iCloud Mail Frustrations

Generally, I like Apple’s iCloud (formerly me.com, formerly mac.com) email service better than Gmail. Unlike Google:

  • Apple doesn’t aggressively spy on users for purposes of marketing to them,
  • iCloud doesn’t have obnoxious security that gets false positives every time I travel or do something a tiny bit out of the ordinary.

But, there is one area where Gmail outshines iCloud like a star outshines a small, rocky planet: its Web interface. iCloud’s web interface positively sucks. It’s prime design goal was apparently to value appearance over all else, and to particularly value it over functionality. It’s bloated in the extreme with fragile AJAX-using Javascript that crumbles the moment your network connection departs from rock-solid. It’s also monstrously inefficient in its use of screen space; one must stretch the browser window to comically wide proportions just to be able to read messages. It’s so painful to use that the feature might as well not be there in the first place.

Gmail, by contrast, at realizes that not the whole world wants to run bloatware in their web pages, and offers a “basic HTML” mode which is actually pretty sane.

I’m hoping to work around the problem by installing Squirrelmail and using that to access iCloud for those times where I don’t want to configure a mail client. Already ran into one roadblock with my connections from one of my servers (a shared one) being blackholed. And I really shouldn’t need to do this: Apple should offer a simple, sane, non-bloated web interface for iCloud.

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