I’m not sure why this amazed me so much this morning. I got to work, unlocked my computer and suddenly my gmail notifier tells me I have mail – only that mail was some spam I didn’t bother reading this morning on the way out the door. It didn’t just arrive, so what must have happened is that it detected one of: screensaver turning off, machine being unlocked, or keyboard/mouse activity and then resumed checking.
It seems obvious thinking about it now that its pointless to tax an infrastructure by checking for updates that the user won’t even see – I guess I just never thought about it all that hard before.
I know based on what I’ve read about the effects of interruptions on productivity that its counter productive to for me (or anyone) to run any sort of mail notifier; indeed I’ve hated the way my organization has tended to use email as a lame substitute for IM. Problem is I’ve gotten into the bad habit of compulsive mail checking anyway – which puts me in the browser and then there I am checking my feeds and digg. Trouble. So I think for me, right now it turns out to be better this way.