Expunge. Such a funny word. However, it is a word that remains a relic from an old e-mail system, and so I wanted to tell a brief story about it.

When I enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, my original e-mail address was nweiss2@bigred.unl.edu. The Bigred server was UNL’s in-house e-mail server.

At that point, I had a personal account, noah121weiss@netscape.net as well (and that account was closed several years ago).

The Netscape e-mail system had the usual Inbox and Trash folders, and customizable folders as well. The Bigred system, however, had no Trash. You could delete messages, but they would remain on the screen, only with the “envelope” line crossed out.

The deleted items could be hidden with the “Hide deleted mail” button, but continued to take up space in the Inbox.

That is, until you hit the “Expunge” button.

Nowadays, that “Delete/Expunge” is served in a different manner, at least in Gmail.

In addition to the “Delete” option, Gmail users have the opportunity to “Archive” an e-mail, which removes it from the Inbox and puts it in the “All Mail” folder. For me, the “All Mail” folder is the cesspool of basically-deleted items.

And the Trash folder on Gmail (as well as the Spam folder) auto-expunges messages that get ratty enough (i.e. after 30 days or so).

However, I have become accustomed to using the “Archive” option since I’ll never run out of space on  Gmail. Nevertheless, I know that I will likely never look at the “Archived” e-mails again, particularly the advertisements, massmail from external departments, or MAILER-DAEMON recoil.

Maybe it was not coincidental that I always use the Archive rather than the Trash button on Gmail.

(Oh, and another thing: I always click on e-mails to “read” them even if I am going to Archive them immediately–else they will still be boldfaced (unread) in the All Mail tab. I like to try and keep my New Mail numbers as small as possible!)

And now, I better expunge the water from my non-ex sponge!


Carthage Teaching: Next right!

NU vs NU: 18 days

High Holidays: 27 days

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