by Nick Anis
Electronic mail, a.k.a. e-mail or email,
functions exactly as the postal service does - only the message doesn't
cost anything to send or receive and it takes seconds or minutes to arrive
instead of days.
Using email you can send short messages (and
frequently long ones) to others. Some
email systems have limits on message size while others are less
restrictive. Some services
accept message attachments (little packages or files attached to a
message), while others do not accept them.
Many email services handle a long email message by converting the
entire text message into a file attachment.
On the Internet, the Post Office is what is
referred to as mail servers, and street addresses are what is referred to
as email addresses. Rather
than airplanes and trucks moving the mail, it's done by communications
networks with wires and computers transmitting and receiving the
Instead of going to your mailbox in the front
of your house, you fire up your PC and log-in and check your mail with
your email client program.
Anatomy of An Email Address
The @ symbol tells the world that a string of
characters proceeding the "dot" is an email address.
The text to the right of the dot is the machine name and domain
name or just the domain name. For
example, in the address Nick@travel-watch.com
"Nick" is the address, and "travel-watch.com" is the
domain. In the address, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Patty" is the address, "clubs" is the machine name
(or section), and "home.com" is the domain name.
The most common domain name is ".com" but .org
(organization), .gov (government), and .net (network) are also popular.
According to the original Internet policies all domains from
countries other than the USA are supposed to have a country code as part
of their domain. For example,
travel-watch.com is a USA domain while travel-watch.com.ca would be a
Canadian one. Most offshore
persons and organizations prefer to use a USA domain or use both types.
Many websites or domains have the following
addresses: info (for
information), sales (for sales inquiries), webmaster (for contacting the
person in charge of the website), support (for contacting technical
support), and admin or marketing (for contacting the organizations
When using a postal address (which email users
call snail mail) if you put address the envelope with only a person's
name, stamp it, and mail it, the letter will NOT be delivered.
The same situation applies to email.
You must PROPERLY ADDRESS email in order for it to be transmitted
and received successfully. If an email message isn't transmitted
successfully you will probably receive a notice via email that the message
you send "bounced" meaning it was not delivered.
If you put a person's name on a envelope, affix
postage, and mail it, without street or post office box address it won't
arrive. The same situation applies
to electronic mail. You must
use a valid name, followed by the @ sign and a valid domain.
Here are some examples of valid email
Addresses like Editor@Travel-Watch.com
can changed to: Editor@Travel-Watch.com
(Nick Anis) - text enclosed in parentheses can be used to better identify
Netscape and Microsoft offer FREE email client
programs. Netscape's is part
of their browser, while Microsoft's is a separate component called,
is a popular email client software package and arguably the most powerful
and comprehensive email client software available. You can download
a free copy at http://www.eudora.com.
These email programs a.k.a. clients work with POP3 type email
accounts. AOL uses a
proprietary type of email that is NOT compatible with POP3 there fore you
have to use the AOL client software or you can use a web browser and log
onto the special AOL mail website.
POP3 email service is the most popular, but
there is growing interest in web-based email because you can check it from
any computer with a net connection and a browser without the need for a
separate email program. The
problem with web-based email is you have to be online to do any processing
of your mail, the options typically are more limited, and things tend to
be much slower.
Internet and POP3 Email
The going rate for Internet access, a POP3
account, and some personal web space is about $20 per month.
There are about 20 firms that provide this service for FREE in
exchange for you disclosing a bunch of demographic information and viewing
services have various limitations such as the number of messages, size of
messages, mail box size, and so on. Many
push your "upgrading" to their premium service.
Choosing between a free or pay service is a
matter of what your needs are and how much convenience and capability you
are willing to pay for. In
general if you rely on email and web access for your livelihood you should
use a good pay service that has as few restrictions and as many
capabilities as possible.
# # #
Nick Anis is a food, wine, and travel
and technology writer with over 24 books in print published by
McGraw-Hill, Random House, Bantam, Ziff-Davis, Tab, and others. Nick's
articles have appeared in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, West Coast
Media, The Family Publications Group, The Weekly News, and Travel-Watch.
His beats include food, travel, snow and waters sports, entertainment,
family recreation, consumer electronics, home improvement, and automotive.
He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published
by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Nick is an
accomplished downhill skier, PADI certified SCUBA diver, and when he's not
sitting on his butt goofing off, enjoys a variety of active recreation
including tennis, riding motorcycles, ATVs, wave runners, snow machines,
horses, skeet and trap shooting he's also taken a stab at riding camels,
donkeys, elephants, ostriches, lamas, dolphins, Reindeer, bulls,
mechanical bulls, and buffalo. Nick is a member (A
Secretary/Treasurer) of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers
Association (IFWTWA), a member of the North American Snow Sports
Journalist Association (NASJA), Computer Press Association, The Writer's
Guild, and listed in Books in Print, Media Map, and Press Access.
You can reach Nick at Editor@Travel-Watch.com.