Tuesday, November 14, 2006

attachment disorder...

I absolutely despise email attachments.

The external mail server for my work email is notoriously unreliable, often going down for days at a time with no warning or explanation. It's also hideously slow, particularly during normal business hours.

Now, I'm one of those very geeky types who likes to use IMAP to access everything, which keeps the email on the server and manipulates it all in-place. Regardless of what computer I might be using, all my mail is right there and easily accessible.

The problem is, I get a steady stream of attachments coming in to my work account. Mostly, this is due to the fact that we have no centralized file service, a barely functional VPN capability, and limited web space. Our office internet connection is a (relatively) slow DSL line, so we can't host things on site. My boss also loves to send attachments, even when sending links, or notices about changes to content or documents available over the local network.

This would all be just fine if the mail server didn't suck large, hairy, donkey testicles. Instead, ten or twenty megabytes of attachments sprinkled through my Inbox is apparently sufficient to bring my entire IMAP session to its knees. Luckily, Thunderbird has some really neat features to cope with attachments, including selectively removing the attachment from the original message and deleting it, while keeping the message on the server. This is all well and good, but it unfortunately requires downloading the entire message, including attachment(s), before it can remove the offender. Furthermore, it doesn't have any sort of batch mode, so you have to delete the attachments from the messages one at a time.

Naturally, over the office DSL connection (which achieves what I can only describe as near-ISDN bandwidth), this is a long and arduous process under the best of circumstances. Under circumstances like today, where the IMAP connection was randomly dropping and the mail server was wedging solid and failing to respond for minutes at a time, it's infuriatingly slow.

What ever happened to just emailing text, for pete's sake?


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