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The E-mail Express: Part 1-- Basics
One remarkable feat to come out of the American West in 1860 was the Pony Express. Using horses and riders, it ran day and night, summer and winter, to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. A California newspaper advertised for riders as follows: "Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred." Mail now took about 10 days to arrive in summer, and 12-16 in winter, as opposed to months by other routes. The Pony Express was the most celebrated means of communication in the country, and it captured the imagination of people all over the world.
Today, we call this 'snail mail,' because the speed of electronic mail (or e-mail) has revolutionized our ways of communicating with each other. E-mail is reliably delivered via the internet, sometimes within seconds, to every corner of the planet (and no one has to risk his/her life in the process!).
E-mail is the most popular application used on the internet. Why? Instant gratification. A high-tech, low maintenance form of staying in touch and doing business. You compose and send an e-mail, and sometimes, while you are still sitting at your computer, a response arrives. You write to individuals or groups at the click of a mouse without paper or postage, while easily keeping track of letters you send and receive. You launch words, pictures and even sounds into cyberspace. You reach people all over the world. The experience of communicating effectively in real time becomes positively addictive!
Why do I need an internet provider AND an e-mail program?
To use e-mail, you need an ISP (internet service provider - for example, Netvision, Internet Zahav) and an e-mail program (like Outlook Express).
The ISP connects you to the cyber world. In the area of e-mail, the ISP is the post office, collecting the mail and sending it on to its proper destination. When you join an ISP, it assigns you an e-mail address and a password, and a virtual post office box. You give people your e-mail address, but keep your password secret, as it safeguards the privacy of your mail.
Now someone sends you a letter. The ISP directs the mail to your "box." You check your mail, using a program like Outlook Express, and use your password to unlock the box. The mail is downloaded into your computer.
The post office has finished its job - it has delivered the mail and no longer has access to it. Now you can read your messages, reply, forward them to other people, and save them in folders. Or you can simply throw them away - just as you do with regular mail.
What's in an e-mail?
No matter what e-mail program you use, certain tasks will be basically the same: sending and receiving mail, and organizing correspondence into folders.
Writing and sending a new letter
If you were still working with snail mail, you would take out a pen and a piece of paper and start writing. With e-mail, the same logic applies. You just do it electronically .
Your letter will now look something like this:
Your letter is complete. But instead of having to lick a stamp and walk over to the post office (or find a horse and rider willing to risk his life), just click the "Send" button. Your mail is now flying off into cyberspace and within the time it takes to read this paragraph, will probably already have arrived at its destination.
2. Reading your mail
The best part of e-mail is checking it! Open your e-mail program, and click "Send/Receive" or "Get Mail," and watch as the messages fill your Inbox folder.
Once you have downloaded your mail you can disconnect from the internet and read it at your leisure. It is automatically saved on your computer until you delete it.
3. Responding and Forwarding
4. Organizing your mail in folders
From snail mail to e-mail, from Pony Express to Outlook Express - now
you know the basics.