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Accessing your email anywhere there’s Internet access
By Roy Linker Associate Editor

Suppose like me, you are in a profession where you are on thre road or at a clients site more than you are at your own desk.  Like most businesses today email is its’ life blood.  What do you do to keep current with your email throughout the day?

HIGH END / HIGH TECH SOLUTION

If money is no object, and you don’t mind adding another gadget to you ensemble, you might consider some sort of wireless solution.  These include a Laptop with a wireless modem, a PDA with wireless communications like the Palm VIIx or a dedicated email “pager” like the device to name just a few.  Aside from having to carry them around, they have a couple other downsides, cost being number one, and coverage area being the other.  Even when you are in an area with coverage signal strengths can be weakened or blocked by environmental factors.  I recently purchased a Palm VIIx and had it connected to PalmNet.  During the two (2) days I had it I wasn’t able to reliable send and receive messages or browse the web.  When I did have a connection it was well below recommended strength levels, and it was VERY SLOW.

In my humble opinion…not the way to go!

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD SOLUTION

This assumes you have a Laptop, Hand Computer of Palm of some sort already and a modem.  You still have to carry it around with you but as long as you have your own dial-up account you can plug in and get you mail where ever you can find an analog phone….or digital phone with a converter.

This is a little better than the first option but you still have to lug additional equipment around with you.

SIMPLE LOW END SOLUTION

These solutions are all Website based, that permit you to access your email as long as you can use a computer with Internet connectivity and an up to date browser.

All of these solutions require NOTHING be installed on the system you access them with!  Just input the URL and you’re ready to get or for that matter send email.  For all of these services it’s a good idea to  know your email address, password for the account, and finally the name of your POP3 server.  I’m aware that almost everyone knows there user name but the password and POP3 Server may have been entered once at setup time and forgotten.  Make up a little cheat sheet with this information, and keep it in your wallet for emergencies.  In most cases these services will access your account with just your email address and password but there are times when you have to go into greater depth and input the POP3 server.  Once you’ve done this, it always connects.

MAIL2WEB (WWW.MAIL2WEB.COM)  FREE SERVICE

If all you want to do is send and receive email from a POP account with no bells and whistles MAIL2WEB is your answer.  At the entry screen input your email address and password, and within a minute or so (depending on Internet traffic) you’ll have a copy of the mail currently residing in your account on your mail server.  You can now read, reply, author new messages and one added perk delete an email completely from the server so you won’t have to deal wit it again when you get back to the office.

WEBBOX  (WWW.WEBBOX.COM )  $10 Annual Fee

WEBBOX has more features than MAIL2WEB.  You get 20MB of storage, can send and receive email, store and organize your messages, build a contact list and bookmark list, and have a web accessible calendar at your finger tips.  All of this for this for less than a dollar a month.  Your can create and apply filters, create a signature file and do just about everything you do at your desktop system. WHAT A DEAL!  Unlike many FREE services with similar functions, there are no banners or other annoyingly intrusive advertisements.

This is a KILLER APP which is powerful though simple to use, and economical.

FREE POP MAIL SERVICES

These are usually made available by major Internet portals like Excite, Yahoo (WWW.YAHOO.COM ) , MSN (WWW.MSN.COM ), etc.  They provide a wide range of features (more than you might ever want or use) designed to keep you on their site and exposed to the barrage of advertisements.  The core of these services are equivalent to WEBBOX and don’t require anything thing to be installed on the system to access them.  In many cases however, there are installable components like MSN Messenger and Yahoo pager.  These instant access applications can be very useful but when you are opportunistically getting on the net from a borrowed system, not too practical.  To get around this, AOL (WWW.AOL.COM )and their Instant messenger have a version called AIM Express which is an entirely web based version of Instant Messenger.  It runs a little slower than the installed version but it’s an acceptable compromise.

These portals usually require you to sign up for yet another email account (like you need or want it).  I didn’t want one but you have no choice in the matter.  I never use the email accounts these services provide but without fail, I receive a dozen or so emails a day, mostly spam, and most of there content is suspect.  I used ton use the portal based email systems when I was out of the office until they became so jammed that you couldn’t even log in.  It you did get in, they were worse than a snail.  The heavy subscription to these services have made them unreliable tools for the serious professional.

With the Internet  being ubiquitous, where ever you are you can usually find an Internet connected system more easily than you can find a pay phone.  With the expenditure of little (WEBBOX) or no money (MAIL2WEB), you can access your POP mail anywhere.

There is no need to purchase new gadgets at high ticket prices and questionable reliability to stay in touch with your business.

 

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