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Clean out that inbox. For business and personal communication, e-mail has been a boon, allowing for speedy, direct, and usually effortless contact. It can also be a headache, as in-boxes get filled with spam, conversational threads get dragged out to a dozen messages, and organization of electronic notes becomes a chore. If your e-mail folder is beginning to resemble its offline kin, the kitchen junk drawer, perhaps it’s time to take action.

ANT 4 MailChecking notifies you when new mail messages come in, allowing for spam deletion prior to download, with subject and sender summarized in a list. The newest version, 3.5, adds new features like conversion of HTML messages to text, filtering with Perl regular expressions, and inclusion of basic, advanced, and expert modes. One fun new feature is the ability to shut down a PC via e-mail. The shareware works on all Windows systems, and a free trial version is available on the site. When you’re ready to buy, it’s $14.95, but an update from an older version is free.

Once the messages are allowed in, and scrubbed of spam, it’s time to get organized. Sperry Software has released four add-in solutions for Microsoft Outlook 2000 and 2002 that make e-mail management easier. The applications remove file attachments from incoming e-mails for addition into a new folder, knock out repetitive messages, automatically add names to your address book when you send e-mails, and allow for regularly-scheduled notes to be sent to individuals or groups. The cost is between $19.95 and $24.95 per module, with a discount for bundled software.

To secure your newly neat and tidy in-box, shareware maker Tanstaafl Software Company has released Top Secret Crypto Gold version 2, an e-mail and file encryption program for all Windows systems. New features include a virtual keyboard, better administrator procedures, automatic compression, and user interface improvements. A single-user license is $34.95, and a fully functional 45-day trial version is available at the site.

Sometimes the problem with e-mail isn’t what’s coming in, but what needs to go out. G-Lock Easy Mail is a bulk e-mail software program designed for applications in which the sender and recipient have an existing relationship, such as a client roster. It comes in either a standard version, for those who just need a simple bulk e-mailer, and the heavier duty professional version, which can import addresses from more sources and has the ability to work with more proxy connections. The standard is $39.95, professional is $99; both work on all Windows systems and can be downloaded from the G-Lock site. Happy e-mailing.

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