Let Me Frigging Unsubscribe

George Saines hits on a problem that annoys me to no end when it comes to getting off stupid mailing lists and pseudo-spam from legit companies. As he puts it in the title of his blog post, I Want To Unsubscribe, Not “Manage My Preferences”,

But increasingly, I see emails sent from large, respectable companies [1] that provide me with no unsubscribe link. Instead there is an insidious trend towards “Managing Preferences,” which invariably requires a log in, a brief search to find the unsubscribe option, and a form submit. And after all that am I unsubscribed? Apparently not because I keep getting messages. The companies assure that I’m off XY email list while seemingly putting me on ZQW list simultaneously. Perhaps most irritating of all, I am spending an increasing amount of time browsing and checking email from my phone, and elaborate unsubscribe workflows thwart my ability to quickly opt out.

Something else I really hate and get more of is political spam from affiliates of the two major parties in the United States.

For example, last year all I wanted to do was donate a couple hundred dollars to support gay marriage in California. Apparently doing that was an invitation for every fucking Democratic PAC and Steering Committee in the United States to add me to their mailing lists. Thanks, guys — really makes me want to not donate next time around.

World Backup Day – Backing Up Gmail from Windows with MailStore

I’m normally a fanatic about backing things up, but one area I was backsliding a bit was in backing up my GMail account. I tried about a dozen different methods of backing up my account, but none of them worked very well.

Then I ran across MailStore for Windows. Free for personal, home use, MailStore is the only method I tried that actually backed up all of my 700,000 or so messages in GMail. It wasn’t perfect — I had to run it several times over about a month before it finally was able to grab all 700k messages, but it was far better than anything else I tried.

MailStore stores your messages in its own local database, which works well enough for immediate purposes, but is hardly a long-term solution for archiving email in case of a storage disaster.

Fortunately, MailStore does let the user export all messages to individual .eml files. That takes quite a while with 700k messages, as you might imagine, but once its finished I end up with a directory and subdirectories with each of my email as an individual file that can be accessed in any text editor. I compress that entire directory into a single archive file once a month and throw it on my file server which does have a longstanding system for backups so that now I have multiple versions of all my email in multiple physical locations just in case.

One less thing to worry about.