Some of you techy types may laugh at this, but that’s OK.
Since year dot, I have been with AOL. That means I used the AOL software to access email. I never used it for browsing of course; only emails.
I liked the format, the ease of use, the way read stuff vanishes and is stored in the “old” folder, the way you get a little aural “pop” when new mail comes in – all of it. I have used it for 15 years or more so am VERY used to it.
Recently I have ditched AOL as an internet provider, but I haven’t yet stopped paying the monthly subscription, as the moment I do, the functionality of the software vanishes and I get left with the AOL web based email client that is woefully slow and painfully lacking. The web based one is nothing like the software one AOL users get.
AOL in the UK is different to the AOL in the US BTW. They sold the UK arm of AOL to the dreadful Carphone Warehouse/Talk Talk a few years ago.
So its time to move on. Also, my needs have changed since way back when.
I find myself in a funny place, in that I know a ton of stuff about all kinds of website stuff and internetty things. I can write html in notepad for example. But I don’t know zip about email stuff – because I never needed to.
The first question is whether to use a programme or a web based client. I guess a programme makes more sense as I want to be able to use one interface on several machines and access email from many domains, together with a few AOL accounts, a Yahoo one and a Gmail one. I also want facility when replying an email to use a drop down menu to select the address the email is “from”.
I want to be able to collect all incoming mail – from various addresses (domains and also free places like Yahoo and AOL) – in one place. An automatic backup from a local machine to one of my own servers would be a bonus too. I also need to store some pre-written replies to save me writing the same stuff over and over.
I checked out Outlook, it wasn’t at all reliable at fetching emails from the AOL addresses – and it seemed overly complicated. Although, I have generally found Microsoft to be the less than ideal answer to whatever the question might be.
I know Gmail and Yahoo can so some of this stuff, but I prefer something I have control of, and no ads or Google datanapping.
On the hosts cpanel, there is Squirrel Mail and a few others, but I read some reviews and tried one out and they seem to be way more complicated than I need, or lacking in functionality so much that I may as well use the AOL web based one.
I am not against paying for something that does what I need it to do. A friend recommended an online one he uses some time ago, but without actually buying it, I couldn’t seem to figure out if it was exactly what I needed.
I am thinking a programme similar to Outlook – but better – is what I need (perhaps with remote on-line access as well for when travelling). “The Bat!” was mentioned by another pal, but that would cause most of my outgoing to end up in peoples spam folders as Fat Yuri is so fond of it.
I need total reliability as I receive many online payments, and just want to funnel a bunch of incoming emails from several different sources into one place. And be able to reply from whatever address I want to.
Suggestions and ideas from Real Deal’s tech minded readers most welcome.