The biggest reason old mail clients won’t work

All that time spent trying to get old mail clients (Eudora, Claris E-Mailer, Outlook) to work in System 7.6.1 has taught me one thing: It’s a world of hurt.

The same is happening with the Palm’s VersaMail. I’m using version 2.6 on a Tungsten E, and it’s pretty much the same problems. But I can’t upgrade to a new version, so it all comes down to finding e-mail services that work with the current VersaMail.

And the biggest reason that old mail clients won’t work with today’s POP and IMAP services?

The newer services require SSL on the outgoing mail server, and the e-mail clients don’t support it. The new version of VersaMail (for the Tungsten E2, T/X and Lifedrive) does offer SSL on the outgoing server, so it can be used with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc.

But DSL Extreme doesn’t use SSL on the outgoing, so it works great. I’ve also gotten Fastmail.fm to work with the Palm. I really want to try Fastmai.fm it on This Old Mac because it’s Web interface is very, very fast, can be optimized for screen size and offers switchable CSS style sheet compatibility. One hitch: The free account requires you to use another outgoing mail server. I’m using the DSL Extreme server, and it is working fine. For a one-time payment of $14.95, I believe, you can use their server (it’s IMAP only at that price).

Even though Yahoo! Mail and Gmail are usable in the go-to browsers for System 7.6.1 (Netscape 4.8 and Internet Explorer 5), they are not super fast due to an added graphical load. Fastmail.fm just might make it worthwhile to use the Web interface instead of the mail client in Netscape.

I love my Yahoo! address, am OK with my Gmail address … and I’m also very OK with my new Fastmail address and my DSL Extreme address (although I’m less than thrilled by DSL Extreme’s Web mail interface) … so I’ve got plenty of choices for e-mail, and depending on how things go, I just might move away from Yahoo! Mail for my everyday needs.

Palm aside: While I realize this is a Mac blog, I can’t get away from the fact that I’m in a Palm stage right now. It all has to do with the easiest AND CHEAPEST way to get my work done, and for the moment that’s not lugging around a 9-pound laptop, but carrying the 6-ounce Palm Tungsten E (and soon a keyboard procured very cheaply over eBay).

I probably need to start a Palm blog, but for now I will tell you that in non-intensive testing, the Tungsten E appears to respond faster to commands than either the Tungsten E2, T/X or LifeDrive, Palm’s newer models. I’m not sure why.

That said, I’d upgrade to the E2 or T/X just to get the new VersaMail program, and especially the T/X due to its built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I don’t really need the Bluetooth at the moment because I don’t have a Bluetooth-equipped cell phone and there are no Bluetooth keyboards for the Palm, but the Wi-Fi would be great for the Palm’s e-mail capabilities.

And if — and I say “if” because it’s nowhere near happening, as far as I know — Palm had something like Microsoft Exchange, which would sync the entire handheld over the Web instead of through a direct hot-sync operation, that would totally and completely change the game for Palm handhelds and their usability.

In the near future: I will blog on what I call CES: Woodland Hills, my own personal odyssey to see all the Palm and Windows Mobile handhelds I can, at the Daily News’ Click blog.

And for emphasis: I totally am into the new Blogger. Speed is just the beginning, but it’s a great beginning, to be sure.