A common question on Usenet is how to use the Mac to read mail and Usenet news directly, without having to use a mainframe or workstation and their less-intuitive interfaces. The question arose again this week and was greeted with some new answers.
One person writes that Project Athena at MIT is working on a program called TechMail, which uses POP (Post Office Protocol), in which a host machine stores mail and serves it out on request to remote client machines. In addition, Apple’s MacTCP Toolkit (available from APDA or via anonymous FTP from apple.com) includes a HyperCard stack by Harry Chesley that allows you to read and write news, although not mail. If we remember correctly from the demo we saw, it suffers partly from not having the ability to kill a thread but mostly from its requirement of a LocalTalk (or EtherTalk) connection to an NNTP (Net News Transfer Protocol) server machine. A similar package is published by InterCon Systems, although we have not seen its interface.
The classic method of reading and writing mail and news on a Mac is to use the public domain implementation of UUPC for the Mac. However, UUPC does not have a Macintosh interface and can be difficult to set up. A cleaner solution, though more expensive, is to use CE Software’s QuickMail with the UMCP Bridge so QuickMail can talk to a Unix machine. QuickMail works well for mail, but has no news reading capabilities yet-perhaps in a few months. Accompanied by a sophisticated news reader, QuickMail will be ideal, especially considering the number of gateways it has to other types of mail systems.
Adam C. Engst — TidBITS editor
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