Mail Weirdness

I like how Apple handles email. I have a .Mac account so mail on my Mac is the same as the mail on my .Mac mail account, which is very convenient because I can see it anywhere thereis an Internet connection. Itis done through the magic of the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) which is the foundation of Appleis mail offering.

One feature of .Mac mail Iim starting to use more is aliases; I get 5 with .Mac and Iive set some up to be mail-firewalls; sort of a level of indirection between me and my real .Mac account and the unwashed masses on the Net. I use alias accounts when I visit sites that demand email addresses. You never know where addresses left on these site wind up. If I start getting odd mail or junk in a particular alias, I delete it and start a new one. Very handy.

I set up another alias recently and noticed that something wasnit quite right; mail on my Mac and on my .Mac account was not jiving when I got mail through an alias.

See, .Mac lets you send and receive mail through an alias and, on the .Mac website at least, you can identify which alias a note came in on by the highlighted color. For instance, mail coming in on my [email protected] alias shows up highlighted red in my inbox on the .Mac website. Very nice. Also, when you reply to a note sent to an alias .Mac automagically sets to iFrom:i field to the alias, and not your .Mac mail address, thus letting you stay hidden behind your alias.

Good stuff indeed. My problem was that these features never worked on my Mac in the Mail app. It hadnit really bothered me until I decided to set up another alias. I really needed to use the alias for replying, so the automagic iFrom:i field feature needed to be fixed, else I would have to do all of my mail from the .Mac website, or use the drop-down iAccounti menu in Mail; hardly convenient.

As I poked at my Mail setup I noticed that my .Mac mail account did not let me set up aliases from within the as the instructions said it should; there was no "Edit Email Alias" button, and when I compose a new note or reply to one my .Mac mail aliases are never offered as choices in the iAccountsi menu.

I poked and prodded some more, but could find no way to get my current IMAP account to do what it should, so I created another account, and THAT one did allow me to use my .Mac mail aliases. Itis odd that the new account is labeled i.Maci and the old one iIMAPi, but I paid it no mind.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy: When I deactivated my old IMAP Mail account none of my .Mac mail was viewable. I could see that I had mail in my inbox, but when I selected a note I would get a warning stating that the note was not available and that I would have to activate my account (my old IMAP account) to read it.

Eh? Isnit mail on the server? Why do I need my old account to see .Mac email?

So I reactivated the account and sure enough, the mail was readable. This did not affect mail I viewed from the Net in my .Mac account, which is SUPPOSE to be the mail I see in my Mail app.

What I wound up doing was blowing both my old IMAP account (after backing it up first) and the new .Mac mail account in Mail. Then I created another new .Mac mail account in Mail. The "Edit Email Alias" button appeared and I had to select it so that my aliases were isyncedi. Then I had to restart the Mail app.

Now, my aliases work the way they are suppose to from my Mail app as well as from my .Mac mail, the way it should. It still does not highlight notes sent to my aliases when read in the Mail app, however, and according to Apple, that is not a feature of the Mail app, which is silly. Hopefully it will be a feature when Leopard comes out.

.Mac is a great way to stay connected, and I hope Apple beefs up its email offering. I think, in doing so Apple can compete better with the likes of Microsoft who, whether you like them or not, does have a fairly decent email system.

And, no matter what Steve Ballmer thinks, competition is a good thing.