Making e-mail work for you on an old Mac

There’s more out there in the world of free e-mail than Yahoo! and
Google. I’m posting this entry from fastmail.fm, which — in theory —
should be a great thing for users of System 7. For one thing, the free
level includes IMAP access, though I have yet to figure out how to set
it up. IMAP mail differs from POP mail in that IMAP accesses the e-mail
on the server, while POP downloads mail to your hard drive.

One of fastmail.fm’s main features is that its user interface is very
much bare bones. Not a lot of crap to load just to read and write
e-mail. And one of the features is turning off CSS stylesheets, which I
have done already. Even though I have CSS disabled in all my System
7-compatible browsers, this should make the whole thing look better —
and quicker.

The other thing about fastmai.fm — they offer about a hundred different
e-mail domains, and every username under the sun isn’t already taken. I
got stevenr@inoutbox.com.

While the basic service is free, varying levels are available at varying
amounts of money. There are bandwidth limits, though I have no idea how
that will affect my use of the service. And yes, while Gmail and Yahoo!
are also free, it’s worth exploring different ways to use e-mail,
especially when it comes to doing it on older computers.

Update: With CSS turned off, the menus were one blue on another blue — hard to read. I’m pretty sure this can be fixed, but for the moment, I turned CSS back on so it looks pretty on my Windows XP box.

Another cool thing: You can optimize the FastMail interface for your desired screen size. Default is 800×600 but it works great at 640×480.

IMAP: The free accounts include IMAP only, and one thing that’s different is that you have to use your own OUTGOING mail server. I set it up on the Palm, using DSL Extreme’s SMTP server for outgoing mail. Right now I’m having Palm issues (have to reboot the PC to make it work, and I don’t feel like doing it just yet). Why I need another e-mail account is certainly a question I should be asking myself, but now it’s all about trying this stuff out.