Computer Users’ Group

May 19, 2004


There were 13 of us present at the Baysinger Library on Wed, May 19. We used the digital video projector and projected it onto the light colored wall in the Conference Room. The overhead lights are either all on or all off and the presentation was better when they were all off but I couldn’t read all of my notes and missed a few items. It’s nice to have a room dedicated to presentations and I hope that the eventual library in Clermont will plan for such a room. Here’s a copy of the handout.

Email Programs

Outlook Express

A stripped down version of Outlook that comes with Windows and is the default email program for Windows users

Setup Options

Start by going to Tools-Options and notice that there are nine tabs to deal with. We’ll look at each one and examine what the consequences of each option are. Only the most important are detailed here.

General Tab: These options are reasonably self explanatory and the default is usually best. I leave all items checked except Messenger. Messenger has many insecure holes. If you haven’t already done so, go to www.grc.com and scroll down to find “Shoot the Messenger”, read about it and take whatever action that you want.

Read Tab: There are 5 options under this tab and it is not immediately apparent what they mean. The first marks a message as “read” after 5 seconds. The second does not apply to email but to newsgroups and allows you to decide how you want to display threaded messages. The third asks if you want to download messages whose headers show in the “Preview Pane”. There may be a bit of safety in unchecking this box and not clicking on headers that you don’t want on your computer. Especially useful for Newsgroups where only the messages that you want get downloaded. If you click on a Newsgroup header you'll be asked to perform one more action before the item is downloaded. The fourth option asks if you want to read all messages in plain text. That would disable all of the features that HTML (Web Type) messages can show. I’d leave the box unchecked. The last option asks if you to show tooltips if the columns that they should appear in are closed. If you need to know if a message has attachments or is urgent, check this box.

Receipt Tab: If you really need to know if a message has been read, ask for a read receipt. But be aware that most smart people will not automatically respond to one. In setting up your response to requests for receipts, recognize that spammers use them to verify addresses. Use them with utmost care.

Send Tab: These options are mostly self explanatory. Put your sent messages in your “Sent Items” folder. There’s no reason not to. The third lets you put people that you reply to in your address book. But be careful here; If you “Reply ot All” you may end up with an address book full of strangers. The next asks about “Auto Complete” which is usually a good option especially for long addresses. The next item is often overlooked and really should be seriously addressed. It asks if you want to include the email you are replying to in your reply. Businesses may need to do that but most of us are not so senile that we can’t remember the message that we sent to you just a day or two ago. If a point by point reply is warranted, cut and paste sections from the received mail and respond to each in turn. I leave this box unchecked. There are two options at the bottom of the page to use either plain text or HTML code in creating either an email or newsgroup message. Plain text is suitable for most messages that are text only but if you want to use stationery or include graphics with the text you should use HTML. Note that Incredimail is HTML only and it includes many types of stationery. If you choose HTML, the default settings are probably appropriate. Unless youre big into newsgroups, I’d leave it at “Plain Text”.

Compose Tab: Here you can choose the font settings for both mail and news, choose what stationery to use if you use HTML and choose whether to include a business card.

Signatures Tab: You can create a signature as I have at the end of each email. If you use HTML you can include graphics and other items to enhance your signature. You can do this selectively or you can click here on “Add signatures to all outgoing mail messages”. Once you have a signature, you can edit it here.

Security Tab: Choose the zone you want which sets the level of security. You would like to be warned if an application sent out data caliming to be you. Keep this box checked but a good “Firewall” is probably better insurance against hackers. You can also ask Outlook Express to not let you save any attachment that might possibly harm your computer. You may have to override this if you are sure the file is safe. Further, when you send important documents you may want further protection by way of a “Digital Signature”. Click on “Tell me more” to learn more about this. Not usually required for casuals emails. You can also encrypt emails so that if they are intercepted, they can’t be read. Note that if you send confidential data to a web site the web site address should start with HTTPS (S for secure) and you should see a closed lock in the Task Bar. The “Advanced” box takes to settings for encryption that are only necessary in secure transactions.

Connection Tab: You tell Outlook Express how to connect to the Internet. You can minimize your time online by composing messages offline and then staying online only long enough to send and receive. Click “Hang up after sending and receiving” to do this. Click on “Change” under Internet connection setting to change your dial-up or LAN settings.

Maintenance Tab: This is where you tell OE how to treat old messages. The first box empties the “Deleted items folder” on exit. This does not remove the messages from your hard drive, however so you won’t save any disk space by clicking this box. See “Compacting” below. The second box deals with “Web mail”. Items marked for deletion will be deleted on exit. See more under accounts below. Compacting is where actual deletion from the hard drive takes place. Click here to have it done in the background. The next two boxes deal with Newsgroups. If you use them you can choose how and when to delete old messages. Next is an option for how much space you will allow old messages to consume until they are compacted. There are certain benefits to retaining old messages; some may have historical or sometime you may wonder “When was it that we did that?” and you have an email describing the event. The next box is “Clean up now” and offers options for all message bodies or bodies and headers. Note that it shows how much space is taken up and generally that will be an insignificant portion of your hard drive. Clicking on the last box reveals how far down into the file structure that Microsoft buried the Message Store Folder. You can relocate this by creating a folder such as My Messages in your my Documents folder and then clicking on the “Store Folder” box and then choosing “Change”. Select the new folder from the list. Now when you Backup “My Documents” you’ll back up your mail folder as well. Then you may feel better about deleting all of those old messages knowing that you have a backup. The last section deals with troubleshooting and we’ll pass that for now.

Accounts

To set up a new account you have to open an account for that person with your ISP and each may be different. Once that is accomplished, go to Tools-Accounts and choose ADD, enter the name you want the email signed with, enter the account name and then enter the data provided by your ISP for the POP (incoming) and SMTP (outgoing) servers. AOL allows up to 14 accounts with a mail storage limit of 20MB for each (140MB total). Other ISPs vary in the number of accounts allowed. Once the account is set up, click on it and go to “Properties”. You can edit an account using this option but now navigate to the “Advanced” Tab. Go down the resulting page until you come to “Delivery”. You have the option of leaving a message on the server (your ISP). This is useful if you have two or more users and you want to leave mail on the server for the other person to remove. It is also useful if you travel with your laptop and want messages retained so that you can save them on your desktop.

Message Rules

You can organize your inbox so that OE sorts all of your messages into the appropriate folders. Click on “Message Rules” and look through the available options. Consider your own situation and decide how you want to file your mail. If you have more than one account you can use to “To” line to separate mail into separate folders for each account holder. Perhaps you have Genealogy Forum messages based on a location or surname. Where these appear in the “Subject” line you can use that as a basis for sorting. Mail from Uncle John? Use the “From” line to sort on. Want to “Archive” your mail? Point to “Local Folders”, right click on it and click on new folder. Add a new folder such as “Year 2003 Messages”. Click on Edit-Find-Message and click on “Received Before” and enter Jan 1 2004" and click on “Received After” and enter December 31 2002. Drag all such messages into your “Year 2003 folder”. Open the “Message Store” (see above” and look for a .dbx file with the name you just created. Copy the folder to a new location and where you can save it to disk. Go back to OE and remove the archive folder. If you receive mail from someone and want to add them to your address book, point to their message header and open Tools- and click on “Add Sender to Address Book”. The next item up the line in Tools is Synchronization and it refers only to Web Mail and Newsgroup messages and so we’ll pass on it.

File

Now that we have some semblance of a setup, lets go back to the menu bar and take up some of the items in order. Most items here are self-explanatory but lets look at a couple in detail.

Import: You can import OE address books, other address books, messages and mail and news account settings. Each item will ask you where to look to find it. If you are moving from one computer to another and they are networked, find the file on the other computer and import it.If they are not networked you’ll have to copy the file from one computer to the other. The easiest way to do that is to use Export on the old computer to create importable file on the new computer. However you can only “Export” messages and address books.

Work Offline: Work offline appears in the “File” menu unless you have a local file as your Internet Start Page. Clicking here puts toggles it on or off and allows you to view all of the Web Sites that you saved in your “Favorites” folder with “View Offline”. This is th e way to view complex files without spending excess time online.

Edit: Self explanatory.

View: Current view allows you to see what column you have set up and change them. Sort by tells OE how to sort your mail.

Columns: This lets you set the columns that you want to see. We’ll talk a little about them all but they allow you to see if emails have attachments and other attention flags. More important are the “From”, “Subject” and “Received” columns. You can sort your mail by clicking in the heading of the column that you want to sort by. Click once for ascending; again for descending.

Message: Mostly self explanatory but a few words are in order. Be cautious in “Reply to All” if you have “Put People I Reply to in My Address Book” checked. You’ll pick up a lot of friends that you never heard of before. You can block a sender and you can use an existing message to help create a “Message Rule”.

Help: Help is most useful if you search for what you’re interested in. IMAP, POP, Synchronize etc are all covered. Type what you think it should be called and then try a few related terms until you find what you want.


AOL

You’ll find many of the options presented above for AOL as well. If you have an interest in one or more go to “Help” and search for what you want. Here’s some more detail on AOL 9 setup.

Mail: There are three heading on the AOL Mailbox; New, Old, Sent, Manage Mail and Search Mail. Under Manage Mail you can look at mail that has been deledted in the last 24 hours. There is a Quick Find feature for each of the Tabs that lets you quickly search that folder. Click in the Dialog Box next to Quick Find under any Tab and enter a search parameter such as address or subject of an email.

Options: Click on “Set Mail Preferences” to see the available options. They are mostly self explanatory; they allow you to set the default mailbox, limit what mail is shown and set the order of listing.

Saved (on My PC or AOL). You can save mail on your PC or on AOL. AOL allows up to 20MB of mail per Screen Name (140 MB total) as long as you are a member. Select any email and then click the Save button. Choose where. You can select multiple messages to save using the Control Key. Or you can drag and drop the email to the proper Save On location.

Quick Read: If you have 1024 x 768 resolution or greater you can see a Quick Read pane that allows you to read and reply to mail without opening it up in a new window.

Spam: AOL includes a Spam filter that allows you to train the system to recognize Spam. You can select people to receive mail from, mail senders to block and where Spam should go. You can set up a filter for each Screen Name.

Anti-Virus: AOL scans all incoming and outgoing mail for viruses. It also provides a free firewall that gives further protection especially for High Speed connections.


JUNO

I tried to sign up for Free JUNO but the questions got too personal and I decided it wasn’t worth it. Things like age, employment, salary, type of cars owned, type of car to buy next, etc. JUNO used to allow access to customer service but now only members can get into setup details. But here’s some information

JUNO Platinum offers 10 MB of online storage and "Fewer Advertisements‟ with no POP-UPs. It offers additional free accounts for other members. Technical support is $1.95 per minute. Free JUNO may have many limitations which may vary from user to user and situation to situation so none are listed under the FAQs.

Thus, I didn’t learn much about JUNO. I’ve helped others with problems on JUNO but I’m not able to present any JUNO screens because I didn’t sign up.

If any of the items presented for OE or AOL are of interest to JUNO users, they should search JUNO help or go to Customer Service and check out what they are interested in.