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JBMail: Bare Bones Email
By Thiravudh Khoman

For the past 2-3 months, I've been using a bare bones Windows email program called JBMail. JBMail serves as a companion to as opposed to a replacement for my regular mail client, Eudora. Why did I add it to my repertoire of programs? Simple.

JBMail is a read-only POP3 mail client. You can't use it to send mail, but you can use it to read mail. Rather than downloading your mail messages and attachments in their entirety, it only downloads the message headers (i.e. To:, From:, Subject, Date, and message size) (figure 1). If you want to read a message, you can ask to "preview" it, in which case JBMail will only download that message to a viewer screen. What you will see though, is the message with its complete set of routing headers. This may seem a bit messy to some people, but the message text is still easily readable (i.e. it appears at the end). Don't expect to be able to read formatted HTML messages though.

Given these minimal functions, why would anyone want to use it? Simple:

  • With the registered version of the program, you can carry a mail client on a diskette with you everywhere you go, something you can't do with Eudora. Very convenient. (Note: This doesn't work with the freeware version where the .INI file must be kept in the Windows directory only.)
  • Besides viewing messages, you can also delete messages directly from the mail sevrer (regardless of whether you preview them or not). Recently, I used this feature to login into the email accounts of some officemates to kill email containing the ILOVEYOU virus. This saved them from having to download messages with these virus-laden attachments. Again, you can't do this (easily) with Eudora.
  • You will never be able to catch an email virus with JBMail, simply because it is unable execute any virus-embedded code, attachment or otherwise. Ignorance can be bliss sometimes.
  • Occasionally, you may get a message with a large attachment that blocks your way to later messages. With Eudora, the only way to bypass such a message is to download it in toto or to set a limit on message size. Unfortunately, the latter solution must be applied to ALL messages waiting to be POP'ed - you can't just do it for an individual message. With JBMaill, you can take a peek at the message and decide whether the message is important enough to download or whether it can be deleted right at the server.

JBMail allows you to save "profiles" for multiple email users (the profiles contain email account information such as login name, password, POP server, and port). Unfortunately, this feature is only activated in the registered JBMail Plus version, which costs US$25 (a bit pricey in my opinion). The freeware version of JBMail v1.2 allows you to save ONE profile although you can also use it with other email accounts as well simply by entering information on the fly. The freeware version of the latest JBMail v2.0, however, doesn't allow you to save ANY profiles at all and email account particulars MUST be manually entered each time (bummer).

JBMail may be downloaded from https://www.pc-tools.net (it's less than 100kb). It works with all versions of Windows 95 and higher.

Copyright © 2000, Thiravudh Khoman