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MR/2 ICE- by Dr. Dirk Terrell

MR/2 ICE v1.40 is the popular e-mail client from Knightware Software. Its popularity with users is evident in the fact that MR/2 ICE has won the OS/2 e-Zine! Readers Choice Award two years running and it also received the 1997 Best OS/2 Program award from SharewareJunkies.com. Knightware has also received the Readers Choice Award for Best Shareware/Freeware Developer during the same time period. Obviously Nick Knight knows how to build and support applications for OS/2 users, and even a cursory glance at MR/2 ICE proves it.


Installing MR/2 ICE involves unzipping the distribution file in a directory and running the program. The first time it is started, the program examines your TCP/IP settings and configures itself as much as possible. Missing information is then requested from the user. The only complaint I have here is that you must manually create a program object for it. It would be nice to see a little REXX script that creates the program object for you.

Getting Started

Once you have configured the program with the proper settings for your POP3 and SMTP servers you're ready to start sending and receiving e-mail. The main window (GIF, 13K) consists of a familiar notebook with tabs for the inbox, outbox, and folders. Messages that have not been read are clearly indicated, and the expected double-click opens a window (GIF, 15K) that lets you read and reply to a message. Throughout the program you will find flyout bubble messages (GIF, 17K) that indicate the function of a particular button on the toolbars (which themselves can be configured to be on any side of the window).

Use of the right mouse button is extensive in MR/2 ICE. One very useful feature is the ability to place the cursor on an email address or URL in a message, right click, and then launch your web browser or FTP client, or in the case of an e-mail address, send a mail message.

The program supports MIME and UUEncode attachments for mail messages, making it easy to exchange binary files with others. The MIME support is extensive, including automatic message text conversion and Quoted-Printable header fields. The WPS integration with attachments is pretty good, but not as complete as in some other e-mail clients. You can drop files onto outgoing messages, but you cannot drag attachments from a message to a folder. You have to first extract it to MR/2 ICE's Attached folder, and then you can drag the file to the WPS.

MR/2 ICE has an address notebook (GIF, 10K) as well. You can easily add addresses manually, or from the message list pop-up menu by right-clicking on a message from someone whose e-mail address you want to add to the address book. You can also create groups of email addresses, making it easy to send messages to a group of people very easily (like a mailing list).

Multiple e-mail accounts can be set up reasonably easily, but the implementation isn't quite as straightforward as in some other programs. Only the messages for the current account are visible at any given time. It would be more convenient if there were a quicker way to look at messages for several accounts.

There are times when you need a printed copy of an e-mail message and MR/2 ICE offers both a nice, formatted output mode and a quick, unformatted mode for printing. I encountered no problems with printouts and found the quality and performance quite good.

Available as separate (and free) downloads from the author's web site are a spell checker and thesaurus. The program also features a calendar (GIF, 5K) and a pretty good calculator (GIF, 7K) capable of handling hex, octal, and binary math in addition to decimal. An ASCII symbol dialog (GIF, 9K) is a nice touch than makes it easy to insert not-so-common characters into a message. I also liked the program's support for appending data to the clipboard rather than always overwriting. That is a feature I would like to see used more often.

Power Features

MR/2 ICE is easy to use right away. Its interface is clean and intuitive, but lurking underneath that easy-going exterior are some powerful features that more advanced users will find indispensable. You can, for example, build templates to use for reply messages, and the program comes with several examples.

For people like myself who receive hundreds of messages per day, filters make e-mail manageable. The filtering capabilities in MR/2 ICE are extensive. Simple filters, like searching for a particular string in the subject, or messages greater than some fixed size, or messages containing attachments, are very easy to set up. However, more complex filters are also possible because of the ability to call a REXX program to perform the filtering test. This means that there is basically no limit to what you can achieve with filters in MR/2 ICE.

The program also has a large number of command-line options, allowing you to do things such as creating messages with attachments, and sending them from the command line or a REXX script. You can also use the command-line to control various program settings such as the mail server ports, code page, configuration file, toolbar visibility, etc.

Good programs allow the user to configure them to their needs and MR/2 ICE has a plethora of configurable features. Rather than try to explain them all, I'll just let you have a look at the preferences page (GIF, 19K) and the prompts page (GIF, 15.1K) from the program's settings notebook. As you can see, there isn't much missing there.

The Verdict

The only real complaints I have about MR/2 ICE are the documentation and the lack of integration with PGP (although there is a third party add-on for PGP support). It's obvious that the documentation needs some additional material and polishing in general. I noticed several instances where pressing the help button on a dialog linked to the incorrect section of the online manual. There were also more than a few places where the section on a particular aspect of the program simply stated that the help had not yet been implemented. The lack of a top-notch help file really detracts from this otherwise very well done program. On the plus side, Nick is well known for his responsiveness to users when they have problems or suggestions.

MR/2 ICE is available as a fully functional shareware program and the registration fee is a very reasonable $30, with discounts for multiple licenses also available.

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MR/2 ICE 1.40

by Knightware
download from the Knightware home page (ZIP, 1 meg)
Registration: US$30

Dr. Dirk Terrell is an astronomer at the University of Florida specializing in interacting binary stars. His hobbies include cave diving, martial arts, painting and writing OS/2 software such as HTML Wizard.


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