What happened to the “Why I am an atheist” series?

Nothing! It’s still going on, I’m still getting submissions (and you can send them to me still), and I’ve still got a backlog of hundreds.

It vanished for a while this week because I got a shiny new computer, and my backup restored everything but my old email messages…which is just as well, because my mail is broken and overwhelmed and messed up, and I just archived everything into a big messy tarball, and am setting it aside. I’m trying out a new procedure for handling and sorting mail on my new machine, which will eventually be less prone to grindingly slow struggles to manage a huge list whenever I open my inbox, but right now is new and incomprehensible territory, and has me hopelessly confused. I will learn it, though. Just give me time.

That means that right now email is total chaos, and I’m struggling with it. It also means that I had to go back and extract essentials, like the WIAAA stuff, from the archived mess on the old computer, and get it over to the new one, which is why there has been a little hiatus. All is well now, though, and the series will resume every day.

Meanwhile, I’ve probably got a few weeks of daily cussing at my email ahead of me.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Somebody ’round here not too long ago put up a post about the importance of Naming Names… so I hope there will be a progress report or two about which email software, configured how, performs well (or not so) with enormgous archives.

    (Yeah, I wouldn’t wish that if you were taming a Windows machine.)

  2. says

    I was using Mac Mail, which is mostly fine…except that as the archives got bigger and bigger, it was balking more and more. I’d click on the inbox, and it would sit there blankly, chugging away to try and manage the mess, sometimes for seconds (if I’d recently looked at it, and I presume the bulk of it was cached) and sometimes for 5 or 10 minutes when I first got up in the morning.

    I’m now trying to learn gmail, keeping everything on google’s dime and figuring out a workflow for sorting out and finding the essentials. There’s a learning curve. It is better at coping with mega-messes mechanically, I just have to get to the point where my brain comprehends where it is stuffing things at the behest of my filters. And also reconstruct many of the filters I depended on.

  3. says

    Gmail does take some work getting used to if you’re a power user used to other clients. However, once you get it down pat it is SO worth it.

    I use an addon for it called Active Inbox, which is in the vein of Getting Things Done. You might find that useful once you get the basics sorted.

  4. pooder says

    I could resend my WIAAA a few times if that would help. Or resend over and over and over a note on why my dog is better than your dog . . . if that would be better. Just to test your new setup, doncha know. Let me know if my help is needed….

  5. 'Tis Himself says

    After you get your email sorted out can you do anything about the SB comments or should we be whining at NatGeo about those?

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Our esteemed host has much more faith in Teh Cloud, and/or much more reliable connections, than I’ve ever managed.

    Otoh, I don’t get so much email that keeping my archives stored on a user-end multi-TB HD has (yet) become impractical – one of the many advantages of personal insignificance!

  7. Vilém Saptar says


    shiny new computer…

    Shiny?? Shiny??
    Its sniny, s-n-i-n-y!!
    Why is that so hard?
    Oh, know. Deeeep Rifts!!!1!


  8. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    Yeah, another cool thing about gmail is that it ignores periods and anything after a plus sign aka my.email@gmail.com, myemail@gmail.com, and myemail+spam@gmail.com will all end up in the same space.

    Why would I want anything with “+spam” to actually go to my email? The whole point of including that bit is to trick the spam bot crawlers.

  9. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I use an addon for it called Active Inbox, which is in the vein of Getting Things Done. You might find that useful once you get the basics sorted.


    This Getting Things Done book sounds nice.

    Does anyone know if it works, if it’s just regular management woo?

    I’m seriously lazy, and it means that most of my life and flat are in flux. Messy and a dirty. I could use all the help I can get, I just know that I can’t stick to plans on my own.

  10. says

    Shucks, PZ, how am I going to get you to plug my book to your other minions if you don’t receive my pathetically begging e-mail messages? I shall have to think on this!

  11. exazonk says

    Actually I was surprised when I read this post as you do use a gmail email so if you don’t delete email, you should have everything already online through the gmail web interface? If you delete your emails then that is kind of crazy but you do get emails from crazy people I guess :)

    Here are some great search filters is you haven’t already used them. http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=7190