Consumers benefit from e-mail service wars

By Tom DiFrancesca

Let the e-mail service wars begin. That seems to be the battle cry of late. If you remember, I wrote about Google’s pending launch of a new e-mail service, one that would allow for 100 megabytes of free storage space, and how the service was currently in beta testing.
Well, the folks at Yahoo have jumped into the battle with both guns blazing and — they’ve beat Google to the punch.
As of the first part of this week, all basic (free) Yahoo e-mail accounts now allow for 100 megabytes of storage. If you’ve already paid Yahoo for additional storage space, you’ll find that you now have 200 megabytes of storage available to you. Just navigate on over to
www.yahoo.com
for additional information about the changes to their e-mail account offerings.
I wonder what company will jump into the fray next? I love these kinds of battles. The consumer almost always benefits from this kind of competition.
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As more and more folks migrate to broadband Internet access, the demand for high-quality content increases. The latest trend is to be able to legally download and watch full-length movies.
A new partnership has been formed between Real Networks Inc. and Starz Encore Group LLC. For a monthly fee of $12.95, subscribers can download and watch an unlimited number of movies.
According to the Washington Post, the inventory of movies is constantly growing so there should be no fear of running out of features to watch. You can check out this newest service by going to
www.starz.com
You just may find yourself visiting the local video store a whole lot less.
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The Texas Department of Transportation is doing something remarkable. It is about to initiate a project that will provide free wireless Internet access to all 84 rest areas in the state, and to all 12 travel information centers.
All a weary traveler will need, to check their e-mail and to surf the Web, will be a laptop computer with a wireless adapter either built-in or installed.
The department is even considering the installation of kiosks that would provide access to the Internet — probably maintained by a private vendor, and a usage fee would be involved.
Maybe, just maybe, the State of New Mexico would consider providing wireless Internet at its facilities sometime in the future.
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I had an opportunity to speak to the members of a wonderful organization this past week. Altrusa International is a volunteer service organization. Its members are business professionals who work together to improve their community.
I was asked to speak about the Internet and about my forthcoming book. Miss Susie Q. and I were fed a nice meal and got to visit with a whole lot of very nice people.
The local chapter of Altrusa has a Web page. Just hop on over to
www.3lefties.com/altrusa/
There you will find more information about the organization and you can even view the meeting schedule. If you’d like to learn even more about Altrusa International, you can visit the main Web site at
www.altrusa.com/
You just might find yourself getting involved with this great bunch of folks.

Tom DiFrancesca III is a freelance columnist and a resident of Clovis. He can be reached at:
tomdifran@ureach.com
or www.trackertom.com