Net Gains: Talk Time email/emailf.htm

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Even five years ago, having an email address was still a bit of novelty. Nowadays if you have the inclination, you make a game of collecting them. My tally stands at seven, following BT's decision to launch another free email service. It's not quite as computer-friendly as some of the other sites. My Netscape Navigator program seemed to have trouble with the interface but once you have negotiated the registration procedure, it holds up well against more established versions such as Hotmail and Yahoo!.

The service, called Talk 21 (I've no idea what the 21 refers to), supplies the usual service: you give it a number of details about yourself, and away you go. The usual rules apply. It's free, except that you have to put up with a little advert for the service being tacked onto the end of your emails, but because it's new and based in Britain, you have an excellent chance of getting the email address that you want, rather than the usual compromises you have to settle for with the more established services, such as Hotmail. Also keep an eye out for the fantastic piece of legalese in the registration procedure, which simply asks you to "agree to abide by the regulations even if I haven't read them".