Setting up Thunderbird with conversations and snooze

I’ve gone through what feels like every email program out there in the last 6 months with increasing levels of frustration. I’ve found lots of programs that look slick and help me get thru my email faster and even prioritize things but have annoying to horrifying features like

  • randomly and silently fail to send or save emails
  • 30+ crashes a day after about 2 weeks of use and a $70 yearly pricetag
  • selling everything about my inbox to anyone who asks
  • making it impossible to change the font size
  • storing my login credentials to all my email accounts with god-knows-what-security on their own servers
  • garbage search (Newton was particularly awful in this regard. It can only search the last 2 weeks of messages and doesn’t tell you)
  • business models that amount to trying to get bought out by Google
  • fails at multiple accounts
  • only works with gmail
  • looks like instant messaging
  • groups by person instead of subject
  • can’t snooze emails
  • inability to edit drafts

I started my tour of email programs with Thunderbird because I like that the Mozilla foundation doesn’t sell user info as a business model, it’s open source and old and so has lots of documentation and online help, and is customizable through extensions. Surprisingly I couldn’t find an extension that did email snoozing, so I gave up and tried all those terrible other email programs.

It turns out that I should have tried harder to find extensions that did what I needed because, in the end, Thunderbird is what I’ve come back to.

Snoozing in Thunderbird

At the height of my email despair, someone clued me in about mailmindr. It’s not the most intuitive to set up and is somewhat roughly translated from German, but after the initial fiddling, it works just like I want – I click the “Add Reminder” button, choose an amount of time to disappear a message from my inbox, and then I don’t see it again until the time is up.

To get messages to disappear from your inbox until you want to deal with them, you have to change the settings in the Inbox Zero tab of the mailmindr preferences and tell mailmindr what folder you want to hide messages in while they’re snoozing. I creatively called this folder “Later.”

A separate window with a list of emails that it’s time to revisit will pop up by default. I didn’t like this behavior, but you can deactivate it by unchecking the “Show list of pending resubmissions” option. (Snoozed emails in mailmindr are called “resubmissions”)

Mailmindr is actually a quite flexible and powerful message reminder tool and snoozing messages is just a part of what it can do. If you need stuff moved around or marked or labelled in your inbox with time-based rules, mailmindr might be able to do it for you.

Conversations in Thunderbird

I prefer my messages grouped in conversations, which Thunderbird doesn’t do by default. Thunderbird Conversations works well for this. It’s important to remember to turn on View -> Sort By -> Threaded to get your inbox organized properly.

This extension unfortunately hides the “Add Reminder” button from mailmindr. You can still snooze your emails though! Either

  • right click an email or its subject and choose “Set resubmission”
  • get the add reminder button back by clicking the three dots in the corner of an email and choosing “view using the classic reader”

If you don’t like how Thunderbird looks, it has many, many themes to choose from. I like Monterail Dark.

I like to pay amounts I can afford for tools I use regularly. Thunderbird has easy donation and subscription options as does mailmindr.


My doctor doesn’t know as much as they think they do

Doctors are so bad at listening to their patients that my doctors thought I didn’t have migraine or was bad at reporting my symptoms for more than a decade because it didn’t present the way they expected. They convinced me that I wasn’t having migraine and one of the most compelling arguments is that my attacks didn’t seem to follow the right sequence of symptoms. I had the right symptoms, but they were often mixed up together instead of occurring in discrete phases.

But it turns out that’s normal, especially in kids and teenagers. But nobody thought to actually check or listen to patients.

I’m so glad migraine being better researched, but I’m so angry at how long it’s taken.

Source: Frontiers | Pediatric vs. Adult Prodrome and Postdrome: A Window on Migraine Pathophysiology? | Neurology

From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs

I think it’s easy to imagine that quote from Marx as being purely about redistribution. I’ve often read it like that and am down with it – nobody should have a billion dollars when so many people don’t even have one. It’s comforting to think about living in a society where even if you get really sick, you’ll still be taken care of.

But there is comfort as well in the first part – “from each according to their ability.” Your ability is probably not the ability of a billionaire – the ability to live on a lot less money than you’ve got. But you do have other abilities – you really like doing tedious manual labor while listening to podcasts, you’re a good listener, you’re a safe driver, you make people laugh, you can play Christmas carols on the piano, you can clean up people’s poo without being disgusted or making sick folks embarrassed, you can identify invasive species!

In a socialist world, whatever your abilities are, they are good and useful and we value them. In a socialist world, whatever you can do is good enough. In a socialist world, you are good enough.

If you aren’t some kind of socialist, you’re some kind of combination of ignorant and cruel

“A socialist is just someone who is unable to get over his or her astonishment that most people who have lived and died have spent lives of wretched, fruitless, unremitting toil.” That really is the core of it. A socialist is, first and foremost, not just perturbed by injustice, but horrified by it, really truly sickened by it in a way that means they can’t stop thinking about it. It gives you the feeling that “we can’t do anything about that” or “that’s just the way of the world” is not acceptable.

via A Speech on Socialism at Andover | Current Affairs