I Still Use (and Love and Recommend) Fastmail

It doesn’t matter that Microsoft has reconsidered its right to read your email if they’re doing things that they don’t like.  Seriously, that they did so quickly was great:

Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves. Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required.

This is a far cry from:

As part of the investigation, we undertook a limited review of this third party’s Microsoft operated accounts. While Microsoft’s terms of service make clear our permission for this type of review, this happens only in the most exceptional circumstances. We applied a rigorous process before reviewing such content. In this case, there was a thorough review by a legal team separate from the investigating team and strong evidence of a criminal act that met a standard comparable to that required to obtain a legal order to search other sites. In fact, as noted above, such a court order was issued in other aspects of the investigation.

They were well within their right to do as they did, but what they did was “wrong” in the moral sense of how the general public feels that they should handle things.  Going from a “we’ll police this” to a “let’s let law enforcement police this” position in a week or so is a great result from a huge company like Microsoft.  If this kind of agility is something that will be a characteristic going forward, I’m optimistic about their chances for relevance in 3-5 years.

But I’m writing today not to excoriate/praise Microsoft but to again champion Fastmail (note: referral link).  I fully stand behind my rant stating that I don’t trust Internet services that I don’t pay for.  Here’s why I use Fastmail.  Marco Arment uses Fastmail, and Michael Lopp is clearly thinking about it.  For something as important as email is, don’t use a provider that treats you as the product.  Your email is the product, and they have a responsibility to have as great of an uptime as possible.  You get what you pay for.  I’ve been using Fastmail for nearly eight years, and I’m very happy with it.

Fastmail Upgrades and Deals

The fine folks at Fastmail have upgraded the quotas on their accounts, and I couldn’t be happier. As storage space gets ever cheaper, this is the thing to do. [I’m an obsessive email storer, and I still haven’t run out of room.]

Not only do I use Fastmail, but my whole family does. Mom can attest to the fact that it works. 🙂

If you’re thinking that this Fastmail thing might be cool, there are special upgrade prices available now through the end of November. Seriously, if you care about email, it’s worth it. [Shameless affiliate link is here if you want to give me a kickback, eh?]

Why I Use Fastmail

Like Alex King before me, I’ve been a happy Fastmail user for quite some time. I like it enough that I heartily recommend Fastmail for your email solution. I’ve used Fastmail since July 2006 and am unlikely to ever look back [presuming they keep their arc of quality service]. Here’s why:

  1. I can have access to my email anywhere. Really. They IMAP over SSL, SMTP, and pretty much every other protocol over most any port you’d want to try—including port 80, which is not going to be firewalled by even the most draconian of network situations. If you can touch the Web, you’re gonna have full access to Fastmail. I use OS X’s Mail on all my personal machines, Mobile Mail on my iPhone, and Thunderbird on my work laptop. The experience is seamless.
  2. The spam filtering of Fastmail is not only good, it’s actively trainable. I’ve used some AppleScript I cobbled together in 2007 to train Fastmail’s spam filtering: once or twice a day, I make a pass at the junkmail, just to make the system work better for everyone else. For those too lazy to check the link: you can have certain folders set up to learn that stuff is certainly spam in Fastmail. I have a ConfirmedJunk folder that only gets junk in it if I’ve reported it through that AppleScript, which also shoots stuff to spam@uce.gov to help the Feds bust people if they choose. Also, all my archive folders are set to train as non-spam, so if I get a false positive, I just make sure that it gets archived. I find this vastly superior to whitelisting solutions, and frankly, I’m actively helping those who use Fastmail.
  3. It’s not Google. I’m not a tin-foil-hat-wearing Luddite, but I don’t want to rely on any one provider for anything. Monocultures are harmful, y’all.
  4. Fastmail replicates their data, even though setting that up was a pain in the ass. I’ve actually since had my server die and be saved by replication—and I only knew about it because of the posts on Fastmail’s status weblog.

If you’ve got any other questions about it, I’m happy to answer them. I heartily recommend Fastmail if you care about email as much as I do.

My Email Provider Is Down

Fastmail rocks. I sing their praises. But the primary datacenter is down for the count this morning, which means they’re offline despite the fact that FM’s failover and replication procedures are excellent. [And honestly, I foresee them addressing the single-point-of-failure datacenter in the future; they’re awesome like that.]

So if you need to email me, well, hit me at work or GMail. And if you don’t have either, well, tough for you—not putting those here on the site. 🙂

Update, 0747: And we’re back. 🙂

Update, 2032: Indeed, now they’re going to work on redundant uplinks, as that was the issue. This is why I spend my money with them.