for years, and they're a good company, so it might be worth a look.
Keith Kastorff

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Lauram
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:11 pm Post

This doesn't address your concern, tryst, but I recently talked with a friend who was still using Eudora because she had a huge list of form letters (she's an editor, and when I was an editor, I had a lot of them, too) that she didn't think she could import to Mail. I told her about MailTemplates, which enabled me to make the switch, too. I've been using MailTags as well. With the right plug-ins, you can work around some of Mail's limitations. Eudora did enable me to see messages as text-only, but this more often than not presented problems as a lot of people are now embedding essential information in graphics. Eudora is no long supported for Mac, though, so I can't recommend it.

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Studio717
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:06 pm Post

Are you sure this is a mail problem and not a Unicode/not Unicode problem?

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trystwiththemoon
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:25 pm Post

To be honest, I'm not 'sure' about anything; I've been reading around the subject all day and my brain is now very fuddled! I did try setting the encoding to UniCode but it didn't help - though I'm no expert and I don't really understand all the terminology and what's going on behind the scenes.

However, I have finally got what I think is a workable solution, from http://www.hopkingdesign.com/journal/2006/11/06/creating-an-xhtml-signature-for-apples-mail/.

This guy's website explains it better than I ever will, but in short, I created an HTML signature that gets called from my server, and did some trickery in the signatures dialog to call it. So far, it seems the most elegant solution and it has cleared problems with spurious characters in text and lost attachments.

Again, thanks to all for giving your thoughts on this :-)

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Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:54 pm Post

AmberV wrote:With Mail.app, the fact that I cannot force plain text display by default and must look at every company's ugly idea of what a newsletter should look like buggers me to no end, let alone what ordinary people with no design taste at all think are good display fonts and stationary designs. I don't want to see Any of that. I just want what was being said.

The mail client in Opera has an option to display plain text rather than HTML. It also blocks remote images by default.

I've been using Opera for about nine months. I love having everything in the one window - email, contact lists, newsfeeds, newsgroups, widgets, favourite urls panel, tabbed web surfing with session memory.

The downside is that Opera is a Carbon port that doesn't always play nicely with other apps, so note-taking integration is less than ideal. Still, I'm happy to cut-and-paste a url as a tradeoff for being able to do all my other Internet stuff in one window.
"Writers are troublemakers. A psychotherapist tries to relieve stress, strain, and pressure. Writers are not psychotherapists. Their job is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure." - Sol Stein

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AmberV
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Wed Jul 04, 2007 12:40 am Post

Opera is a nice browser, and I always forget that it has a pretty decent email client built in. Thunderbird also does plain-text force and image blocking. About every three months I get the urge to try Opera again. It pretty much does everything right as far as interface goes, for me. It's extremely powerful and easy to use. Unfortunately, the thing that always holds me back in the end is missing my Firefox web dev extensions, and Opera's rendering engine is less than perfect on many sites. If they started using either Gecko or even WebKit (assuming it is now cross platform?), I think I could end up using it full time, and just use Firefox for development.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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