IMAP, Ahoy!

I used to be an email and search-engine fanatic during my initial days on the Net. 123india was my favorite destination for more than a year since I learnt (via a full-page newspaper coverage) that its mail service was POP3 compliant for free. Wow! That's a great way of organizing my mails through different mailboxes and consolidating them via a dedicated inbox, I realized. I created and heavily used 6 123india mailboxes! Worked like magic.

Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail languished somewhere in my volatile memory. I had already abandoned USA.net because of its horrid interface. Gmail was yet to be born!

Being the mailbox vagabond was an adventure I reveled in greatly.  I particularly remember Sebastian springing a nasty surprise at me when he set his mailbox to autoreply to my autoreply. The replies shuttled furiously to-and-fro because of a technical oversight from 123india (I got more than 30 messages containing my own autoresponse!!!) and I got the shock of my life when I checked my mailbox in the morning. Reading the mails, I quickly figured out what had happened. Sabu was upto his tricks yet again!

MailMeToday caught my fancy immediately upon launch since it was IMAP4 compliant. This was even better than POP3. However, I was suspicious of the India Today Group being able to pull it off successfully. Their Mail With Maal punchline sounded like a very cheap gimmick and I refused to take the bait. Sure enough, the site closed shop in September, 2002. My suspicion was vindicated.

Gmail IMAP-enabled my inbox today and I'm more than happy to finally test the exotic protocol on my mail client (Windows Live Mail BETA). It seems to be a bit cranky prima facie, probably because Gmail's radical web-interface (with message-threads and labels) has no strong client parallels.

It'll take me some time to get a proper feel of IMAP. I'll then assess if it was worthwhile for much of the tech-industry to have  dumped it in favor of the much simpler POP.

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