I’m a pretty pragmatic guy. I realize there’s not much I can do to stop the government from doing whatever the heck they want. It’s not like I’m going to move to Switzerland.
I’m not wound up about the NSA thing, though I think it’s troubling how both government and corporate America can read my email, and track me without bounds. Normally, I wouldn’t do anything about it.
However, some time ago (maybe a year?) I switched my primary email from Google to Apple.
What a pain in the ass. I think I can finally stop checking my Gmail, though I can’t seem to turn off the flood of “email” to that account no matter how many unsubscribes I try. I also don’t want to forward all that shit to my regular account. And, every once-in-a-while someone’s email software auto-fills my old address. I really don’t want to ever have to go through that again.
I totally understand why some people are still using their AOL addresses (remember when it was reasonable to have an AOL email?).
The decisions we make about email stay with us a very long time.
In order to never have to go through an email address change again I’m going to create an email account at davidbressler.com. This way I own it, and can use whatever I want underneath it for email. If I have to switch providers, it’s only about saving my data, not changing how the world reaches me.
That got me thinking. I could easily/cheaply setup an email forward account. But, I like to noodle with things to learn about them. If I’m going to own my own email solution, why not use a hosted email so I can learn more about the space? It’s the same reason when hurricane Sandy drowned my beautiful Jeep, I chose to use Zipcar1 and not buy a new one.
I had been keeping an eye on FastMail because that’s what Marco uses. Marco’s full of pretty good advice, and I find I make decisions similarly to the way he thinks about things.
And, then the NSA happened. And, two US-based privacy-focused email services US shut down as a result.
Do I want a private email account just on principle? If so, what are my choices? I found two, but have decided that NeoMailBox is the right one of those for me. It’s slightly more expensive than FastMail, and FastMail seems to have a better webmail client.
I never use a webmail client, but you never know.
I like that FastMail has an affiliate capability so I can resell it and guide companies on delivering a better email & collaboration infrastructure to their employees.
I’m happily employed, so not in the consulting business these days.
I also like that FastMail employees have recently purchased themselves away from Opera. Unlike going private, this sort of thing usually increases innovation by removing bureaucracy and putting the product closer to the visionary.
This doesn’t really mean anything to my email account though.
NeoMailBox, on the other hand keeps its servers all outside the US. If I setup my wife on NeoMailBox too, the messages between our account will never hit a public network in the clear. I kinda like that.
Of course, my wife has like 15,000 messages in her inbox. The chances of her leaving Gmail are very small.
So, I’m unsure what to do.
And, this is why I blog. To write better. To think better. It’s clear to me, after writing and editing this post, there’s only one difference. Do I want my email onshore or offshore? And am I willing to pay the premium to do so?
Yes, I am.
Update October 7, 2013
So, Neomailbox has a few issues. I’ve found errors in their documentation. Their are a few bugs in their webmail UI. Nothing critical, though on top of the bugs, it’s quite slow. Support turn-around time is slow from the US. If you mail them late afternoon or later, you’re probably going to get a response next day. I’ve gotten one response at about midnight, which was probably the early guy the following day. Now that it’s working, mail delivery seems slow at times. Twice exactly. And, my password seems to time out occasionally (trying again works, so it’s not the password). I have 30 days to cancel & right now I think I will. It’s not worth it “not working” just to have a secure offshore capability.
- My feeling on Zipcar is that they do an amazing job of turning a car into a utility. It’s awesome when I’m not driving, though not enjoyable when I am. With my Jeep, owning it in NYC was frustratingly expensive & time consuming, but driving was a blast. [↩]