Re: I can sympathise....
IBM offered to be your ISP for a very reasonable amount, along with an ibm.net email address
At the point I was using OS/2 on the desktop I had a Demon Internet address. I also had a linux box doing dial-on-demand (I picked Demon because they had some good FAQs at that point about how to configure such things - and SMTP/NNTP).
Since we were IBM-all-the-way at work, I dicovered that we were also connected to the IBM network and all had an IBMMAIL address which we could use to get internet email to and from our local PROFS system.
I think I used it a couple of times, realised what a faff it was and, instead, pushed for a proper SMTP connection via Pipex. Which, eventually, we got. It helped that very few other people realised about the IBMMAIL stuff. Yet another example why I was destined to not be a programmer for long - I was far more interested in exploring the nooks and crannies than coding..