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There are several movie files throughout "Senior's Guide to Computers" demonstrating many techniques. For a complete list of all of them including links to each one, please visit the VIDEOS page.

Sending Email

Sending an email is simple and fast. In Microsoft Outlook, click on "New" and in Thunderbird, click on "Write". Click on the little picture of an address book and select an address to send the email to or write the address in manually.

More Email Tips:

  1. Write something meaningful in the subject box.
    People read the subject line and decide to open, reply, or trash an email.
    Good: "Coming to visit on September 12"
    Bad: "Guess who's coming for dinner?"
    Bad: "URGENT!"
  2. Keep it readable.
    Use capitalization and correct spelling.
    Add a line between paragraphs.
    Don't type in all capital letters. In the Internet world, all-caps means SHOUTING.
  3. Avoid attachments whenever possible. (See the section below on "Attachments")
    Attachments can contain viruses and can take a long time to load depending on their size.
  4. Check your email for spelling and grammatical errors.
    The spell checker in your email program won't catch every mistake.
  5. Do not assume privacy.
    Don't send anything over email that you wouldn't want printed in your local newspaper.
  6. Respond in a timely manner.
  7. Know the difference between CC and BCC.
    CC stands for Carbon Copy which means people whose email addresses appear after the CC: label will receive a copy of the email. The CC header would also appear inside the header of the received message for everyone to see.

    BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy which is similar to CC except that the email addresses of the people listed in this field do not appear in the received message header. The recipients in the TO or CC fields will not know a copy was sent to these BCC addresses.

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Dealing with Email Attachments

Attachments are files you include with an email message. Family photos are a very popular type of attachment. Follow these basic tips when dealing with attachments in an email message, no matter what email program you're using:

  • Do not open any attachment unless you know whom it's from and you were expecting it. Let the person know in advance when you send attachments. If you receive an attachment you weren't expecting, check to see if the person really sent it.
  • If you receive an email message with an attachment from someone you don't know, delete it immediately.
  • Keep your antivirus and antispyware software updated.
  • Use an email program with spam filtering built-in, such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. Web based email services like Gmail (Google) and Yahoo! Mail also feature spam filtering.
  • Add a personal password to the text of your email message that your friends and family also know. If they send attachments and you see the password then you'll know it really came from someone you know.

How to send attachments (documents, spreadsheets, photos or most types of files) by email (most email programs work the same way):

  1. Open your email program, open a new message window and write your message.
  2. Click on the attachment icon (the paper clip) or "Insert" the file by selecting from the drop down menu.
  3. Browse your hard drive to locate the file you want to attach.
  4. Click it to highlight the name, then click the Insert button.
  5. An icon or message should appear showing that the file has been attached.
  6. The attachment icon appears in the message.
  7. Click the "SEND" button.

Sending Digital Photos as Email Attachments

So you've just used your new digital camera and you want to send the latest photos of your grand kids to Aunt Tilly. Unfortunately, digital camera photos are extremely large in physical size. Of course, you want to take your enormous multi-megapixel files straight from the camera and attach them to an email. Poor Aunt Tilly may not appreciate this, especially if her ISP puts a limit on the size of email attachments she can receive. Many times, these large attachments will clog the inbox, making it impossible to access remaining mail.

Here are three possible solutions to this problem:

1. The most popular way is to reduce the size of copies your photos so that they will fit on most screens and take less time to download. Users of Windows XP have a way to do this built right into the operating system, and many photo cataloging programs, such as Picasa, have an email feature that will resize copies of the pictures before sending them.

Using Windows XP's automated function to resize and email a group of pictures without altering your originals:

  1. Navigate to the folder containing the pictures you wish to email.
  2. In the toolbar at the top of the folder, make sure "Search" and "Folders" are not selected so you can see the tasks panel to the left of the files list.
  3. Select the file or group of files that you wish to email. Use Shift or Ctrl to select multiple files.
  4. In the tasks panel on the left, click on "Email the selected items" under "File and Folder Tasks". The "Send Pictures by E-Mail" box will appear.
  5. Select "Make all my pictures smaller".
  6. Click "Show more options".
  7. Choose a size for your pictures. The small option is suitable for most purposes and will give you the best reduction in file size.
  8. Click "OK".
  9. A status bar appears as Windows resizes the files, then a new message is opened in your default mail program with your pictures attached.
  10. Windows inserts the file names into the subject field of the message. You will probably want to change this.
  11. Fill in the recipients email address(es), add a personal message, and you're ready to send.

2. You could post your photos to a photo-sharing site. Posting photos to the web is a better solution if you have many photos or want to share the same photos with many people. Most photo-sharing sites will automatically reduce large images.

Flickr is one of the most popular photo-sharing sites. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and is free. When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload 100 MB worth of photos each calendar month and there is a limit on the total storage. For $24.95 a year Flickr provides unlimited uploads (10MB per photo), unlimited storage, permanent archiving of high-resolution original images, and ad-free browsing and sharing. Your photo albums can be private or public.

Another option for sharing your photos is built into Picasa and is called a web album. It takes only a few minutes to set up a free Picasa Web Album. Picasa gives you 250 megabytes of storage for free. Check out my Van Gogh Gallery to see what a web gallery looks like.
Additional web storage can be purchased:

3. Post your photos on your own personal web site. This option requires the most technical skill. Check with your ISP to see if you already have personal Web space. Very often, your internet provider will give you 10 - 25 megabytes of web space included with your account. All you have to do is follow the directions your ISP should have provided you for uploading your photo gallery to the internet. Then just give Aunt Tilly the web address (provided by your ISP) of your photo gallery and she can see them whenever she wants.

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Web-based Email

Web-based email is stored remotely on a mail server, which means that it is accessible anywhere there is an Internet connection and a web browser.

Advantages of Web-based Email

  • Centralized maintenance of the email program
  • Backups, upgrades and security fixes are done automatically.
  • Many web-based email providers offer spam and virus prevention.

Disadvantages of Web-based Email

  • The user must stay online to read and write email.
  • The user cannot keep the messages on their local hard drive.
  • Web-based email accounts are often targets of spam.

Web-based email accounts can be set up simply and quickly and can provide a degree of anonymity. The ability to use it anywhere means it is harder to trace the individual who uses it.

Popular Web-based Email Providers

Gmail (Google)
Rating: 5 stars
Price (Nov. 2013): FREE
Free Post Office Protocol (POP) access and sending from any address. Sorting, searching and tagging let you easily find and organize emails.

Yahoo! Mail
Rating: 5 stars
Price (Nov. 2013): FREE
Yahoo! Mail offers mail filters and views, message flags and powerful mail search across folders. PhotoMail, integrating Yahoo! Photos with Yahoo! Mail, makes it easy to upload and share photos.

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