Mailing it in

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Those who follow the chronicles of MacMania cruises such as the one taking place in the watery regions west of Mexico know that the satellite Internet access on the ship is expensive and not always reliable. With that in mind, those of us for which a constant connection to the Web is as vital as oxygen have developed strategies for getting what we need from the Internet even over the hinkiest of connections.

This takes the form of tailoring e-mail accounts to grab mail from specific accounts only—my Macworld account but not my .Mac account, for example. Or configuring a newsreader to pull in only the latest five headlines from a Top 10 list of sites.

But as the Translator widget tells me: Los mejores planes puestos de ratones y de hombres van a menudo mal . All it took was one corrupt email message from a bandmate to bring the whole works to a crashing halt.

Specifically, Entourage choked on the final two kilobits of a five kilobit message from my band’s trumpet player and the 16 messages queued behind it refused to budge until I dealt with that 5Kb’s worth of “Are we rehearsing tonight?”

Regrettably, that account has no webmail counterpart so I couldn’t kill it with a browser. And Entourage won’t allow you to partially download messages under 5Kb.

So, what to do?

Switch e-mail clients.

The in-case-of-emergency FireWire drive I carry includes copies of most major Mac e-mail clients for situations just like this. If any of those clients was likely to allow a lower partial download limit, it was Bare Bones Software’s Mailsmith. Sure enough, even in Demo mode (which allows you to use the program limit-free for 30 days), I could create a POP account (Window: Accounts) and set the Don’t Download Mail Larger Than X K to any value I wanted.

I did just that, grabbed the first couple of Kb of the errant message with Mailsmith, wiped it off the server, and was back to cruising.

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