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Dec 11, 2009

Switchin' Over To Webmail

Outlook 2007 LogoWhen it comes to e-mail, I've been using it since the very early days. My first e-mail account was actually hosted by Hotmail, which some people still use today, and was filled with ads. I finally switched over to an e-mail hosted by my ISP, and was able to use a e-mail client with it; in this case, I used Outlook. Ever since then, I've really been using a software-based e-mail client for a long time. The only time when I really use webmail is when I'm not using my own computer.

Back in the good old days of 2001, I was using Outlook at the time. I really didn't know how e-mail would change my life in the future, but I did use it often. I have e-mails dating back to 2001; it's always fun to sit down and read some of them. But a friend mentioned that why use a software-based e-mail client when you can have your webmail on every computer. I didn't use webmail mainly because it's filled with a lot of ads, unless if you pay for it.

Just recently, I started thinking about using Webmail again and what the advantages and disadvantages would be. This is what I've came up with.

Advantages:

  • I'll be able to finally access my e-mail from anywhere in the world.
  • It'll be quicker and more efficient because it's not running in a separate program, only my internet browser. Because I always have an internet browser open anyways.
  • Never have to back up my e-mail

Disadvantages

  • Cannot have all of my e-mail accounts on it (fix - read below)
  • E-mail size might get a bit too large because of all the e-mails I get
  • Search indexing isn't integrated into Windows anymore compared to using Outlook
  • No true way to notify you via sound like Outlook does

But even because of those disadvantages, I am still using my Tech Cores webmail as my main e-mail system right now. Right now, I'm actually on a computer that I do not own, thus I do not have my own e-mail on it. I wanted an easy way to access my e-mail, so I'm using webmail again. You might ask, what happened with the ads? Because this is ran by Tech Cores, there are no ads. It's also ran by the popular webmail program called RoundCube. Because I have more than one e-mail address, I was able to combine them all into one webmail account. I simply made my other e-mail accounts forward the mail to my Tech Cores e-mail address. Granted that I really cannot send from the e-mail address now without logging in to that webmail account, but it still does bring all of my e-mails in one simple window, just like Outlook did.

I don't know if I'm going to stick with it mainly because I really cannot search my mail right from Windows and that I cannot get a sound notification easily like what Outlook provided. But this doesn't mean I still cannot use webmail. There's a wonderful e-mail protocol called IMAP that really takes care of all of my issues. IMAP basically makes sure all of your devices that are connect to your e-mail server via IMAP will be all in sync. Yes, that's right, you'll be able to have the exact same e-mail system in Outlook, in your webmail, and even on your iPhone from what you get via the webmail interface. There's two main e-mail protocols, IMAP and POP3. In a later blog post, I'll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both protocols, and what's best to use for your needs.

Why do you use or don't use webmail? This is a very opinionated question, but I think this will spark a lot of discussion.

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