Solved My Filtering Problem

Today I think I solved my iPhone-blocking filtering problem.

To briefly review: I receive something in the order of 300 messages per day, some of which are very large. I don't want to forward all of these messages to my blackberry (or, possibly in the future, an iPhone) because I don't care about the vast majority of these messages. They are generated by robot, and most of them will wait until I have a reasonable interface with which to read them.

To get around this issue, I have been using Blackberry (or more accurately, BES) filters to control what does or doesn't get sent to my handheld.

And none of the iPhone-toting people I found could tell me how to do this.

This came to a head recently -- in search of our own dogfood, my company has transitioned our corporate email to a new hosting system, and as a side effect of that I had to pave my blackberry to get it to register with the new service. And as a side effect of that I had to re-do all my filters, and I could not figure out why one particular co-worker's emails were never forwarded to the handheld.

It was annoying.

So the solution turns out to be ridiculously simple:

Use Outlook (or more accurately, Exchange) filters.

It works like this. I have some filter rules set up on my inbox so that messages I don't want on my handheld get moved to a second folder which I call Inbox-Filtered-Out. Anything left gets sent to the handheld by default.

The filtering rules had to be written differently, since the Blackberry can be set to not-forward by default. I basically have to write my rules so that things get filtered out by default, which is difficult; I have settled for a rule which catches the vast majority of messages and then exceptions them.

So my rule is:
  • For all messages with normal priority:
  • EXCEPT messages that are To: or CC: me; OR are from (explicit list of people);
  • MOVE to Inbox-Filtered-Out.
If I find people are abusing the LOW or HIGH priority, it will be a straight forward matter to copy the exceptions to the other priorities.

I'm sure this will require some tweaking, but with this set up I can probably have an iPhone without too much risk of blowing a dataplan. Only problem is, my new 9100 will be with me for another 18 months or so before I am eligible for a new phone.

I'm really just embarrassed that it took me this long to figure it out.