It's hard to imagine life at work without the speed and convenience of email. So why do so many of us revert to phone and fax the moment we hit the road? Here are four strategies for conquering email hassles - from ever-changing local-access numbers to faulty connection gear - along with tools for turning strategy into action.
|strategy/tool||killer app||quick tip||how much|
|Lug Your Laptop
Eudora Pro CommCenter 4.0
Qualcomm Inc. www.eudora.com
|CommCenter 4.0 features Internet-based fax, voice-mail, and paging services. The "virtual office" option forwards, to your email inbox, faxes and voice-mail messages sent to local numbers in 25 cities.||CommCenter's "Personalities" function lets you maintain return addresses, signature files, and email formats for separate business, personal, and confidential accounts.||CommCenter 4.0 sells for $59. It runs on Windows 95 and NT.|
Mail Call Inc. www.mailcall.net
|Email is easy. But making a phone call is even easier. Using text-to-speech technology, Mail Call reads users their email messages - and sends voice responses (as sound files) via email.||If your email system sits behind a firewall - and most big-company systems do - then Mail Call won't work. You have to establish a second account and arrange to have your messages forwarded to it.||The monthly fee of $9.95 includes 30 minutes of use. Each additional minute costs 19 cents.|
|No Laptop Required
QuickAID Internet Stations
QuickATM LLC www.quickaid.com
|Internet Stations let you read and send email without lugging a laptop. QuickATM has a total of 25 such kiosks at three major airports: San Francisco International, Los Angeles International, and Newark International.||Register as a PowerUser. For every seven paid log-ins, you'll get a free session. And you won't have to swipe your credit card each time you use the service: QuickATM will run a tab for you.||By paying $2.50 for every 10 minutes of use, you can send and receive email, browse the Web, send plain-text faxes, and access AOL.|
|Weave the Web
Microsoft Corp. www.hotmail.com
|If you know you'll have easy Web access on the road - for example, at a client site - then consider Hotmail. With more than 21 million subscribers, it's the most popular free-email service on the Web.||Clean out your mailbox frequently. Depending on the volume of your email and the quality of your online connection, it may take a long time for your Web browser to bring up links to your incoming messages.||Once you're on the Web, Hotmail is free.|
A version of this article appeared in the October 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.