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Jan's Computer Basics:

Applications: Email


Microsoft Outlook

Email, or electronic mail, has become more popular as people learn to communicate again with written words. For many purposes it is superior to a phone call because you don't have to catch the person in and you can get straight to the point. No time is wasted on casual conversation. It is superior to sending a text when you do not need an instant reply or when you have a lot to communicate. It also leaves a written record to refer back to for a response or if you forget who said what. Email is superior to the traditional office memo because it uses no paper (Save the trees!!) and it can be sent to a whole list of people instantly.

Email client: An email client is the program that has to be on your computer to download and manage emails. Commonly used email client programs include Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.
See Wikipedia's list Icon: Off site of current and discontinued email clients.

Web-based Email: Your email can be managed entirely through web pages. Your computer needs only a browser and a live Internet connection to access email, compose new messages, and to reply to messages. Outlook.com from Microsoft, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail from Google are popular web-based email sites. An ISP email address will also have a web interface for managing your email.

Windows Live Mail Gmail
Windows Live Mail - email client Gmail - web based email

  • Transmitting messages between computer users
Major Advantage:
  • Speed
  • Can send copies to several people at once
Major Disadvantage:
  • You don't know if the receiver actually reads it, though you can find out if they received it. Of course in a phone conversation you don't really know if the person is actually listening either!
  • With no body language or vocal intonations it is difficult to convey the emotional tone you want. Irony and sarcasm are particularly dangerous since your reader may take you seriously.

For more on using email - view Prometheus Project tutorial on emailIcon: Change web
This tutorial is illustrated with an old version of Netscape Mail but the principles are the same for all email.