Administrators with a lot of traveling e-mail users have a problem: getting access to the mail server for those users. There are a number of ways that you can provide this. If you're using Exchange, you can enable the Webmail option. But if you don't want to do that, there are some other options. This tip discusses several of these applicable to various e-mail servers, particularly POP3.
There are many ways to access your e-mail when you are on the road and you don't have your computer or Web enabled phone handy. Basically there are two approaches that people use. The first approach is to sign up for a service like Hotmail or Yahoo mail, and reflect your mail to that secondary service. You can set an option in every e-mail program that sends a copy of any incoming and outgoing mail to a secondary account. For Microsoft Exchange, that setting can be set on the server as part of your e-mail profile. Reflection is a nice technique for populating a copy or replication of your mail database over time.
A second technique involves using one of the free e-mail access services that are available on the Web. I'm partial to Mail2Web, it works well accessing POP3 mail and is available within any browser. Although I've mysteriously lost e-mail once using this program, it has been largely reliable over a long period of time. To use Mail2Web, navigate to the site and enter your e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and password. When you enter this information you see a listing of your recent e-mail. In some instances you will need to enter additional information to access your e-mail. For example, if you have a hosted business account with Earthlink then you might have to enter an address in the form email@example.com. Your ISP can help you figure out the correct address to enter into these browser services. Another service of this type is Molly Mail, and also SFSail Mail both of which only require an active Internet connection.
In time, these services will become less and less valuable as they are replaced by pervasive wireless networks, next generation cellular Internet connections, and Web and e-mail enabled PDA phones. But isn't it nice to know that users can leave their laptops behind and still get your mail easily?
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.