My work requires me to travel extensively. I stay in touch via my laptop, mobile phone and infra-red connection. What I need is an e-mail program that allows me to choose what to mail to download as opposed to having to download everything, even a joke attachment that may take 45 minutes. I recently got back from a three month trip to receive a $70,000 bill from SmarTone for roaming charges. I have been told that Microsoft Outlook can offer the option of choosing what is downloaded but I am not sure. Do you know and do you have any suggestions? DEAN HEAD Hong Kong It is hard to solve a problem such as yours perfectly. Mail clients such as Outlook Express and Eudora have powerful filtering tools built in, but they are by no means foolproof. There are a few options open, and you might well decide to use a combination, depending on your specific needs. If you receive useless attachments regularly from a particular source, you can always set up a filter to prevent downloading of mail from that particular sender. The danger is that the filter will screen out all mail from that sender, even if it is useful. When I travel, I forward my e-mail to a free Web-based mail account such as Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail. On these services, I have to get on to a Net-connected machine and visit the relevant mail service's Web site to check mail. Since the mail resides on the service's servers, I can read only what I want, and even these are not downloaded to my machine. If I see messages with large attachments, I either ignore them or delete them, knowing full well that they will be waiting for me on my Hong Kong ISPs mail server when I get back to town. Another possibility is to set up your mail client to not download messages over a particular size. Again, you can do this in the settings or options of both Eudora and Outlook Express. On average, an e-mail is less than 10 kilobytes. If you set up your program to ignore any message over 100K, you should get most e-mail while screening out most attachments. The messages with attachments will be waiting for later downloading, or will be on your free mail service if you also use that. You should remain aware of how expensive mobile Internet access remains, and try using other technologies such as dial-up roaming to stay in touch more economically. Ideally, you should set up a roaming account with your dial-up ISP, set up a free mail account with Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail to which to forward mail when you travel, and set up a filter to screen out large messages when you check mail using your mobile phone. You can always download the larger messages later. E-mail Larry Campbell at email@example.com or write c/o Technology Post, 28th floor, Dorset House, Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay. Fax 2565 1624.