Why e-mail should be more like RSS

Why e-mail should be more like RSS: I’m one of those people who barely scratch the surface of using all the features software offers. Then, one day, I’m thinking, “I wish I could do this” and after poking around a little, I discover the feature was there all along.

For example, using (on my Mac) NetNewsWire, I have lots of RSS feeds organized in a hierarchy of folders (It looks a little like this screen shot on the Ranchero website, but mine is way more obsessively organized. When I travel, I usually spend some time pruning feeds from the list, or moving feeds from one folder to another.)

Long ago, I came to the conclusion that all feeds are not created equal. Some I want to be refreshed very often, and I want to check them as soon as they are refreshed. Others I want to check only in the evening. Some I like to see on the weekend. Some, I can wait until I “get around to it.”

So, duh, I just discovered (from the rockstar of organizational hacks like this, Merlin Mann) that NetNewsWire has my dream feature, one that’s probably been there forever – and one I wish I had on my e-mail. By choosing the “Info” option under the “Window” menu, I can set up custom refresh schedules for each feed, or for an entire folder of feeds. You can even set it up to opt out of a manual refresh of all feeds.

Can you do that with e-mail? Let mail from person A into my in-box immediately. Let mail from person B into my in-box only once every hour. Let mail from person C into my in-box every full-moon. Etc. If we had RSS-mail instead of e-mail, we could.

Update: Thanks to those power Mac mail users who have headed me into a higher state consciousness. As much as I thought I was a filtering fool, there apparently is much more I can do.

What Jason Fried said

What Jason Fried (of 37signals) said: (In an interview with Tom Peters) “…We like to say that our design is all about clarity—using just enough words to explain something, just enough design to make something look nice, but no more. We want to let the message and the content shine, and let the design fade to the background. Because it’s not really about the design so much as it’s about the message and the content.”