Mini-Eudora Gets a Better Score-a

by Meryl K Evans | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog, Reviews, Tech No comments

After expressing my frustration with Earthlink’s wireless software for OmniSky customers, I downloaded Eudora’s wireless software on advice from John since he has used it with the OmniSky / Earthlink service.

Before installing, I called Earthlink’s tech support to verify a few things. After being on hold for 15 minutes or longer (trying to be conservative here), I asked them if I could remove any components of the Earthlink software to make more room on the Palm Vx.

Unexpectedly, the technician told me that it’s better to keep it to retain the network settings. He did offer another option of downloading the Earthlink uninstaller and going to Novatel to download the software from there. However, Earthlink would not be able to assist in this process.

I decided to keep the Earthlink software and install Eudora. Eudora’s files are smaller than Earthlink’s file called City / People. I didn’t even have any saved settings in the City or People and it used over 700 KB of space! When I installed Earthlink, I had no choice in whether or not I wanted the City / People feature. There were two applications on Eudora: email and Web. Eudora allowed the user to select the applications to install.

Score 1 for Eudora on size and installing options.

Trashing Emails

The OmniSky software still has the best option for deleting an email. There was a popup box that provided the options of deleting it from the Handheld, Handheld and Server, or Cancel. Eudora and Earthlink deal with it at the application level as a preference. I worked around it by creating a folder called Save. Anything I don’t want deleted off the server went in the Save folder. After I downloaded the email on the home PC, I deleted the saved emails on the PDA.

Eudora opened the next email after deleting an email. Thank goodness. Earthlink takes you back to the inbox. However, Earthlink allows you to select one or more emails, without opening them, for deleting. Neither Eudora nor OmniSky have this capability. They required tapping on the email, which opened and tapping the Delete button in the opened email.

Score 1/2 for Eudora for going to next email after deletion.

Score 1/2 for Earthlink for ability to select more than one email.

Composing Emails

Composing or replying to emails on Earthlink was the biggest pain of the whole PDA email experience. It had no bulk text selection, the tab didn’t work at all, it scrolled line by line, and it didn’t differentiate the sender’s responses from yours with > or some other character.

Eudora came with bulk text selection capabilities, tabbing capabilities, excellent and fast scrolling, and characters next to the sender’s responses. The scrolling and tabbing worked better than OmniSky’s original software. When starting a new email, the cursor started in the TO: box. When tabbing, it moved to SUBJECT: and then the body. OmniSky’s skipped over the subject while tabbing.

When replying to an email in Eudora, a popup gives you the Reply and Reply All option. I preferred OmniSky’s version, which had two buttons: Reply and Reply All. I didn’t have to hit Reply to get these two options.

Eudora has an extra step for looking up email addresses in your PDA address book. It requires tapping on the TO: to get to another TO: screen and then tapping on Lookup. Earthlink requires two steps, but without a new screen and it allows you to pick multiple addresses in one shot. OmniSky went right to the address book lookup once you hit TO:, but didn’t allow selecting multiple addresses.

Once I exited out of an email I was composing in Earthlink to do something, I came back and the email was gone. OmniSky and Eudora saved it. The former saved it in the Drafts folder and the latter in the Out (also known as Send) folder. I can’t rename the Out folder, but at least it’s there.

Score 1 for Eudora for tabbing, text selection, and responding.

Score 1/2 for Earthlink for ability to select multiple email address in one step.

Retrieving Emails

Strangely, Eudora didn’t have a button on its inbox page for sending and receiving emails. It didn’t have one for composing emails either. To check email, you open the menu or do the shortcut as shown in the menu. After it pulled in new emails, it provided an unnecessary Mail Check Results screen. It displayed the total number of new emails, how many received, and how many skipped.

It did the same thing for sending email with its Mail Send Results. It displayed the number of email Sent and Not Sent. We don’t even have this feature in PC email and it’s a waste of tapping time.

Score zip.

Mini-Web Surfing

Eudora’s Web browser didn’t come with any built in links other than its own Web site. I had to hunt down for PDA Web sites to enter into the bookmarks.

Google: www.google.com/palm
Yahoo: mobile.yahoo.com/home
CNN: wireless.cnn.com/pqa/cnn/en/index.html

Eudora’s Web browser was very plain and had nothing pre-loaded. Unlike Earthlink, which is loaded with that big City / People file. From what I could tell, it worked as fast as the original OmniSky software. I primarily used AvantGo for reading online news.

If you have the Eudora Web browser and email installed, there was no way to switch back and forth between the two applications without going to the PDA’s home screen.

Score 1/2 for Eudora

Score 0 for Earthlink

Leftovers

The Inbox interface in Eudora and Earthlink are better than OmniSky’s. However, Eudora is missing a button for Send / Receive Emails and Compose. Earthlink has the best interface since it has these icons on the bottom along with a Find icon.

Eudora can have multiple mailbox accounts just like Earthlink. Both worked fine.

Earthlink has one feature that the other two didn’t have, the ability to open attachments or forward them. Generally, I didn’t care to open attachments on the PDA, but the ability to forward them in Earthlink was great.

Overall, OmniSky is probably still the best of the three, but it’s gone. Eudora is more usable than Earthlink. Eudora’s few quirks are more tolerable than Earthlink’s usability issues.

For those keeping track, Eudora had 3 points to Earthlink’s 1 point.

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