Interesting. I used Smart Mailboxes in Apple Mail to count how much mail I've been receiving month to month.

November 06 – 4373 emails
October 06 – 3963 emails
September 06 – 3583 emails
August 06 – 2833 emails
July 06 – 2233
June 06 – 1233

In the last three months, my received email volumes have been growing about 500 emails a month. Curious.

I recently subscribed to a Blackberry plan. Optus public relations refused to tell me how much data an average Blackberry user consumes as it's proprietary information, they said. I suppose it might give their competitors an insight into their pricing.

Since I am an extraordinarily heavy email user, I was absolutely gobsmacked to see my first Blackberry bill registered only 12MB of data usage.

I knew the Blackberry PR people had told me that they do hardcore compression and optimisation on the data, but I am AMAZED that my 4373 emails only consumed 12MB.

Of course, I don't view all my emails on my Blackberry — but the fact that it is a 'push' email system where all emails arrive at your handheld, AND it still only used that much data is pretty amazing. I have noticed RIM does a lot in terms of stripping emails back to plain text, and only the first 20 lines or so of an email are pushed to your handset — the rest is drawn down if you need it. That's a clever bandwidth saver, because if you think about it, the vast majority of emails contain lengthy quoted email conversations, often with just 'that's fine, see you then' at the top.

They also do some clever stuff with attachments. When someone sends you a 4MB print-resolution picture, and you want to view it on your Blackberry, only a thumbnail the size of the Blackberry's screen is sent over the air. You can zoom in on it so you can get more detail, but again, only the resolution you need is sent. HOWEVER, if you forward that picture on to someone, the full 4MB image is sent, because all your email is held on a mirror server at RIM's Canadian headquarters.

In effect, your Blackberry is a 'remote control' for a whopping big mailbox on a server somewhere.

I've found push email is like broadband – $49.95 a month sounds like quite a lot, but once you have it you totally see the value.

(For the sake of completing the email-volume-stats above, my total Apple Mail store is 4.12 GB. I have sent 43461 emails and received 110298. That's spam free, too.)

pixel My rapidly growing email habit