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Inbox zero, revisited, stage two

Topics/tags: Email, technology, frustrations

Yesterday, I finished my attempt at cleaning out the mailbox by declaring inbox bankruptcy and moving all of my email from my inbox to a folder that I called "___Inbox bankruptcy 2018-06-30. Unfortunately, I got to experience the wonderful interaction of and an Exchange server. In particular, after copying a few of the messages, freaked out and gave up.I’m sorry, something went wrong moving your messages [1]."

What did that mean? No messages were in my inbox. Very few of the 11K messages I was moving were in the bankruptcy folder. Where were they? It appears that they were put in the Recovered Messages folder. But what did the Exchange server think? It seems to think that none of the messages were moved. Did I ever mention that I hate computers? I tried moving some messages from Recovered Messages to the bankruptcy folder. But Outlook continued to think they were in the inbox. That was a bad strategy.

My next approach was to switch Macs. But you’ll remember that I had just dealt with something like 30,000 messages. Once again, the wonder of Macs and Exchange came into play. Rather than reading the changes as moves, it reads them as deletions and new messages. So I got to sit and watch a message that said something like Downloading Messages: 15,681 new messages slowly count down [2,3].

In the end, I ended up with a bit over 12,000 messages in my inbox. To avoid the issue of Whoops! I couldn’t move your messages; they are now in limbo, I’m moving a month at a time. June 2018 went fine. May 2018 went fine. April 2018 froze after it had moved 500 messages. I’m not sure what I should do about that. [Some time passes, during which Sam deals with the new email in the inbox; see below.] I guess I’ll need to move the messages a few at a time using Outlook Web Access. I had OWA. About 100 seems to be the right number for it to work. Not the best use of my day [4].

So, how many messages had accumulated between about 11:00 p.m. at night when I stopped and 8:30 a.m., when I checked back in? A bit over thirty. What kinds of messages do I receive on a Saturday night and Sunday morning?
The newest was a reply to one of the late replies I mentioned yesterday, the one about my office at UIowa. No worries; we worked things out. A message from Facebook that someone posted to a group I watch. I’m not sure how I ended up watching a group. The feature is sometimes useful. I’m not going to figure out how to turn it off yet.

One conference announcement from Common Ground Research Networks, potentially affiliated with the University of Illinois. But it’s not really related to what I do. And look, there’s an unsubscribe button. One fewer set of things to get. A petition. Should I unsubscribe from the petitions? Given how hard it is to keep my mailbox empty, the answer has to be Yes. Oh, this is fun. They’re forcing me to log in to unsubscribe. But I don’t remember my password. And I refuse to connect my Facebook. So I get to reset my password and wait for that message. Wow; I’ve been a member for six years. That’s okay; I don’t need their emails. My friends send along appropriate petitions.

What about the advertisements? Should I tell you what they are? It probably says something about me. Amazon sends me a list of daily Kindle sales. I’ll keep receiving that. I got on the Fry’s mailing list at some point. Unsubscribe. Biaggi’s? They only send me a message every few weeks and, once every year or so, it’s an announcement of a really cool dinner opportunity. I’ll stay on that list. Living Social? I should unsubscribe. But every six months or so, I see a deal that I want to use. It’s saved us money on escape room adventures for the kids at least twice. But the time to ignore the messages is also costly. Unsubscribe. Bed, Bath, and Beyond? I’m not quite sure how I ended up on their mailing list; probably a present I ordered for someone. Ooh … they are good marketers We can just send you coupons and sale announcements. That’s only a few times a month. No. It’s not worth it. If I really care about such advertisements, I such set up a separate account that I only check when I want to order something or have time. Packt publishing? I’m pretty sure that they published a book by one of our alumni. And they have cool sales. But I don’t need more books, physical or electronic. Unsubscribe. Pop Market? I feed my desire for music every few months from one of their sales. It’s also a way to hear about some new releases without a lot of overhead. But no, I don’t need more music. Unsubscribe.

What’s left? A message from Amazon that Michelle bought a Kindle book. Daily comic strips. I should probably either start reading the daily comic strips I receive or stop subscribing. Im going to leave that as an issue for another day. A digest from the Council on Undergraduate Research. I’m tempted to leave their two mailing lists, but that’s another task for another day. My dailyTodoist digest. I never read those. Is it worth the few minutes to figure out how to stop it? Yes. A daily news digest from The Washington Post. Seeing a bit of the news is good for me. I’ll keep that. One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen! messages from the Internet Society’s Internet Policy mailing list. I almost never get email from the Internet Society. I wonder if I accidentally added a mailing list when I was doing cleanup yesterday; I think they’d sent me aplease confirm our privacy settings" message and I said to myself I should hear more from them. But this is too much more. EFF tells me about important policy issues, as does the RISKS digest. My students and family tell me about others. I should unsubscribe from this new list. But I need to log in. And I don’t know my password. A few minutes of fiddling and I’m unsubscribed.

What arrived while I was processing those messages? We’ll start with the advertisements. Another Fry’s advertisement. Let’s hope my unsubscribe sticks. Another note from Pop Market. Same. An advertisement from Lands’ End. I should probably unsubscribe. But those advertisements are easy to handle and my long-term purchasing is affiliated with this email address. I’ll delete the message but keep the subscription. A digest from Costco. That falls under the rubric of Should unsubscribe but won’t. Something from Heritage Auctions. I haven’t bid on something there for years. But they occasionally have really cool auctions; I think I joined when they were doing an auction of comic strips done in honor of Richard Thompson (the cartoonist, not the musician). Subw [5]. Stack Social. They sometimes have really good software sales; I’m pretty sure that’s how I ended up with Camtasia for only $20.00. Subw. BookBub. Another set of Kindle sales. I don’t really need more Kindle books. But I’m an addict. And at least Kindle books don’t take up space. And look, today’s first one is a set of books by Greg Bear that I’d like to read [6]. Subw.

Beyond the advertisements? The daily digest from gives me the occasional good distraction when I need it. Keep. The daily digest from I need my daily news from the left [7]. Salon has an interesting article about the defeat of Crowley by Ocasio-Cortez. I’m not sure that I agree with their conclusions; urban democrats don’t represent the county. But it was worth reading. And perhaps there’s another important thing to note: A tendency on both sides to vote for someone who will shake things up, as it were, rather than for someone who has good principles and is in a likely position of power [9]. Today’s also has a commentary on the Annapolis shooter’s links to the alt-right. I don’t like the alt-right. But I think blaming them in this case just exacerbates the divide [10]. A newsletter from the MFA. My membership has expired, I haven’t been in Boston in a number of years, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be there any time soon. Unsubscribe.

And there went two hours of my morning [11].

And … we have inbox zero. I even managed to keep my inbox at zero for the rest of the day. But I’ll admit that it feels really strange to go to my inbox and see nothing there.

[1] That wasn’t the exact error message. It’s close enough for folk.

[2] Or, at times, not count down at all.

[3] And the 15,681 is a small number. It went up to 28,667 later. After two hours it was at 9,557 of 30,447. I guess the 30K makes sense; that’s about how many messages I’d moved around. In any case, I let it run overnight.

[4] I did sit and watch TV with Michelle and Middle, which made things better.

[5] Should unsubscribe but won’t.

[6] Don’t worry, Michelle, I’m not buying them. My reading list is currently much too large.

[7] I realize that many people consider The Washington Post and The New York Times news from the left. But compared to, they are fairly centrist [8].

[8] No, that’s not the same as saying Compared to Sam, they are fairly thin. There are many things much more leftist than

[9] Salon says Crowley was positioned for the No. 2 or No. 3 post in Congress

[10] I’m not saying that the article blames the alt-right; it just links the shooter.

[11] The clean out the inbox, 100 messages at a time exercise happened in the afternoon.

Version 1.0 of 2018-07-01.