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Postbox: A Powerful Cross-Platform Email Client [Review]

turns out that when I decided to search for a new e-mail app of choice, that Postbox won out. But I neglected to go into deeper details as to why this was the app I went with. So, to give you a better idea why Postbox isn’t just right for me but also might be right for you, here’s something a little more in-depth.

One of the things I really wanted with my new e-mail app of choice was one with familiar surroundings. Well, Postbox definitely gave me that – and a lot more. Sure, it isn’t nearly as minimal-looking as Sparrow was, but I wanted something that was a little bit more robust and also had a little bit more functionality to it in my search for its replacement.

And Postbox is more than just a little robust. It is perhaps the most powerful email app out there – for any platform.

The ability to have multiple e-mail accounts shift so easily from your existing mail application, whether it be Sparrow or Apple’s own, allows you to get right into Postbox very quickly. It looks a lot like the native Apple, but has a whole lot more under the hood.

If you’re a big Gmail user, then Postbox has you covered. In the Advanced/General preferences panel, you can set Postbox to use Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts and you can also create events within Google Calendar for detected dates. Further support for Gmail Labels includes the ability to tag your messages simply by typing the “L” key, and messages marked by Gmail as “Important” are now recognized within the Postbox thread pane and dedicated folder view. Since I’ve gone back to Gmail, having all of these abilities at my fingertips without having to resort to using Gmail on the web (or Mailplane, for that matter) is incredibly handy. You can also use a dedicated Important view within Postbox, which is great if you’re shifting from the Gmail web interface to a native app – the barrier to entry is that much lower.

As many of you may know, I’m not a fan of using your e-mail app to manage your tasks. But Postbox can do that if you need. You can “tag” to-dos within Postbox by simply selecting a message and pressing the “S” key. And these to-dos are automatically background colored to be easier to find.

Postbox also sports a variety of viewing options called “Smart Views”, one of which is called the To-Do View. This option lets you work on important tasks without distraction, which is great if you either use your email as a task manager (again, I don’t recommend this) or if you want to focus on dealing with particular aspects of your inbox by using this view in conjunction with the Unified Inboxes/Folders and the Focus Pane features. Postbox does integrate with several other apps, including Dropbox (allowing you to send links to your Dropbox files rather than the files themselves) and Evernote (you can send message content to Evernote - Mac only). TextExpander works just fine with Postbox and so do popular Mac task management apps Things and OmniFocus.

Speaking of the Focus Pane…I’m a huge fan of this feature. I can now “time chunk” my inbox using attributes such as favourite topics, contacts, by date, and more. I use Perspectives in OmniFocus a lot, and I also like the idea of Workspaces in Asana. Having a similar type of feature in my email app of choice is simply more than I could have hoped for when I embarked on this quest.

There are other aspects of Postbox that can serve to enhance your overall productivity, including canned responses (although I tend to use TextExpander for those – but this is a boon for Windows users who want to use Postbox), fast access to your email accounts and favourite folders from the Favourites Bar, and the ability to “Send and Archive” no matter which way you reply to a message (using the Quick Reply or Compose windows).

There are so many other things I absolutely love about Postbox (signature insertion support right from the toolbar, an incredibly fast and accurate search function on multiple levels, add-on support for services like SpamSieve, etc.) that it’s hard to highlight all of them. Instead, I’ve focused on the features that are of most importance to me: email efficiency and productivity enhancement. Postbox has both of those areas covered…in spades. And while I did some difficulty with some lag time in my early use of the app, Postbox came to the rescue with some recommendations for a fix right within the comments section of my blog.

Now that’s support!

As for the cost? For $9.95 USD, you are getting a stellar email app – and my email app of choice – at a great price. But if you’re not ready to buy quite yet, they offer a free 30-day trial to get you started. After purchase, you also get a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, meaning you’ll be getting a full 90 days to evaluate Postbox without any real risk. That’s how much they stand behind the app.

As well they should. It’s that damn good.

Postbox is my new email app of choice – and I highly recommend you head over to the company’s website to grab yourself a copy today. Your inbox will thank you.


Go For It

Fellow podcaster and writer Stephen Hackett wrote about how he’d love to take his work at 512pixels and turn it into his full time gig.

And he also wrote about how scared he is to just go for it.

I was too.

Back when I was working for the Victoria Film Festival, I was putting in my time (not to mention and energy and effort) for 40 hours a week there, and then plugging away for an additional 20–30 hours working for Envato from home. That meant a lot of evenings and weekends taken up by what I really wanted to do for work rather than spending those same evenings and weekends doing what I really wanted to do in general, which was have more time with my wife and kids.

Not just more time, though. More time where I was happy and fulfilled. Because any other time would have been perceived as putting in the time rather than spending it.

My wife was understandably frustrated. She wanted me to be happy and fulfilled, but was tired of the hours being spent trying to get there. She also knew the 40 hours working for the festival weren’t fulfilling anything other than keeping one foot in a seemingly stable job. I was only staying there because I was afraid – afraid that I’d not be able to provide for my family if I went out on my own with this “whole blogging thing” that not many even understood could pay the bills.

When I was faced with a fear far greater – the possibility of losing the person who stood by me for every risk I’d taken – I chose to face the fear of forging out on my own as a writer (now speaker, podcaster and editor as well) and quit the full time job at the festival. I put both feet into my new career, and then started putting one foot in front of the other…moving forward as I went.

There have been ups and downs – including losing my steady job as editor at WorkAwesome when the site sold not one month after taking the leap – but they have been worth it. I get to make choices instead of facing dilemmas. I get to spend quality time with my family instead of just checking in with them in between working hours. I get to work hard for myself and others…instead of the other way around.

Marco Arment also commented on Stephen’s post:

“When you work for yourself, it’s all just you. You take all of the risk, you handle all of the bullshit and paperwork, you get to (but need to) make every decision, and you reap all of the rewards.”

That’s ultimately why I went for it.

There’s no better era to take the leap and carve your own path than now, especially if you’ve got the support of friends and “fans” to help propel your efforts and keep you on course.

(Having an incredibly supportive partner is always helpful, of course.)

If you’re thinking about making the move, then you’re ready.

If you’ve already got the foundation in place to make the move, then you’re set.

There’s nothing left to do now except go for it. So do that.

And then just keep going.

Photo credit: Alan L. (CC BY 2.0)

How Stillness Works

I’ve only been in The Yukon for a little over two days, and I’m already noticing a difference.

The main difference is that I’m noticing more.

This is how stillness works. It provides you with a more acute sense of awareness because nothing - including yourself - is moving as fast as it usually does.

I’m noticing that I’m thinking more longview and less “little view”. I’m noticing the small things in a big space more than usual, such as the misspelling of a sign (as seen in the photo above) that neither my wife or mother-in-law had noticed in over 20 years of seeing it. I’m noticing that I’m a bit more transformed with every passing moment because I get to spend more time within each moment.

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind. Right now, the days feel like a breeze. Not necessarily easy, but something I dwell in rather than trudge through.

Often when you plow through something that you go into with he best of intentions, you make mistakes that are less obvious to some and yet are very clear to others. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, as long as the message is clear (like in the sign above).

But more often than not, it does.

That’s why we all need moments of stillness. They help us truly live in the moment. In those moments, we forget about the clutter on our lists and remember why we made the lists in the first place.

I Am Going A.M.

One of the big things about traveling across several time zones – and then coming back after only a short period of time – is that the attempts to stick to your own time zone becomes all the more necessary. I find it takes at least two days to get used to the new time zone, and then another two days to get reacquainted with my own once I return. Imagine taking a six-day trip across four time zones…and trying to time shift in he process.

I don’t think it’s all that wise.

But in my case, I’m traveling with a toddler who is used to getting up nice and early. Like 5 a.m. early. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, as my wife is a morning person and usually gets him in the early hours while I’m still sleeping from another evening of “night owlism”. However, she’s not here with me on this trip, so I’m up to bat.

Now this “5 a.m. early” for my son is actually 8 a.m. here because of the time zone difference, but if I stuck to my own time zone I’d be getting up at 11 a.m. and going to bed at 4 a.m. during my stay based on my usual sleeping and waking habits. The boy has altered my sleep due to his pattern, meaning I’m now getting up at the equivalent of 5 a.m. in my own time zone and hitting the sack at around 10 p.m. instead. This goes against all of my night owl instincts, but it’s happening.

And you know…I’m actually quite glad that it is, and I’m going to stick with it when I get home. Why?

Because my lifestyle has changed to the point where being a night owl no longer works for me or my family. In order to get the most out of my day (and my life), I need to get up earlier. So I will.

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