CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
Greetings from 33,000 feet! I'm on my way to Austin for the geekiest of reasons: to attend a "Battlestar Galactica" reunion panel at the ATX television festival. (Yes, apparently TV now has festivals. Who knew?) If things go as planned, I'll be interviewing a couple of the show's actors as well -- for my podcast, of course. [End of shameless plug.]
Anyway, I'm going to keep this fairly short, because this coach seat is seriously cramped -- thanks, Delta! -- and all it's going to take is the person in front me reclining her seat and there will be no post at all.
I'm also serving up a rerun, but of the best kind: cheaper than last time.
When it comes to email, I'm old-school: I like a desktop client. That's in part because I have multiple accounts to manage, and in part because Gmail's browser-based interface is -- and I say this without hyperbole -- the worst thing ever in the history of humanity. (Also, it doesn't allow you to manage multiple accounts within a single tab, which, after all these years, is just kind of insulting. Google. Yeah, I'm calling you out.)
Alas, there are exceedingly few free desktop email managers. Thunderbird is the go-to choice for many folks, but I don't care for its dated interface. Em Client is better, but the free version limits you to just two email accounts -- and the Pro version costs $50.
So allow me to make the case for Mailbird Pro, which is not only one of the prettiest Windows mail clients, but also one of the smartest I've tried.
First things first, though: For a limited time, you can get a lifetime Mailbird Pro license for just $19. Regular price: $97. No joke.
Mailbird is a decidedly modern email client, with features like touchscreen support that make it a great choice for tablets and touch-enabled laptops. Thus you can swipe your way through your inbox, quickly archiving messages as you go -- same as you do on a phone.
Another feature not usually found in desktop clients: a unified inbox. Hallelujah! Why click through a bunch of different accounts when you can see all your mail together? Mailbird can even sort that unified inbox so all unread messages appear at the top.
Another killer amenity: snooze. For any email you want to deal with later, just press Z and choose a time for it to return to the top of your inbox. Mailbird also offers a speed-reading option that works similarly to tools such as Spritz.
Finally, Mailbird supports a bunch of third-party apps, everything from Facebook and Twitter to Asana, Dropbox, Evernote and Wunderlist. Once you connect with any of these tools, you'll gain easy access to them in Mailbird's collapsible sidebar. Oh, and for business types, there's a one-click LinkedIn-lookup feature.
Of course, whenever possible, you should try before you buy, so head over to Mailbird's site and grab the trial version first. Even though $19 is a killer deal, it's no deal at all if you don't like the software.
Bonus deal: If you like crime sprees and co-op-friendly shoot-'em-up games, today is your very lucky day. Ending soon, Steam is offering Payday 2 (for Windows) absolutely free. I'm not sure what it usually costs, but I'm very sure free is better. The 2013 game casts you as one member of a four-man crime crew -- ideally a crew of friends joining you online for multiplayer action. You can read GameSpot's review if you want to learn more, but I say grab this freebie while you can, then decide later if it's your cup of spree.
Bonus deal No. 2: If you haven't yet tried Google Play Music Unlimited, you can get a four-month trial subscription (including YouTube Red) for free. The catch: It's for new customers only, which is why I haven't included a link. Basically, just navigate to the Google Play Music store and look for an offer banner. If you see one, you're a new customer. If you don't, you're not.