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The Bat! Voyager

The Bat! Voyager

We use an e-mail program called The Bat! (see the January 2005 issue of ÆGIS), put out by RIT Labs (http://www.ritlabs.com/). We use it because it is extremely virus-resistant while simultaneously being extremely full featured. If we are traveling with our laptop, using The Bat! is, of course, the default. But what if we aren’t traveling with our laptop? What are our alternatives then?

One can of course use Web mail, which may or may not be available from your service provider. We use T-Mobile as our mobile service provider, so we have the additional option of using their Web mail facility to access both our business and private accounts. While this does work, we find that it is not as satisfactory as using an e-mail client.

However, due to a happy confluence of hardware and software, this is now a moot point for us. RIT Labs has released a version of The Bat! called Voyager, which is intended to be installed on flash drives. Simultaneously, the cost of flash memory has fallen to the point where one can buy a four gigabyte USB or SD memory card for under $100 (Sony Memory Sticks still cost more). We chose to get a USB device, since we deemed it more likely that we would find a USB port than an SD slot.

Installation of Voyager was straightforward, and when you open the program it looks exactly like the regular desktop version. It does, however, require a password to open, because it encrypts the data on the off chance that the device might get lost or stolen.

Once we had Voyager installed, we had to figure out how to synchronize the existing data on the desktop with the portable version. While there are instructions in the help file, they were less than clear, so we edited it for clarity, and like to think our version will appear in the standard help file in the future. Synchronize the target installation with the source installation is a three step process. When you are leaving on a trip, your computer-based version of The Bat! is the source installation, and the Voyager is the target installation. When you get back from the trip the Voyager version is the source installation, and your computer is the target installation.

The help file entry we edited (British spelling of synchronize theirs) says:

Mail Synchronization for The Bat!

Many people use two or more computers for their daily business, perhaps a desktop in their office and a notebook for travel. The Bat!’s Synchronise tool helps you to keep separate copies of The Bat! up to date. Synchronsing data between installations is slightly more complicated than backing up.

Step 1: Create a data file for the target computer

1. Open The Bat! on your target computer

2. Go to Tools->Synchronize

3. Choose what to synchronize

4. Choose which Address Books to synchronize

5. Choose Step 1: Create …

6. Click OK

7. Choose the accounts/common folders to synchronize and click OK 8. Enter a file name

You have now created a map, which tells The Bat! the current settings and contents of the selected components of the target computer.

Step 2: Generate synchronization archive for the source computer

1. Open The Bat! on your source computer

2. Go to Tools->Synchronize

3. Choose what to synchronize

4. Choose which Address Books to synchronize

5. Choose Step 2: Generate …

6. Click OK 7. Choose the data file created in Step 1

You have now generated a file containing the differences between the source computer and the target computer.

Step 3: Importing synchronization data

1. Go to The Bat! on your target computer

2. Go to Tools->Synchronize

3. Choose what to synchronize

4. Choose which Address Books to synchronize

5. Choose Step 3: Submit …

6. Click OK 7. Choose the synch data file created in Step 2

The Bat! now imports the data from your source computer’s installation to the target computer’s installation to give you two identical installs of The Bat!.

With Voyager installed on the USB device (along with our most critical data in encrypted form, and some of our favorite CDs), we headed off to Phoenix for the Arizona Bar Association annual meeting. In our Phoenix office we plugged the USB device into a free machine and started Voyager. Both versions of the Bat! include a feature to look at headers on the server, and delete them without downloading. While not quite as automated as using MailWasher (ÆGIS June 2002 and May 2003), it works very well, and allowed us to delete the huge amount of chaff and download the small amount of wheat.

At the conference, the Bar Association had provided laptops connected to the Internet, so from time to time we would saunter over to a laptop, put in the USB device, and check our mail. When we returned to Gotham, it was straightforward to synchronize The Bat! (now the target) with Voyager (now the source).

If you travel, have access to computers with Internet connections, and want to be able to read your e-mail without schlepping a laptop, we recommend you give serious consideration to Voyager.

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