Category Archives: Email

Cloze – Email but with so much more

I have tried Cloze on a number of occasions and each time I have found it better than before. There are many things it doesn’t do, but what it does do is amazing.

What I have found great is that it works across all platforms, so I can use it on my Chromebook, my PC and as an app on my Android phone and tablet.

It doesn’t notify on received emails, you still need your regular email app for this, but the way it brings everything together is great.

You can have a two week free trial with all the features in place, it then reverts to a limited free version but is still amazingly useful. I would thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

IMAP Email

A while ago I said I was using Gmail (and Inbox) for emails since I couldn’t find a reliable IMAP email client that I could use on my chromebook as well as my android phone. I had tried Aqua mail on my Android phone and found it excellent, but it misbehaved on my Chromebook.

This seems to have been overcome now and I have returned to using Aqua Mail on my Chromebook and Android phone. It’s nice to have IMAP push for instant emails again.

For those that are not aware of Aqua Mail, it has free and paid for versions on Android, the free one only allowing two email accounts. I paid for the upgrade to have more accounts as it was so cheap and the product is really good.

On Chromebooks it is the full version and it’s also free which is great.

One thing that might confuse is when you want to download an attachment. The only way I have found that works is to click on the three dots by the attachment (in the middle of the screen) choose share then save as and then carry on as normal.

I thoroughly recommend it now – at least give it a try.

Google Chromebooks

It’s been a long time since my last post. No excuses really, just busy with my new life in Scotland. So today I thought I’d spend a few words on how I find my Chromebook after more than a year in operation.

As each month has gone by, I have found that I’m using my Chromebook more and more and I would estimate that around 90% of my work now uses it rather than my Windows Laptop. But why would I choose to use a small, relatively underpowered computer when I have a fully fledged laptop at my disposal? I will list some of the reasons here:

  • When I turn on my Chromebook, it takes around 10 seconds before I can use it, compared to several minutes for my PC.
  • Apps start almost instantly and run quickly.
  • Battery life is up to about 8 hours, more if I can reduce the brightness of the screen.
  • I can add a second monitor as I can on a PC.
  • I now use Google Drive to store most of my information with it synced to my pc and my Chromebook so it’s easily accessible.
What apps/software do I use?
  • Word Processing
    • Google Docs
    • MS Word Online
    • True Novelist (useful for writing fiction)
  • Spreadsheets
    • Google Sheets
    • MS Excel Online
  • Website Development
    • Caret – Online editor
    • sFTP – FTP upload software
  • Email
    • Gmail
      • I have five email addresses that I use and Gmail can cope with that, sending emails as if they were from my domains and allowing me to receive emails to each of the addresses.
      • The only real downside of Gmail is that it can take up to 30 minutes to retrieve emails from the server.
      • There are a couple of IMAP email clients but I found that neither are very good if you have more than one email address.
  • To Do Lists
    • Asana – works with Chromebook as well as Laptop
  • Music
    • Spotify – Similar to PC version but more like the Android version.
  • Calendar
    • Google Calendar – syncs with Sunrise on my PC and Android phone.

Downsides? There aren’t many but I think perhaps the most notable one is that to print I have to use Google Cloud Print which can mean that I need my PC on. With many new printers though, they can become cloud printers which can be printed to directly with no PC needed.

There are other reasons I like it, but I think these are probably more subjective than the ones shown above.


Windows 10 Mail

I’ve mentioned before how I was disappointed by many of the features in Mail on Windows 10. Today I decided to take another look and was pleasantly surprised to find many of my dislikes had been addressed.

  • You can now turn off “threaded view” where it lumps together all emails with the same Subject
  • You can see how many unread emails you have in each account.

So I decided to set it up again to try it out. All went well at first until I added the sixth email account (yes I know, I’m greedy). Then, after around 20 minutes it stopped working. Click on the icon, Mail opens. Wait 3 or 4 seconds and it closes again. I tried numerous “fixes” from Microsoft and none have worked so it’s back to the excellent Mozilla Thunderbird.

To be honest, Thunderbird is a far superior product, but more unwieldy and it requires a certain amount of knowledge to get the most from it. It would have been nice to report that Microsoft Windows 10 Mail was now a worthy alternative – perhaps for many it might be.

Windows 10 upgrade and Outlook 2013

Although I personally have had no issues with Windows 10, a number of people have experienced a problem with Outlook 2013 after upgrading to Windows 10. For those people, a perfectly behaving Outlook 2013 suddenly stopped sending emails. It would still receive them, but any attempt to send emails resulted in an error message 0x800CCC13 Cannnot connect to the network.

After searching for some time on the internet, a solution was found as follows:

  1. Click on Start and then All Apps
  2. Scroll to find Windows PowerShell and click on it.
  3. Right click on the Windows PowerShell that opens and choose Run as administrator. You will be asked if it’s ok to run it.
  4. After a few seconds a screen will appear and the text
    Windows PowerShell
    Copyright (C) 2015 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
    PS C:\WINDOWS\system32>
    will appear – this can take a few seconds so be patient.
  5. Type in sfc /scannow
    and press enter (Note there is a space after sfc)
  6. It will start a scan that can take many minutes to complete but when it finishes it will hopefully show that it found some corrupted data and fixed them.
  7. Try Outlook and it should be ok. A restart of the PC might be required but most often not.

I hope this is of some interest and help to you.

Email Address Farming

Anyone who uses email will receive SPAM, or unwanted emails. Some will be from ‘Nigerian princes’ or ‘Lawyers representing someone who wants to give you money’. These are all, of course, poor attempts to part you from your hard earned money. Some SPAM emails are less obvious in what they are trying to do though. Have you ever received an email asking you to buy (for example) watches or other quite reasonable, but unwanted, products? You ignore the first email, and then you get another one a few days later. You might ignore that one as well but eventually you will get tired of seeing them and notice an unsubscribe option at the bottom. Hurrah you think, I’ll unsubscribe and stop them coming.

Unfortunately, if you click on unsubscribe what you might unwittingly do is increase the value of your email address to other spammers. Spammers buy email addresses – unconfirmed ones are cheap, but an email address that has received a response of any kind is more valuable and so, instead of reducing the emails you receive, the unsubscribe option in these cases can result in you receiving far more.

Naturally, most of the emails with an unsubscribe option are genuine since it is an EU requirement to allow people to opt out easily, but the ones to watch for are those from places you have never signed up for or even dealt with.

Emails POP3 or IMAP

Almost everyone uses email nowadays. It’s become part of everyday communications and we wonder how we managed when we had to write a letter and wait for its delivery. Unfortunately, when we are setting up email on our new computer or Smartphone, we are sometimes faced with questions which we do not understand, often because of the terminology used, and so we either give up or are forced to get help. This short article deals with two of these terms which you need to have some understanding of: POP3 and IMAP, their meanings are explained as we cover each of them.

In the early days of emails it was important to define a system which all the companies involved in the new technology could agree to and which would allow an email sent by one program to be read by a different program. The method for sending emails that was agreed was called ‘Simple Message Transfer Protocol’ (SMTP). This is more or less standard and requires o real setting up. When receiving emails the first system used was called ‘Post Office Protocol’ (POP). This was the leader for many years and it is now it is on its third version (POP3). More recently, ‘Internet Message Access Protocol’ (IMAP) has become dominant and it is the difference between these two which needs the most understanding.

If you set up your email to use POP3, received emails will be downloaded to your PC or Smartphone etc and generally by default they will be deleted from the server once they are downloaded. Some email programs allow you to prevent this deletion and leave a copy on the server. In the case of Microsoft Office Outlook you can choose to delete messages on the server when they are downloaded, after so many days or when they are deleted on your PC. When you send an email, a copy of the sent email is (normally) kept on the PC from which it is sent.

If you opt for IMAP though, the emails you see on your PC or Smartphone are synchronised with the emails stored on the server. Whatever you do to the copy on the PC will happen to the copy on the server so if you delete the email on your PC, it is gone for good. Copies of emails you send from the PC are stored in a folder (often a subfolder within the inbox) on the PC but this is synchronised on the server as well so sent emails are also on the server.

So how do you choose which one to use?

If you have a single PC and no emails on a phone or tablet etc., then it really doesn’t matter which you choose. If you use POP3 and have the emails deleted from the server once they are downloaded, then the only thing you might need to worry about is losing an important email should your PC go wrong.

If you have more than one device you use to send and receive emails such as a PC and a Smartphone or a laptop, then IMAP offers the potential advantage that whichever one you use, both PC and Smartphone (or laptop) will have the same information. Even emails sent from one device can be seen on the other one. But remember, if you delete an email on one device, it will get deleted from the server and then deleted as well on all other devices. Also, you might need to have more space allocated on your email server since all your emails are stored there until deleted by you, whereas with POP3 they could be deleted as they are downloaded, keeping space needs on the server to a minimum

Nowadays, space is unlikely to be a serious problem (although you might need to ask for more space) and you should make your decision based on how you wish to use emails. If you like the idea of synchronised emails across multiple devices then IMAP is the one to use. If you have just a single device, then you can probably let your email app use whatever it has as its default – nowadays this is often IMAP.

Which Do I Use?

It took me a while to see the benefits of IMAP but this is the one I now use exclusively. I love being able to send an email from my phone and still be able to have a copy of the sent email on my PC and Laptop.