Posts Tagged ‘#email’

LinkedIn Data Breach

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis June 8th, 2012

I noticed a lot of spam in the last few days that was making it to my Inbox.  This is unusual; most of the time my spam filters catch this junk and remove it.  It turns out that LinkedIn got hacked recently, along with eHarmony and Lastfm.com.  If anyone on those sites had your email address, you may have gotten the same deluge of crap mail.  Most of those were “phishing” mails, trying to get credit card or other financial info so they could steal from you.  What to do?  First of all DO NOT CLICK LINKS IN ANY EMAILS you receive.  Go straight to the sites, if you have an account, and CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD.  Make sure you follow rules for strong passwords; 8 characters or more with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.  This is a storm of data theft that probably isn’t over yet.  Stay Tuned!   (Thanks to the Agence France-Presse for the great article)

Outlook Rules

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis March 8th, 2012

Keeping your email organized and sorted can be a real challenge.  One thing that can REALLY help is setting up Rules.  In Outlook these are automatic commands to do something with an email.  For example, I have all my Microsoft newsletters go straight to a folder named Microsoft.  That way I can go read them when I want, but don’t have to waste time on them when I’m busy.  Outlook can do thousands of varieties of this, but by far the most common is to Move to Folder from Recipient.  Office 2010 makes this a snap…just right click the email and choose Rules–> Always Move…  Keep in mind you need to have your designated folder set up BEFORE you do this.  Older versions of Outlook have a New Rule Wizard that steps you through the process.  In this case you must click the Hyperlink that says Folder and Recipient to set where/who.   Another slick trick is to have it automatically delete emails with certain key words.  So if your email providor is marking messages with a SPAM tag, you can have it sent straight to the trash.   If you add auto-archiving to your folders (see previous post), your email will stay managable with much less effort. 

No Apple 4 ME

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis March 7th, 2012

I usually have to say this at least once or twice a week:  I DON’T DO APPLE.  Despite this, I still have customers that want to pay me to work on their i-stuff.  Even though I warn them that it will take me a lot more time, they still do it.  So I know more i-nformation than I really wanted.  NEWS:  If you use an i-phone, and Outlook… things are changing.  Email sync with Outlook is something a lot of i-phone users want, but it’s a tricky thing. By this I mean making deletions, for example, happen on both devices with only one action. (If you’re a geek DO NOT tell me about IMAP accounts because Outlook doesn’t play nice with IMAP).   If you don’t work for a big company that has an Exchange server, you should buy a service to do it.  The most popular has been MobileMe.  But Apple is making a move similar to Google: they are combining several services and sites into a one stop “cloud” solution called iCloud.  Hopefully the new mail sync will work better than MobileMe did. 

HTML Email

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis December 8th, 2011

The format of email has been a rocky road for several years now.  On one hand, it’s nice to keep it simple (and avoid spam blockers) and leave everything in Plain Text or Rich Text Format (RTF).   It doesn’t give you many options, but relays information just fine.  The problem is that a lot of people want fancier options, or they are making ads or newsletters for their customers.  The solution is HTML.  This is the  formatting language of the web, and many programs these days understand it.  The problem is that different programs may interpret in different ways, despite all efforts to standardize.  A prime example is Outlook.  It uses MS Word to do HTML, and the results aren’t always pretty.  A big group tried to change this a few years back, but Microsoft wouldn’t budge.  MS basically said “It ain’t broke, so we won’t fix it”.  So the world gets a half-baked email formatting solution that relies on a program that was never truly intended to render Web content.  Way to go Microsoft!  Meanwhile, in the 2010 edition of Outlook, they’ve reduced the functionality of RTF, and there are some VERY WEIRD glitches in the HTML rendering.  I’ve had complaints from several customers already.  If you’re seeing strange characters pop up in emails, this is probably why.  Hopefully the MS programming team are working on a fix.  In the meanwhile, if you ARE having issues with Outlook formatting, here’s a great article  that tells you how it all works, and some things you can change to help it. (Thanks Slipstick!)

IMAP Blues

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis December 7th, 2011

If you’ve ever set up an email program you probably know about the types of email protocols.  The old-style one that most people have used is called POP3.  But there are some newer, more powerful ones called IMAP and MAPI.  Those of us who have small businesses (or support them) have always been jealous of big company EXCHANGE SERVERS.  These are very cool because they use the MAPI protocol, and do slick things like automatic sync with all devices, etc.  I had MAPI envy, so I wanted to try the alternative called IMAP.  Outlook can use it, and my mail server supports it, so why not?  LET ME TELL YOU WHY NOT!  Outlook does a TERRIBLE job with IMAP accounts.  Especially if you have a mixed bag.  There are a long list of issues, like not defaulting to IMAP sender, no rules applied to IMAP email, and on and on.  I DO NOT recommend using IMAP on Outlook.  Seems like Microsoft was trying to force the use of their (MAPI) protocol.  If you need the mail on multiple devices, try using POP3 and setting the mail to stay on the server for 1 day.  OR use web mail.  Or buy an Exchange service (Link2Exchange is a good example).

Deleted Email

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis November 17th, 2011

Email is a whole different story when it comes to deleting.  First of all, it depends on HOW you do your email.  If you use WEBMAIL, you are looking at items that exist in THE CLOUD.  So somewhere out there, on a server, all your mail is stored.  Whether it’s Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, someone else has control of your stuff.  Some of them have a way for you to save a local copy of email as EML, PDF or other formats.  This is a good thing to do if it’s important because  if you delete it from the cloud, and then remove it from the Deleted Items folder, you will probably NEVER get it back.  They don’t offer any kind of back up or retrieval services on the freebies.  MAYBE on a premium account, but these are expensive.  On the other hand, if you use a local email routine like Outlook or Windows Live Mail, your backup can help.  But you should be aware that Outlook and some others store all your stuff in one great big file (for Outlook it’s called a PST file).  So if something gets deleted from inside this file (and removed from Deleted Items), it’s difficult or impossible to restore.  Unlike a file deletion, there’s no bits left that show it existed AND the PST file still exists, without the content you lost.  This is why it’s CRITICAL to back up your PST file if you use Outlook.  Note that Microsoft has an add-on that will automatically back up your PST when you exit.  You can get it here.  NOTE:  Another Ball Dropped by E-how.  They claim you can find your deleted Outlook mail by looking in the Recycle bin!  This is just plain WRONG, and silly.  Shame on you guys!

Email Encryption

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 21st, 2011

Did you know that all the email you send can be picked off, intercepted, or SNIFFED at any point along the way?  Laws have been passed against these practices, but they’re still common.  How can you guarantee your email is ONLY visible to the recipient?  ENCRYPTION.  Encrypting email is, unfortunately, more difficult than just  doing your files.  The first thing you need is a CERTIFICATE (aka cert).   Some refer to these as Digital ID’s.   Email cert’s are available from several companies, and if you were to purchase one I’d suggest VerisignBut if you want a FREE one, there are several available for personal use.  Here’s one from Comodo, for example.  A cert is the way you encrypt such that not only YOU can read it, but also the RECIPIENT.  The cert’s usually have a pair of keys, one is public and the other private.  It’s the way your computer knows how to descramble the message.  Once you get your cert, follow these directions to install in Outlook.

Email Privacy

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 20th, 2011

With all the spam and junk mail out there, it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind for email etiquette.  1) Business email should include a confidentiality notice to legally protect the contents (the easiest way to do this is to put it in your signature).  2) If you send to a large group, or forward FROM a large group, remove extraneous addresses from the body, and email it to YOURSELF.  Then put the list in the BCC line (this protects the recipient’s privacy)  3) To prevent getting filtered by spam blockers, I encourage my clients to use Rich Text or Plain Text rather than HTML format for sending.  In Outlook the default settings can be found in Tools, Options, Mail Format tab.  Next time:  Encrypting your email.

Spam

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis September 8th, 2011

SpamThe battle of spam rages on.  Umm, that’s junk email, not meat byproducts.  :-) The latest trick is hacking your online email accounts, and spamming your address list (so USE STRONG PASSWORDS!!!).  This spam often sends you to the “Canadian Health&Care Mall”, which tells me THEY NEED TO PROSECUTE THIS COMPANY for the nonsense.  There have been other, significant arrests that helped stop the problem; Oleg Nikolaenko in 2010 and Robert Soloway in 2007 were considered responsible for up to HALF the spam in circulation across the globe.  My customers often ask how they can remedy the junk mail.  In short; 1) make sure your service’s spam filter is turned on (almost all of them have adjustable spam filters now)  2) if it’s legitimate junk mail, they are REQUIRED BY LAW to include an opt-out message at the bottom for you to easily get off the list, and stop the ads.  3) Only give your email address to those you trust.  You can create an alternative mail account if you want to use that for filling out silly Internet stuff that require it.  Overall, I have to say that the spam problem has gone down dramatically since Bill Gates proclaimed war on it a few years back.  The Outlook Junk filter ROCKS!

Email Woes

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis August 27th, 2011

The biggest problem I see with people’s email are because they NEVER CLEAN IT UP.  They let all their folders keep filling and filling until BLAP! they hit a wall.  For web mail it’s because there’s a limit to the amount they let you store.  For Outlook, it’s a problem with the program.  Depending on the version, Outlook will only allow 2 Gb of email to be stored…. more for the later versions  (Outlook express is worse, and just crashes).  Tips to manage your storage:  1) EMPTY THE TRASH! (deleted items)  2) Clear out as many sent items as possible (do you REALLY need 7 years’ worth?)  3)  Don’t leave everything in the IN BOX!  Create folders to stay organized, and move stuff out to those after you read them.  4) Auto-archive in Outlook can help automate cleanup, but there’s a catch.  If you turn on this feature, IT WON’T WORK UNTIL YOU TELL IT the setting you want for each folder.  So it defaults to not touch it.  This is good, but people don’t realize that each folder has an archive setting that you should set.  For example, I want my Tech Newsletter folder to get dumped if it’s 6 months or older.  But my login/registration folder I NEVER want touched.