Mail Dominance

Get with the programs.
Magazine Contributor
6 min read

This story appears in the August 1998 issue of Subscribe »

When a program is as good as e-mailer Eudora Pro 3.0 was, you get nervous about how they'll "improve" it. No worries--Eudora Pro CommCenter 4.0 really is better. Version 3.0 already had powerful features for filtering mail into different boxes, sending automatic responses based on incoming mail, checking mail at multiple addresses, using a selection of signature files, sending and receiving sound files with the PureVoice plug-in, and toggling extensive header information off and on--a help in hunting down spammers. (And you may want to think about doing that. In March, Washington became the first state to pass a law allowing consumers to sue spammers for $500 for each e-mail they receive with a false return address or misleading subject line. Other states are expected to follow suit.)

This upgrade is just as powerful as the previous version, while the interface is friendlier and roomier. You can customize the toolbar by removing the tools you don't use. The program's handy installer lets you choose PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption, McAfee VirusScan, Verity KeyView for reading documents generated by programs you don't have, Aladdin StuffIt to shrink files to SIT format for Macs or ZIP format for Windows, Acrobat Reader for viewing increasingly popular PDF files, JFAX Communicator with three free months of forwarding faxes and voice mail to your e-mail box, Eudora Internet Pager for chatting in real time, Microsoft Internet Explorer and more. Eudora is still less prone to glitches, and now even more than before, the power is worth it.

Rebecca Frances Rohan has been a computer and Internet journalist since 1988. She is author of Building Better Web Pages (AP Professionals).

Cut It Out!

If you're preparing photos for brochures, Web pages, newsletters or ads, and want to cut a complex subject out of complex surroundings, you're probably spending hours zooming in to pluck out each unwanted pixel. When you zoom in, it gets much harder to tell where the object you want ends and everything else begins.

Coming to your rescue is Extensis Mask Pro, a plug-in filter for Photoshop 3.0.5 or higher. The dual Windows/Macintosh filter works several ways to make complex object selection--one of the biggest time-wasters in image-editing--fast and easy.

You can start by tracing a line around the image you want with a few clicks at various points, and the line will snap precisely to the edge between your points. In Mask Pro's coolest trick, you drag a "keep" eyedropper through the colors you want that are near an edge, drag a "drop" eyedropper through the nearby unwanted background colors, then take the Magic Brush to the edge of the object: It literally wipes away the background from behind the object.

There are tools to easily tweak what's getting kept and dropped as you move around the edge with either the snap-to tool or the Magic Brush. The results are amazing, whether you have a background in computer graphics or just want to learn what's necessary for the task at hand. The program design has a few quirks, but they're worth working around for the major time savings and clean results you'll have after working through the quick tutorial. The program costs a pretty penny, but if you spend even a half-hour each week cutting things out the old-fashioned way, your savings will quickly add up.

Capital Letters

Tired of crafting letters for every business situation? Shelve your keyboard and let your software do the work. ModelOffice's 2001 Letters That Work contains sample copies of business, sales and personal letters for just about any occasion, plus guidelines for effective correspondence and a browsing program to help find the right letter. There is even a paperback Roget's College Thesaurus in the box with the tribrid Windows 3.1/95-NT/Mac CD.

Unfortunately, many of the letters read more like what is too often written than what should be written. The first letter I read--a request for advertising rates--contained this sentence: "Please send us your advertising rate sheet, along with information about the amount of lead time required, mechanical specifications and upcoming special sections that might of interest to us." (Note the missing "be" after "might.") Another simply had ugly writing: "A priority on our short-term goals is the updating and revamping of our printed marketing materials."

Of course, the letters aren't meant to be mailed unread, and they may give you just enough of what you need to turn these example letters into true model letters.

Remote Control

The makers of LapLink have turned their attention to the home office user who needs a modem connection to the home office while on the road. Remote DeskLink lets you work within programs you left behind on your office computer--just as if you were sitting in front of it.

At $100 less than Lap-Link, Remote DeskLink doesn't allow file transfer, but it lets you cut and paste information from one machine to the other.

To work at a good clip, you can choose not to view graphics and limit the number of colors displayed. A password keeps others from accessing the host machine; you can also blank the host screen so people can't see what you're working on. This program supports modems, TCP/IP or IPX networks, and Windows 95 Dial-Up Networking.

List price: $59
(Windows 95 or NT upgrade, $39)
Requires: Windows 95 or NT 4.0; POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail account or network connection using PPP or TCP/IP; and a 16-bit sound board, a speaker and a microphone to use PureVoice (Macintosh version not ready at press time)
Qualcomm Inc.
(800) 2-EUDORA

List price: $299.95
Requires: a Pentium processor, Windows 95 or NT 4.0, 32MB RAM and Photoshop 3.0.5 or later; Macintosh Power PC, System 7.5.1, 32MB RAM and Photoshop 3.0.5 or later
Extensis Corp.
(800) 796-9798

List price: $49.99
Requires: Pentium DX 66 MHz, Windows 95, 8MB RAM, 7MB hard-drive space, a VGA display and a modem or network access
Traveling Software Inc.
(800) 343-8080

List price: $39.95
Requires: a 386 computer, Windows 3.1 with 4MB RAM, or Windows 95 or NT with 8MB RAM, and 4MB hard-drive space; Macintosh 68020, System 7.1, 4MB RAM and 4MB hard-drive space
ModelOffice Inc.
(800) 801-3880

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