Travel Bits

As part of coping with email, The Blank Screen advocates having just an inbox, an archive and a Follow-Up mailbox. I do this. Except I also have a Travel Bits mailbox.

It’s called that because I set it up years ago in order to handle all the train and plane and coach tickets I have to use. Over time, it’s also become where I keep theatre tickets.

These days all significant travel, every journey that would warrant keeping details for, is kept in TripIt. (It’s When an App Fails that you Realise How Much you Like It – 14 May 2014.)

Yet I still move ticket emails to Travel Bits. That’s because some services like National Express seem to get a bit twitchy when you try anything but their own layout. Points to them for having e-tickets and allowing you to wave a phone at them, but it would be nice to just rattle off a serial number straight out of TripIt.

I’ve yet to find a good spot for theatre or any event tickets, though. Any ideas? I use EventBrite for some things, Passbook for others, but my trust Travel Bits mailbox for everything.

If you know a kind of TripIt for events, please do tip me off.

Tiny changes, big results

Yesterday, checking email on my iPhone meant scrolling down a list of mailboxes. Today, it doesn’t. One glance and I see if anything has come in.

If you only have one email address then I think I may envy you, but sanity requires me to have two. There’s the one I’ll cheerily post anywhere and everywhere, a business one that’s Then there’s what I’m afraid I think of as my real email address. I’m not hiding it from you, specifically you. If you email me at, you’ll get the reply from my real address. The real address is for proper people, you are most certainly a proper person.

The business one helps keep spam away from me, it also keeps business emails away from my main account so that I can deal with them together. Unfortunately, it used to also keep me away from the business emails. I would forget to read them because this is what it all looked like on my iPhone:

photo 1

You can’t even see that other mailbox. It’s one more slot down below Follow up: I had to scroll down to read it, so I didn’t. After missing two important emails – very important – I began training myself to make that scroll. Open up mail, swipe back from the Inbox to that list above, scroll down, see if there was anything unread in the other mailbox.

I got really good at doing this and I haven’t missed anything since. But it’s bleedin’ tedious. I know, there are worse problems. But last night I decided to have one more go at doing something about it. I’ve hit that Edit button (top right) before, this time I hit it again. And I got this:

photo 2

Defeat. Those three bars beside the top mailboxes, they’re grab handles so I can shove those ones up or down as much as I like. Within that band. There is an Add Mailbox button but, come on, I already have two mailboxes, I don’t want more and anyway, how does that solve my problem?

It solves my problem completely.

“Add Mailbox” there does not mean create and add a new email account, it solely means add one of your existing mailboxes to this list of them that goes at the top. I tapped Add Mailbox, it listed all I had, I tapped twice more and have ended up with this:

photo 3

All done. No opening, no scrolling, no swiping: I just pick up my iPhone, glance, and I can immediately see if there is any email at all for either of my accounts. It’s the tiniest of things but it makes such a difference that all day today I have been picking up my phone and thinking “Is that it? I don’t have to do anything more?”

If you’re wondering why my other mailbox is called “wg site bucket” instead of “”, it’s because that mailbox traps all emails that go to anywhere at all, my site address. See Why and how to lie about your email address.