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Reload this page Coping with Emails

Here are my notes on how you can take advantage of email and electronic communications. Please let me know what you find helpful or missing here.

Sound of Jim Carrey saying “Well when you figure it out email me”

Take the Brainbench certification test on MS Outlook 2000 Fundamentals and MS Outlook Express 5.0 Fundamentals.

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Topics this page:

  • Emoticons and Abbreviations
  • Email Client Software
  • MS Outlook Configuration
  • File Locations
  • Data Transfer
  • Secure Communications
  • Instant Communications
  • Virus Protection
  • Free Email
  • Spam Proofing
  • Spam Enticements
  • Disclaimers
  • Videophones
  • Your comments???

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  • Signing and Encrypting Email with a S/MIME Certificate
  • Microsoft Exchange

  • Set screen Emoticons and Abbreviations

    • AFAIK = As Far As I Know
    • AKA = Also Known As
    • ASAP = As Soon As Possible
    • BBL = Be Back Later
    • BRB = Be Right Back
    • BTW = By The Way
    • CU = See You
    • FAQ = Frequently Asked Question
    • FWIW = For Whatever It's Worth
    • FYI = For Your Information
    • IIRC = If I Remember Correctly
    • IMO = In My Opinion
    • IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
    • IOW = In Other Words
    • IRL = In Real Life
    • LOL = Laughing Out Loud
    • NRN = No Reply Necessary
    • OTOH = On The Other Hand
    • PEBKAC = Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair
    • ROTF = Rolling On The Floor
    • RTFM = Read The Field Manual
    • TIA = Thanks In Advance
    • TTFN = Ta Ta For Now (from Winnie the Pooh)
    • VSRE = Very Short Reply Expected (yes or no)

    :-) Happy

    ;-) Winking
    :-( Sad
    :-@ Screaming
    :-O Surprised
    :-< Mad

      You've got mail, baby, yeah!

    Mail Add-ons

  • Joan Stark's ASCII Art Gallery

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      Set screen Tag Lines on Emails for The Paranoid

      This electronic mail message and any attached files contain information intended for the exclusive use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and may contain information that is proprietary, privileged, confidential and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any viewing, copying, disclosure or distribution of this information may be subject to legal restriction or sanction. Please notify the sender, by electronic mail or telephone, of any unintended recipients and delete the original message without making any copies.

      Disclaimer: The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

      In Word 2000, signature entries are defined in Tools > Options > General tab > Email options

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    Set screen Web-based Email - Gmail

      To find all emails from jblow, enter


      To find all emails containing attachments, enter

        from:jblow has:attachment

      Gmail help and information says it best: While most companies have server-level backup and disaster recovery plans, they may not support account level recovery. So for example, if one of their data-centers burns down, everything can be safely restored to another data-center. But if the contents of your account are lost, there may be no way to get it back. This is generally true of Gmail*, although there are some cases where messages deleted as a result of a compromised (hacked) account may be able to be restored.

      Because of this, it's critical that people provide their own backups of their e-mail accounts, and in fact all important information that is stored in "the cloud". There are various ways the information can be lost, the most common of which is a compromised (hacked) account, and the provider may not have a way to restore it.

      Set screen Gmail Backup Email clients on Mac OSX

      This link was written by Bethan England.

      Got Your Back (GYB) takes advantage of Gmail's ability to respond to IMAP protocol requests (which ironically Microsoft invented). This is great because it allows for restore of messages, and preserves Gmail's useful labels tags.

      But GYB is a command-line tool with no GUI.

      First open a browser and log into Gmail. Empty your Trash and Spam folders. GYB does not check Spam or Trash even though these count against your Gmail quota (displayed at the bottom of your Gmail inbox).

      On another browser window go to
      If you're on a Windows machine, click the green button to download gyb-0.?? Recent Windows machines are 64-bit now.
      If you're on a Mac, click the white source code (zip) button to download file You may see a different version number than 29.

      On a Mac, double-click on the zip file to expand into a folder.

      Go to the Mac Finder.

      Open the Terminal application. The $ (dollar sign) is the command prompt.

      Go to the folder containing gyp's files:

      cd downloads/got-your-back-0.29

      Get a list of files in the folder:


      Ensure the script has the necessary permissions:

      sudo chmod 755

      Get the full folder path to the file:


      The response should be a path such as:


      Some like to move the folder to where other Python modules are.

      Run to install the python package:

      sudo python install

      The response:

      	Traceback (most recent call last):
        File "", line 2, in <module>
          import py2exe, sys, os
      ImportError: No module named py2exe

      BLOCKING QUESTION: Is the py2exe here refer to the distutils extension to create standalone windows programs from python scripts. (which is not applicable to Mac).

      The counterpart to py2exe on the Mac is: obtained using pip install -U py2app But that website is gone.,

      Linux folders are located, such as

      Double-click on the path to highlight it, and press Command+C to copy the string to the Mac internal clipboard.

      To save a few seconds, create an alias to the GYB Python file:

      alias gyb="python"

      List the Mac's search path:

      ~/.profile echo $PATH

      Mine shows:


      Colons separate items.

      To run your script from the Terminal window, put this path in your Mac's shell search path, as described at

      NOTE: Python on OS X honors all standard Unix environment variables such as PYTHONPATH, but setting these variables for programs started from the Finder is non-standard as the Finder does not read your .profile or .cshrc at startup. For bash to do that, Open or create a .bash_profile file using the built-in nano text editor:

      nano .bash_profile

      Paste a line such as this containing the folder where you want your Mac to notice:

      export PATH=/Users/wilsonmar/downloads/got-your-back-0.29:$PATH

      Save the file in nano by clicking ‘control’ +’o’.

      Confirm the name of the file is .bash_profile by hitting return.

      Click ‘control’+’x’ to exit nano.

      Macs machines come with Python in the Applications folder, so there is no need to download the Python interpreter from

      To run without requiring an existing Python installation, convert python scripts into executable Mac OS X applications using bundlebuilder or py2app

      NOTE: Macs have specific services. But you don't have to worry about them now.

      The path to for GYB should be displayed. List GYB commands:


      There's a long list.

      This enables a command such as:

      gyb --email --action estimate

      instead of:

      python --email --action estimate

      Of course you need to change my email address to yours.

      To perform download, perform --action download:

      gyb --email

      In response to the command, GYB opens up a web page for you to grant GYB access to your Gmail account when it issues IMAP and SMTP requests. Supposedly, this does not grant GYB rights to any of your other Google Data. Once you've granted access, switch back to the command prompt window and hit Enter key.

      If no errors are printed, GYB should start estimating the size of your Gmail mailbox All Mail folder.

      This should be run automatically because it's a hassle. Windows people can setup Microsoft Task Manager.

      66143 Outlook 2002 : The Complete Reference (eBook) by Barich, Thomas E. Publication: Berkeley, Calif. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2001.

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    Set screen Email Client Software

      Software like Microsoft Outlook for Windows installed on a computer store emails on the user's computer.

      • Mozilla Thunderbird
      • Mail2web retrieves your POP mail if you give them your password. It also lets you delete items.
      • retrieves your POP mail if you give them your password.
      • retrieves attachments, too.
      • Keyflow claims to be the "leading client/server-based document management and workflow application for Microsoft Exchange."
      • download Pegasus Mail is free.
      • Qualcomm's Eudora Lite can also be download downloaded for free.
      • Pocomail works much like Outlook but avoids some script bugs because it uses its own HTML rendering engine.

        Bulk-mail spammers use Send-Safe.

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      Set screen Microsoft Outlook

      Scott McNeely of Sun calls Microsoft's Outlook e-mail software "Look Out," the virus-prone "petri dish of choice on the Internet."

    • From Microsoft's Internet Explorer, you can get mail by pressing the "Go Mail" icon or menu item.
    • From Microsoft's Outlook, you can get Internet Explorer by pushing the blue "e".

      This product provides a lot of options, especially the look of your mail viewing screen.

      It's personal choice, but here is how I ended up configuring my MS Outlook:

    • From View Layout:
      • Uncheck all the Basic items: Outlook Bar, Folder List, Folder Bar, Tip of the Day.
      • In the Toolbar Layout: I unchecked "Show text on toolbar buttons" because this text pops up as I position a cursor on an icon anyway. You can change this later by right clicking on the toolbar.
      • In the Preview Pane: I checked "Use preview pane" because I don't need to look at a whole page when I work on one message at a time. I unchecked "Show preview pane Header" because that information is highlighted on the list window.
    • You could Sort just by clicking on the field name at the top of the screen. Click on "From" and the list is sorted by the From address.

      Caution! What's New in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 for Developers February 2004 article by MVP Randy Byrne notes that "IMAddress" field is a "Blocked" property. Therefore, it cannot be exported or imported into Outlook. This means that if you export an Outlook Contacts list, you cannot import it back in without loosing the IMAddress field. That's why I use Email3Address (E-mail 3) to store Messenger addresses and leave the IMAddress field blank.

      Also note that the default mapping of import fields does not include email fields, so you must drag them over yourself.

      Caution! Outlook 2003 does not import birthdays without year (such as "12/31").

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    Set screen File Locations

    Note: The C: in folder locations can be substituted for the drive you use on your machine. 

      Internet Account Files:

      • Outlook Express has an .iaf for for each account in
        C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\1033\95\

      Address books:

      • Outlook Express stores its Address Book file in
        C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\user.wab
        Where user is your user name. 
      • .wa~ file extensions are back-ups of each .wab file before current changes.
      • Outlook, by default, stores your Personal Address Book as file MSOutlo.pip within
        C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Office.

        On Windows NT4 machines, a different Application Data folder exists for each user under

        On Windows 2000 machines, the Documents and Settings folder is on the same level as WINNT.

      MS Outlook Email message file:

      Are stored in a proprietary format.
      • Outlook Express 95 stores outbox.mbx and outbox.idx files in folder
        Program Files\ Internet Mail and News\ %user%\ mail
      • Outlook Express 5 (installed with Office 2000) :
        1. stores its files under the operating system folder.
          • On Windows 9x, the default is C:\Windows
          • On Windows 2000, the default is C:\WINNT\Documents and Settings\%username% \Local Settings (Where %username% is Administrator.WILSON or something else).
        2. keeps a .dbx file for each folder and subscribed newsgroup within folder:
          ... \Application Data \Identities \{###} \Microsoft \Outlook Express
          The {###} represents the long GUID string for each mail user.
      • Outlook Express 5.5 (installed with update to IE5.5) has the same behavior as OE5.
        These plus Outlook 2000 & 2003 keeps messages and calendar entries within one (usually large) outlook.pst file within
        C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst

        To find this path within Outlook 2003:

        1. Right-Click on Outlook Today (either in the Outlook bar, Shortcust, or the Folders list).
        2. Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
        3. Click on the Advanced... button

        Copy and paste just the file path to quickly access it in Windows Explorer:

        1. Select the path excluding the file name (usually this will be "outlook.pst") with your mouse.
        2. Press Ctrl-C to copy the path
        3. Select Run... from the Start menu.
        4. Press Ctrl-V to paste the path
        5. Backspace to remove the "Outlook.pst" to obtain just the file folders (otherwise you will open the file itself)
          If, for example, the path listed under Path: is "C:\­Documents and Settings\­\­Application Data\­Microsoft\­Outlook\­outlook.pst", you'd select and copy "C:\­Documents and Settings\­\­Application Data\­Microsoft\­Outlook\".
        6. Hit Enter to open your Outlook data folder in Windows Explorer.

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    Set screen Transfers

    Note: The C: in folder locations can be substituted for the drive you use on your machine. 

      Address books:

      • You can share address book entries in a card ???

      Email messages:

      • If you export a message (by dragging and dropping it on the desktop or a Windows Explorer folder), the file extension for the file created depends on the mail program:
        • .eml for Outlook Express Mail Messages, or
        • .msg for Outlook items

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    Set screen Virus Protection

      Clicking on a malicious email with a link that downloads a virus is the top way hackers break into systems.

      Subject Text

      Reminder Avoid beginning emails with Subject: “Recall:” because some systems filter out email recall commands and reject such email. Spammers use these subject lines to lure you into opening their mail:

      • Email rejected
      • Important: Sensitive Info.
      • Order Confirmation
      • Your shipment status
      • Problem solved
      • Message Delivery Error
      • A nice game
      • Eager to see you
      • How are you
      • Check this out!
      • Congratulations
      • Thank You!
      • What happened?
      • RE: Application
      • Re: Details
      • Re: My Details

      To avoid being filtered out, avoid these trite titles. Begin subjects with an identifier, personally relevant info, and date in your email titles. Example: [CSEX] Followup from our lunch at Coco's 12/2/03

      If you're the curious type, instead of clicking, check out hoaxes before you forward warnings and end up looking like a fool to those who know how computers really work.

      This stems from a decision Microsoft made in structuring their operating system.

      1. Go the way Sun took with Java: make it impossible to affect "core functions" by limiting what a program could do in a "sandbox".
      2. Allow programs on the Internet to do anything it wants to (including erase files). But provide a way to track the source of programs. We can then choose to not accept programs we don't trust or can't trace to a verifiably trusted source. From within Internet Explorer, go to View, Internet Options, Security tab. You can select one of several Zones.

        Scripture From a theological point of view, Microsoft took the approach that our God took: Anyone has in our power to do good and evil. We have to be discerning about whether the source of our ideas is good or evil. We have to learn to know what we can trust and not trust.

      Products: McAfee/Network Associate's WebScanX. Norton's Anti-Virus.
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    Set this at top of window. Secure Electronic Communications

      Since the internet is an open public channel ...

      • If you want to hide your IP address (something VPN doesn't do), get on the internet through a Tor hidden Server.
      • If you want to make it difficult for others to read your message if they are able to obtain it en route, encrypt the message text.
      • If you want to detect whether data sent to you has been changed or tampered en route, ask the sender to provide you a hashanother page on this site of the message text.
      • If you want be sure that a message being sent to you really came from the person, ask the sender to sign the message text with his/her public key.

      There are two approaches to sign and encrypt files you send via email or FTP, both being standardized by different groups of the Internet Mail Consortium:

      • PGP (Pretty Good Protection), defined by RFC 1991 and 2015, is now a product of Network Associates. OpenPGP is the IETF Proposed Standard version of PGP.

        PGP is a hybrid cryptosystem. It encrypts original plaintext with a single-use session key created randomly using a seed that is randomly generated based on random movements of mouse and keyboard keystokes. The session key is encrypted with the recipient's public key. The encrypted message sent to the recipient contains both the ciphertext and the encrypted session key. The recipient then decrypts the encrypted session key and uses it to decrypt the ciphertext.

        PGP is focused on self-administration and control because it is based on a “web of trust” to establish transitive relationships, “like allowing individual users in a corporation to decide who gets a key to the main gate.”

        Red Hat Linux uses an application named gpg, the Gnu version of PGP from

      • S/MIME (Secure/MIME) is preferred by large organizations over PGP. Support for S/MIME is now built into virtually all major email client products (Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, Netscape Communicator, Novell GroupWise, Lotus Domino/Notes). This is becuase it uses X.509 public key certificates, the foundation of Internet PKI (Private Key Infrastructure) and its use of Certificate Authorities to establish trust relationships.

      webpage article S/MIME and OpenPGP — Internet Mail Consortium's article comparing the two protocols.

      webpage article Emailman

      tool The Entelligence client transparently (to users) encrypts files and appends the .cpt file extension to the original file's name. Those who receive the encrypted file also need the same client program, which automatically decrypts the file and restores the original file name.

      tool Xrayapp runs on desktops to intercept outgoing SMTP emails and alter headers for privacy and for switching among mail and newsgroup servers.

      PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail

      PEM is an application-layer protocolanother page on this site finalized in 1993 by the IETF to add in a way that is compatible with existing mail systems.
      • MIC-CLEAR messages provide confidentiality and authentication
      • MIC-ONLY messages also supports come gateway implementations
      • ENCRYPTED messages also provide integrity (from alteration).


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    Set screen Instant Communications

      Caution! Close MSN Messenger before surfing the web if you do not want email addresses or MSN names to be viewed by sites you visit.
      Also, check registry keys in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ MessengerService\ Policies\ Suffixes" to make sure other applications are not adding sites to the access list.

      If you don't want to install any program on your machine, or if you're behind a firewall, use the eMessenger website to access MSN using a JavaScript enabled browser.

      If you have AOL Internet Messenger running, send a message to it using protocol

      Screen Name:

      If you have Yahoo Messenger open: ymsgr:sendIM?screenname
      But I don't because of its security vulnerability


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    Set screen Email Addresses

        Email Addresse Types

        RFC 821 is
        RFC 822 is "BLow, Joe" <>

      Email addresses are a hassle to change. I don't want to have to send out announcements, miss out on mail, or other hassles associated with changing addresses.

      One good reason for having an AOL account: Because there are a lot of complaints about AOL messing up the formatting of web pages, I need to have AOL just to see how badly it messes up web pages.

      I use Internet Service Provider (ISP) Earthlink to work on the Internet. Here are some considerations:

      1. With AOL I cannot swap between Netscape or Microsoft browsers while connected to Earthlink. With AOL, you're stuck with Microsoft. This may not last long since AOL now owns Netscape.
      2. I can get mail using a POP3 client. This means that I could get all my mail in one place if I ask my company to automatically route company email to my personal mail account. mail server for private mail with friends and family.
      3. They have more 56K modems than anyone.
      4. I seem to get faster response on Earthlink servers. Their servers are near me (in Pasadena, which I suppose doesn't seem wise considering the earthquake risk here).
      5. They have the best phone support people I have experienced, even though they're only paid $8 an hour. Their 800 number answered quickly by friendly, knowledgable people. (I've waited an hour for AOL tech support).
      6. Earthlink charges a $25 setup charge.

      comparing ISP's at TheList and Epinions

      It's like giving someone a phone number like 1-800-GO-AWAY.
      E-mail sent to any user at returns the following bad news: "Nice to hear from you. Ha ha, just kidding. Actually, this is a rejection letter. The person who gave you this email address does not want to have anything to do with you." This site has been retired. But picked up the slack with this auto-reply message: "You’ve just been Coastertoasted, my dear chump. Apparently, the person that gave you this email address did not find you at all suitable."

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    Set screen Free Email Addresses

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    Set screen Spam Proofing

    1. Don't respond to spam! That's the first piece of advice. Yet, open rates can reach 15-75%!
    2. Avoid using common names to avoid being the victim of “dictionary attacks” in spammers guess every possible user name in a domain.
    3. If you don't want or expect a reply, send emails anonymously through
    4. If you want a limited number of replies to a posting, post using one-time use addresses from SpamMotel or Mailshell or, which, for $4.95 per month or $19.95 per year, provides a plug-in sitting in a browser's "favorite links" or task bar that provokes a pop-up window with a specialized address.
    5. Receive emails filtered through an intermediate ISP who Spam only show you mail from senders who have manually responded to a confirmation email. Other client-side products: Cloudmark, Sunbelt
    6. Install a gateway filter program on your Exchange server, such as Trend Micro, Tumbleweed and CMS's Praetor, SurfControl's Super Scout SMTP filter, Sybari antigen. (see PCMag's article on gateway filters). They save time all your employees' time deleting junkmail.
    7. Report spam to Larry Kilgallen's SpamCop which, for $3 per month, filters emails from black-listed sources, much like the Mail Abuse Prevention System and filtering company BrightMail. If you are on AOL, report it to screen name “TOSSpam” so AOL can investigate it and document abuses.
    8. If you include an email address in HTML on a webpapge, first use encoder to format the e-mail address in a way that is more difficult to read by website crawler robots which spammers use to “harvest” email addresses from web pages. Unfortunately, robots today have overcome this.
    9. Don't do business with those known to harbor spam gangs.
    10. Steve Linford of (among the most notorious of spammers) tracks Spam-Friendly ISPs as well as Spam Hosts and Register Of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) database of Spammers (spam gangs).
    11. Check the IP address against the RTBL (Real-time_Blackhole_List)
    12. Some state laws, including those in California and Washington, give consumers some legal recourse against junk mailers.
    13. Write to your national and state Senators and Congressmen to request that they support tough anti-spam legislation with strong enforcement provisions and stiff penalties.

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    Set screen Web Bugs

      Spammers can track which subject lines are most effective. They do this by inserting in their emails a “web bug” -- an invisible one pixel image or identification in a link back on the spammer's server. Each image has a different name associated with the text being used. When a user opens the page, the retrieval of that image

      Since a an image can be easily created for each email address and each subject line, a sophisticated spammer can determine which subject line is effective and which email address are “live”.

      Here's what you can do:

      1. Read more about this at the web bug demonstration page.

      2. never preview the text of an email message. Go in Outlook Options and uncheck the preview window.

      3. Delete messages from the window containing the list of your messages.

      4. After downloading your mail, disconnect your machine from the internet before reading your email.

        You can't do this with internet-based email services such as hotmail, but you can use an SSL service such as

      5. Install a firewall such as ZoneAlarm and block the IP addresses of known spammers. Examples:

      Spam Words

      Here are some email Subject lines that have enticed people to read spam mail:

      • RE: Application
      • Re: Movie
      • RE: Your wallet
      • RE: Money we may owe you.
      • Re: Here is that sample
      • Fwd: Did you take it?
      • You blockeced my ICQ
      • Hows work?
      • Please call me back... It's Important!
      • still trying to reach you
      • Registration
      • Information you requested
      • new photos from my party

      Do this! Let me know the subject lines that got you to open spam mail.

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