The small office Internet email game is easier than before, thanks to CE Software’s new QuickMail Internet Access Kit. The entry-level bundle (expected to sell for around $549) includes a ten-user QuickMail package; a Mail*Link Remote UUCP gateway from StarNine Technologies, Inc. licensed for ten users; a copy of "Dr. Bob Rankin’s Accessing the Internet by E-mail" (a book that offers advice on making the most of an email-only Internet connection); and an introductory offer from UUNET for UUCP mail service. (UUCP access to the Internet uses on-demand modem connections to exchange incoming and outgoing mail files.)
QuickMail is CE Software’s workgroup-oriented electronic mail software (see TidBITS-240), and a QuickMail ten-pack has a retail price of $649, which CE says is typically available for about $200 less than the retail price. A Mail*Link Remote ten-user license is available from CE for $279, so the QuickMail Internet Access Kit is a great deal for those planning to buy both products anyway.
StarNine Technologies says the new version of Mail*Link Remote included in this bundle (version 1.5) offers a greatly streamlined installation process. Since the bundle includes ten free hours of UUNET service and a waiver of UUNET’s setup and registration fees, the software comes pre-configured to work with UUNET. The purchaser can fax a registration form to UUNET to quickly obtain a domain name and other customized information needed to set up a mail gateway.
MailLink Remote uses a modem to communicate regularly with UUNET or another service provider, and exchanges electronic mail messages and Usenet news articles. (QuickMail has no practical facility for handling news, however.) MailLink Remote 1.5 has a number of improvements over previous versions of the StarNine gateway, though it doesn’t have the polish of its big brother, MailLink SMTP, which requires a full-time Internet connection. The company plans an affordable upgrade for MailLink Remote in the first half of 1995 that will further beef up the product. Meanwhile, QuickMail Internet Access Kit buyers who decide they need a higher-level connection will be able to upgrade to Mail*Link SMTP at a reduced price, once they hook up the full-time Internet line.
StarNine’s David Thompson comments that one powerful possibility with this bundle includes mailing list management. QM-Postman (see TidBITS-237) offers centralized creation and maintenance of email distribution lists, which can include recipients on the Internet.
If your office already has QuickMail, and you just need a gateway, CE Software now offers separate MailLink Remote packages on its own price list. A ten-user pack costs $279, 20-user $399, 50-user $899, and 100-user $1199. Another option is UMCP\QM from Information Electronics. This gateway, available at $395 for an unlimited number of users on a single mail server, pays a bit more attention to Internet mail conventions in converting between QuickMail and Internet mail. IE’s PostalUnion/SMTP for QuickMail offers a much more complete solution than UMCP\QM, but like MailLink SMTP is intended for use with a full-time Internet connection. The company plans a PostalUnion/UUCP gateway for QuickMail for early 1995 release, and will make upgrades available to UMCP\QM owners.
Using a gateway between a desktop email program and the Internet is never a perfect scenario, but for many businesses it’s the best approach. More Internet-oriented solutions are most affordable in single-user environments (such as the dialup SLIP service and assorted TCP/IP utilities described in Adam’s Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh); such solutions for workgroups are only feasible with full-time network connections, which are still expensive enough to be beyond the reach of many small businesses and a good number of larger ones as well. A UUCP gateway has the advantage of being inexpensive to operate; Internet service providers can offer UUCP services without needing much in the way of resources.
CE Software has been embarrassed by the ugly Internet mail addresses <firstname_lastname%[email protected]> it uses internally, but a company spokesman assures us that a change is in the works, and CE will soon have its own domain name registered.
CE Software, Inc. — 800/523-7638 — 515/221-1801
515/221-1806 (fax) — <[email protected]>
Information Electronics — 912/638-1893 — 912/638-1384 (fax)
StarNine Technologies, Inc. — 510/649-4949 — 510/548-0393 (fax)