Well. I have a new toy to play with.
I love software. It’s no secret. Every time I find a new piece of software to play with, so long as it’s free or I can get it for free (ahem), I’ll try it. Within limits. of course, but for the most part, I’m a slut for software.
So I’ve experimented with a couple of email clients over the last couple years. Mozilla Thunderbird, for one. It was okay. At the time I installed it and tried it, it was not only free and not difficult to use, it was the only one which connected to almost all my email accounts. Yahoo mail, of course, is a problem child. They won’t let you connect unless you pay for their email, which stinks, and I won’t do it. So phooey on them.
Anyway, I’ve avoided using Thunderbird because it’s slow (to me), cumbersome, and doesn’t handle Gmail accounts well. Frustrated, I gave up on it. It was easier to use my little WebMail Notifier addon for Firefox than it was to use Thunderbird, and that just defeats the purpose.
So tonight, I lamented to my wife about how much I wanted to be able to work offline and still get my email. My feed readers and other things interfere with actual work I have to do lately, and I need to curtail how much time I spend on the Internet. So I wanted an offline client to check ALL my email. If I sign on to Firefox I’m going to end up losing a couple of hours. I’m undisciplined.
She spent a while searching and offered me two potential clients. One specialized in Gmail, but I have other accounts I want to check too. So I held that on the back burner. Then she told me about Threadsy. Okay, it’s great – she can tell you about it if you’re interested – but I wanted to stay off the browser, not work in it. So strike that.
Then she showed me one she loved. It used to be Microsoft Outlook Express. Now, it’s called Windows Live. It’s incredible.
First, it accepted all my Gmail accounts without problem. There’s a setting in Gmail you need to use to permit IMAPI access, then you’re good to go. It naturally took my Hotmail account without even asking. But it also offered to establish subscriptions for my RSS feeds. That means I could read your blogs, my comments and almost anything else providing an RSS feed, right here in my little Live window.
Now, I haven’t set up the subscriptions to either my RSS feeds or any newsgroups. But I have established all my email accounts and got them going. Live was so clever it took the ridiculous tags Gmail uses instead of folders, called labels, and it turned them into folders all by itself for me. So if I’m overwhelmed looking at my Inbox, I don’t have to filter the mail and risk forgetting to remove that filter later. I can just click in the folder of choice and see all the mail in those folders. And as email comes in I can just move it to the appropriate folder and it’s out of my way; then it syncs everything up on the mail server too and voila! My email is solved!
So, if you’re a Windows user, and you like Thunderbird or are on Outlook Express stubbornly refusing to upgrade, you need to look at this. The software’s free; it’s fast; it’s simple to use and set up; it’s interface is clean and intuitive. It’s fantastic, and I don’t generally rave about email clients. But I give this one two thumbs up and can’t wait to dig farther into it to see what else it can do.
Interested? You can download it here. It also offers to install a bunch of other stuff too, but you don’t have to take ‘em. I do, however, recommend Windows Live Writer.
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