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MyPopBarrier 2.8.7 email server checker for OS X review

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Provides: Pop 3 email server checking and spam blocking
Developer: Thomas Robisson
Minimum Requirements: OS X v10.5
Price: Donationware for single installations
Availability: Out Now

One of the challenges for me in adjusting to using OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion has been what to do about a POP 3 email server message checker. That is an app that gives you a preview of what’s on the server and provides the option of deleting messages without downloading them.

For the past several years, I’ve been mostly using Gmail and Yahoo! Mail webmail for most of my email, but I have a couple of POP 3 email addresses that date back to the 1990s. They’re on a lot of spam email lists, and have either no or very inefficient spam filters. Consequently, server checking and deleting is a capability I really can’t do without.

There were a couple of good utilities for Power PC OS X that could check mail on the server, preview content and delete unwanted junk without downloading it: MailBeacon X and POPMonitor—both shareware apps. I’ve been using Mail Beacon for many years, but unfortunately neither it nor POPMonitor work without Rosetta PPC emulation, so what to do?

My workaround so far has been Thomas Robisson’s My Pop Barrier—a little donationware application that has proved a usable, although not entirely satisfactory, replacement for MailBeacon. When I first tried out this app back in 2007, it was pretty rough. Now at version 2.8.7, it’s been considerably refined, and now seems quite stable and smooth.

MyPopBarrier is easy and quick to configure with account settings, and it has the happy facility of being able to preview entire email messages and select/copy from them without downloading to an email client (I use Mozilla.org’s Open Source Thunderbird). Unhappily, what facilitates that capability is that, unlike Mail Beacon, My Pop Barrier insists on loading anew on each check all email messages on the server, as opposed to just the ones that have been added since the last check, making it an impractical solution if you have hundreds of messages stored on a POP server as I do in some of my accounts. It’s also extremely slow to load, and links in previewed messages aren’t live, so one has to copy and paste them into a Web browser.

Another serious shortcoming is that there is no really satisfactory way of configuring multiple email accounts and checking them individually.

The main MyPopBarrier interface window has two panes—the top one shows header info for email messages on the server, and content may be previewed in the lower window by clicking on a particular message. You can then opt to delete the message(s) by clicking the Purge button. The interface isn’t especially interesting, but neither was MailBeacon’s. However, it isn’t ugly, is functional, and gets the job done.

Previewed messages are classified in a bullet list:

  • Red Dot: Undesirable message
  • Green Dot: Known message
  • White Dot: Unknown message

A double-click on a line changes the classification of the message. You can move in the list using the keyboards up and down arrows, and you can change the state with the keysboard’s left and right arrows, space bar (invert state), key V (default state), or key B (block unknown). All the messages having a red dot will be erased from the server when you hit the Purge button. Press the Command key when you click a message to display its source code (Control Key to display message from HTML code).

In some respects, the MyPopBarrier select and delete function is much better than MailBeacon’s, and it certainly gives you a lot more control options.

As well as server checking, MyPopBarrier also has configurable spam-blocking rules. Instructions in the program’s About dialog concisely covers what the user needs to know, and it works fine. There is also an informative FAQ.

MyPopBarrier is distributed as donationware for single users. Registering (optional) has a suggested retail price of €6.

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MyPopBarrier for OS X Review
By MyPopBarrier

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