I've started aggregating all of my Earthlink mail in Gmail. I've had a Gmail account for over a year, but I never had much use for it until recently. Last month I had to reinstall Windows on my home PC, and I lost a few weeks' worth of old e-mail in the process. So I set up a rule on my Earthlink account to forward a copy of every e-mail to my Gmail account. Then, on Sunday night, my home PC blew up again, this time apparently because of something that went awry during a routine "chkdsk" operation. (I'm starting to think there's a problem with the hard drive on this PC, but I'll give it a little more time.) Once again, I had to reinstall Windows, but since I'd just backed up my files the day before, I only lost a few hours of data. And this time I didn't lose any e-mail, since Gmail's keeping copies of everything.
I'm not ready to abandon my Earthlink account entirely, since I've had that e-mail address for almost eight years and everyone knows it. But Gmail lets you send e-mail with a different e-mail address for replies. So I can write e-mails from Gmail as if they were coming from my Earthlink account, and people shouldn't notice a difference. I still have to remember to check my Earthlink spam filter, as that's the one feature I can't access from Gmail. But Gmail gives me everything I need, and it's a faster, sleeker interface for e-mail than Earthlink's webmail application. I used to think I needed a desktop e-mail client, but lately I'm all about the webmail. And, of course, my constant companion, my Blackberry, which gives me access to my work and home e-mails on the same device. That's why I'm never out of touch.