Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium. In fact, these days, anyone who doesn't have an email address is considered some kind of freak.
If you do have an email address or two, you'll be happy to discover that Mac OS X includes Mail, a program that lets you get and send email messages without having to wade through a lot of spam (junk mail). Mail is a surprisingly complete program, redesigned for Mac OS 10.5, and it's filled with shortcuts and surprises around every turn.
And this desktop post office offers more than just mail—among other things, you can also use the program as a personal notepad and a newsreader for your favorite Web sites.
Not bad for a freebie, eh?
What you see the first time you open Mail may vary. If you've signed up for a .Mac account (and typed its name into the .Mac pane of System Preferences), you're all ready to go; you see the message viewer window described on The Mailboxes List. If you don't get the offer to set up an account, choose File→Add Account to jumpstart the process. (That's also how you add other accounts later.)
If you get your mail from some other service provider, like Verizon, Comcast, Gmail, Yahoo, or whatever, Mail setup is almost as easy. Apple has rounded up the acronymladen server settings for 30 popular mail services and built them right in.