How do you manage multiple computers and your email?


I’ve been trying to come up with an elegant way to manage all my ‘stuff’ so that it’s available to me where ever I happen to be and from any machine on the internets. I switched to IMAP for email over a year ago, but I’ve yet to find a really good web based mail client. We have Squirrelmail installed on the-gadgeteer server and I use it while I’m at my day job. It’s ok, but is far from fantastic. At home I’m using Apple Mail. I’d like to consolidate and just use a web based client both at home and at work. Any recommendations?

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Alan Hoyle June 4, 2008, 9:35 am

    Personally, I just forward all of my mail to Gmail, both my regular gmail account and for my personal domain.

    You could get “Gmail for your domain” for free for and use that. It also supports IMAP clients with the same inbox.


  • Joe Iannazzone June 4, 2008, 11:18 am

    I concur with Alan’s Gmail solution (although I still use other accounts to keep some mail sorted). I synchronize my Outlook calendar with Google Calendar using Google Calendar Sync. I use Foxmarks to synchronize my bookmarks across Firefox installations on several computers.

    All of these are free solutions, unlike .mac, which, at least for now, does not help when working on both Macs and PCs.

  • WirelessAndy June 4, 2008, 11:26 am

    I’ve been using Gmail for everything. No more POP mail accounts, no more Outlook bugs, nothing! I used Yahoo mail for years, but Gmail is just that much more straightforward for me.

    One Mac, one PC desktop (work) and one laptop (mobile), plus a Blackberry. All bookmarks synced over Foxmarks between the PCs and the Mac.

    I’ve been preaching the use of web-based mail to all who will listen. My father in-law did not. Result? His Outlook and Windows combo crashed hard on him on an overseas trip to Croatia. Before I could remind him to try the web mail backup, a “helpful” hotel desk clerk wiped his hard drive and “reinstalled” a bootleg copy of Windows. Gee thanks.

  • Mike Farwell June 4, 2008, 12:04 pm

    I have been using Gmail for a very long time and have no problems with multiple accounts on there (I think I have ~5 Gmail accounts and ~2 non-Gmail accounts). I log in one time and can send and receive mail as any of my accounts from one place. Plus you can use Gmail for your email provider for whatever domains you want to for free.

  • Julie June 4, 2008, 12:17 pm

    It looks like Gmail is a real favorite. I have had a gmail account since they first came on the scene, but I never use it. So here’s a question… If I would set things up to use Gmail for and domains, would email that I send through gmail have reply-to addresses with the correct domain? Or would it all come from my gmail address?

    Now I have to go try Foxmarks. I use Firefox at work (PC), but at home and on the road (Macs) I use Camino. I could probably switch over to Firefox there too…

  • Alan Hoyle June 4, 2008, 1:23 pm

    There are two things that you can do to get in your from address:

    1. you can just forward your mail to a regular GMail account and use Settings::Accounts::Send Mail As: and add accounts there. After a “challenge/response” email, when you’re composing a mail, you can select which from line to use.

    1. You can set up Google Apps for and and keep the mail for them separate.

    Personally, I did #2 and set the mails to forward to my regular GMail account. Then I did #1 and everything ends up in a single inbox. I don’t have enough volume of mail to need to upgrade my storage, but even that is a reasonable cost these days. If I need to respond with a different “from:” line, I just change it when I’m composing the email.


  • susan dennis June 4, 2008, 2:14 pm

    Gmail, like every one else. I keep Outlook fired up on one of my computers, however, and download a copy of everything to there automagically so that I will have an off-line backup just in case. Gmail used to be down fairly frequently but not so much any more, however, I like having the archive in my backups.

  • WirelessAndy June 4, 2008, 2:56 pm

    A note about Alan’s tip regarding forwarding all your other mail to Gmail, and replying FROM Gmail…

    This from the link from Gmail’s Help Center:

    “Note: when you’re sending with a different ‘From:’ address, your Gmail address will still be included in your email header’s sender field, to help prevent your mail from being marked as spam. Most email clients don’t display the sender field, though some versions of Microsoft Outlook may display “From on behalf of”

    In other words, if you sent an email to someone using Outlook, they might say, “Oh boy! A message from Julie. No wait, what’s this?”

    “From on behalf of

    It was for this slightly annoying reason I just eventually migrated everything to Gmail and over time stopped using my other random emails. It didn’t take me long.

    Julie, if you’ve already got a Gmail account, why not experiment? Send yourself some emails to the usual email reception methods (Outlook, Mac Mail, Yahoo/Gmail/Hotmail webmail) and see if the results are objectionable.

    [Edited at June 04, 2008 14:58:10 PM.]

    [Edited at June 04, 2008 14:58:58 PM.]

  • Julie June 4, 2008, 4:33 pm

    Seeing the “From on behalf of” notice is probably going to be a deal breaker for me… Hmmmm… Like Andy said though, I just need to give it a try and see what I think.

  • WirelessAndy June 4, 2008, 5:44 pm

    I just did a few tests.

    Let’s say Outlook-using Aunt Betty that I haven’t seen in two years emails me- to my OLD Yahoo account that I haven’t used in ages. Lucky for me, I have it set to forward to my new “home”, Gmail.

    It shows up in Gmail. Look, a new message from Aunt Betty! I must tell her about my new company I call “World Of Chum”, my new fish bait and tackle outfit! I reply to Aunt Betty as:

    Scenario 1) Reply as “gmail”:
    Aunt Betty sees it’s a message from “”. She might scratch her head and wonder for a moment who it’s from, but eventually she accepts it as my new email.

    Scenario 2) Reply as “” via gmail interface: Aunt Betty’s Outlook says she’s got a message.

    From:; on behalf of; yourname []

    So even though your OLD mail has been re-routed to your new Gmail home, there is NO “on behalf of” silliness as long as you reply “as Gmail”.

    Because of this, I eventually just send things “as Gmail”.

    This “on behalf of” issue seems to only affect recipients who have programs like Outlook, but probably not web-based email. I just sent myself a message via Gmail (as a different account) and the “from” line looked just FINE. Not an issue there.

    Hope that helps. Definitely give it a try and see for yourself!

  • WirelessAndy June 4, 2008, 6:09 pm

    Google Apps:

    To build up on what Alan was mentioning about Google Apps:

    Gmail on Google Apps:

    Think of it as Gmail power and ease of use… but with your own domain name.

    Reading all the features of it make my head spin. There seems to be a free edition and a Premiere edition ($50/yr) with various options.

  • Ray Raddatz June 5, 2008, 2:02 am

    I know it’s not strictly a way to manage mail across multiple machines but I use GAIM for IM and it let’s me know when a new mail comes in (and shows me the header) to an email account tied to a yahoo or whatever account.

  • WirelessAndy June 8, 2008, 12:42 am

    Huh, this may be new.

    Today on my Gmail, I noticed a new “Gmail Labs” feature.

    One of them was this:

    Get mail from other accounts
    Now Gmail can check for the mail you receive at your other email accounts. You can retrieve your mail (new and old) from up to five other email accounts and have them all in Gmail. Then you can even create a customized ‘From:’ address, which lets you send messages from Gmail, but have them look like they were sent from another one of your email accounts. Please note that you can only retrieve mail from accounts that have POP3 access enabled.

    Maybe this is the ticket?

  • okto June 8, 2008, 8:38 am

    Have you tried .Mac? I know it costs money, which is lame, but it keeps your mail (and contacts, calendars, and bookmarks) in sync across all your Macs and gives you access to them online. I’m not crazy about the price, but I do like the convenience—and it’s rumored to be getting a massive upgrade soon, to include wireless sync with iPhone.

  • Jeremy June 10, 2008, 8:50 pm

    Hi Julie,

    For Convenient Gadgets we use BlueTie. You can get the free version ( and link multiple domains to it (we have both our domains for different sites linked to one account) and you can reply from either account by selecting the reply to address from a drop down (you can also select one as the default). You can customize the look including uploading your own logo. You can also have unlimited aliases so if you wanted or, etc., etc. It’s all web based, includes drag and drop capability. Also you can make email accounts for others too, up to 20 people.


    Full Disclosure: I am an employee of BlueTie.

    [Edited at June 10, 2008 20:52:34 PM.]

    [Edited at June 10, 2008 20:52:51 PM.]

  • Julie June 11, 2008, 9:16 am


    I’ve never heard of BlueTie, but it looks pretty cool!

  • Mark Bergman June 12, 2008, 9:59 am

    I have similar e-mail needs, but prefer to continue using a client based system (Outlook) as it interfaces to my contact manager where a web based system will not. I switched to IMAP from POP about 6 weeks ago. It’s “ok”, but Microsoft has never really embraced IMAP with any enthusiasm since they prefer to sell Exchange server software. So…I’m looking into hosted Exchange. Is anyone using hosted Exchange for a small business? If so, can you recommend a reliable vendor?

  • Ken Gordon July 15, 2008, 12:32 am

    The “ on behalf of” problem, which bothers some people, can be overcome with a service offered by Loa PowerTools, with which I disclose a connection. The free version might be enough for some people, depending on how and how often you need to use it.

    You also might find that it obviates the need for hosted Exchange: you can continue to use your customary email provider and your customer email software.

    Some .Mac (now MobileMe) users have found that it solves the problems they encounter trying to use MobileMe for multiple email addresses. See this recent discussion in one of the Mac forums. A more recent discussion of the same thing can be found in David Pogue’s NY Times Blog in late July.

    [Edited at August 25, 2008 18:19:19 PM.]

Leave a Comment