E-mail growing more tenacious

by Alan Zisman (c) 1999. First published in Toronto Computes, June 1999

With the explosion in cell phones, pagers, and other telecommunications services, many people are reachable by phone 24 hours a day. Now, the same thing is happening with e-mail-- in fact, much of the same technology is being used to make sure that there's no escape. Wherever you are, your messages will follow.

Some examples:

Rogers Cantel-ATT is offering Email2go-- a $3.95 per month service for subscribers with a standard alpha-numeric pager. The price gives you a new e-mail address, based on your pager number, and lets you receive e-mail sent to that address right on your pager.

With its tiny screen, the pager displays the first few lines of the message-- generally enough to let you know what the message is about. You can set up the system to automatically redirect your messages to your main computer's e-mail account for reading and responding later. Or you can set it up to automatically fax the message to you. While you can't respond with your pager (at least, not yet), an automated response can go out to anyone that e-mails you.

The $3.95 gets you the first 300 messages, with a $0.10 charge for each additional e-mail.

Bell Canada and BC Tel Mobility subscribers can get a similar service if they're also Sympatico Internet customers. Only $2.95 per month, it gives you half the characters shown in Cantel's service.

Also working with Cantel is Infowave for the Net, a new service from Burnaby BC's Infowave Software (www.infowave.com). It builds on previous products that provided wireless e-mail connections to laptop users, and extends the service, allowing users to connect to secure corporate intranets and the Internet.

Not to be left out, Microcell Solutions, who market cellular services under the Fido brand name, have introduced FidoPro. This service includes Fido E-Mail, which they claim is Canada's only two-way e-mail service on a wireless handset-- though I can't quite image typing in responses on a typical cell phone handset. (Am I missing something here)? Text messaging enables users to send and receive text message via the Fido Web site. The cost for this plus other FidoPro services is $8 per month.

Finally, if you're living in that wireless universe, you may want to look at Omega's Jabra EarSet-- microphone and speaker in a unit that fits in your ear, permitting comfortable hands-free use. It can also be used with many cordless phones, and with computers for voice recognition. $60 (1-800-668-7881)

Search WWW Search www.zisman.ca

Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan