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For the last 30 years, the most popular computer application on the Internet has been email. 30 Years? Yes. The first email application was built in 1971 and upgraded in 1972. With the upgrade, email became a widely used and really popular computer application. But, 30 years? Yes indeed. Don't take my word for it, check out "Hobbes' Internet Timeline - the Definitive ARPAnet and Internet History" at:

http://www.zakon.org/robert/Internet/timeline/

Granted, most of us had never heard much if anything at all about the Internet until the mid 1990's. The world's first Internet "browser" was released in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee for the scientific (physics) community. In 1993, Mosaic was unleashed and it took the Internet by storm.

Until the release of Mosaic, the net was strictly for nerds, government employees, scientists and university's. The net was restricted pretty much to command line use of email, document storage and databases. With the release of Tim Berners-Lee's browser, and then Mosaic, the web finally had a visual interface.

1993 was year that the flood gates began to open. With Mosaic coming online, the White House finally got its own domain at: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov

and Bill Clinton became the first U.S. President ever to have his own email address: president@whitehouse.gov

Though the technology and speed of the Internet has constantly changed throughout the last 30 years, one thing has not changed, the popularity of email.

"Email is one of the 'Killer Apps' of the computer world. Email is the most successful communications technology since the television, and in a few years will even surpass that. There are currently more than 891 million email accounts in use Worldwide and 440 million in the U.S. alone - with an average of more than 4 email accounts per person." (Messaging Today - 2000 Electronic Mailbox Report - Feb. 21, 2001)

The top providers for email service in the world today are Hotmail (with 86 million users), Yahoo (with 53 million users) and AOL (with 30 million users).

Email has become so popular that in 1998, Hollywood made a movie about two people who used email to get to know one another and fall in love. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in the hit movie "You've Got Mail," named for the most cherished voice message on the AOL service. http://youvegotmail.warnerbros.com/

Statistics show that the majority of people check their email first before they do anything else. In fact, people spend the vast majority of their time online reading and answering emails.

While managing multiple email accounts might seem like the biggest challenge facing Internet users today, it is not. The biggest challenge is having one computer and a household full of people who want to check their email. I run a business online, but if I do not give the computer up to my wife once in awhile, I would not want to live in my house anymore.

Remember when AOL decided to give their customers seven accounts so that everyone in the family could have their own email address and profile? At first it seemed like a good idea... Then it started... Now you have four people standing behind you begging to check their email! And the joy of AOL, you have to log off of one account to check email from another account. What a bear.

The good news is that as with the progression of the Internet over the last 30 years, new technological breakthroughs are always improving our lives. In the last few years, email notification systems have come into being. Email Notification software enables you to check multiple email accounts through one handy little application.

In the early days of email notification software, the interfaces were clumsy and difficult to use. This may explain why less than one half of one percent of the net population has ever downloaded one of these applications. If you were to total up number of downloads for email notification software on CNET, ZDNet, and TUCOWS combined, it would not be surprising if the total did not exceed 500,000 downloads in the last five years.

Most people do not even realize that applications like this exist. What is more, people who have heard about them often assume that only a computer guru would be knowledgeable enough to set it up. Maybe that was the case... in the old days, but certainly not today.

Today, we have available to us a program called ePrompter (http://www.eprompter.com?ep2) which is a Free email retrieval and notification utility that automatically checks up to eight password protected email accounts for AOL, AltaVista, Earthlink, Email.com, Hotmail, Juno, Lycos, Mail.com, Mindspring, Netscape, POP3, Rediffmail, USA, Yahoo, ZDNetOneBox and hundreds of other email domains --- all at the same time.

ePrompter is great. I do not have to let my wife or the kids have the computer to check their email anymore. I can keep my ePrompter open and show them that there is nothing there for them to check. I do not even have to log off of my primary AOL account to check the email inside of another AOL account. ePrompter painlessly handles the details for me.

What is more, I can watch the rotating tray icon down by my clock, which keeps me appraised of how many emails are in each account by their individual color coded icons. The icon rotates every few seconds telling me how many emails sit in each account I have programmed into my system. ePrompter even has a screen saver that keeps tabs on my email accounts with the color coded images that tell me how many emails are waiting for me to view them in each account. Now I can sit in front of the television and watch my favorite show and glance at the screen saver to see if that important mail I have been waiting for has arrived.

ePrompter even has its very own notification sound which is the equivalent of "You've Got Mail."


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