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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I miss ELM.

I must be the only person in the universe who does. Or so it feels. :C

Tonight Gmail decided that y'know, panel email clients weren't bad enough. I've been happily avoiding email served up via panel for a long time. Eudora, Outlook, Pegasus, and Thunderbird are all that style. Gmail implements some of their worst features in a new way.

So now Gmail compresses the screen when you move down the email-list or open emails -- even though their top and bottom menu bars are clones, and don't need to BE compressed -- thus shrinking what you can see. How futile is that?

Gmail and Yahoo used to be like ELM -- you had a list of your emails, you selected the message, you read it. Panel readers break up your screen into compartments: the folder menu, the email-list, and the email you're reading.

I absolutely hate the panel format. Without reservation. Whoever invented panel-style email clients ought to be in a special place in hell (and I am not kidding).

The old way -- the list format -- was more like having an uncrumpled page. I can move up and down on that freely. I get the whole piece of paper as my screen when I open my message...

Well, mostly, but Gmail and Yahoo et al have been putting stuff in the sidebars, shrinking the screen where you read your email. Still, it was far better than the alternative:

Using panels is like having a scroll; my viewing options are limited, I have to do a lot of clicking and sliding to get anywhere, and each choice gets me a smaller area. [Gotta pin that thing open, but it keeps slipping!] It doesn't matter if I'm scanning the email-list or trying to read a message, I've gone from a full piece of flat paper to a 3x5 card.

I've used Outlook, and T-Bird, so this isn't guessing; I know what they're like, and I loathe them all.

What possessed Gmail? I don't know. I'd think that a bunch of clever geeks wouldn't do this.

After using Web email since 2000, of course I don't want 300 baud back. But why would I want a scroll flapping closed every time I read email??!!?!? Fighting email to read it -> counterproductive!

SquirrelMail, bless 'em, looks like the only email client who didn't go with panels, so... if I'm still frothing tomorrow, I may have a viable option. Thanks, folks!

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