About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 10, 2010

Email Apps

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:08 am

Thanks for the emails I received regarding the last column about “Secure P@55w0rdz“.  Most of you commented on the spelling I used in that word.  That is somewhat standard usage by geeks.  I’m glad you enjoyed it.  Apparently it caused a few of you to increase your passwords’ difficultly level which is a good thing.  Several of you asked how to rate the strength of your password. Here is a site at Microsoft where you can check yours out,

On to today… I received many questions about programs to read and send email.  Today we will look at some of the most popular free ones.  Don’t forget, “Ron likes free best!”, so that is all I will discuss today.

My old favorite was Microsoft Outlook Express; however, since companies always like to change things – they did.  With the dawn of Windows 7, OE was done away with and replaced by Windows Live Mail,  This is a good email program but MS has something I like even better.  If you do not want to add another program to your computer, MS has an online version which includes even more.  There you will find email which does not require a download called Windows Live.  You can get to it the old way at or the new way at  They go to the same site.

Next on my list is Thunderbird which is located at  If that address looks familiar to you it is because they are also the company which created Firefox (a great browser you could try while there).  Thunderbird has all the bells and whistles too, but make sure you only use IMAP in the setup if you know what it is.  I personally don’t care for IMAP but that’s just me.  To find out more about IMAP go to

In my opinion those are the best for Windows users.  I would also like to mention that if you use Google’s Gmail account, they made a big change just this week.  Now Gmail is a little off topic since it is online only (although it can be added to the other two programs).  However, if you have multiple Gmail accounts you should use this new feature.

Log into your favorite Gmail account because this will be set to default.  Now, go to Settings / Accounts and Import / Google Account Settings and change “Multiple sign in” to on.  Then add your other Gmail accounts, follow the directions and you will like it.  After that you will be able to switch back and forth between those accounts without having to log off and back on.  Nice feature Gmail…thanks!

May 4, 2010

Just a Little Bit

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 4:49 am

Thanks for the many questions this week that all dealt with the same thing.  Many readers wanted to know about all the references I have given out over the past several weeks.  Most everyone wanted to know what the ‘’ links were since they accessed different sites.

First, allow me to give a short explanation about top-level county code domains.  You are familiar with the “.com” (commercial), “.info” (information, like and “.gov” (for the US government) top-level codes.  The code is not necessarily indicative of what the site is used for. For instance, I could sell items on an “.info” site that provides absolutely no information.  However, “.gov” is only to be used by the US government.

A few years back a new domain level started, “Country Code” top-level domains.  This allows some countries to have their own top-levels.  The first I remember seeing was “.to” which represents the very small island of Tonga in the South Pacific.   Do not ask me why they get one and others do not.  If you are interested in a site with more detail, including a country list, try

If you notice the link above it is a “.ly” top-level domain which is the country code for Libya.  This does not mean that the site has anything to do with Libya other than the “.ly” at the end.  As a matter of fact I checked the owner of and it appears to be someone in New York.

imageOK, now to and what it does.  This designer had a great idea.  Sometimes you have a site address that is very long and cumbersome. allows you to shorten a long URL address into a much shorter address.  For instance the one I typed two paragraphs up is actually the shortened code for, “”.  See the difference in the amount of space they take up.  In case you didn’t count that is 20 characters compared to 54…no question about which is easier to use.

If you go to and enter a site address it will convert it to the short one. You can then give it out to others.  This makes a large address much easier to deal with.

One final interesting feature offered by the “” site, is that it lets you know how many people use your link.  For instance, the link I gave last week for a account was clicked on by 35 people the first day it was printed and 12 actually signed up.

I made a link that has received 1,876 views (my largest) since I posted it on, January, 2010.  It is which concerns the defunct TV show, “Firefly” (yeah, my favorite too).

There are other sites which provide similar services but is the one I prefer.

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