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Eudora E-Mail, v. 5.2: A Review
This author endorses it wholeheartedly
by J.A. Hitchcock
Link-Up Digital
August 15, 2003


BOXED INFO:

Eudora version 5.2
www.eudora.com

Free in Light or Sponsored modes
$39.95 Paid version (available on the Web site or in retail stores)

System Requirements

PC:
• Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP or Windows NT 4.0 or higher
• A POP3 or IMAP4 mail account via an Internet Service Provider or a network connection
• Access to your mail account via PPP dial-up networking using a modem or a TCP/IP Internet-style network connection
• To use QUALCOMM PureVoice plug-in for Eudora: Windows-compatible 16-bit sound system, speaker, and microphone required.

Macintosh:
• PowerPC or better;
• Mac OS System 8.6 or later (or OS X or later);
• An Internet mail account that uses POP3 or IMAP4 protocol with an Internet Service Provider or a network connection;
• Access to the mail account via PPP dial-up networking using a modem or a TCP/IP Internet-style network connection;
• To use QUALCOMM PureVoice plug-in for Eudora, microphone required.

Palm OS:
• 3.0 or greater with 650KB of available RAM
• A Palm Computing platform modem device, or equivalent way to obtain a network connection
• Windows or Macintosh desktop computer (only for installation)

Qualcomm produces one of the best e-mail programs out there—Eudora, which I have used ever since it became available some years ago. The latest version, 5.2, is better than ever, available in light or sponsored mode (both free) and the paid full version.

Eudora is a wonderful replacement for Microsoft’s Outlook and Outlook Express, which are infamous for being the targets of virus writers and hackers. When I give lectures or workshops, I always recommend getting a separate e-mail program like Eudora. To convince the audience, I tell them to download one of the free versions first to try it out. Sometimes I get an e-mail thanking me for the switch, and most of the time these folks end up getting the paid version of Eudora, which offers more features. What’s even better is that Eudora is available in PC, Mac, and PalmOS formats. So there’s no excuse for not giving it a try.


Eudora Light
It’s free and has no advertising but the caveat to using Eudora Light is that it does not offer some of the features of the sponsored and paid versions. One of those features is advanced mail filtering, which is extremely handy to weed out spam and put certain e-mail messages into specific mailboxes you’ve created.

Eudora Light does offer the basics you need for e-mail: create and reply to messages, create mailboxes, create an address book, and more. This program is great for people who like free software. I’d also recommend it for people who aren’t familiar with a separate e-mail program. It is very easy to set up and use. All in all, it is a good introduction to the Eudora family.


Eudora Sponsored & Paid Modes
The sponsored mode is the least attractive of the two free versions, as it has rotating ads in the left-hand column that cannot be resized to be smaller. This is really annoying. However, since the Light version has limited features, and if you’re really cheap and want all the features of Eudora’s full version, you will have to put up with the ads—or pay the $39.95 for the paid version (with free upgrades).

What does the latest version of Eudora offer in sponsored/paid modes?

  • It offers enhanced filtering that matches addresses against those in your address book, so that those messages don’t get sent to the trash can or are put in the correct mailbox you specify.
  • Eudora Shell Extension lets you know if there could be a virus if you try to launch an attachment from the “Attach” directory (which means you don’t try to launch it from the e-mail message itself, where you already get a warning that launching an attachment could unleash a virus). This is double protection and a wonderful addition. A word of precaution: Never, ever open an attachment unless you are expecting it. There are viruses out there that send messages with attachments that appear to be from someone you know. Instead of launching the attachment, e-mail this person first to see if they really did send it to you. If they didn’t, then you can tell them to run their antivirus software to scan for a virus.
  • I’m not a fan of the “MoodWatch” feature, but it has been enhanced. It rates each message you receive with graphics of chili peppers—one means the message may be mildly offensive, two means it’s probably offensive, and three means the message is on fire or very offensive. The new version offers a strikeout button that crosses out the selected text with a horizontal line in addition to warning you of its offensiveness. This feature is more for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids’ e-mail or for a work environment.
  • One of the best new features is the capability of dragging attachments out of the message, then dropping them onto your desktop for later use.

The Mac version offers some new features the PC version doesn’t. These are mostly in the address book:

  • The ability to sync the Eudora address book with your Palm OS-based device.
  • Save photos of your friends in the address book.
  • Drag and drop nicknames to the toolbar from the address book to quickly create a new message.

The Palm OS Eudora Internet Suite 2.1 (EIS) version (which works with Eudora version 4.3.2 or higher) offers some nifty features for road warriors, including:

  • Incoming/outgoing mail management, even multiple accounts.
  • Eudora and EudoraWeb browser support.
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) for server authentication and data privacy.
  • Synchronizing your Web browser bookmarks (favorites) between your desktop browser and the EudoraWeb browser on your Palm device.
  • Filter your messages.
  • Unlimited synch is FREE—synch EIS with other e-mail clients, such as Outlook Express, Netscape, etc.

The one feature I’m not too excited about, although I could see some use for parents or employers, is the statistics capability. Go to the Tools menu, select Statistics, and you can see the pattern of your e-mail usage, such as how much time you spend using Eudora—not the amount of time you keep the program open, but when you actually use it. The Statistics feature stops recording when there is no activity on the keyboard for 60 seconds.

I found some very interesting information about my usage. Since September of 2000 I’ve been getting an average of 90 messages a day, of which I read only an average of 40 percent (meaning 60 percent of my messages are spam).

I send an average of 20 messages per day (I thought it was more) and spend 15 percent of my time reading mail, 17 percent composing mail, and 68 percent doing “other” (they don’t specify what “other” means).

Graphically, Eudora 5.2 looks the same as 5.1, with the same options. But with all the features available, you can make your e-mail intake/outtake much easier to deal with. Filter out that annoying spam; make mailboxes for specific projects or subjects, then filter messages into them; customize your address book; and get a handle on making your life easier.

Eudora also offers easy-to-understand tutorials on its Web site at http://www.eudora.com/techsupport/tutorials/index.html for every function/feature of all three versions.

All in all, switching or upgrading to Eudora is the way to go. If you don’t believe me, download one of the free versions and give it a try.


J.A. Hitchcock is a nationally recognized Internet crime and security expert and president of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA, at www.haltabuse.org). For more information, visit www.jahitchcock.com.

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