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Old 16 May 2017, 06:10 AM   #1
ewal
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Backing up notes

I'm a heavy user of Fastmail Notes. Very useful for keeping day to day notes and other stuff. Available easily via the Fastmail app via standard browsers, IOS and Android.

How can I ensure all my notes are backed up correctly? I thought Notes would be part of the IMAP structure but I can't find a relevant folder.

The Fastmail help system does not appear to give an easy explanation (lots of chat about Apple). Links I could find:

https://www.fastmail.com/help/#notes

https://blog.fastmail.com/2015/12/24...-notes-are-go/
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Old 16 May 2017, 03:58 PM   #2
BritTim
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If you are using an external IMAP backup utility (like IMAPsize) the Notes folder shows up. It is hidden in the FastMail web interface (and also by Apple's Mail client) but should, I think, show up in all other mainstream IMAP mail clients.

If you use FastMail's Restore feature, the Notes folder shows up in the restored folder hierarchy if there were any notes deleted in the last 1-2 weeks.

The way it all works is pretty confusing, but it is possible to find a viable backup and restore procedure once you understand what is going on.
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Old 16 May 2017, 05:05 PM   #3
n5bb
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Arrow Using Fastmail Notes with an IMAP client

The "Notes" folder shows up in Thunderbird, and you can subscribe to it. If you have multiple Fastmail accounts and Notes xxx local folders:
  • Notes created at the Fastmail Notes web interface appear in the Thunderbird Notes subscribed folder.
  • Notes created or deleted in the web interface produce an immediate identical response in the Thunderbird Notes subscribed folder.
  • Deleting a note in the Thunderbird Notes subscribed folder causes that note to disappear from the Notes folder (and the web interface Notes area).
    • The deleted note then appears in the Trash folder (both in the IMAP client and the Fastmail web interface).
    • Undeleting that note in the Fastmail web interface moves it to the Inbox (both in the web interface and the IMAP client),
    • You can move that note in the Inbox to a subscribed Notes folder in the IMAP client, and it becomes a web interface note again.
  • If you create local Notes xxx folders in Thunderbird, you can copy or move notes between a subscribed Notes folder and that local folder (in either direction).
  • You can also copy or move notes between subscribed Notes folders in the IMAP client.
  • So notes act very similar to email messages in the IMAP client. You can make backup copies of notes to local folders, restore local notes to the Notes folder in any subscribed account, move or copy notes between Fastmail Notes subscribed folders, and forward notes using email.
  • Rich text notes appear as rich text in Thunderbird.
  • The note source as viewed in Thunderbird shows useful information in these headers:
    • From: (account where the note was last modified)
    • Reply-To: (account where the note was originally created)
    • Subject: (title of the note)
    • Date: (time when the note was last modified)
  • Here is an example:
Code:
X-Mozilla-Keys:
From: Bill <LastModified @ FastmailAccount.domain>
MIME-Version: 1.0 
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8" 
X-Mailer: MessagingEngine.com Webmail Interface 
Subject: Note 2 
X-Universally-Unique-Identifier: ef9eac9e-7717-8231-a0e8-2c1eftyu2c1b
Reply-To: Bill <OriginallyCreated @ domain.xxx>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2017 02:53:27 -0400 
X-Uniform-Type-Identifier: com.apple.mail-note  

again a test
Bill
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Old 16 May 2017, 06:49 PM   #4
ewal
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Thanks Tim and Bill.

I use MailStore on my main machine (not there at mo) so will check if the hidden folder is seen there.

All very confusing. Can't understand why the folders are hidden - unless Fastmail is simply trying to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Ed
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Old 16 May 2017, 08:51 PM   #5
joe_devore
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I've wondered about backing up my notes as well...

I figured I would just copy and paste them into text file(s) then store them in an encrypted archive...
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Old 16 May 2017, 09:29 PM   #6
ewal
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Since I posted earlier on I have now checked in Mailstore and see that the 'Notes' folder is there - with 142 notes.

So all good.

However the Fastmail documentation is woefully confusing on this matter.

@bill, I vote that you volunteer to help Fastmail on their documentation.

Having worked in many different types of orgs the recurring theme in all of them is the poor documentation for processes, structures and software. It seems it is simply more sexy developing such things rather than writing them up. I've certainly been guilty of this.

Ed
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Old 17 May 2017, 01:13 AM   #7
joe_devore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewal View Post
'Notes' folder is there - with 142 notes.
Ed
ouch! if I had that many it would be a pain to manually copy each one... O_O
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Old 17 May 2017, 04:03 AM   #8
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewal View Post
SHowever the Fastmail documentation is woefully confusing on this matter.

@bill, I vote that you volunteer to help Fastmail on their documentation.

Having worked in many different types of orgs the recurring theme in all of them is the poor documentation for processes, structures and software. It seems it is simply more sexy developing such things rather than writing them up. I've certainly been guilty of this.

Ed
Actually, while I agree with you on this specific functionality, in general FastMail's documentation is pretty good. Apart from a period about 5 years ago, this has been consistent through most of its existence. If you have the time to explain the defect via a support request, I think it very likely the documentation will be modified to help people understand how things work, and options for backing notes up.
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Old 17 May 2017, 11:10 AM   #9
n5bb
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I will try sending a message to Fastmail staff I know and see if they will improve the documentation. It's possible that the current Notes design is thought of as an interim solution, and if there is a plan to do more with Notes they might not want to create documentation which will be changed again "soon". Notice that I put "soon" in scare quotes, because our outside view of a priority might look totally different from inside their organization. For example, I don't think that the big FastMail server move last week was public, and if I were them I wouldn't publicize it until it was complete for security reasons. I'm sure there were many person-hours spent in preparing and executing and cleaning up after that move. I'm talking about software clean-up, not sweeping the floor.

My experience with FastMail is that their hearts are in the right place. They are very involved with the open source professional aspect of email systems, which doesn't excite very many people who post here but makes them important in the industry. Their focus is getting things right from the ground up so that their service will be as reliable and fast as possible to meet future needs. They worked very hard on mobile clients because so many users were moving away from desktop computers. If they think that Notes are important for future users they will be interested in getting the documentation right.

Bill
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