Internet and Web Essentials
This material has been prepared to accompany the book "Internet and Web Essentials" (ISBN 1887902460) by Ernest Ackermann and Karen Hartman, and published by Franklin, Beedle and Associates, Incorporated, Wilsonville OR, ©2000. No part of this may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transcribed without permission of the publisher.

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Chapter 4—Electroinc Mail 

Summary | Terms | Exercises | FYIs


Electronic mail allows users on the Internet to communicate with each other electronically. Using the email program with Netscape Communicator, you can compose messages and then send them to any other Internet address. You can read the messages you’ve received, save them to a file, print them, or delete them. You can also reply to a message or forward one to another Internet address. There are several other email clients available and other ways to work with email on the Internet.

An email message consists of three main parts: the headers, which contain information about the address of the sender, the address of the recipient, when the message was sent, and other items; the message body, which holds the text portion of the email; and an optional signature, which holds information about the sender such as full name, mailing address, phone number, etc. The signature, which should be limited to four or five lines, is put into a file that can be automatically included with each message.

In order to send email, you give the Internet address of the recipient, compose or write the message, and then give a command to send it on its way. The message is broken up into packets, each containing the address of the sender and the address of the recipient, and the packets are routed through several sites on the Internet to the destination. The computer systems on the Internet handle the transmission and delivery of the email. Once email arrives at a site, it’s put into a system mailbox for an individual user. The user can read the email on the system by using an email program like the one available with Microsoft Outlook Express.

Email is a convenient and efficient means of communication. However, most communication is done by the text of messages, so you have to be considerate and careful to communicate effectively, without misunderstandings. Since you probably have a limited amount of space for your email, be sure to get rid of unwanted or unnecessary email and also be sure to send concise, appropriate messages to others. Email isn’t necessarily private. Because it’s transmitted electronically, there are several opportunities for someone to read your messages. It’s relatively easy to forward copies of email so a message sent to one person can be easily transmitted to others.

Email or Internet addresses usually have the form of local-name@domain-name. Local-name is often the login or user name of the person receiving the email, and domain-name is the Internet name of the site or computer system receiving the messages. It’s possible to send email to addresses on networks not on the Internet. You need to know the proper form of an address to communicate with users on these networks.

Finding someone’s email address isn’t always easy. There is no central directory keeping a list of the email address for everyone on the Internet. If you want to find someone’s address, one of the best things to do is to call or write that person and ask for the email address. There are a number of automated services to use to search for an email address.

The email program Outlook Express was discussed in this chapter. It’s a full-featured email program. You need to set some preferences before using it. Messages can be saved into folders, and can include text and other types (images, sounds, programs, spreadsheets, word-processing documents, Web pages, etc.) of items as part of the message or as attachments. The program includes an address book. Reading and managing email is done in the mail window, and you compose email in a message composition window. Online help is available.

Summary | Terms | Exercises | FYIs

Selected Terms Used in This Chapter

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Exercises and Projects

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Comparing Email Clients (4)
Finding Email Addresses (5)
Once you get the bug of communicating by email, you'll probably want the email addresses of your friends, and there will be other times you'll want to know someone's email address. There are some methods and services to help find email addresses, but none of them are guaranteed to always give satisfactory results.
Web-based email services (4)
You use these mail systems, sometimes called free email, through a Web browser.
Summary | Terms | Exercises| FYIs

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