Musashi 3 Review

Requirements:*

  • OS: System 7 or later
  • Extensions: MacTCP or OpenTransport
  • RAM:Over 2MB

This piece of shareware is from a Japanese outfit, Sonosoft. It's an e-mail program, but it's a little special in that it handles both English and double-byte Japanese very well indeed. I guess the question nowadays is, "Why pay for an e-mail client?". Well, to be honest, because this is a good one, especially if, like me, you need a reliable multi-lingual client. I send and receive about 50% Japanese language e-mails, which rules out clients such as Claris Emailer, and Barebones' Mailsmith.

True, Outlook Express can handle double byte characters, but it can be a bit overly complex, and not very flexible. OK, then, let's say that you're looking for a piece of e-mail software, what does Musashi 3 have to offer? Even if you don't use the Japanese language side of it, this is still a worth while investment. It offers multi-user support via password, and multiple accounts, making it ideal for a business or family PC.

You can also set-up different colour schemes for each user too, hence the white on black in the screenshot below. Musashi supports all the features you would expect, as well as giving a few new and interesting ones - also, most features are quickly accessible. Seperate folders for mail can be assigned different icons, and those folders given seperate window settings, which can make access to mail much easier.

Musashi 3 Screenshot

The filters are well implemented too, allowing the user to file things not only as they arrive, but also after the user's messages have been sent, making filing much easier. The filter creation window is now better organised than it was in version 2.x. The address book is another well implemented feature, as is access to it from new message windows via a drop down button. Also, up from version 2, is nested mailboxes, so you can set-up sub-folders - a very useful addition.

The new message window has many options, but in a very clean window design, tabbed, allowing access to all the features such as character type, attachment encoding, signature and template selction. Search functions are also well supported, allowing the user to search folders or just messages for specific mails for pieces of text. Musashi also allows exports to text with the added bonus of being able to choose how much of a mail's headers are exported to text. Useful. All of this is managed from a well thought out preferences panel. If you've used version 2 and registered, then this upgrade, via Kagi, costs \$9, but if you're new to Musashi, it's \$33, which at the time of typing is £20 or ¥3,700.

What are the requirements? It's small, has a tiny memory requirement, so if you lack the CPU power, or are just trying to save some then this is the one for you. It's available in Japanese and English, in PowerPC and 68k flavours.

...And it's Japanese too. It's not often that we in English speaking countries get to see let alone use a piece of Japanese grown software, especially in the shareware arena, which I suspect is another reason why I like Musashi. Certainly it deserves the attention. I've been using Musashi 2 and now 3 for a total of nine months now, and still don't hesitate to recommend it. True, it doesn't have HTML support, but that is quickly negated by the "Save as..." option, and then open in a browser. If you're looking for a small and fast piece of e-mail software, then this is it.

  • Pros: Still small, fast and stable, now with more *useful* features than OE.
  • Downsides: No spellchecker still, but that's about it.
  • Rating:92%