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Eudora in the News




Eudora Beefs Up Your Email Control

By Michelle Johnson
The Boston Globe
April 5, 2004

When it comes to software to handle e-mail, many of us just use what comes with the computer. Usually that's a Microsoft product, whatever is built into your Web browser, or the program your Internet company provides.

Then there's Eudora. Not exactly a new kid on the block, this e- mail program has been around since a freeware version (named after writer Eudora Welty) was released in 1988.

Over the years the programs held on to a loyal following, particularly some Mac users, despite Microsoft Outlook's lock on our desktops.

Last September Eudora was significantly upgraded and a revised version of that overhaul is set for release today. Generally an incremental upgrade (from version 6 to 6.1) isn't much to jump up and down about.

And that's mostly true in this case. One exception is a new feature that Eudora's maker Qualcomm calls WebWords, a built-in tool for searching the Web via Google.

Essentially, the company has teamed up with Google to add search functionality to your e-mail. So, for instance, you can right-click on a word or phrase in an e-mail, (control-click for Mac users), choose "search web" from the drop-down menu that appears, and up pops the results of a Google search. The program also sports a new search window in the toolbar.

Qualcomm is touting the fact that this is the first pairing of Google and an e-mail client. Being able to search without exiting your e-mail program could be handy, but the jury's out on whether we really want, or need Google everywhere.

Version 6.1 also beefs up Eudora's Outlook Importer, which purports to make it easy for Outlook users to switch by automatically transferring their data. Unfortunately, the beta version I tested crashed when I attempted to use this feature. However, after restarting the program, I discovered that it was successful in copying my mail and folders from Outlook, as well as my contacts.

There's also an importer for Mac OS X Apple Mail users and an address book sync. Other tweaks to the program include more control over the content concentrator, a feature that allows you to tame the amount of text that you see in an e-mail thread, improvements to contextual filing (clicking and moving text to a folder or mailbox), and a few miscellaneous bug fixes.

Version 6 brought spam control to Eudora via SpamWatch, which uses Bayesian filtering to scan incoming mail. Suspect mail gets shuttled off to a junk-mail folder, and you can train the program by selecting mail and clicking "Junk" or "Not Junk" buttons.

SpamWatch did an excellent job of snagging virtually all of the junk mail aimed at my inbox, letting through only one piece over a three-day period, but only after I moved its "Junk Threshold" setting to the strongest level.

Amazingly, none of my legitimate mail ended up in the junk folder, a recurring problem I've had with Outlook 2003.

On the surface, Eudora doesn't look that much different from other e-mail programs, with a lineup of folders (inbox, junk, trash, etc.) on the left, and incoming mail and a preview pane stacked horizontally on the right.

It's under the skin where Eudora shines, offering a slew of customization options. Don't like the search box at the top right of screen? Pick it up and move it. Don't like the default buttons on the toolbar? Click tools, then options, and tinker away.

You can even call up a statistics window that generates charts showing how much mail you've sent and received, among other information. New to Version 6.1 is SpamWatch stats, which show how the filtering is working.

One quibble about the program's look and feel. Some of the icons directly above the inbox window are pretty cryptic. To find out what they are, use the "context sensitive" help button (the one with the question mark) to click on mystery icons. Eudora could also take a page from Outlook 2003 and turn off image downloading by default.

Eudora, available for Mac and Windows, comes in three versions: A paid version ($49.95) that includes SpamWatch and technical support; a free "sponsored" version that carries advertising and all features of the paid version except for SpamWatch and tech support, and a "light" version, also free, that has fewer features and no ads.

To use Eudora you'll need a POP or IMAP email account, Windows 95 or higher, or Mac OS 8.6 or higher.

The program is available via download at Eudora.com. If you're looking for more control over your mail and beefier spam filtering, the paid version is definitely worth the download.


 

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