Mac Lab Report

So Long Eudora, Hello OS X Mail

- 2004.03.19

I've been using Eudora for a long time - almost since I started using email back in the early 1990s. I've used paid versions, although I currently have the free version installed and running in sponsored mode.

Today I made the decision to switch to Mail in OS X, and, while I may go back someday, the primary reason I switched is easily summarized in two words: Junk Filter. Eudora has a junk filter, but it doesn't do anything in Lite or Sponsored mode - only when you are in Paid mode.

One thing about Eudora that confused me for a long time was the modes for payment. Lite is obvious, a crippled set of functions but no charge and no ads. In previous versions, Sponsored mode was also free, but you had to endure a small ad window plus a couple of sponsored function keys.

Up until recently, sponsored mode was identical to paid mode, full feature parity except for the presence of the ads in Sponsored mode. I was okay with that. Having paid for Eudora some years ago, I was reluctant to pay for it again (if you wait more than a year, you have to pay full price again.)

Eudora recently added Junk mail filtering using a Bayesian filter that learns from your classification rules. However, the feature is only available to paid users. I debated paying for Eudora again-- and then realized I'd never really tried out Mail, which is included with OS X. It includes a Junk Mail filter at no charge.

Having migrated to Mail, I'm pretty happy. The junk mail filter captures 95% of my junk mail; after "teaching" it with an example or two it catches on pretty quick. I've read reports about people finding the junk filter "forgetting" the rules after a while. I haven't seen that yet, and that's why I haven't deleted Eudora or moved my archive mailboxes over yet. Mail's on probation.

Mail certainly looks better than Eudora, which has always had strange iconography and odd placement of menu items (remember when you realized Preferences were not under "Edit" and they were called "Settings?"), although it has become more mainstream in recent years.

Anyway, it's been a long road with Eudora, and I've gotten a lot of work done with it - applied for grants, accepted job offers, kept up with friends. Thanks, Eudora. Maybe I'll see you later.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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