This Month: Email, Email, and More Email. This Month’s Topic is Email!
Hello, once again, and Happy New Year to everyone out there. I hope 1997 proves to be prosperous and positive for all of you. This month’s topic (yes, I do have one this time around) centers around my favorite Internet use, electronic mail. Let’s get started.
More Than Just Virtual Letters
One of the best things about email is that it allows you to write letters, notes, or memos to friends, acquaintances, and associates. You don’t have to pay postage for these messages, and you don’t have to worry about the postal service delivering it, either. Email is fast, cheap, and efficient. But if the only thing you’re using email for is to keep in touch with friends, you’re missing out.
Email: Keeping You Informed
Email can be used to quickly provide people with information that would otherwise take more time and research to find. Since saving people time can enhance productivity and is just generally a good thing, it makes perfect sense that this great feature of email be taken advantage of to give people access to news, notifications, updates, and other tidbits of information. There are a number of ways in which you can get news and more via email, and I can’t even begin to touch on them all, or even pick the best ones. Instead, I’ll mention the ones I’ve had experience with, and tell you what I think of them.
The concept behind FarCast is great, but the implementation sometimes leaves a little to be desired. Watch out when you first sign up; you may very well be bombarded with dozens of messages if you’ve signed up for even a few of the higher-frequency droids. Also, sometimes the updates come a little too often for my taste, especially the sports scores. Finally, I found it a little inconvenient to have to reply to each message in order to retrieve the full text of the news articles instead of just the headline.
Don’t get me wrong; FarCast does a good job with its service. FarCast’s technical support was also first-class in my dealings with them. The service just needs a little refining. I’d advise anyone interested to check into FarCast; it might be worth your while. Keep in mind that there’s a monthly fee of $9.95 to subscribe to the service, although I got my first month free as a trial. I’m not sure which one of FarCast’s many email addresses I’d use to inquire about the service, and I’m not sure if they have a Web page or not. My advice to you is to try email@example.com.
I’d love to pass along some of the “fun” mailing lists and so forth that I subscribe to, too, but I don’t want to write a novel here, just a magazine column. I’ll keep that thought tucked away for a rainy day and a future month. Depending on how the feedback to this article is, that is.
Email: Free for All?
Some people seem to think so. Have you heard about Juno, NetAdress, HotMail, and all the other upstart services that give you free services in exchange for advertisements in your email? I have, and of course I’ve checked them out. Some of them seem to be swimming, some floating, and others sinking fast. I haven’t had enough experience with any them for a report yet, but rest assured I’ll make it my duty to keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’re interested about the services, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll pass along some URLs to ya. There’s too many to go around, and I’ve done enough free advertising for one month.
In case you haven’t noticed, that’s three straight paragraphs with subtle and not-so-hubtle requests for filling my email-box(es) with feedback. While it’s not a matter of life or death, I’d love to hear from some of you readers. In the new year, one of my goals is to make this column better and more relevant to my audience, and I’d love (and need) your help in doing so. Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know your thoughts.
OK, One More Thing…
To finish up this email-centric column, I’d like to point out the many new versions of some great email client programs.
First off, my email client of choice, Eudora Lite, just jumped form version 1.5.5 to 3.0.1. The 1.8 megabyte file can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.eudora.com. My first impressions with the new version are great, and it’s a must-upgrade.
A new kid on the block is CE Software’s freeware Internet mail client, QuickMail Express 1.0. Sorry, but I can’t give you a definite URL on this one; I got my copy by searching at http://www.download.com (a CNET site, by the way) and you shouldn’t have any trouble doing likewise. It’s said that QME retains a lot of the favorite features from CE Software’s older, nearly-legendary QuickMail office mail program, although it is stripped down a bit. If you liked QuickMail or are looking for a Internet email client, this is one should be worth a look, too.
Finally, if you haven’t picked up your free (yes, free) copy of Claris Emailer 1.1 from the Claris Web page, well… why not? Download this commercial client free of charge from http://www.claris.com while you still can. And then watch for a good upgrade offer when version 2.0 comes out in the near future.
It seems to be there was a fourth program I was going to mention, but I seem to have forgotten… it must not be too important… seems like it had a really generic, boring name, though… OK, I’ll come clean. Microsoft released version 1.0 of their Mac email and news reader program, and although its absolutely bland name escapes me at the moment, if you really want to see what the monolith in Redmond came up with, you should be able to find it at http://www.microsoft.com/ie.
As usual, if I think it’s worth talking about any of the above programs in depth, you can expect a review in the next month or two. I do, after all love email.
If, after reading this column, you think I’m just a little weird with my fascination of email, well, you’re probably right. Don’t worry, I’ll be back next month with a fresh topic. I promise. Until next month, all the best to all of you, and Happy New Year.
Mike Wallinga (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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