Control your inbox

November 30, 2010

We’ve almost reached the end of our email month, but as we know all too well, email keeps coming. A lot of times, the amount of email we receive can be pretty overwhelming. How do you manage all the email you receive daily?

One way to try to take back control of your inbox is to use a system called Inbox Zero. The main goal of Inbox Zero is to process your email and decide what to do with it as you receive it instead of letting it pile up in an overflowing list of messages.

Merlin Mann, the guy behind the concept, says that checking your email and letting it accumulate is a terrible drain on productivity. Instead, Inbox Zero is an attempt to view messages as action items instead of a growing list of random information.

Merlin wrote an amazing series of articles with tips and guidance about how to escape the burden of email. He also gave an hour-long talk about the concept at Google in 2007. You can watch it below (it’s also available on YouTube).

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Hope you enjoyed email month here on the blog. We’ll have more about email – as well as all of our other services – in the coming months!

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Justin is a web and mobile developer at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Outgoing settings for Sephone email, using your ISP

November 17, 2010

In an earlier post we covered how to set up incoming mail for your Sephone email account. Our preferred way of setting up outgoing (SMTP) settings on your account is to use your internet service provider, or ISP.

We suggest using your ISP for a couple of important reasons. First, using your ISP is often more reliable when it comes to spam and virus scanners that many email services use, and they have more reliable control of how mail is handled on their network than we do. Some ISPs even require that you use their outgoing servers when sending mail from their network.

To find out the outgoing settings for your email provider, look for information about SMTP, the language used by computers when sending mail. To find out the settings you should use, choose your ISP from this list:

If you need help setting up your mail, visit support.sephone.com at any time. During weekday business hours you’ll be able to chat live with someone at Sephone who can help lead you through the setup. You can also open a support ticket to request help at any time.

If you’d like to check your email using your phone, or if using your ISP for outgoing mail won’t work for you, don’t worry! We’ll post more instructions to help you soon.

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Justin is a web and mobile developer at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Incoming settings for Sephone email

November 5, 2010

When you set up a new email account on a computer or device, the first pieces of information you need to know are your incoming mail settings. For customers who use Sephone-hosted email – in other words, if your email address has your .com or other domain name after the @ sign – it’s pretty simple to do.

The first step is to figure out the incoming mail server, or host, for your email. The easiest way to do this is to take the part of your email address after the @ sign and add “mail.” at the beginning. The table below shows some examples of how to find your incoming mail server.

There are usually three settings for incoming email:

  • Incoming mail server (or host): the mail server you found above (mail.example.com, for instance)
  • User name: your full email address (bob@example.com, for instance)
  • Password: your email account’s password

You might also be given the option to use POP or IMAP. POP is a simpler option and is good for most users. We’ll write a post explaining the difference between the two later in the month.

That’s it! If you need help setting up your mail, visit support.sephone.com at any time. During weekday business hours you’ll be able to chat live with someone at Sephone who can help lead you through the setup. You can also open a support ticket to request help at any time.

Outgoing mail settings are a bit trickier; we’ll be leading you through those in an upcoming series of blog posts.

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Justin is a web and mobile developer at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.

Email Terminology

November 3, 2010

On Monday, we announced that November 2010 is email month here at Sephone. In our first post, we are going to cover the basic terminology and hopefully build from there over the next month. Let’s jump right into the terms.

Alias
This is an email that does not exist, but instead points to a different email on the same domain. Here is an example. Bob has an email of bob@example.com and in addition to bob@example.com, he can receive email at info@example.com and sales@example.com. Info@ and Sales@ are aliases.

Attachment
An attachment is a file that is included in the email to be viewed by the recipient.

BCC
This stands for Blind Carbon Copy. This is an additional email recipient, beyond the normal recipient. The normal recipient does not know that the BCC recipient received a copy.

Blacklist
This is a list of mail servers that do bad things like send spam or viruses. There are several big public blacklists on the Internet that incoming mail servers use to tell if they are getting spam.

Bounces
Bounces are emails that did not get to intended destinations and were returned to the original sender by a mail server. 80% of bounces are emails send to the wrong person, often a typo in the address.

Catchall
A catchall is email that gets all email sent to a domain, if it does not exist. For example, if a domain has jimmy as an email account, jimmy@example.com. It also has an account tom@example.com. If somebody emails tom@example.com, it will get to him, but any other email will go to jimmy, such as jack@example.com and i-guessed-an-email@example.com. Normally catchalls should be avoided to reduce spam.

CC
CC stands for carbon copy. It’s an additional email address to send the email to. The original email recipient can see who it was CC’ed to, unlike BCC.

Domain
Domains are numbers, letters, periods, and dashes that are registered via numerals registras. Examples would include example.com, sephone.com, wabi.tv, google.com, mta.sephone.com, and mail.my-domain.com. Note that do not have anything in front of them, such has http:// or ftp://.

Email Client
An email client is something you use to talk to your mail servers. Normally it’s the tool that you view your email through. Examples include Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, Entourage, Lotus Notes, First Class, Apple Mail as well as several others.

False positive
This is when good mail gets marked as spam.

Filter
Filters are things that your incoming mail servers uses to block spam.

Forward
This is when an email is received and sent to somebody else. It can be done manually in your mail client or automatically on the mail server. An example of a mail server forward would be, an email was sent to johnny@example.com and the email server immediately sends to johnny@anotherdomain.com.

IMAP
Internet Message Access Protocol – A protocol used to retrieve email messages.

POP
Post Office Protocol – A protocol used to retrieve email from a mail server.

Protocol
A protocol describes how to talk to a server.

Server
This is something that listens for clients to talk it via an established protocol. When talking about mail, there are a few different type of servers. Incoming Mail Server is the server that you will retrieve your email from. Most of the time for Sephone customers it’s mail..com. Outgoing Mail Server is the server that will sent your email for you. Often it’s provided from your Internet connection provider.

SMTP
Stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, and it is how mail is transfered on the internet, from clients to outgoing mail servers and in between mail servers.

Spam
Mail soliciting you for something that you did not request.

Whitelist
A list of approved senders, the exact opposite of blacklist.

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Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

Welcome to email month!

November 1, 2010

Here on the blog we talk a lot about web sites, social media, and other tools that help you work better on the web. After looking back through our posts, I noticed that there’s one we haven’t discussed much at all… and it happens to be one of the most important parts of your online toolbox! In light of this, we’ve decided to designate November as email month here at Sephone.

Email is one of the crucial parts of your presence online. When we register a .com or other domain for a business or organization, we don’t just set up a site; we also set up email accounts on that domain. We believe that having a company-specific email address (like bob@sephone.com) gives your business a lot more online credibility than an email address at a free web email service or at your Internet service provider. We store email for some of our clients on our own servers. For some of our newer clients, we’ve found that using Gmail as an interface for their company’s email is a great option.

Throughout the month of November we’ll be providing help, tips, and other information about email here on the blog and over on our @Sephone Twitter account. We’ll also be migrating some of the email accounts we host to new servers, and we’ll give you all the information you need to know if your email is hosted with us at Sephone. Happy November, and don’t forget to check back throughout the month for more!

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Justin is a web and mobile developer at Sephone. He's interested in user-driven design, social media, and web services. He also enjoys learning and exploring new ways for businesses and people to use the web.