Using Gmail as my primary email client
Lately I’ve been using a lot of different computers, at home, at work, and at relatives’ houses. In the past, I’ve used mutt for email, because it’s simple, small, and does everything I want in an email client (PGP integration, can run on the server, and so on). However, most of the computers I’ve been using lately are Windows boxes, and while I could carry a copy of Knoppix with me everywhere I go, I don’t think that would be appreciated very much. I could run mutt in a screen session on my main server, but since I use PGP to sign all my messages, I don’t want to keep my private key on a remote server. Other than that small hitch, though, running mutt in a remote screen session is practically the perfect solution.
For the last three months, I’ve been using Portable Thunderbird, which is a copy of thunderbird with Enigmail that runs from a USB stick (thanks to Mike for getting me to try it). This works well, for the most part, and all I need to do to have my email and PGP available all the time is carry my USB stick. However, even that has become a little too difficult to work with: with mutt, I was limited to *nix boxes, but with this solution I’m limited to Windows boxes, and to be honest, I don’t want any limitations.
This problem was brought to a head for me when I forgot my USB drive on Monday, and was effectively unable to check my mail for the day. Those of you who live and die by email will understand that I was in an ugly predicament: What do I do? I was able to read my mail, of course (my server still has mutt on it), but I wasn’t comfortable sending mail because my PGP key was on my USB drive.
I thought about Bloglines, and how convenient it is that it’s web-based. I’ve been using Bloglines religiously for a long time now, and it has changed the way I use the web, and that’s when I realized that maybe I should consider using a web-based mail client. I’ve had a Gmail account for a long time, and have played wih it a little, but not enough to get really comfortable with it.
So what I’m wondering is: How many (if any) of you have been using Gmail for day-to-day mail? Does it work for you? If I use Gmail, then I’ll have to abandon my practice of PGP-signing my mail, but I wonder if that’s even worth it.