Time to share one of my dirty little secrets. Until a few days ago, I had no clue how IMAP really worked. I know that we had a very bad experience with some IMAP thingy at the office a few years ago and one of my techs at the time told me to use POP and forget about it. So I did.
Well fast forward a few years and now I'm finding myself reading the same email 3 times: Once on my iPhone, once on my Mac, and once on my office windows box. It is starting to drive me batty. It is bad enough when spam sneaks through my filters once but to get it three times is maddening.
So I've been emailing off and on a bit with Dave Hamilton who does the excellent Mac Geek Gab podcast about my iPhone and he asked me how it handles IMAP. This got me thinking about why I wasn't using IMAP and I realized that I had no idea what it really was but maybe it would solve this problem. Of course it did. For those of us non-techy monkey types, IMAP simply keeps your mail somewhere on the net and allows you to manage it from any mail client. So I can delete the spam viagra add once and never see it again. I also can sort emails into my various archives and attack those items in my "to respond" folder from anywhere courtesy of my iPhone.
There are some great web resources for figuring this all out. One that was helpful to me was this Screencast at AllForces.
Now there are a few things I have yet to sort out. My office email is based on a specific law office management program and I don't think the IMAP pill can solve that problem. Also, the MacSparky email address is not on a IMAP server so I'm going to have to figure out the cheapest/easiest way to move it onto one. Finally, there is a another acronym in these email programs that escapes me and I need to figure out. Specifically, what the heck is SSL? I guess that is a question for another day.