Email: The Unwieldy Inbox

February 23, 2009

Are you drowning in email?

Do you have more than 20 items in your inbox? Do you look at an email and think “I might need that later” then leave it in your inbox? Or do you leave items you want to save in your deleted items folder? Are there more than 100 items in your deleted folder?

Do you feel like your email is out of control? And are you really tired of getting those notices about how your inbox is over the size limit?

Let’s take control over our email!

Jenny: I’ll tell you a secret, and I’m not proud of it. I have been keeping email in the Deleted Items folder for years. I’m afraid to delete it because I might need to refer back to it. There it is – my secret out there for the world.

But, would I put a paper memo I might need in the garbage can? Of course not. I’d put it in a file folder.

So, the first step in getting email under control: create file folders in Outlook. And where would you create those files? In your Inbox.

Take a look at the tutorial below to see how to create folders in your Outlook Inbox:

* This is the “Move to Folder” icon – at left.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it: 

1. Please Comment: Tell us your tips for managing email.

Email: Friendly Forwards

February 16, 2009

Good morning! Have you opened your email yet?

Are you afraid you’ll have dozens of strange forwarded messages from your friends?

Oh my. That’s a problem. And you can’t tell them to stop because they’re your friends. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

You should check out StopForwarding.us!

Here’s how it works (from stopforwarding.us):

  1. Submit a form with your offending friend’s name and email address.
  2. Your friend will receive this anonymous email.
  3. Wait and hope that your friend will recognize the error of their ways and stop emailing unsolicited jokes, chain letters and urban myths to everyone in their address book.

Why the long face? Did you have something you wanted to forward?

Email forwarding isn’t always bad. Here are some tips to make sure your forwards are welcome instead of dreaded.

1. After you click “Forward” delete everything from the email except the joke or photo or whatever content it is that you’re sending.

That funny joke that Jon sent to Kathy, then Kathy sent to Barb, then Barb sent to William, and William sent to Nate, and Nate sent to Betty? I bet you have to scroll down five pages just to read it.

Not only is that annoying, but if you just click “Forward” without deleting all the earlier text, you’re probably also forwarding the email address of every person who has been sent that message. No one needs their email address spread around like that. Preserve the privacy of your friends and family – delete any email addresses and other junk that isn’t relevant to the joke.

2. If you’re going to forward your message to more than one person, use BCC.

BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It means that you can send the same email to 20 people, but if you put the email addresses in the BCC field, no one will be able to see who was sent the email. You get to spread the funny joke, cute photo, or important news story – and you’re friends get to keep their privacy.

3. Check for accuracy before you forward.

Yes, I suppose that crazy story you’re about to send out might be true. But just to be on the safe side, check Snopes.com before you forward any incredible news or gossip you’ve recently gotten in your inbox. Snopes.com is a clearinghouse for hoaxes and misinformation. So, checking there is a good habit to get into – no one wants to be the one who forwards a hoax to twenty people.

4. No one wants to send your message to 20 of their friends.

Refrain from forwarding chain letters. If you get a funny feeling that you really will have bad luck if you don’t forward the letter on, I sympathize with you. But, don’t subject your friends, family, and colleagues to the same turmoil. Remind yourself that you’d have the bad vibes from 20 of your friends for forwarding a chain letter and that is much worse than the risk of bad luck.

For more tips on forwarding and other email quandaries visit Netmanners.com.

paperclip_yellow_backdrop1Aw look. It’s an email from mom.

Wait!!!

Ok. I know it looks like the attachment is from your mother. But, were you expecting an email with a document about dancing poodles?

No? Then don’t open it!

If you receive an attachment in an email that you weren’t expecting, it’s a good idea to check with the sender. Call mom and ask her if she sent you the file.

This might sound like paranoia, but just because an attachment looks like it is coming from your mom doesn’t mean that it is. Scam artists know we’ll be more likely to open an email attachment that looks like its coming from someone important. An email from your bank or the IT department sounds official, but anyone could say they’re from Bank of America or “your IT department.”

What can you do to protect yourself and your computer?

1. Look at the sender.

Don’t open an attachment, just because the subject line says “cute kitty overload.” Check to see who it is from first. If you don’t recognize the sender, delete the email without opening it.

2. If you do recognize the sender, take a look at the attachment.

Files are only supposed to have one extension, like: resume.doc

If you get a file that has two extensions, like resume.doc.exe, delete the file and contact the sender.

Why delete?

.exe stands for executable file. Once you run an executable file, you have given it permission to do anything it wants.

.com and .vbs could also signal an executable file.

3. Were you expecting the file?

You’ve checked that the email is from someone you know. You’ve checked and it doesn’t look like the file has a second file extension. It must be okay to open the email attachment, right?

Nope.

Some viruses are able to take over your address book and send emails that look like they are coming from someone you know. Maybe your friend Julie has the virus and doesn’t know it. Now you get an email attachment in an email that looks like it is from Julie. Open that attachment and you might be sorry.

The last question to ask yourself: “was I expecting this file?”

If it is a photo your brother said he’d email, you can feel better trusting it is safe. If you don’t have any idea what the attachment is and you weren’t expecting it, give the sender a call and ask them what they sent you. You might feel foolish, but you’d feel much more foolish opening a file that damages your computer!

New in Overdrive: Video and iPod-friendly audiobooks!

Overdrive has recently added mp3 audiobooks to its lineup. These mp3 audiobooks do not have the Digital Rights Management encoding (DRM) that made them incompatible with  iPods.

You’ll also find full-length movies and short films available for download! If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer.

In case you missed the Intranet post, here’s a quick list of must-know information:

If you have a Windows computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iSomething-else, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Windows (version 3 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Windows Vista or Windows XP

If you have a Mac computer and an iPod, iPhone, or iAnything, you will need:

  • Overdrive Media Player for Mac (version 1 or higher)
  • iTunes (turn on “manually manage music” in the settings)
  • QuickTime (version 7.4.5 or newer)
  • Mac computers do not have to have Windows installed

Library members who already use Overdrive will probably be asked to download a new version of the software in order to use mp3 audiobooks. That prompt will appear once they click on the downloaded file saved to the desktop.

Last but not least, you’ll need to know the name of your book because it is listed under Songs by title.

Did you hear there are also Downloadable Movies?

First, an apology to iPod users. DRM is still encoded on each video, so you cannot download or play videos with Apple devices.

If you have a Windows computer and a Windows device, you can download movies and watch them on the go. Or, if you have an iPod like us, you can download movies and watch them on your Windows computer not on the go.

To download and watch videos, you will need:

  • Windows computer
  • OverDrive Media Player for Windows v2.0 (or newer) – longtime users may need to upgrade to version 2
  • Windows Media® Player 9 Series (or newer)
  • DRM friendly mobile device (optional) – see compatible players list for details

How will I know if my device will play audiobooks? Or movies?

If you want to know if your device is compatible with audio/video content, view the list of compatible devices. You can sort by device or by format to quickly find out if your device is compatible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Go to Overdrive and find a book or video.
2. Checkout the item and download it to your computer. Play a little bit of the book/video.
3. Leave any questions in the comments section of the blog.
4. Take the survey.