the Rave: MR/2 ICE- by Chris Williams

Talk to people about two of the most popular choices in OS/2 based e-mail readers, and you'll eventually run into the following comments about each of them.

Post Road Mailer: "I love the function and features, but the interface just doesn't do anything for me."

PM Mail: "It's really fast, easy to use, and pretty to look at. Now if it only had more function and flexibility..."

Enter, or I should say, about to enter, Mail Reader/2 Internet Cruiser Edition (aka: MR/2 ICE, or just ICE if you ask the author) from Nick Knight. Do you yearn for the kind of power and features that come in Post Road Mailer, with a powerful, WPS aware GUI that would take PM Mail to the next level? How about adding a built-in spell checker and 70,000 word thesaurus? Then toss in fully configurable toolbars with bubble help you can turn on and off, automatic uuencoding/decoding, and much more. MR/2 ICE, currently due for final release in March, offers all this and more--and it's still in beta!

As a beta product, this one is very usable now. While I've had some startup problems when using it with Object Desktop's Tab Launch Pad, ICE has never crashed on any system I've used it on. The problem, by the way, appears to be with Object Desktop V1.02--I'm looking to Stardock Systems for a fix. While it doesn't have all of its features available yet (MIME and PGP capabilities are planned for later versions), ICE is certainly not lacking anything that would cause the average person to feel short changed. There are even conversion programs available for PMMail and La Mail address lists and mail folders.

Installation is a snap. Just unzip the .ZIP files for the main program and, optionally, the spell checker and thesaurus in the appropriate directory, connect to your Internet service provider, and start the program. ICE will automatically configure itself to the settings needed for your ISP and display them to you so you can verify they are correct. That's it!

Once all of the features are completed and available, ICE promises to offer the most function in a mailer I've seen at this price level. If you like the notebook paradigm of the Workplace Shell, you'll fall in love right away with ICE. The main program window (gif 10k) is a notebook, complete with tabbed sections for your in-box, out-box, and mail folders. Open a mail folder, and a tab is added for it in the notebook. Close the mail folder and the tab goes away. Simple!

As far as threaded applications are concerned, ICE is well conceived and implemented. From message send/receive, to editing multiple notes, to modifying the system's settings, almost every major task you can think of for a mail reader is on its own thread. To really appreciate what it can do, try clicking with the right mouse button on everything you see, or just keep an eye on what happens in the background as you work on processing your mail messages. It's very impressive.

The best way to appreciate ICE is to try it out. I highly recommend you do so with both the spell checker and thesaurus. Combined, the zipped files total a little over a megabyte, but they are worth every bit. The evaluation version of ICE isn't "crippleware", so you'll get a full blown taste of what it can do for you. Registering it is just as easy as using it, and you register as a user as opposed to registering a license, so you can have multiple copies on different machines provided you are the only person using them. Registration also entitles you to free upgrades until version 2.0 arrives. Beta version updates have been arriving at the MR/2 ICE web site at the rate of about one a week. The latest news and information about ICE are also available there and everything, including known bugs and problems, is well documented.

Normally, I wouldn't advocate the use of, much less rave about beta software to anyone who is less than well experienced with Warp, but in this case I'm making an exception. If you use Internet e-mail with Warp, run--don't walk! MR/2 ICE could turn out to be the next hot OS/2 Internet application.

update: After this rave was written Stardock Systems released another update to Object Desktop (OD Fix Kit #4) that seems to have cleared up the startup problem with MR/2 ICE. After installing the patch, my problems went away.
 * MR/2 Internet Cruiser Edition v0.99n
Knightware Software
Author: Nick Knight
Registration: $25
Chris Williams has been actively involved with OS/2 systems for the past six years. A former IBM employee, OS/2 Ambassador, and long time member of Team OS/2, he is currently a PC and network specialist for Perot Systems Corporation.

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