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CompuServe POP3/SMTP Mail Server

Introduction: I discovered initially through the Slipstick Exchange Center that CompuServe have started to offer the de facto standard SMTP and POP3 mail. It can be run in parallel to the existing mail with a new address compuserve replaced by csi ie we become pcurtis@csi.com and one can automatically forward mail from the old to the new account but not the other way. The setup was easy after working past all the warnings that you would not be able to change user name ever again. After clicking to proceed one has only to choose and confirm a mail password after which you selected your Email program from a drop down menu to get detailed instructions on how to set it up for POP/SMTP mail which it suggested one printed. All very easy and forming part of the new CompuServe web based approach.

Address Book Conversions in Exchange/Messaging/Outlook: One major problem in making the change from CompuServe to the new POP/SMTP mail or another provider is the address book in Messaging/Exchange. The entries are different for different Transport Services and there is no simple way to edit from the CompuServe entries to another. I have many hundreds of addresses for CompuServe Mail and I do not want to reenter them all. There is a similar problem with incompatibility between the Schedule + address book and the Exchange/Messaging address book. I discovered last year that Graham Smith has written a very neat Macro for Word 97 using the Mail Merge facility which reads in a Schedule+ address list or varios databases and adds the contents to an Exchange/Messaging address book with the optional ability of carry out various manipulations on route. Although not written with this aplication in mind I discovered that Word would read all but the notes field of an Exchange/Messaging database and export back to the Personal Address Book thus enabling me to make duplicate Internet Mail (SMTP) entries to those for CompuServe Mail. They still have a INTERNET:name@place format and the RTF flag set but are still much easier to edit. I contacted Graham last year with my findings and he provided an extra subroutine for me to patch in to the earlier version for Word 7 which coped with the removal of the INTERNET:.

The Macros for Word 7 and Word 97 are available in Word Templates to downloaded from the Exchange Center Convertor page. When you open the template all the instructions appear as a Word document in Word. I had more errors with the new version Word 97 version but it was quicker to do a bit of hand crafting than spend time fine tuning the proceedure. The problem was not in the conversion but seemed to be Words ability to read the .PAB file as a mail merge input.

Remote Mail: Remote mail where one looks at the Mail Headers online before downloading is not available in Exchange/Outlook when using the Csmail service. This can sometimes be inconvenient if you get large junk mail attachments or want to check before downloading on the mobile. The only other option we have is to go into Compuserve itself to identify the problem mail and delete it - a wasteful online activity and by the time one knows one has a problem it is too late! I have therefore been carrying out some further tests using the new POP/SMTP Mail option in CompuServe which supports Remote Mail.

Mail is accessed in two stages using the Outlook Remote Mail facility - firstly one requests a download of the headers which automatically connects and disconnects via the modem and Dial Up Networking (DUN). The headers appear in the Inbox and one can Delete, Download the Message or Download a copy of the Message. This is a good way to proceed if one is going to regularly sort and choose not to download big messages (or wait till one is on a fast link). If this is not the case it is a waste of time because one incurs two sets of overheads in connection time and both are longer because of the use of DUN rather than a simple modem link.

Will we use the CompuServe SMTP/POP3 mail? At present I have run some tests but do not plan to use it all the time so I have set the SMTP reply address to pcurtis@compuserve.com and set up an extra profile for Outlook/Exchange with Internet Mail instead of CompuServe Mail. The SMTP mail integrates much better with the Internet - for example, Emails buttons on web sites and inputs to newsgroups - as most Internet Email and Newsgroup readers expect POP3/SMTP to be available. It will also allow much easier access whilst we are abroad as one can get at POP3 mail from any machine with a basic Email system. Why not the whole way? - I like the integration we have of CompuServe Mail and Outlook - it does not use a TCP/IP link so it is subjectively much faster to connect, log in and download although I need to quantify that. I also like the fact that the CompuServe Mail Service produces an Event message in ones inbox so you know that your mail has gone and with two of us using the machine we can check easily if either of us have done a recent mail check.

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Copyright © Peter Curtis
Content revised: 8th August, 1998