|“A free permanent e-mail address that’s
yours for life.”
Perhaps these common catchphrases in today’s cyberworld
may be shocking. “There must be a catch. Nothing is for free,”
Well, think again. There is no catch, it is absolutely free and it
is FANTASTIC. As long as you have access to the internet be it through
the library, a friends home or a cyber café, netters can receive
and send e-mail to anyone with an account to anywhere in the world.
To make sure there was no catch, I put my head on the guillotine and
surfed my way into these pages. Here’s what I discovered:
Benefits are abundant, free personalised email accounts are available
with various websites and each email account is user-specific. So
I decide to use my name, confident that not many people out there
would have a similar address. Ha! I was right and it’s so easy
to remember. Heck! I could even use my favourite movie; firstname.lastname@example.org
as my address. The best part is that even if I changed service providers,
moved overseas or shifted houses, I can still access my precious mail
without going through the hassle of informing the three million, six
hundred thousand, nine hundred and two people I know.
Perhaps the most exciting idea is that email can be checked from anywhere
in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. I could be
in my office, a cool cyber café in Boat Quay or even a small
rundown shack in Somalia and yet I could keep in touch with friends.
How can you beat that? Just access any public terminal and you can
have it all.
I did not need to purchase new software, upgrade my RAM, increase
hard disk space or even purchase a high-speed modem. In fact my rather
ancient but adorable Macintosh Color Classic with 8 MB RAM and 14.4
modem did rather nicely. For PC users, one with standard features
would suffice. As for navigation software, these services adapt quite
well to both Internet Explorer and Netscape. However, Macintosh users
may be displeased to discover certain sites are catered only for PC
A number of sites require users to download software that are unique
to the provider that some shamelessly announce that unfortunately
“this site is not yet available for Mac user” as the software
is yet to be configured to fit the Mac operating system, they claim.
No worries! Those that I could test allowed software to be downloaded
in a jiffy without hassle, without cost. No sneaky bills or invoices
have found their way to my mailbox so far! Hmm…so will I be
able to retrieve attachments like scanned images, sound bites and
even games that friends send over?
Yet again, they seem to have thought of it all. Sound files and images
can be opened with the web browser without a hitch. Some providers
are so advanced that you can store email addresses in a directory.
And you can key in real specifics, right down to age and country of
residence. An excellent idea for regular cyber chatters who rather
not reveal their personal accounts to strangers, stay anonymous and
yet want to keep in touch. Best of both worlds I guess.
What about security? How personal is my personal free email account?
Nobody can access it because each user has a personal password.
If you forget this password, don’t lose sweat, a new password
can easily be arranged for and most take only a few days to a week
Providers even promise that all messages are strictly confidential
and not read, “barring extraordinary circumstances such as being
required to do otherwise by law”.
That’s not the only promise some providers make. Mailing lists
are not sold and be certain that no junk mail will reach you from
anybody. The possibilities and features are endless, till, you check
out these websites, I’ll be busy for a bit as I’m off
to check my five new free email accounts.
So go forth and search.
My five favourite providers:
As the name suggests, it is mighty fast.
News is always hot and its features are great.
Because it gives an aroma of mystery when given to new chatline
friends, who keep wondering about your origins.
Especially, useful if its for a business as it has a little sophistication,
the address that is.