Wednesday 14 September 2005

E-mail and how it works

Okay this post is for the people who found my previous post a little boring. Brace yourself, because this is for the advanced people (kind of) And In this post I talk about the keyterms in e-mail and protocols and all that kind of stuff... it's useful knowledge to know.

Here are the notes I made on September 13th. My teacher finally got to complete his lesson today so I have added the rest of the stuff in this post!

First of all my teacher handed out my first project which is to find details of specific parts of a computer and do a presentation on it. The details that I found out are stored in this location of the beyond-teck website - .

Now to the notes, which I always put in point form (because it is easy to remember)

Things about e-mail

  • There are various folders in your e-mail account
    These folders are usually - Compose mail, Inbox, Starred (in g-mail), Sent mail, Drafts, All Mail, Spam, Deleted items, Contacts and the folder that you create.
  • Compose mail: This is the place where you go to e-mail someone.
  • Inbox: This is the place where all the incoming mail is stored.
  • Starred: This is the place where the e-mails that are important for you can be stored.
  • Sent Mail: This is where all the messages you have sent is stored.
  • Drafts: This is where the messages that are to be sent are stored. To store messages in draft there is usually a button such as Save Draft to do that.
  • All mail: This is where all mail messages are stored.
  • Spam: This is where unnecessary junk mail is stored. These mails are often related to some commercial purpose. The word Spam comes from a company called Hormel Foods which has a product named that right SPAM. It is a canned meat made largely from pork. For more information go to Sometimes this folder is also called junk mail.
  • Spam is like some of the comments on this page. It has links to various sites. Which makes it kind of like and advertisement.
  • Deleted Items: This is where all the deleted items are stored.
  • Contacts: This is where you put e-mail addresses of people so that you don't forget. You can add other information too in this section along with the e-mal address of that person.
  • Folders that you create: If you want a organized mailbox then my be you should have some of your own folders so that you can sort your mail. For example you can create a later folder in which you can put all the letters that you are going to read later.
  • Every account there is always a place where you can change the setting of how you get the e-mail etc.

There are two types of ways with which you can send and receive e-mail.

The first type is web based e-mail account. All the mail is stored in webservers. You read and write e-mail through the internet or webpages. This way you can read all your messages from any computer in any corner of the world.

The second type is e-mail clients also known as mail user agents (MUA). In e-mail client all the mail is downloaded onto your computer. The e-mail client is a software that uses protocols. A protocol (in computing of course) is a convention or standard that controls or enables the connection, communication and data transfer. The e-mail clients use POP3 and IMAP. Due to the fact that a server hosts a your e-mail service you can change the setting for your client to save a copy on the server. You can access this copy form anywhere if your mail service has a website in which you can log onto. The POP3 protocol is to download e-mail but the SMTP protocol is used to send e-mail.

Acronyms of the day:

POP3: Stands for Post Office Protocol 3. This is used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server.

IMAP:Internet Message Access Protocol. This too is used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server.

IMAP4: Internet Message Access Protocol4. This too is used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server.

MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. A specefication for formatting Non ACSII messages so that they can be transferred over the internet.

ACSII: American Standart Code for Information Interchange. This is a code uses numbers to represent normal characters (english characters). The numbers range from 0 to 127.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A protocol that is used to send e-mail messages between servers.

MUA: Mail user agents

UCE: unsolicited commercial e-mail

Some things that you need to know about e-mail:

Since e-mail doesn't have emotions because it is just text it can be dangerous and can cause serious misunderstandings.

Also there are many companies that are out there to take your e-mail address and spam you. See Spam explanation above for more details. Also there are some bots that search for e-mail address so that when they get your e-mail address they put your e-mial address in their database so that they can send you spam.

One of the ways to not have spam in your inbox is have many e-mail addresses. So when ever you sign up for newsletters and all that it goes to your e-mail address that is created for that purpose. So this ways your e-mail address with all the important mail is safe.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!

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