Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Yahoo! Mail Beta and the Real World

by Dennis D. McDonald 

Last week I took the plunge and upgraded my Yahoo! Mail subscription from free to paid. The reason? Among other things, I wanted to do away with the automatic signature ads that are added to all outgoing mail. I've been increasing my use of Yahoo! Mail for work-related tasks, and I had  heard that the coming upgrade to mail was going to be substantial.

I started using Yahoo! Mail a couple of years ago just to have a free email address I could use as a spam magnet. I've actually been increasing my use of Yahoo in proportion to my paid email accounts I get with Verizon DSL.

The spam filters on Yahoo! are excellent. I've been very happy. They capture a remarkable proportion of spam. And since I use FireFox, I'm able to block most of the annoying ads that come with the free Yahoo! service.

Shortly after the upgrade to "paid" status, I received word I had also been "upgraded" to the new Yahoo! Mail Beta. I logged on.

Wow, what a product!  Yahoo! Mail is VERY impressive and provides a level of functionality that is somewhat comparable to my trusty Eudora that I have been using on a paid basis for many years, first on Macintosh, then later on Windows.

Conversion to the Yahoo! Mail Beta was no trouble at all. The user interface is extremely clean, one of the best I've ever seen for email. Plus, it has "tabs"  that allow the user to keep open multiple folders and emails that remain accessible at a single clock. A nice feature.

There are some downsides:

  1. Outgoing mass mailings can die when a maximum number of email addresses is inserted, but neither the error message nor the help files say what that maximum is. (As a moderator of the Linkedin Bloggers group maintained on Yahoo, I tried to email 300+ members at once and that didn't work.)
  2. On one of my machines (a 1999 vintage laptop running Windows 2000 Professional) the interface is quite sluggish.
  3. Spellchecking does not yet work with FireFox.
  4. When I use the FireFox "Text Size" command to scale up font sizes to increase readability, the folder icons arrayed on the left side of the window do not scale up, nor does the vertical height of the folder row; as a result, the folder names are cut off at the larger font sizes I need for comfortable reading.

But these issues, for now, are outweighed by the value of this product. Since I regularly use three different machines for email, this full-featured remotely-maintained service from Yahoo! is quite useful to me.

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