Email Guides and Essays
by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood,

  • Top Ten Tips for Overcoming Email Overload
  • Top Three Anti-Spam Filters

    About Overcome Email Overload with Eudora 5

    About Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002

    Frequently asked questions

    Press room

    About Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

    World Wide Webfoot Press home

  • Overcome Email Overload

    Frequently Asked Questions


    Why should I buy one of these books?

    If you already spend a lot of time on email, these books will show you how to get through your email faster. You will learn how to:
    • Set up your email program to automatically prioritize your messages
    • Use keyboard and toolbar shortcuts to move through your messages faster
    • Spend less time on responses
    • Get fewer messages by writing better messages
    • Improve your company's email culture
    But don't believe me: see the
    Outlook 2000/2002 book's endorsements or the Eudora 5 book's endorsements.

    How can I buy one of these books?

    You can't. They are now out of print.

    You can, however, read the books online. See the Eudora version and/or the Outlook version.

    How many books have you written on email overload?

    Two: Overcome Email Overload with Eudora 5 and Overcome Email Overload with Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002.

    What if I use an email program that you haven't written about yet?

    See the following pages for information about Netscape, Outlook Express, and America On Line.

    Why didn't you just write one book that covered all email programs?

    Because there are a zillion different email programs. Because the underlying protocols are standard, anybody can write an email program -- and anyone does. (Even I have written two email programs.) I am certain that I wouldn't even be able to find all the email programs in existence.

    Okay, why didn't you write one book that covered the most popular programs at least -- Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape, and AOL?

    I tried. Believe me, I tried. The problem is that different programs have very different features and even different vocabulary. For example, there is one feature that Eudora calls "filters", Outlook calls "rules", Outlook Express calls "mail rules", Netscape calls "message filters", and AOL doesn't have at all. I found that I had to spend so much time explaining differences in terminology and features that it got in the way of explaining strategies.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that most people don't get to choose which email program they use at work -- the Information Technology group chooses. You have to use whatever they choose for you. So it doesn't make sense to give people a bunch of options when all but one is unavailable to them.

    What email programs did you write?

    In the summer of 1995, I wrote a Web-based interface for sending and receiving email, like Hotmail or Yahoo mail. Hypermail was the first program for reading email archives over the Web, but I believe that my program was the first to allow sending and receiving private email. I did that project while at Enterprise Integration Systems for a contract with the National Center for Manufacturing Systems. While NCMS used my program successfully, EIT never commercialized and distributed the program.

    Then from mid-1996 to mid-1998, I worked on a home media networking project for Interval Research. One of my many responsibilities was the email subsystem. I ended up writing a simple email program several times because the language (a dialect of Smalltalk) kept changing. That project was very ambitious, and its funding got cut before we had a stable programming environment.

    What would you like to see in an email program?

    I have a whole list.

    How has your background as an engineer affected how you approached writing these books?

    From years of experience in engineering, I value testing very highly, so I aggressively sought feedback. Over 130 people commented on these books, which made them much better than if I had worked completely alone.

    How long did it take you to write the books?

    Two and a half years -- because of all the changes my reviewers suggested! It would have been easier if I hadn't given it out for feedback, but it wouldn't have been nearly as good.

    When did you first consider a career in writing?

    When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to major in when I got to college, I considered majoring in English. However, I (perhaps naively) thought that I couldn't make it as an author unless I had a burning desire to write and something to write about. I had neither. So although I always liked to write, I discarded that idea and went into engineering instead.

    Where did you learn to write?

    I had very good high school English classes. In particular, Mrs. Hoag's 9th-grade English class really firmly planted English grammar rules into my head. (Thank you, Mrs. Hoag!)

    Lots of the people who went to my high school have written books. Many of them are academic books like Charles Ives: The Idea Behind the Man, but Iris Chang, the sadly departed author of The Rape of Nanking, went to my high school. (I didn't know her.) Fred Marx, co-director of the award-winning Hoop Dreams also went to my high school. (I did know him, but not from high school.)

    Is it true that you shaved your head?

    Yep. See What I Learned by Shaving My Head.

    Is it true that you wore a duck on your head to your college graduation?

    Yes -- but it wasn't my fault! See
    A Duck on the Mortarboard.
    Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
    Last updated 20 September 2001.