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The Atari XL PBI -
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aMail 1.27b


KCS Omega



aMail 1.27b

A free e-mail client that has drivers for i-Connect?
Thomas Wellicome tries out a very unusual package indeed


aMail is a freeware e-mailing package with limited news reading capabilities. One of its major attributes is its drivers for almost all of the Atari connection packages, including MiNT Net, Draconis and the often overlooked i-Connect, as well as the normal STinG capability. Looks and compatibility are not everything however, so does it have what it takes to make you deposit your normal e-mailer in the "Trash"?

Despite being primarily a MiNT program, aMail also runs under TOS and MagiC. A system running the OLGA extension is a necessity, but hopefully most users will now have this installed. aMail also does not have its own message editor. This is either a blessing or a curse depending on whether you really need all the bells and whistles an editor like Everest or Luna provides. It also means aMail will not run on a single-tasking system.

When you first load up aMail you notice immediately how attractive it looks. aMail will quite happily run on any system with 500KB of free memory, and a monochrome display. Put it on the Falcon or Milan, however, in a 16-colour or greater graphics mode and it really shines. Viewing your e-mails is very easy, the screen is split into two sections, one containing the current mailbox and the second shows the e-mail. Simply clicking on the header in the mailbox, allows you to read each message quickly and on the fly. This preview pane, as it is known on the PC, is probably one of the most attractive and useful features of that lumbering hulk Outlook Express. Its arrival on the Atari platform is most welcome.

Across the top of the aMail window runs its shortcut menu. Unlike MyMail, where many of the shortcuts are unlikely to be used every session, the features represented really do make working with e-mails quicker.

Screen shot of aMail

aMail's highly professional interface showing the preview pane 

If you're more of a plain vanilla GEM person then the icons can be switched off in the menu or with a double-click. The interface is also customisable, allowing choice of font colour and typeface for various different effects. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the working layout of aMail and it benefits considerably from it.

Screen shot of aMail

The display menu allows you to configure the look of your messages and aMail to your heart's content

Most of the expected options are available, including mail forwarding, address book, attachments and multiple mailboxes. aMail also supports rudimentary news reading using the NNTP protocol. Mass-mailing is a bit crude, requiring you to manually edit a text file of addresses. Annoyingly, configuring multiple mail boxes also requires you to whip out your trusty copy of Everest. A very frustrating experience, especially as it's such an integral part of most e-mail packages.

Sending and receiving mail with the STinG dialling package seemed slightly slower than when using NEWSie and the ancient, but darned simple-to-use Ant Mail. It was, however, faster than MyMail, but lacked the option to toggle background send and receive. Using the i-Connect socket proved a bit disappointing. Both sending and receiving mail seemed very slow. I also experienced some considerable message corruption on my Milan, in most cases zipped attachments were corrupted. The i-Connect socket for aMail really needs optimising, badly, and is only really useable for quick unimportant messages.

Another problem occurs if you have a large number of entries in your address book. Choosing them is not a matter of opening a window and selecting the address as used in NEWSie, MyMail and most PC e-mailers. aMail takes a slightly different approach. Its address book is only used for editing addresses while the new message dialog allows you to select from the address you need to use. In both the address book and the new message dialog the address is chosen from a drop-down list.

Screen shot of aMail

The surprisingly bland address book, compared to the rest of the program

While this works well for a small number of addresses, if you're popular, the drop-down dialogue box can become quite massive. Maybe a address book selectable from the icon bar would be helpful here (like MyMail).

These niggles aside aMail promises to be a very special program. It handles like a dream, is nice to look at, while retaining its  functionality, and is highly compatible. A real credit to the programmers, Atack.



aMail 1.27b







  • Attractive, functional and well-designed user interface.
  • Works well under STinG.
  • Highly compatible and functions under almost all the ST-compatible internet connection packages.


  • Slow message send and retrieval under i-Connect.
  • Seriously corrupted mail problems under i-Connect.
  • News, multiple mailing and multiple mailboxes all follow a hand-cranked pattern.



MyAtari magazine - Review #1, August 2001

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Copyright 2001 MyAtari magazine