How to drink from a fire hose

I have encountered several people over the last week who have simply lost interest in the Alt.Net mailing list due to the overflow of information.  Simply to much information to keep up with.  So I asked them to show me how they were utilizing the mailing list.

For the most part, the people that were just over whelmed were going to the Yahoo group and responding through the portal.   I will be honest, Yahoo make the less then an enjoyable experience.  So here is what I recommended to them.

Use GMail!

By utilizing GMail’s ability to automatically group discussion threads, allows you to easily view the discussion from where you left off.  If you have already read a message GMail collapse the entire block only exposing unread message threads.

OK, so how do I do this Joe?

< This is assuming you have a GMail account set up />

  1. Navigate to the home page of the Yahoo group, for instance:

  2. Click on the “Edit Membership” link

  3. In Your Contact Information, under Email Address if your GMail address is not listed there add it at this time.

  4. For the Message Delivery Make sure that “Individual Email” is selected (if you don’t do this you are not going to enjoy what you receive in GMail)

  5. Click on “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen.

  6. Log into GMail

  7. Once you receive your first email from the list, open it.

  8. Click on the “More Actions…” drop down

  9. Select Filter Messages like these

  10. At this point the text box “Has the words:” should contain “listid:(<>)” or what ever list group you used.

  11. Click on the “Next Step” button

  12. Check off “Apply the label:” and in the Choose label… drop down select “new label” NOTE: If you already have a label you would like to use, go ahead and use that one!

  13. Name the Label “AltNetStuff”  or what ever you want to call it.

  14. Click on the “Create Filter” button.

  15. We are not done yet.  You should be on the home page of GMail now.  The Labels List should be in the left hand margin of the screen if it is not expanded, please expand it.

  16. Find the “AltNetStuff” label and click in the gray box to the the right of the label.

  17. Select a color.

  18. Now you are done!

Now when ever a new topic is added to the list an email will be sent to you inbox and it will be flagged with the label “AltNetStuff” and a pretty color is added to catch your attention.  If you want to respond to a topic all you have to do is simply reply to the email.

Please be courteous to those of us that use Smart Phones to keep up with the group by doing the following:

  1. When replying to ANY message make sure to perform the following keyboard short cut: ctrl-shift-A > Del

    • Now the message should be empty.

  2. If you need to reference any previous message simple copy the text that is pertinent to your reply and at each line prefix it with “>”

  3. Navigate to the end of your message.  Just to make sure you didn’t forget to clear the box before you started typing perform the following key combo: ctrl-shift-end > Del

Hopefully this gets people reengaged in the list and we will help each other grow this great community.

About Joe Ocampo

My personal philosophy is simple: "Have a good strategy that sets the environment for success through the enablement of the whole. Be agile but with a mind towards pragmatism. Delegate to the best qualified individuals, but don’t be afraid to involve yourself in all parts of a job. Treat everyone with respect, humility, and with a genuine pursuit towards excellence." Respected business and technical leader with expertise in directing organization towards effective results driven outcomes. Proven ability to perform and communicate from both technical and business perspectives. Strong technical and business acumen developed through experience, education and training. Provides the ability to utilize technology, harness business intelligence and execute strategically by optimizing systems, tools and process. Passionate about building people, companies and software by containing cost, maximizing operational throughput and capitalize on revenue. Looks to leverage the strengths of individuals and grow the organization to their maximum potential by harnessing the power of their collective whole and deliver results. Co-Founder of
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5 Responses to How to drink from a fire hose

  1. I’ve been taking the easy way out with:

    Of course, that mean I have not been contributing to the discussion. :-(

  2. Jimmy Bogard says:


    Now I got all my lists doing that, Los Techies, Cli_Dev, NBehave, AgileATX, the whole works. Much easier to follow now.

    I love you, Gmail.

  3. Save yourself some additional pain by checking the “Skip the Inbox” option and then you can read the list only when you want to read the list by clicking on the label.

    If you are using IMAP with a good IMAP client (like Mac Mail), you get a nice threaded, organized by conversation view of the list for your offline reading pleasure.

    All without the annoying ding of the INBOX every 1.3 minutes.

  4. Brad Mead says:

    keystoke “m”, g-mail “star”, and the action “move to inbox” are my friends :-) I have 27 threads starred and they are all very useful pieces of information that I have refered to already on several occasions or plan to dig dipper on in the future. Love the g-mail. My latest star: Granularity of Modules when Considering Loose Coupling.

    > ctrl-shift-A > Del

  5. Colin Jack says:

    Useful post, luckily the forum seems to have calmed down a bit now. Agree about the Yahoo interface, very poor indeed.