On Mon, 22 Sep 2003 21:40:15 +0200, Michal F. Hanula
> M2 (the Opera mailer --- it's quite hard to get used to, but very
I'm using M2, and I love it. It took me awhile to get used to, but now I
wish I could use the same priciple for organizing all of my files instead
of just my email!
If you get a lot of mail, and especially a lot of list mail, M2 is ideal.
If you are like me (and in many ways I hope you're not ;-) you put a lot
of value into your email. You want to be able to find what you need. I
used to spend a lot of time trying to decide how to file my email once I
had received it.
I tried a number of different methods for organizing my email. I tried
putting mail from certain people into certain folders so I could easily
find all the email messages from, say, my boss. But then my boss emailed
myself and a co-worker about something and then I didn't know what to do.
Should I save a copy in my boss' folder? What do I do if my co-worker
replies? Now I'm going to have messages about one topic in two folders,
how will I be able to find what I am looking for?
So I tried sorting messages by topic.... but soon I had another problem.
Either my topics were going to be very broad (and again I wouldn't always
sure which message had gone to which folder) or they were going to be very
specific, which meant a long list of folders.
Then M2 came to me and said, "The problem is not you. The problem is your
folders. Stop using folders." Of course I was confused, and scoffed at the
idea. I thought to myself, "Sure, right. I've tried that too, the method
of keeping everything in one huge folder. That didn't work either."
But M2 persisted. "No folders. Not even one," it said.
"Huh?" I said. No folders? ("There is no spoon")
Quitting folders meant learning a new way of thinking about email and how
it is stored. I won't lie to you, it took awhile to get used to it at
first. M2 operates differently from any other mail client I have ever
But the learning curve, while initially steep, was well worth the time
invested in it.
M2 doesn't use folders. Really. Instead it uses what is essentially a
database. All of your email goes into the database and is stored in there.
Think of it as a circle. All of your email is inside the circle. You can
enter the circle from a number of different directions.
- Come into the circle from one direction, and you can find all the
messages sent to a certain mailing list.
- Come into the circle from another direction, and you can find all the
messages sent by a certain person.
- From another direction, you can find all the messages that match a
certain keyword, or a certain Subject.
- From another direction, and you can find all the messages with have
Or all the messages that you have flagged with certain labels (Important,
To-Do, Valuable, Funny, Call Back, Email back, meeting)
It used to be that to store that information together, it would have to be
in a folder, and only in that folder. But M2 doesn't use folders.
M2 uses something called Access Points (which is also spelled as
"accesspoints") instead of folders. The key to understanding Access Points
is the key to understanding M2. It is revolutionary, not evolutionary, in
that it breaks from the way things have always been and creates something
Access Points are simply one way to organize a group of messages. You can
access your email through any number of points, just like you could enter
(access) the circle from any number of directions (points).
In M2, one message could be in 2 Access Points. For example, I could have
an accesspoint which contained all the emails from my boss. (Actually, by
adding my boss to my Contacts, M2 will automatically create that
accesspoint in the Contacts Panel.) However, if my boss sent me an email
with an attachment, I could find the same message under one of the
Attachments Access Points (depending on what kind of attachment it was).
Instead of having to choose 1 folder for the email message, M2 simply lets
it be seen in both Access Points.
M2 does not store email in folders. It stores them in Access Points.
With M2, my email is easier to store and retrieve. M2 is very fast, even
with several thousand messages stored. Actually at one point I had around
60,000 messages in an earlier version of M2 and found that was about where
I found M2 to slow down (but again, that was a much earlier version of M2
and on my 3 year old computer with 650Mhz processor and 256 RAM).
Email is also easier to sort and find, because I can store things however
I want to. Searches are done very quickly, I assume because of the way
that Opera stores the mail. Which reminds me, that is another thing I like
about M2: it stores mail in plain-text format. Why should you care?
Because it means that you can always access your email, even if M2 failed
for some reason. I once had a 25 megabyte mailbox file that Outlook
decided could no longer be opened. Outlook stores its mail in a
proprietary (closed) format, so I was out of luck. The mail was lost: it
was there, but it couldn't be opened.
That day I vowed that I would never use a mail program that didn't use a
plain-text format. I wouldn't something telling me that my email was lost.
(At this point if you are still not clear, you may want to read the
Official M2 Tutorial before continuing).