Email

Firefox Relay vs DuckDuckGo email

I signed up for DuckDuckGo’s privacy relay email service (https://duckduckgo.com/email) as soon as i could. Aside from their little dust up about them sending some of your info to Microsoft (https://thenextweb.com/news/duckduckgo-microsoft-tracking-sparks-backlash) they’ve got a good track record re: privacy. I signed up for some CNet and PCMag newsletters and found that DuckDuckGo removed a few trackers from every email they sent. Yay DuckDuckGo! But one of the things I don’t like is they don’t provide a dashboard – I can’t see what duck aliases I’ve created and used.

So, I signed up for a paid Firefox Relay account cuz they do have a dashboard! What’s more, you can associate each email with the website or service you’ve used it with! Major yay! I signed up new Relay email addresses for CNet and PCMag newsletters and began comparing the duck emails with the relay emails. Relay isn’t removing ANY trackers!?! I emailed Relay support and got a fairly prompt response however it wasn’t terribly satisfying. The relay folks are being very responsible and making sure that the trackers they remove don’t break the email – yay them! I’m continuing to correspond with Relay’s support on this topic. In the meantime, I suggest you go with the free DuckDuckGo email relay service if you want a little more privacy in your newsletter traffic, dashboard notwithstanding.

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Free LISTSERV (email discussion) hosting

https://gaggle.email/ provides completels free email discussion hosting for up to 1000 members with moderation and a 3 month searchable archive. You can get additional features by purchasing either a 10 cent a month per user or a 15 cent a month per user subscription. But, honestly, I think I can get by with the free plan.

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Ever feel the need to create a local backup of your email?

I admit, it never occurred to me but now that someone has created a tool, I think it ay not be a bad idea! Maybe not ALL of my email but maybe my subscriptions and purchases and license keys?

Check out https://github.com/joeyates/imap-backup for details and installation.

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Maybe you don’t need that domain after all…

Firefox Relay (https://relay.firefox.com/ has just exited beta and now has a premium tier ($1/month) that gives you more than the 5 email aliases the free plan provides.
I’ve been a big proponent of paying for an email service like FastMail.com and buying your own domain so you have an unlimited number of email addresses available to you. But it requires some geek work to bring it all together. Services like SimpleLogin.com provide similar capabilities by generating unique email addresses for you and forwarding them to an address you specify when you sign up. Mozilla’s service isn’t all that different but it’s from Mozilla and it’s pretty cheap (right now…they say it’s a promotional price with no mention of when the price will go up), Still, it’s a worthwhile investment if you don’t feel like giving your precious personal email address out to various websites and newsletters.

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Reduce the chances of your accounts being hacked

Use different email addresses for each of your services. That way if one of your email addresses is compromised, the rest are relatively safe.

How to go about this? The simplest route: use a service like SimpleLogin.io to generate unique email addresses for each of your accounts.

More complex but more flexible: get your own domain. If you own a domain you can create as many email addresses as you like. For instance, by owning TonysTakeOnTech.com, I “own” all the email addresses associated with it, from aaaaa@TonysTakeOnTech.com to zzzzz@TonysTakeOnTech.com and everything in between. If you get an external email provider like FastMail.com, you can then set up your DNS to use fastmail’s email servers and deliver all that email to you. It’s more complex than SimpleLogin.io but it’s ALL under your control.

And if you take either of these approaches be sure to get and use a password manager!

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Xobni is supposed to help you organize your Outlook Inbox

I happened across Xobni today (Inbox, backwards … ain’t that cute!) It’s an interesting idea and it looks like they’ve been around for quite a while in one form or another (their weblog goes back to April 17 of 2006). It’s still an invitation-only beta but it looks like invitations aren’t all that difficult to get. There’s a little discussion of them in EmailDiscussions.com.

No, I haven’t tried it and I’m not sure I’ll have the time soon so if anyone has any experiences with them, please let me know.

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Email clients — Alpine anyone?

Ever since the Mozilla folks “killed” Thunderbird, I’ve been looking for an alternative email client. I’ve used TON of them — Eudora (now being developed by Mozilla as Eudora 8 and Penelope Extensions), The Bat, Pegasus, Opera and a host of clients that aren’t around anymore.

One of the clients I used a long, long time ago was Pine. It was a really powerful and customizable text-based email client with excellent IMAP support. It’s morphed into Alpine and has been GUI-ized just a little bit.

Why would anyone want a text-based email client? Well, safety is a biggie — since it’s text-based, there’s NO WAY you can get infected with email-borne viruses. It does a decent job of text-ifying HTML emails but if you just HAVE to see that HTML rendered in a browser, with two keystrokes you can bring it up in your preferred browser. It supports something called “roles” which are ways to customize your email based on any of a number of things. Me, since I have a lot of email aliases I use for my various list memberships and such, I’ve set up roles that automatically set From, signature, CC and BCC and such based on which alias received the email.

No, it’s not for mom and dad — it requires some technical knowledge — but it’s my email client of choice right now. And, no, there’s nothing wrong with Google’s email interface, nor Fastmail’s nor any of the other robust, fully-featured web-based email clients but, to the best of my knowledge, none of them provide access to arbitrary IMAP servers. And, yes, I still use them when I’m not at one of my own computers, I just prefer Alpine’s UI when I can use it.

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