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Postbox 3 anachronisms redux

I’ve been using Sparrow as my email client on my Mac for the past year. I liked it a lot, but the whole Sparrow team had been bought up by Google for them to work on Gmail some months ago, which is a pity as it means no more major updates to the application (there have been minor fixes but nothing more).

I’ve reverted to using Postbox3. It has a number of anachronisms that really annoy me. After a year, all of that list is still mostly true. Bear in mind it makes the claim that it is “The world’s best desktop Gmail client for Mac and Windows”, which on the Mac it isn’t, as that’s Sparrow, it’s just that Sparrow’s EOL’d.

So this annoying list still stands after a year;

  • It plays sounds when you get emails that aren’t in your box. Which is really super-annoying. I’ve turned on its Notification Centre integration so we’ll see how that goes.
  • You can’t mark/unmark an email on gmail “Important” unless you’ve got the individual email open (in the list view I can assign the mail to a “Topic” called “Important” but the email is already in the “Important” label on gmail so I don’t know what’s going on there). So if I need to bulk un-assigning the “Important” label to a whole bunch of mis-assigned emails, I have to use the Gmail interface where it is trivial.
  • It anachronistically insists that emails on gmail which are “Starred” are “To dos”. No, guys: they are Starred. If you use the gmail “Star” to indicate “To do”; good for you, but not everyone does.
  • PDFs are still not displayed in-line.

Stuff I like:

  • Opening emails in tabs is a nice feature.
  • When I fired it up again (after nearly a year of not using it), it downloaded the messages fast – or at least it gave the appearance of being pretty fast. Apple Mail is a snail in this regard.
  • It doesn’t suck.
  • It’s not EOL’d.

New stuff to annoy me:

  • No integration with the App Store (for fairly good reasons): but the manual update was one minor-increment version at a time (I had to go 3.0.2 -> 3.0.3 -> 3.0.4 -> 3.0.5 -> 3.0.6 to get up to date)!
  • Needs to inherit the “pull down to refresh” paradigm that iOS started and is now migrating to apps on the Mac.
  • Overall it’s not as elegant as Sparrow but it has more features. So it’s a little like using Thunderbird or Outlook.

I will use for another week and see if my only option is to back to the Apple, which has plenty of clunk — and suck — of its own. is in my opinion the single most inelegant program that Apple makes; it also doesn’t in almost any way play nice with Gmail’s labels and other features. However it’s interface is pretty slick for the sorts of features it does implement.