FreeMail, Forums or Chat

Finding an Email Service Provider

Recommendations

Web-based email: This means you read your mail in Netscape or IE
Advantages
* You can get it and use it within five minutes
Disadvantages
* It's "free" because they sell advertising -- and you are the target audience
* Slower and less flexible than most text-based services

Hotmail http://www.hotmail.com/ or just enter hotmail
Advantages
* Big and linked to lots of services
Disadvantages
* A Microsoft service, which some folks disagree with on principle
 
Yahoo http://mail.yahoo.com/ or just enter yahoomail
Advantages
* Big and linked to lots of services
Disadvantages
* Another corporate octopus
 
Mailcity http://mail.mailcity.com/ or just enter mailcity
Advantages
* Big and linked to lots of services: interlinked with Yahoo
* 4MB mail storage: the biggest offer of the free servers
Disadvantages
* Interlinked with Yahoo
 
Netscape mail http://webmail.netscape.com/
Advantages
* Big, linked to lots of services
* A more people-oriented octopus than the corporate giants Microsoft and Yahoo
Disadvantages
* You have to already have another email account
Any Webpage Server: Most free webpage accounts come with an email account at that server.
Advantages
* It can be convenient to have all your services in one place; or, alternately, to be able to separate mail in response to your webpage from other mail.
Disadvantages
You have to have another email address before you can set up a free webspace account.

Text-only email
Advantages
* More flexibility than web-based email; you can access it from non-graphic terminals at the library or elsewhere
* With most services, you can download your email to your own hard-drive and read it offline in Netscape, Eudora or another email program
* Easier to ignore embedded advertising
Disadvantages
* You can't see embedded or attached graphics; sometimes you can't even get them
* These services are slower to get and, in the case of Juno or Altavista, you have to install some software and set it up
 
SCN (Seattle Community Network): see them at http://www.scn.org/
Registration forms at the Library
Advantages
* You are supporting your local nonprofit Internet Service Provider
* You will be tied in to a network of community information and billboards
* You can access email, the Web (in text mode) and newsgroups from the same account
Disadvantages (besides the long wait for registration)
* It's an all-volunteer organization, and sometimes it breaks
  (and remember that Hotmail does too!)
* You will feel like a member of PBS during Pledge Drive Week every time you log on
Note: If you are browsing this page from outside of Seattle, contact your local Library for information on your local community network
 
Juno http://www.juno.com/
Advantages
* If you have a phone line and a modem, you can use this from home
Disadvantages
* You have to install their software: ask first before you set it up at the MacWorkshop; you will not be able to use it from the Public Library
* You cannot access the Web from a Juno account
* You cannot receive or send attachments (some people regard this as one of the advantages of Juno)
 
Altavista Free Access Portal
Advantages
* If you have a phone line and a modem, you can use this from home
Disadvantages
* You have to install their software: ask first before you set it up at the MacWorkshop; you will not be able to use it from the Public Library

Forums

Web forums are a central location for posting messages by topic. You can check out some existing forums at StreetSpeech.

Chat

Chat is live, real-time conversation over the Internet. Some people prefer it to email of web forums.

Any Suggestions?
 
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