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!

July 13, 2010

Gmail vs. Windows Live Mail

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , — Ron @ 4:35 am

Last week we talked about the top online email programs.  Today I will discuss the top two I have heard about from readers and others in the area.

Although, Yahoo! Mail was listed as number one around the world, those I have heard from put Gmail and Windows Live Mail as their favorites.  Mine is not a very scientific poll since I used emails from you all and asked people I work with.  Keep in mind, the majority of my coworkers are geeks which could be skewing the results. 

Windows Live Mail (WLM from here on out) has two different address formats.  In 1996 there was  Then in 2005 Microsoft decided to revamp the name and add more functionality so Live Mail was born. Therefore, if you have an older account you have a "" address, while the newer members have "" as their address.  Being the geek tester that I am, I have one of each but rarely use either.

With Gmail everyone has the same domain in their address.  They are all formatted as,  Gmail started in 2004 by invitation only and then went public for everyone in 2007. 

WLM  will very shortly (maybe by the time you read this) be expanding storage on the site to 25GB.  They will allow this for email and all other types of files with their "Live Sky Drive" app.  Gmail started out with 1 GB of storage and continues to expand daily.  It is now at approximately 7.5 GB.  The issue I have with Gmail is that the storage is not contained in one location.

As stated above Gmail provides an ever increasing 7.5 GB of storage for email only.  Google’s Picasa Web Albums offers 1 GB of storage for photos and videos only. Google Docs gives you 1 GB for everything else; all of your docs, spreadsheets, presentations etc.  You should know this free storage is not transferable from one product or application to another.  My belief is that Google will be merging them together sooner or later. It will most likely be sooner, once Microsoft finishes rolling out their 25 GB.

Both WLM and Gmail offer calendars, address books and more online.  One very important factor is that it is all free.  Of course, both offer upgrades in storage size for a charge.  The basics should be more than enough for the average user.

After doing a review of the two I found that even though I exclusively use Gmail; Live Mail has a lot to offer.  Of course, there is Google Voice but more on that another time.

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