Saturday, June 14, 2014

One step forward, two steps … ?

I put on some soothing music and I'll be fine in a moment. Customer service didn't resolve my issue.

I am in the process of buying a new computer. It should have been purchased a month ago. I keep running into things that aren't going right. I'm making sure there is a good transition, that everything will transport properly from an 8-year-old computer taking in all the computer advances during that time. The current issue is email.

I've been using Outlook Express for email for at least 8 years, perhaps 14 years. I used it because that's what Comcast, my internet service provider, said they knew how to configure. All these years later there are better things than OE. Besides, Microsoft stopped supporting it just after I bought my current computer (though there is something out there called Outlook Express 2013).

My first choice for a replacement was Mozilla Thunderbird. I've been using Mozilla Firefox for many years and like it. I also like that it isn't Microsoft. Alas, Firefox doesn't play nicely with the college's email system, but that doesn't stop me from using it for everything else.

I downloaded Thunderbird. I found the transition from OE to be convoluted and I never got it to import my 7000 messages. Along the way I asked for clarification from the user forum and the responses tended to be unhelpful or a cross between whiny and surly. So I uninstalled it.

I then found a chart in Wikipedia with a comparison all known email clients (don't you just love nerds?) and worked through the list. Does it allow to keep mail on my computer rather than the cloud? Is it still being actively supported? Then on to each product's website. What is the cost? Is it for home or business? General use or specialized? And, most importantly, does it claim to import from OE? That last one really narrowed the field.

I tried one of them today, a product called eMClient. It installed just fine. Import was easy (once I told it where OE keeps messages). The address book didn't import, at least not on first try. I opened OE to read off the websites and ports to communicate with Comcast and tried to send a message. Didn't work.

So I called Comcast. It took a while for the tech guy to figure out the problem was on my end, not his. Then it took him a while to get the name of the program correct -- I think he was puzzled over "CN" not "EM." He then turned me over to someone else. That person had never heard of eMClient and had no idea what settings to use. So I'm back to what Comcast supports. It's a rather short list:

* Outlook Express 2013 now offered by a company I've never heard of, has games as its other products, and doesn't explain what OE2013 is. Probably not a lot of customer support.

* Windows Live, the current Microsoft offering, which seems to be cloud oriented.

* Thunderbird (see above).

* Eudora, no longer supported.

* Credit, which Wikipedia doesn't know about, Google doesn't find in the first two pages of search results, and is not listed in the comparison of email clients I mentioned earlier.

Ooh, great list of choices! Which leads to a big question: Is it time to leave Comcast? I've been using it since 2000. A big headache would be telling everyone a new email address. And at my current speed of decision-making, lining up a replacement could take a while.

Yet to come: document editor and music manager.

The 5th Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is beautiful. I feel much better.

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