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Productivity Tech

Switching to FastMail

I’ve been a Gmail user and advocate from day I managed to get my hands on one, which was a big deal when it was launched. Since then the email interface has gone through changes, some good, some bad. Of late, there seems to be an increasing dissatisfaction towards Google, the way it treats user data, and privacy concerns of government access to data since the Edward Snowden incident. None of these has been enough to push me over to switching to FastMail.

Recently, many of our clients on RubyCoded require an email system where they can manage the users themselves. There are free solutions to this issue, such as allowing client access to the CPanel; forwarding the emails to Gmail; or some other hackish solutions. None of those seemed to be the right way to do it. There were alternatives such as Google Apps and Office365, but they’re more expensive than FastMail, and can sometimes seem like overkill. So I’ve since switched our RubyCoded emails to FastMail. Hopefully our clients will appreciate using FastMail too.

So far, aside from an irritating situation where my Mail client on OS X and iOS randomly asks me for my password when I try to send an email, everything else has been just fine. In fact, the FastMail web interface itself feels extremely fast, clean, and snappy. It’s also refreshing to not have to see advertisements. I guess advertisements are something that you don’t notice until they’re gone, and it’s nice that they’re gone.

For my personal emails, I’m still alternating between my Gmail and iCloud accounts while deciding what to do. One of the main reasons I’m still giving my Gmail address out is that everybody knows what “at gmail dot com” sounds like, so I can mumble that to phone support and they’ll usually get it right, as opposed to me spelling out my custom domain. It’s a lazy man’s excuse, but hey, I’m being honest here. Eventually I assume I’ll move my email to my custom domain and put it on FastMail.

Some things I want from my email provider include:

  • Fast web interface. This is key to me as I like being able to check my email on a public computer if needed.

  • Works well on mobile. FastMail doesn’t have a mobile app like Gmail, but recently I’ve grown to like the iOS Mail app, and FastMail works just fine on it with IMAP.

  • Reliable. So far so good.

On privacy
FastMail has issued a statement explaining their stance on government surveillance requests. I don’t entirely agree with their views on not having to hand data over to the US government if they’re asked to, but then again, I don’t expect 100% privacy for an online service anymore. It’s 2014 after all.

It’s probably worth a read to check out the views of some tech guys who have switched over to FastMail too:

On referrals
I don’t earn a cent from this blog so far, but I every now and then I put in affiliate link (like the FastMail link above) just to see if some day I’ll actually earn more than $0 from an affiliate link. Consider it a personal experiment, and if you’re adverse to those affiliate links, you can go to the FastMail website directly.

By matt

A tech enthusiast who spent his first paycheck ever on a mobile phone. Over a decade later, he's still throwing all his money at mobile technology, much to the chagrin of his wife.

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