The column that looks at the best - and the worst - in computers. Justin Dillon of the School of Education, King's College, London, talks to Chris Abbott
WHICH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRODUCT - SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE - HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE TO YOUR WORKLIFE?
Eudora, the e-mail program.
E-mail is essential for this kind of work. Every 30 minutes Eudora checks my mailbox and tells me if there's anything new. Managing all the messages is another problem which will be familiar to many e-mail users, and Eudora is very good at helping me do that.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE ABOUT IT?
One of the top 10 reasons given for liking Eudora in a recent competition was "It matches my inner me. We have become one." I wouldn't go quite that far but I know what they mean. It works. It saves time. It's not just what it does, it's the fact that it doesn't irritate me, take up too much space or stop me doing what I really want to do in my work, which is mainly involved with environmental education or the International Education Unit. I can use Eudora to keep in touch with events and follow-up visits that have taken place.
WHEN DID YOU START USING IT?
As soon as it was put on our computers by the college's computing service.
Who decided to buy it and were you involved in the choice?
The School of Education decided to use Eudora Lite for e-mail, as several colleagues had found it very useful. The program is named after the American writer, Eudora Welty, who wrote a story about a post office, and it's widely used.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE WITH OTHER WAYS OF TACKLING THE SAME TASKS?
Setting up mailboxes to file incoming mail is easy, and instead of sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, a colleague in Bulgaria, I just select her first name, "Roumi", from my address list.
HOW DO YOU THINK IT COULD BE IMPROVED?
Our internal e-mail system allows me to "unsend" messages that I regret sending; I can't do that with Eudora. Also, I'd like to be able to know that messages have arrived. Unfortunately this is not something Eudora can solve.
IF YOU HAD MORE FUNDING, WHAT WOULD YOU INVEST IN?
Perhaps the full professional version of the program.
Eudora Light can be downloaded free from the Internet. Eudora Pro, with advanced features is available in the UK from Electric Mail, tel: 01223 501333 (e-mail email@example.com). More information is available about Eudora at http:www.qualcomm.comquest
If you have an information technology product that has made an important difference to your life - whether you like or absolutely hate it - contact the MultimediaIT Editor at The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org