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Mail is almost entirely unchanged in Mountain Lion, so why mention it? Well, the operative word here is almost, and that almost is fairly significant if you want to see email notifications regarding people you really care about. New in Mail is something called the VIP feature. Let's take a look. What VIP allows you to do is mark certain individuals as very important people. And to do that, you just select the message, look for that person's name, and then click on the little star that appears next to their name.
When you do that, a new VIPs entry appears in your Mailboxes list. Select it and you see any messages that came from that individual. This makes it really easy to keep track of people who you really care about. So for example, you might mark your boss as a VIP, your partner, your mother, your father, your second cousin. It's up to you to decide who is a VIP, but it's one way to sort out the really important people in your email, rather than everyone on the globe who happens to send you a message.
Okay, so that's only mildly interesting. It gets better. I'm going to open Mail's Preferences, and in the General tab, we'll look at New message notifications. Currently, it will notify you whenever you get something in your inbox. However, you can change that so it says VIPs. Now, you'll receive notifications only when somebody that you've marked as a VIP sends you an email. Again, this way you're not bugged every time an email message comes into your inbox, but only when a message from somebody very important to you arrives.
VIPs are also included in Mail's rules. So we'll click on the Rules tab. I add rule, name it, and then from the first pop-up menu, I would choose Sender is VIP. At that point I can configure some kind of action. So let's say I play a particular sound. So whenever a message from a VIP arrives in my inbox, this rule will cause a particular sound to play. And this is helpful if I'm not sitting right in front of my Mac, but maybe I'm across the room.
I hear that sound go off, and I know that somebody important has sent me an email message and I want to read it right away. If the idea of rules in Mail are unfamiliar to you, check out Mac OS X Lion Essential Training, where I walk you through creating rules in Mail. Other than the VIPs feature and of course the ability to have email messages appear in Notification Center, Mail remains largely unchanged.
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