Wow! All Gmail Users Are Given Two Separate Email Addresses

gmail-address-multiple

You probably know how to create multiple email aliases in Gmail by adding the plus symbol and dots to your Gmail username but there’s something more interesting.

When you create a Gmail account, you actually get two email addresses – one is the regular @gmail.com while the second email address has @googlemail.com in the domain.

That means if your email address in Gmail is something like billgates@gmail.com, all email messages that are sent to billgates@googlemail.com will also be delivered to your own Gmail account. That’s two for the price of one.

Like the Gmail plus trick, you can take advantage of these two domains so that less spam reaches your Gmail Inbox.

Give the @googlemail.com address to your close contacts (put that in the visiting card) while keep the @gmail.com address for public (put it on your blog). Then set a Gmail filter such that all email messages with @googlemail.com in the header go a special folder so you will never miss important email from close friends.

Google Opens Gmail Signups Further

After opening its formerly invitation-only Gmail webmail service to anyone with a mobile phone in August 2005, Google removed that requirement Wednesday. Now, anyone can signup for a Gmail account by creating a Google Account.

The mobile phone requirement was designed to prevent Gmail accounts from being created by robots and stop spammers from signing up multiple times. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Gmail signup URL still redirected users to the SMS-based method, but a support article on Google’s site says the world is now welcome without an invitation or phone.

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Backing up your Gmail locally

GmailIf you’re one of the folks that saw the story about Google having some trouble with a few Gmail accounts, and wondered what you could do to protect yourself from such an unfortunate eventuality, you’re in luck. It’s a simple tip, and one that can be implemented in a number of ways, but the gist of it is that you’re going to want to download all of your email out of your Gmail account using the POP download functionality in your account.

Now, if you’re wanting to use an email client that you already happen to use for other mail (for example, your work email), you may not want all of that Gmail spilling right into your inbox. So to prevent that, make sure that your email client supports message rules based on the incoming mail account. In Outlook 2007 (I remember seeing it in 2003 as well) there’s a rule called “through the specified account” that allows you to choose which incoming account it should act on. That way you can move all mail coming through a specific account to a folder, which can then be moved to a different PST file for archiving.

Once you’ve determined how you’re going to keep from mixing up all of your email, go ahead with setting up the connection.

To back up ALL of your Gmail, simply navigate to the Forwarding and POP section of your Settings in Gmail, and in the POP Download section click the radio button beside “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”.

Then configure the email client exactly as described on the Configuring instructions link at the bottom of the POP Download section. There are instructions for virtually every major email client out there, and even if your client isn’t listed, it should be fairly simple to see how to configure yours from looking at instructions for a similar client.
And that’s it – now all there is to do is wait, and wait, and wait. If you’re like me and your Gmail box is already well over half full, it can take quite a while to download close to 2 Gigs of mail. But think of the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that your mail is safely in your hands.

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New Yahoo!Mail – follows Outlook Express standards

Yahoo Mail

New Yahoo!Mail which is in it’s beta version is much like Outlook Express. It is divided into three sections: Folders, Email Headers, and Preview Pane. Once you click on the email title it will automatically load the email into the preview pane. Everything is very easy and fast now; compose, reply, and attachements are done on the fly, as opposed to reloading the whole page previously.

~A note of caution, the Mail Beta still incomplete. You will find some missing features and some additional issues with fetching some emails. I’ve had to completely reload the browser page sometimes in order to resold the issue. AND THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO CONTACT SUPPORT ON ANY ISSUES YOU MAY COME ACROSS.

If you want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up for it here.

Google enables POP checking for some Gmail users

Google enables POP checking for some Gmail usersGoogle’s darling Gmail has just launched a new feature they’re slowly rolling out to users: POP checking of other accounts. If you’re one of the lucky few, under the Accounts tab in Gmail’s settings, you can now add up to 5 other accounts (if they have POP3 access enabled) for Gmail to pull email from.

Of course, you’ve always been able to forward email from most other accounts to Gmail, but the significance here is that by enabling Gmail to check your other accounts, it can grab virtually all the mail you’ve ever received in those accounts (if you haven’t taken it all off the server with a desktop client, that is – not just the messages *after* you turned on forwarding.

While this is certainly a great new feature, I must again echo the requests of many by asking: why on earth Google hasn’t joined the rest of us in the 21st century by adding IMAP access? Considering the plethora of devices consumers are using (desktops, public terminals, phones and PDAs) and the multiple ways they have already offered for accessing Gmail (web, WAP, mobile client, etc.). Is IMAP that much more difficult or expensive to implement? I realize their intention is to keep you doing email the Gmail way – labels, web ads and all – but I still say its time to grant usable access to those who need the power of desktop software and tools for their emailing needs.

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Mapping Addresses in Yahoo! Mail

yahoo mail addressThe folks at Yahoo! have added a little feature to Yahoo! Mail that recognizes addresses and phone numbers. The new features will automatically recognize and underline all phone numbers and addresses in mail messages, and easily get directions or view locations. The new feature will also allow for the ability to instantly add addresses to your address book. Google’s Gmail has had this feature for a while, however they have taken a much more subtle approach by tossing a link in the corner. So with this new Yahoo Mail feature, I hereby announce the start of email wars. Challenging Google, Yahoo!, and MSN to come up with and release some additional helpful features for its users. What would you like to see added to online email applications to make your communications easier? How about some folders in Gmail? Or a notepad?

Microsoft flags Gmail as a virus

Gmail’s popularity may be viral, but the e-mail software is not a virus–despite a Microsoft alert.

From late last week until Sunday night, the Windows Live OneCare security software incorrectly flagged the Google e-mail service as a threat. A warning popped up when OneCare users opened the Gmail Web site, telling them that their systems were infected with a virus called “BAT/BWG.A.”

“This was a limited false positive issue with our antivirus protection,” a Microsoft representative said Monday. “After we became aware of the issue, we released a new antivirus signature that resolved the issue for our customers on Sunday evening.”

The problem started last week, when Google made some changes to its Gmail Web site, Microsoft said. The software maker is reviewing its procedures and processes in order to minimize the occurrence of further false positives, the Microsoft representative said.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

False positives happen occasionally with security software. For example, McAfee’s security tools earlier this year flagged Microsoft’s Excel, and other legitimate applications on users’ PCs, as viruses. Also, Symantec this summer identified a Church of England software program as spyware.

Windows Live OneCare is Microsoft’s first consumer antivirus product, released late May. The Gmail issue isn’t the first problem it has had. During testing, OneCare was found to disable Absolute Software’s Computrace LoJack, an application that functions like a homing device to help recover a laptop after it has been lost or stolen.

Typically, false positives can be fixed by updating the signature files in security applications. These signatures are the rules used by the security program to identify malicious software.

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Sticking with Windows XP in a Windows Vista World

Article originally published by Paul Thurrott on winsupersite.com

Obviously, I spend a lot of time working with beta software. If you’re envious of that for some reason, consider this little slice of “grass is always greener” logic: Sometimes I wish my PCs just worked. Sometimes I wish I just used my computers as the tools that they are, and didn’t have to spend so much time installing, reinstalling, and fixing problems. From my side of the fence, your lawn is looking pretty darned good too.

What I’m getting at is that the Next Big Thing isn’t always a given. Sure, Windows Vista is cool, sort of, and it’s got some neat new functionality. But what would you say if I told you that the vast majority of new end user features in Windows Vista were already available to you–most of them for free, no less–in Windows XP? And that by skipping Windows Vista, at least for the time being, you’d be left with a PC that was faster, more compatible with the software and hardware you own, and just about as capable as an otherwise identical PC running Windows Vista?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m telling you. No, you can’t get the Windows Aero user experience without Vista, though I suspect the wizards over at Stardock will get pretty close. But do you really need Aero, along with its annoying incompatibilities, many of which result in sudden and jarring jumps into the Windows Basic interface? And no, most of Windows Vista’s security features aren’t available to XP users either, but you know what? You might not need them either, especially if your system is adequately defended with a hardware firewall and a good security software suite.

I’m talking about pure end user goodness here. Applications that are supposed to make people want Windows Vista. Things like the Windows Sidebar, Windows Calendar, Windows Photo Gallery, and Windows Media Player 11. These and other Vista-specific applications are really neat, but you can get identical or nearly identical applications on Windows XP too. And by doing so, you can eek some more time out of your XP investment, save up for a future Vista PC, or just avoid all the headaches that go along with upgrading to a new Windows version. Sure, you’ve waited 5 years for Windows Vista, but so what? Will another 6 months or a year be a problem? Really?

If you’d like to stick with Windows XP for a while longer, here’s some good news. You don’t need Windows Vista. And as I’ll describe in the next section, there are plenty of excellent solutions out there that will make you forget all about Redmond’s next operating system. At least for a little while.

XP replacements for popular Windows Vista applications and features

Windows Search: Windows Desktop Search

Back in 2003, Microsoft proudly showed off the WinFS-based Windows Search features it then planned to include in Windows Vista. Since then, three years of delays have allowed competitors like Google and Apple to take note of Microsoft’s strategy and release desktop search packages of their own. Today, there are plenty of desktop search products available for Windows XP. You’ve got your pick.

In my mind, the contest comes down to two choices. If you’re looking for the XP search tool that most closely resembles Windows Search on Vista–mostly because it’s based on the same technology–then Microsoft’s Windows Desktop Search (WDS) is the way to go. WDS replaces XP’s Start Menu-based Search tool with a far more functional version and provides you with a handy taskbar-based Deskbar.

If you’re looking for a bit more, consider Google Desktop as well. Like WDS, Google Desktop provides a taskbar-based Deskbar for quick hard drive searching. But Google Desktop also includes an interesting Sidebar feature that is very similar–but more capable–than the Sidebar feature in Windows Vista (see below). If you think you want to use both desktop search and a Sidebar-like feature, look into Google Desktop.

Both WDS and Google Desktop are free. WDS offers better shell integration than does Google Desktop, which runs its local searches in a Web browser just like Google Web search.

Windows Defender: Anti-spyware

When Microsoft purchased Giant Company Software in December 2004, I knew Windows users were in for a treat: I was a dedicated and enthusiastic Giant Antispyware user and knew it was the best anti-spyware solution on the market. Now, Microsoft’s version of Giant Antispyware, dubbed Windows Defender, is an integrated part of Windows Vista. But here’s good news for XP fans: Windows Defender is available for free on XP as well. And unlike some Vista applications that have been made available on XP in slightly-hobbled form, the XP version of Windows Defender is just as good as the Vista version.

Unlike some other security features, such as firewalls and anti-virus solutions, it’s not only feasible but advisable to run two or more anti-spyware solutions side-by-side on the same machine. For this reason, you should consider a second anti-spyware product. There’s been a lot of confusion in this space, and many people seem to have particular favorites, often for nonsensical reasons. My choice is ZoneAlarm Anti-Spyware, which is only $19.99 (you can also get it as part of the excellent ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite).

Internet Explorer 7: Web browser

Say what you will about Internet Explorer–I certainly have–but version 7 is not just the best IE version yet, it’s also a credible challenger to the current Web browser champion, Mozilla Firefox. Best of all, Internet Explorer 7 is available for XP as well, though it loses two key Vista features, IE Protected Mode and parental controls integration. It’s still worth it: IE 7 is more capable and more secure than its predecessor. Even if you’re not going to use IE regularly, upgrade IE 6 to IE 7 as soon as possible.

It’s a tough call, but I’m going to remain with Mozilla Firefox. While I recognize that most mainstream Windows users will continue to use IE, I feel that Firefox is still safer, and it’s definitely got some unique features that are missing in IE 7, though the gap is closing. However, both IE 7 and Firefox are superior to IE 6.

Windows Sidebar and Gadgets: Mini-Applications

Windows Sidebar is an onscreen real estate-stealing panel designed to hold HTML- and script-based mini-applications that Microsoft calls Gadgets. The Sidebar is clearly a reaction to Apple’s Dashboard feature, which hosts HTML- and script-based mini-applications that Apple calls Widgets. Dashboard, in turn, was clearly ripped off from Konfabulator (since purchased by Yahoo) and other desktop customization utilities like Stardock Object Desktop.

If you’re into this kind of thing, there are a number of XP-based solutions. Microsoft is reportedly working on an XP version of Sidebar, but I haven’t seen any code since January and Microsoft has been curiously silent on the issue. But you could always go with the original, Konfabulator, which is now called Yahoo Widget Engine. This solution is more similar to Apple Dashboard–go figure–than Windows Sidebar, however, and doesn’t include a screen edge-mounted panel of any kind. So if you’re looking for something that more closely mimics Sidebar, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

I mentioned Google Desktop previously as a replacement for Windows Search. Google Desktop also includes a Sidebar-like mini application environment called the Dashboard, and it’s a decent Sidebar replacement, though it offers the standard Spartan Google interface. The Google Desktop Dashboards hosts HTML-, XML-, and COM-based mini-applications called Google Gadgets, and as you’d expect from a Google service, there are all kinds of useful Gadgets out there.

Windows Backup: File Backup and Restore

The new backup functionality in Windows is Windows Vista is as full-featured as it is attractive. In fact, it’s so full-featured that it offers both file backup and restoration features and image-based full-PC backup, the latter of which uses the VHD virtual machine format first developed for Virtual PC.

System imaging is pretty much a power user feature, but everyone should be regularly backing up their data. The problem is that virtually no one does. Vista’s Backup and Restore Center, with its automated backup feature, should help fix that problem in the future. But if you’re using Windows XP today, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

There are plenty of decent backup applications out there, but my favorite also happens to be part of a complete PC protection and maintenance suite called Windows Live OneCare. It’s not free, but it’s not expensive either, and I’ve seen it available for as little as $15 after rebates (it’s typically about $20). Windows Live OneCare is a must have for a variety of reasons–it’s got tremendous anti-virus and firewall features, integrates with Windows Defender, and keeps your PC running at full speed by regularly defragging the hard drive. But the best feature, perhaps, is its Backup and Restore functionality, which lets you backup data automatically to external hard drives or optical media.

Windows Mail: Email

Windows Mail–aka Outlook Express 7.0–is one of the few Windows Vista applications that has almost no redeeming value. Therefore, even those who do upgrade to Windows Vista should look elsewhere for an email application. The commercial alternative–Microsoft Outlook–is your best bet. But if you don’t have Outlook and don’t feel like paying for it, fear not. There are plenty of excellent alternatives.>

If you’re looking for a standalone email client, look at both Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta. Both are free, though WLM Desktop is ad-supported, unless you pay for a Hotmail Plus or MSN account. WLM Desktop is the most similar to Windows Mail; indeed, it’s based on the same Outlook Express underpinnings. But unlike Windows Mail, WLM Desktop supports Web mail accounts like Hotmail.

Don’t be afraid to consider a Web-based email client. Most of the new generation Web mail clients are quite nice, but the winner, by far, is Yahoo Mail (currently in beta). Gmail (from Google) and Windows Live Mail (which works with Hotmail accounts) are functionally similar, but neither is as attractive in a Web browser.

Windows Calendar: Standards-Based Scheduling

Windows Calendar is a tough one: It’s nicely designed and has all the sharing features you’d expect from an iCal-based application. Frankly, there isn’t a standalone calendar application that comes close on Windows. The only exception is the Calendar component of Microsoft Outlook: If you have that, just use Outlook. If you don’t, your options are a bit more limited.

The Mozilla Corporation, responsible for some of the finest Web browser (Firefox) and email (Thunderbird) applications on the planet, is also working on a standalone calendar application codenamed Sunbird. Mozilla Sunbird isn’t as fine-tuned as Firefox or Thunderbird, and it certainly isn’t as fully developed. But even the current pre-release Sunbird versions are decent enough for regular use. My guess is it will get more attractive over time.

If you’re already using Web-based email, the major vendors of those services–Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo–all offer Web-based calendars as well. Curiously, Yahoo’s entry isn’t particularly nice looking (unlike its new Web mail), but then neither Google Calendar nor Hotmail Calendar are particularly Web 2.0 either. If I had to pick one above the others, it would be Google Calendar. Why? Like most Google services, Google Calendar is supported by a wide range of third party add-ons and has a nice community of users. It’s also updated fairly frequently.

Windows Photo Gallery: Photo Management and Sharing

With Windows XP, Microsoft was pushing a task-based photo management scheme that was based in the files and folders of the Windows shell, and not in a standalone application. The success of Apple’s iPhoto on the Mac OS X platform proved, however, that users prefer to use a nicely-designed, attractive, and functional application for photo management. So Vista, as is so often the case, follows in OS X’s footsteps with an application, Windows Photo Gallery, that handles photo management, importing, and sharing.

To be fair, Windows Photo Gallery isn’t actually an iPhoto clone. No, as it turns out, Microsoft already had an excellent photo management solution, which it had been selling as Digital Image Suite. Photo Gallery is simply a pared down version of Digital Image Suite 2006, so if you want something that works like Photo Gallery but is even more capable, that’s the way to go.

Of course, Digital Image Suite isn’t free. What’s amazing is that you can get an application that offers much of the functionality of both Windows Photo Gallery and Digital Image Suite 2006, but is absolutely free. It’s called Google Picasa 2, and it’s a fantastic application. Since it’s a Google application, Picasa utilizes Google’s search engine to automatically find all the photos on your PC, regardless of where they’re hidden. But its editing and sharing features are excellent too, and a recent update adds Picasa Web Albums compatibility, so you can upload your photos easily to Google’s version of Flickr.

Windows Media Player 11: Digital Media Jukebox

Microsoft’s next-generation version of Windows Media Player had its thunder stolen recently when Apple finally shipped a version of iTunes, iTunes 7, that includes beautiful album art views. But the real irony here is that the best looking version of Windows Media Player 11 is available for Windows XP, not Windows Vista. Weird, eh?

Anyway, if Windows Media Player isn’t your thing, fear not. There are better digital media jukeboxes out there. My favorite is, go figure, Apple iTunes 7. It was recently updated to fix the stability issues that dogged the initial iTunes 7 release, and it’s got a much cleaner and professional-looking interface than does Windows Media Player.

Windows Movie Maker 6: Digital Movie Editingp

The version of Windows Movie Maker (WMM) included with Windows Vista is the best yet, with support for Microsoft’s recorded TV (dvr-ms) format and outputting in various HD formats. But XP users already have a very capable digital movie editor in Windows Movie Maker 2, and if you can live without those two aforementioned new features, you pretty much already have everything you need.

Windows Media Center: Digital Media in the Living Room

The Windows Vista version of Windows Media Center (WMC) is an evolutionary upgrade over the version offered in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, though it should be more widely distributed thanks to its inclusion in two Windows Vista product editions, Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate. It also includes unique new features like DVD jukebox integration and digital/high-definition television support. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any true analog to Vista’s WMC. If you have Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, however, you get most of the best WMC features.

But what if you don’t have XP Media Center 2005? Snapstream Beyond TV 4.x offers the same digital video recording (DVR) functionality as Media Center, but without any of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) silliness that bogs down Media Center (with protected content anyway; Media Center won’t let you share certain content, such as that recorded on HBO or Cinemax). Note that Beyond TV is not free, however: The download version is $69.99, and of course you’ll need a TV tuner card and possibly other hardware. Check the Snapstream Web site for some reasonable bundles.

Final thoughts

In the interests of complete disclosure, there are definitely important new features in Windows Vista that you just can’t get anywhere else. But for many XP users–and let’s face it, we’re talking about several hundred million people here–there’s no need to upgrade to Windows Vista right away. To stave off the sense of loss that might accompany any decision to hold off on that upgrade, I hope this list of applications and services helps. But if you absolutely have to get Windows Vista right away, logic be damned, fear not: I’m working on a similar list of gotta-have-it Vista features as well. I’ll be looking into these reasons why you simply won’t want avoid Windows Vista in a future showcase. –Paul Thurrott

Screenshots


Windows Desktop Search

Windows Defender

Mozilla Firefox

Google Desktop

Windows Live OneCare

Mozilla Thunderbird

Yahoo Mail Beta

Mozilla Sunbird

Google Picasa 2

Apple iTunes 7

Windows Movie Maker 2

Snapstream Beyond TV 4.x

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Windows Live Mail desktop Refresh: Better late than never

The MoreThanMail team blog jumped the gun a little bit last night and announced the availability of their newest public build of Windows Live Mail desktop just a little bit before it was ready to go live. Thankfully, the technical issues have been resolved and build 1083 is now up on ideas.live.com.

Here’s what’s new in this build:

Bug Fixes – This is always a given, but there are over 150 fixed since the last release.
Update Feeds Button – Exactly what you would think. A button that refreshes your RSS feeds.
Minimize to System Tray – This is a huge one for me and a feature that I have missed since switching to Mail desktop from Outlook.
Sign in with 3rd Party Live ID’s – This is for those of you whose Live ID is not an @msn.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or any of the other Microsoft produced domains.

Those are the four most significant features of the new release (at least for me), but other improvements include Easier Help Options and a change that makes your Current View Settings stick.

For those already using Windows Live Mail desktop, you can download it directly from here:

Those of you who have not yet tried it, you have to go through ideas.live.com. This is the link for you: Ideas Signup/Download

Check out the MoreThanMail Blog for more: Here

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