Fastmail Advent 2023: 25 Days of Better Email

At the beginning of December, we announced the return of Fastmail Advent.

Historically, Advent was a series of posts on our blog written by Fastmail team members and posted between the 1st and 25th of December.

This year, Advent looked a little bit different. It was a slate of 25 posts on Mastodon with the theme “#FastmailAdvent2023: 25 days of better email.” Please enjoy this wrap-up of our staff members’ responses.

Day 1 – Announcing Advent on Mastodon

Mastodon is our social network of choice for Fastmail Advent 2023 because we support their mission and share the same values.

If you haven’t already, follow Fastmail on Mastodon today.

—Haley, Senior Marketing Specialist, US

Day 2 – Shared Features

Using Fastmail is a great way to organize your life, but it is also a great way for TWO people to organize their lives.

  • Our shared calendars help you remember each other’s plans and appointments.
  • Shared contacts means never having to ask your partner’s mother’s birthday again.
  • The Fastmail sidebar puts all this in front of you while you sort through your mail, giving you context to get things done.

—Ricardo (Rik) Signes, Head of Special Projects, US

Day 3 – Snooze

I love using Fastmail’s Snooze feature.

I often use it to make sure that I always have any time-sensitive event tickets or travel details visible on the exact day and time I need them to be.

Instead of digging through my email to find a theatre ticket I purchased three months ago, I snooze the email as soon as I receive it to the morning of the event day, so it always pops up right when I need it.

—Rasha, Fastmail Plumbing, US

Day 4 – Catch-all aliases

If you have a custom domain on Fastmail and don’t want to give the same email address to every service provider out there, try using a catch-all alias.

You can use catch-all aliases to help organize your mail with some clever rules, or make up addresses for services without creating a new alias each time!

—Yara, Backend Dev, US

Day 5 – Rules

I use my Fastmail rules to be a savvy shopper.

I have a few stores that I know that I want to send holiday gifts from, so I set up rules to send marketing emails to specific labels. Also, I can go into my rules to set “Notify me” when I want to check for sales.

My rules also help me clear out my inbox, since I don’t need emails about last month’s sales. Once I’m done shopping, I’ll disable the notify rule, and let my rules continue my inbox zero status!

—Jess, US Customer Support Agent

Day 6 – VIP notifications

Fastmail tip: Did you know that Fastmail’s VIP notifications feature can be used to ensure that you don’t miss messages from important contacts?

If you have VIP contacts, you can enable notifications for those VIP contacts specifically. This way, you’ll receive a notification whenever an important contact sends you an email!

—Leslie, US Customer Support Agent

Day 7 – Custom Domains

With Fastmail, it’s easier than ever to take the first step in controlling your digital identity by registering a personal domain!

By registering your domain, you create a personalized, professional email address that you can proudly put on your business card.

Also, domain features like catch-all/wildcard addresses, customizable DNS records, and subdomain addressing enable you to better curate your online identity.

—George, US Customer Support Agent

Day 8 – JMAP API

Nearly every email service provides an API. Unfortunately, it’s usually IMAP, a protocol from the 80s.

Fastmail’s JMAP API makes “email programming” easy, which is great for mail clients and creating utilities: dashboards of inbox content over time, browser plugins to make Masked Email addresses just in time, scheduled jobs to put a report in your Drafts box on Monday morning…what will you make?

—Ricardo (Rik) Signes, Head of Special Projects, US

Day 9 – Masked Email

Are you sick of receiving piles of spam emails? I was, too, so I started using Fastmail’s Masked Email addresses.

Masked Email addresses are automatically generated addresses, which can be used instead of your actual address. So, whenever I need to provide a new site with an email address, I quickly create a new Masked Email address. Now, if I ever get spam, I can easily cut it off at the source by deleting the address!

—Jed, AU Customer Support Agent

Day 10 – Why you should check your recent login screen

Email is the gateway to our entire digital identities, housing everything from password resets and login codes to bills, contacts, and calendar events.

Fastmail makes it super easy for me to secure my account. I can monitor recent logins with IP addresses and geolocations to quickly verify it’s only me accessing my account. Pair this with our two-step verification, and I’m confident my account as well as my entire digital world is always secure.

—Jacob, US Support team lead

Day 11 – Date input

Our date input may look simple, but it supports much more below the surface.

You can use the arrow keys to quickly change to the next or previous day/month/year, depending on where your cursor is. Hold down Shift to jump by larger amounts. You can also just type a date in most formats, such as “26 Jan”, “next Wed”, or “1/1/24.”

Oh, and our time input has all these great features too!

—Neil Jenkins, Fastmail CPO

Day 12 – RSVP status to individual events

Have you ever committed to a weekly meeting only to find out you can’t attend one of the sessions? Say goodbye to the stress with Fastmail! I love that our platform lets you effortlessly update your RSVP status to individual events within a recurring series. With Fastmail, you’ll keep everyone in the loop and enjoy seamless coordination with your team.

—Cal, Client Dev, AU

Day 13 – JMAP for Calendars and Contacts

JMAP made email programming easy, but it leaves plenty of your data stuck in vCard and iCalendar, which are data formats that require piles of code to get right.

We want calendars and contacts to be just as easy to program, so we’re building JMAP for Calendars and Contacts. In fact, they’re well underway, with drafts in progress at the IETF.

To hear when each one is made available to users, you can join the Fastmail API Topicbox group.

—Ricardo (Rik) Signes, Head of Special Projects, US

Day 14 – BIMI

BIMI is a method brands use to associate their logo with their marketing emails. BIMI requires senders to adopt strong email authentication and validation practices. This helps us ensure these emails come from legitimate sources and build sender reputation databases that benefit you.

Fastmail is proud to be a part of BIMI’s working group to help shape this emerging standard and advocate for stronger email authentication.

—Marc, Senior Backend Dev, AU

Day 15 – 10 years since the Fastmail Opera Buyback

On September 25th, Fastmail celebrated 10 years as our own company again.

Founded in Melbourne in 1999, original Fastmail was sold to Opera Software in 2010.

Fastmail staff bought the service back in 2013 (and reclaimed our name).

In 2015, we purchased Pobox and Listbox, and set up an office in Philadelphia.

From just 5 people in 2010, to more than 50 in 2023, we’re still enthusiastic about the best possible email experiences for our customers, and improving the world with our contributions to open source and open standards.

Thanks especially to all the customers who have signed up for Fastmail over those 10 years. Your continued trust of lets us keep building for the future, and making email better.

—Bron Gondwana, Fastmail CEO

Day 16 – Our Current Job Openings

At Fastmail, we believe in supporting people in pursuing a connected, enriching life—both our customers and our staff. We strive to offer great benefits, competitive pay, and an environment where each of us thrives as a whole person. Our enthusiasm for pursuing what matters is foundational to who we are.

Check out our website for more on our core values. If our values align with yours, keep an eye on our current openings!

—Andria DeFulio, CXO

Day 17 – Thursday Throwdown

A big part of enjoying your work is enjoying the people you work with!

Every Thursday at noon, the Fastmail Philly office comes together for Thursday Throwdown, where the only goal is to have fun as a team and enjoy each other’s company. Anything can be a throwdown—past highlights include drawing games like Gartic Phone, trivia contests, Mario Kart, and more.

It’s great to have an hour dedicated to team building and having a good time!

—Sam, US Support Specialist

Day 18 – Fastmail office culture

One of the best parts of working at Fastmail is being surrounded by people who are willing to help me learn and grow in my role.

I often find myself playing supportive roles — not glamorous, but strictly necessary if we want to have time for the “headliner” work. Looking back, I see how lucky I’ve been not only to have time for the little things, but also to have clearer and wiser heads help me prevent making mistakes they’ve seen before.

—Macon, US Platform

Day 19 – The Philly office Vestaboard

We have a split-flap display hanging right at the end of the entryway to our U.S. office.

This means that, of course, we’ve built fun tools for it — like a command for our Slack bot that will generate an image of it on the fly.
Want to learn more? Check out my blog post about our Vestaboard.

—Joe Woods, Head of Engineering, US

Day 20 – IEFT update

In 2017, Fastmail started attending IETF meetings. 6 years later, JMAP for Email has multiple implementations.

Meanwhile, there’s JSCalendar, JSContact, and soon JMAP will cover Contacts and Calendars. And we’re also busy in the EXTRA working group on improving IMAP and related protocols.

Fastmail is very proud of our open standards work, and the protocols we have helped build. With the makebetter.emailconference in October and IETF in November, we’re making email better for everyone.

—Bron Gondwana, Fastmail CEO

Day 21 – Our Agile way of working

At Fastmail, we’ve adopted the Agile way of working, but what exactly does that mean?

We hold daily meetings where each team member reports on their 2-week sprint targets, rather than waiting until the project is completed and then incorporating feedback afterward.

We’ve found that by prioritizing tasks and properly distributing the amount of work required, our team has become more effective.

—Fraser, Fastmail Brand Advocate, AU

Day 22 – haveibeenpwned.com

Before I was a Fastmail user and aware of the nuances of virtual account security, I ran my prior email address through haveibeenpwned.com, discovering that it had been involved in 18 data breaches. None of these services sought to inform me.

Learn more about what you can do to keep your email address safe from data breaches!

—Maya, Customer Support Agent, India

Day 23 – How to help your parents get set up on Fastmail

While clearing out my parents’ inboxes last year, our discussion about email led to a conversation about digital privacy. They began to understand how not having digital safeguards could impact their daily lives like the security of their finances. Being able to provide my family members peace of mind with a short educational chat was rewarding. Look out for your family by getting them Fastmail accounts this holiday season!

—Jess, US Customer Support Agent

Day 24 – Digital Citizen

Tech products, like email, are an integral part of our daily lives. At Fastmail, good digital citizenship guides us to be responsible and respectful to our customers and to leave the Internet better than we found it.

Listen to different perspectives on digital citizenship from tech experts on our podcast, Digital Citizen. And look for digital citizenship values behind the products you use for better online experiences!

—Lacey, US Product + Marketing

Day 25 – Ghost of Advent blog posts past

On December 25th, 2015, I wrote a blog post. I had a plan – Scheduled Send by next Christmas.

The next year, we didn’t have Scheduled Send, but there was plenty to be excited about….

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New #FastmailAdvent2023!

—Bron Gondwana, Fastmail CEO

Happy Holidays from all of us at Fastmail!

We hope that you have enjoyed Fastmail Advent 2023. To make sure you never miss any Mastodon exclusive content, follow Fastmail on Mastodon.

Get the best service at the best price, and sign up for a free 30-Day trial today!

Older post Ghost of Advent blog posts past
Newer post How one customer used Fastmail’s Open API
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Ghost of Advent blog posts past
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