There are very few programs I rave about. You can count them on one hand: Leech (ftp), Yarn (dos offline email/news reader), Opera, and the aging Boxer (dos text editor).
This last month, I have found a new program that is without a doubt on the list: Hamster.
Hamster is a multi-pop3/smtp and multi-news server AND client. It does all the news and email checking/sending/receiving for you to multiple accounts and servers.
Despite it's goofy name, Hamster fills a major need that I think all pro webmasters run into at some point or another.
In a standard email setup, when you check your mail, it is the email client directly connecting to the Pop3 mail server. If you have dozens, hundreds or (gulp) thousands of Pop accounts, it can be a daunting task just to check your email. You will have to check all them by tweaking your email client or switching accounts.
That process can be excruciatingly painful and slow. Additionally, if you have multiple news (nntp) servers you draw from, it can also be tough to setup your news reader for all those sites too.
Hamster to the rescue!
Hamster is a email puller and sender. Hamster goes out in a single click and downloads all your email and news to its internal database. You just connect to hamster on the localhost from your email/news programs and presto - one download of all your email and news!
Hamster cures every email sending and receiving problem I had.
If you use news://, the news part of hamster stores it's own database. Thus, you can use news clients designed to be online clients (like browsers) as OFFLINE clients now. Just connect, let hamster pull the news, go offline and connect to hamster with any news client. (too cool).
What was taking me anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to check email and news, is now taking under 30seconds.
- multi (unlimited) pop accounts to and from hamster.
- smtp support. You can set a default SEND account if you like (no more trying to figure out which email address goes with which account)
- news sender,puller.
- auto connect/disconnect to the internet. (setup a windows scheduler to launch Hamster in the middle of the night)
- a scripting engine where it you can control things like your dialup connection.
- the multi accounts option should be killer for folks on Intranets.
- 5 modes of debug information sent to a log file.
- customizable menu options where you can setup to connect to only certain subsets of all servers (bretts email accounts, sally's email accounts...etc).
- it is Open source (delphi?).
What's more? It's FREE (no cost, no adware, no spyware, no nothing, no money)
And, it's bug free as far as I can tell. Not a single glitch yet. That is saying something coming from me (I've earned the nickname "Crash" the hard way).
Touch of a downside (if there is one):
There is not alot of support for the program (hey, it's free), and it may take a bit of tweaking to setup, but I think most folks here can handle it just fine. The program was built in Germany and the homepage is in German, but the program has a full english mode and documentation to it.
If you go to download it, what you want is Hamster Classic 1.3 build 1.3.22.
Direct zip file download link:
Mailing List archive:
Hamster Link list:
Main developers Hamster page (in german):
A Script Archive: (hamster supports scripts for customizing your setup)
Hamster: the best thing since individually wrapped cheese slices.