The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Email

doing email better, or better, not doing email at all

Email. What a disaster. Wastes time. Hard to secure. Ubiquitous.

Some seek to avoid it entirely, for good reasons.

This phenomenon can be thought of as a potent modern tragedy of the commons. The commons in question here is the world’s pool of attention. Email makes it just a little too easy to grab a piece of that attention. The unintended consequence of all those little acts of grabbing, is a giant rats nest of voracious demands on our time, energy and sanity.

(C&C social media.) or weird reasons.

But being realistic, we are already locked in to email. So, how can we minimise the harm?

Better clients

Be smarter about how you read your mail. Encryption supporting clients etc.

Better providers

Be smarter about who does all that network transmission of your mail.

As for that last one, here are some reasonably-reputable 3rd party email providers who in principle won’t give up your email without telling you because of legal protections.

Here are some that in principle can’t give up your email because they never see your unencrypted data:

Here are some I forgot to file:

Mail transport agents

a.k.a. mail servers. Mail transport software software and doing fancy mailings, esp SMTP Are you building a machine to email people messages about something or other? You probalby don’t care so much about privacy in this case.

Archiving email

Mailpiler is a webserver which provides a front-end to a MySQL index of all your emails. Is that what you want?

No but actually what can I replace email with?

Which deficiencies do you wish to avoid? If it’s security you might do better with OTR chat clients, or tinfoil hat cryptopunk social networks.

If you just want something more efficient for your purposes but don’t care about the NSA reading it (realistically, my priority) there are loads of apps designed to do this, like Slack and Trello and zulip and Groups and asana, each of which manage different aspects of projects that you couls also do through email. The hippest chat thing for this purpose is probably Gitter (gitter source) or zulip which in principle you can run yourself. (the former requries you to have a trusted OSX server lying about.)