Internet of URLs

To most people, the Internet is the place to which everyone plugs in their computer and views webpages and sends e-mail. That’s a very human-centric viewpoint, but if we’re to truly understand the Internet, we need to be more exact:

The Internet is THE large global computer network that people connect to by-default, by virtue of the fact that it’s the largest. And, like any computer network, there are conventions that allow it to work.

This is all it is really – a very big computer network. However, this article will go beyond explaining just the Internet, as it will also explain the ‘World Wide Web’. Most people don’t know the difference between the Internet and Web, but really it’s quite simple: the Internet is a computer network, and the Web is a system of publishing (of websites) for it.

Computer networks

And, what’s a computer network? A computer network is just two or more of computers connected together such that they may send messages between each other. On larger networks computers are connected together in complex arrangements, where some intermediary computers have more than one connection to other computers, such that every computer can reach any other computer in the network via paths through some of those intermediary computers.

Computers aren’t the only things that use networks – the road and rail networks are very similar to computer networks, just those networks transport people instead of information.
Trains on a rail network operate on a certain kind of track – such a convention is needed, because otherwise the network could not effectively work. Likewise, roads are designed to suit vehicles that match a kind of pattern – robust vehicles of a certain size range that travel within a certain reasonable speed range. Computers in a network have conventions too, and we usually call these conventions ‘protocols’.

There are many kinds of popular computer network today. The most conventional by far is the so-called ‘Ethernet’ network that physically connects computers together in homes, schools and offices. However, WiFi is becoming increasingly popular for connecting together devices so that cables aren’t required at all.

Connecting to the Internet

When you connect to the Internet, you’re using networking technology, but things are usually a lot muddier. There’s an apt phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” because neither was the Internet. The only reason the Internet could spring up so quickly and cheaply for people was because another kind of network already existed throughout the world – the phone network!

The pre-existence of the phone network provided a medium for ordinary computers in ordinary people’s homes to be connected onto the great high-tech military and research network that had been developed in years before. It just required some technological mastery in the form of ‘modems’. Modems allow phone lines to be turned into a mini-network connection between a home and a special company (an ‘ISP’) that already is connected up to the Internet. It’s like a bridge joining up the road networks on an island and the mainland – the road networks become one, due to a special kind of connection between them.

Fast Internet connections that are done via ‘(A)DSL’ and ‘Cable’ are no different to phone line connections really – there’s still a joining process of some kind going on behind the scenes. As Arthur C. Clarke once said, ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’.

The Internet

The really amazing about the Internet isn’t the technology. We’ve actually had big Internet-like computer networks before, and ‘The Internet’ existed long before normal people knew the term. The amazing thing is that such a massive computer network could exist without being built or governed in any kind of seriously organised way. The only organisation that really has a grip on the core computer network of the Internet is a US-government-backed non-profit company called ‘ICANN’, but nobody could claim they ‘controlled’ the Internet, as their mandate and activities are extremely limited.

The Internet is a testament both simultaneously due to the way technologists cooperated and by the way entrepreneurs took up the task, unmanaged, to use the conventions of the technologists to hook up regular people and businesses. The Internet didn’t develop on the Microsoft Windows ‘operating system’ – Internet technology was built around much older technical operating systems; nevertheless, the technology could be applied to ordinary computers by simply building support for the necessary networking conventions on top of Windows. It was never planned, but good foundations and a lack of bottlenecks (such as controlling bodies) often lead to unforeseen great rises – like the telephone network before, or even the world-wide spread of human population and society.

What I have described so far is probably not the Internet as you or most would see it. It’s unlikely you see the Internet as a democratic and uniform computer network, and to an extent, it isn’t. The reason for this is that I have only explained the foundations of the system so far, and this foundation operates below the level you’d normally be aware of. On the lowest level you would be aware of, the Internet is actually more like a situation between a getter and a giver – there’s something you want from the Internet, so you connect up and get it. Even when you send an e-mail, you’re getting the service of e-mail delivery.

Being a computer network, the Internet consists of computers – however, not all computers on the Internet are created equal. Some computers are there to provide services, and some are there to consume those services. We call the providing computers ‘servers’ and the consuming computers ‘clients’. At the theoretical level, the computers have equal status on the network, but servers are much better connected than clients and are generally put in place by companies providing some kind of commercial service. You don’t pay to view a web site, but somebody pays for the server the website is located on – usually the owner of the web site pays a ‘web host’ (a commercial company who owns the server).

Making contact

I’ve established how the Internet is a computer network: now I will explain how two computers that could be on other sides of the world can send messages to each other.

Imagine you were writing a letter and needed to send it to someone. If you just wrote a name on the front, it would never arrive, unless perhaps you lived in a small village. A name is rarely specific enough. Therefore, as we all know, we use addresses to contact someone, often using: the name, the house number, the road name, the town name, the county name, and sometimes, the country name. This allows sending of messages on another kind of network – the postal network. When you send a letter, typically it will be passed between postal sorting offices starting from the sorting office nearest to the origin, then up to increasingly large sorting offices until it’s handled by a sorting office covering regions for both the origin and the destination, then down to increasingly small sorting offices until it’s at the sorting office nearest the destination – and then it’s delivered.

In our postal situation, there are two key factors at work – a form of addressing that ‘homes in’ on the destination location, and a form of message delivery that ‘broadens out’ then ‘narrows in’. Computers are more organised, but they actually effectively do exactly the same thing.

Each computer on the Internet is given an address (‘IP address’), and this ‘homes in’ on their location. The ‘homing in’ isn’t done strictly geographically, rather in terms of the connection-relationship between the smaller computer networks within the Internet. For the real world, being a neighbour is geographical, but on a computer network, being a neighbour is having a direct network connection.

Like the postal network with its sorting offices, computer networks usually have connections to a few other computer networks. A computer network will send the message to a larger network (a network that is more likely to recognise at least some part of the address). This process of ‘broadening out’ continues until the message is being handled by a network that is ‘over’ the destination, and then the ‘narrowing in’ process will occur.

An example ‘IP address’ is ‘69.60.115.116’. They are just series of digit groups where the digit groups towards the right are increasingly local. Each digit group is a number between 0 and 255. This is just an approximation, but you could think of this address meaning:

  • A computer 116
  • in a small neighbourhood 115
  • in a larger neighbourhood 60
  • controlled by an ISP 69
  • (on the Internet)

The small neighbourhood, the larger neighbourhood, the ISP, and the Internet, could all be consider computer networks in their own right. Therefore, for a message to the same ‘larger neighbourhood’, the message would be passed up towards one of those intermediary computers in the larger neighbourhood and then back down to the correct smaller neighbourhood, and then to the correct computer.

Getting the message across

Now that we are able to deliver messages the hard part is over. All we need to do is to put stuff in our messages in a certain way such that it makes sense at the other end.

Letters we send in the real world always have stuff in common – they are written on paper and in a language understood by both sender and receiver. I’ve discussed before how conventions are important for networks to operate, and this important concept remains true for our messages.

All parts of the Internet transfer messages written in things called ‘Packets’, and the layout and contents of those ‘packets’ are done according to the ‘Internet Protocol’ (IP). You don’t need to know these terms, but you do need to know that these simple messages are error prone and simplistic.
You can think of ‘packets’ as the Internet equivalence of a sentence – for an ongoing conversation, there would be many of them sent in both directions of communication.

Getting the true message across

All those who’ve played ‘Chinese whispers’ will know how messed up (‘corrupted’) messages can get when they are sent between many agents to get from their origin to their destination. Computer networks aren’t as bad as that, but things do go wrong, and it’s necessary to be able to automatically detect and correct problems when they do.

Imagine you’re trying to correct spelling errors in a letter. It’s usually easy to do because there are far fewer words than there are possible word-length combinations of letters. You can see when letter combinations don’t spell out words (‘errors’), and then easily guess what the correct word should have been.

It really does work.

Errors in messages on the Internet are corrected in a very similar way. The messages that are sent are simply made longer than they need to be, and the extra space is used to “sum up” the message so to speak – if the “summing up” doesn’t match the message an error has been found and the message will need to be resent.
In actual fact, it is often possible to logically estimate with reasonable accuracy what was wrong with a message without requiring resending.

Error detection and correction can never be perfect, as the message and “summing up” part could be coincidently messed-up so that they falsely indicate nothing went wrong. The theory is based off storing a big enough “summing up” part so that this unfortunate possibility is so unlikely that it can be safely ignored.

Reliable message transfer on the Internet is done via ‘TCP’. You may have heard the term ‘TCP/IP’: this is just the normal combination of ‘IP’ and ‘TCP’, and is used for almost all Internet communication. IP is fundamental to the Internet, but TCP is not – there are in fact other ‘protocols’ that may be used that I won’t be covering.

Names, not numbers

When most people think of an ‘Internet Address’ they think of something like ‘www.ocportal.com’ rather than ‘69.60.115.116’. People relate to names with greater ease than numbers, so special computers that humans need to access are typically assigned names (‘domain names’) using a system known as ‘DNS’ (the ‘domain name system’).

All Internet communication is still done using IP addresses (recall ‘69.60.115.116’ is an IP address). The ‘domain names’ are therefore translated to IP addresses behind the scenes, before the main communication starts.

At the core, the process of looking up a domain name is quite simple – it’s a process of ‘homing in’ by moving leftwards through the name, following an interrogation path. This is best shown by example – ‘www.ocportal.com’ would be looked up as follows:

  • Every computer on the Internet knows how to contact the computers (the ‘root’ ‘DNS servers’) responsible for things like ‘com’, ‘org’, ‘net’ and ‘uk’. There are a few such computers and one is contacted at random. The DNS server computer is asked if they know ‘www.ocportal.com’ and will respond saying they know which server computer is responsible for ‘com’.
  • The ‘com’ server computer is asked it knows ‘www.ocportal.com’ and will respond saying they know which server computer is responsible for ‘ocportal.com’.
  • ‘The ‘ocportal.com’ server computer is asked if it knows ‘www.ocportal.com’ and will respond saying that it knows the corresponding server computer to be ‘69.60.115.116’.

Note that there is a difference between a server computer being ‘responsible’ for a domain name and the domain name actually corresponding to that computer. For example, the ‘ocportal.com’ responsible DNS server might not necessarily be the same server as ‘ocportal.com’ itself.004_22

As certain domain names, or parts of domain names, are very commonly used, computers will remember results to avoid doing a full interrogation for every name they need to lookup. In fact, I have simplified the process considerably in my example because the looking-up computer does not actually perform the full search itself. If all computers on the Internet did full searches it would overload the ‘root DNS servers’, as well as the DNS servers responsible for names like ‘com’. Instead, the looking up computer would ask it’s own special ‘local DNS server’, which might remember a result of a partial result, or might solicit help (full, or partial) from it’s own ‘local DNS server’, and so on – until, in a worst case scenario, the process has to be completed in full.

Domain names are allocated by the person wanting them registering the domain name with an agent (a ‘registrar’) of the organisation responsible for the furthest right-hand part of the domain name. At the time of writing a company named ‘VeriSign’ (of which ‘Network Solutions’ is a subsidiary) is responsible for things like ‘com’ and ‘net’. There are an uncountable number of registrars operating for VeriSign, and most domain purchasers are likely not aware of the chain of responsibility present – instead, they just get the domains they want from the agent, and deal solely with that agent and their web host (who are often the same company). Domains are never purchased, but rather rented and exclusively renewable for a period a bit longer than the rental period.

Meaningful dialogue

I’ve fully covered the essence of how messages are delivered over the Internet, but so far these messages are completely raw and meaningless. Before meaningful communication can occur we need to layer on yet another protocol (recall IP and TCP protocols are already layered over our physical network).

There are many protocols that work on the communications already established, including:

  • HTTP – for web pages, typically read in web browser software
  • POP3 – for reading e-mail in e-mail software, with it stored on a user’s own computer
  • IMAP4 – for reading e-mail in e-mail software, with it archived on the receiving server
  • SMTP – for sending e-mail from e-mail software
  • FTP – for uploading and downloading files (sometimes via a web browser, although using special FTP software is better)
  • ICMP – for ‘pinging’, amongst other things (a ‘ping’ is the Internet equivalent to shouting out a ‘are you there’)
  • MSN Messenger – this is just one example of many protocols that aren’t really standard and shared conventions, but rather ones designed by a single software manufacturer wholly for the purposes of their own software

I’m not going to go into the details of any of these protocols because it’s not really relevant unless you actually need to know it.

The information transferred via a protocol is usually a request for something, or a response for something requested. For example, with HTTP, a client computer requests a certain web page from a server via HTTP and then the web server, basically, responds with the file embedded within HTTP.

Each of these protocols operates on more or more so-called ‘ports’, and it is these ‘ports’ that allow the computers to know which protocol to use. For example, a web server (special computer software running on a server computer that serves out web pages) uses a port of number ’80’, and hence when the server receives messages on that port it passes them to the web server software which naturally knows that they’ll be written in HTTP.
For a client computer it’s simpler – it knows that a response to a message it sent will be in the same protocol it initially used. When the messages are sent back and forth the server computer and client computer typically set up a so-called ‘stream’ (a marked conversation) between them. They are then able to associate messages to the stream according to their origin address and port number.

The World Wide Web

I’ve explained how the Internet works, but not yet how the ‘World Wide Web’ (the ‘web’) works. The web is the publishing system that most people don’t realise is distinguishable from the Internet itself.
The Internet uses IP addresses (often found via domain names) to identify resources, but the web has to have something more sophisticated as it would be silly if every single page on the Internet had to have it’s own ‘domain name’. The web uses ‘URLs’ (uniform resource locators), and I’m sure you know about these as nowadays they are printed all over the place in the real world (albeit, usually only in short-hand).

A typical URL looks like this:

<protocol>://<domain-name_OR_ip-address>/<resource_identifier>

For example:

http://www.ocportal.com/index.php

That said that’s not really a full URL, because occasionally URLs can be much more complex. For example:

<protocol>://<user>:<password>@<domain/ip>:<port>/<resource_identifier>

You can ignore the more complex example, because it’s not really relevant for the purposes of this article.

HTTP is the core protocol for the web. This is why URLs usually start ‘http://’. Web browsers almost always also support FTP, which is why some URLs may start ‘ftp://’.

Typically the ‘resource identifier’ is simply a file on the server computer. For example, ‘mywebsite/index.html’ would be a file on the server computer of the same path, stored underneath a special directory. On Windows the “” symbol is used to write out directory names, but as the web wasn’t invented for Windows, the convention of the older operating systems is used.

We now have three kinds of ‘Internet Address’, in order of increasing sophistication:

  • IP addresses
  • Domain names
  • URLs

If a URL were put into web browser software by a prospective reader then the web browser would send out an appropriate request (usually, with the HTTP protocol being appropriate) to the server computer identified by the URL. The server computer would then respond and typically the web browser would end up with a file. The web browser would then interpret the file for display, much like any software running on a computer would interpret the files it understands. For the HTTP protocol, the web browser knows what to interpret the file as because the HTTP protocol uses something called a ‘MIME type’ to identify each kind of resource the server can send out. If the web server computer is just sending out an on-disk file then the web server computer works out the MIME type from the file extension (such as ‘.html’) of the file.

An ‘HTML’ file is the kind of file that defines a web page. It’s written in plain text, and basically mixes information showing show to display a document along with the document itself. If you’re curious, try using the “View page source” function of your web browser when viewing a web page, and you’ll see a mix of portions of normal human text and short text between ‘<‘ and ‘>’ symbols. The former is the document contents and the latter are the display instructions.
In newer versions of HTML there’s a split between ‘structuring’ a document and ‘displaying’ a structure – in this case, another special technology named ‘CSS’ is added to the mix.

I’ve explained how typical web pages are just files on the disk of a server computer. Increasingly, things are slightly less direct. When you visit something like eBay, your web-mail, or an ocPortal-powered website, you aren’t just reading files. You’re actually interacting with computer software, and the web pages you receive are generated anew by that software every time a request is made. These kinds of systems are known as ‘web applications’ and are increasingly replacing the need to install software on your own computer (because it’s so much easier just to use a web browser to access a web application on a server computer).

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Better Online Communication Makes Business Sense

Better Online Communication Makes Business Sense

Many companies are now doing the majority or even all their business online and foregoing the “Brick and Mortar” storefront. It is easy to see why that trend has happened. For one thing, the cost of setting up such a business is relatively inexpensive and easy. There is no need to pay for the overhead of a physical building. Also, the cost of maintaining a Web site is minimal. Moreover, the Internet provides a convenient and efficient way of marketing products. As more and more people are spending time on the Internet, the market of online customers continues to grow.
But when businesses shift from face-to-face customers to anonymous online customers, there is a loss of personal connection and trust. All the online spamming and scamming hasn’t helped the matter at all. That has eroded the trust in E-commerce and the credibility of many companies.  How are you gaining and maintaining customer trust? What are you doing as an online vendor to communicate to your customers?
In an online world, business just doesn’t stop after hours and on weekends. What are you doing to answer your customer’s questions? Here are a few things that you can do to improve communication with your customers:
1. Offer a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and online product support information. This is an excellent way of answering basic questions that may otherwise flood your support email. For example, our voice-changing product, MorphVOX, has a FAQ on the common issues that customers may come across. We also have provided detailed online documentation on topics that users may want to explore more. This takes care of roughly 95% of the questions people may have.
2. Add a support email link on your Web site for issues that can’t be resolved by the Web support. At Screaming Bee, we try to answer our customer questions within one business day. More often, we’ll answer questions within an hour of receiving the email. I believe that we have gained many loyal customers because of our aggressive efforts to meet needs in a timely manner.
3. Provide a message board or forum for customers to voice their opinions, add comments, and interact with each other. Remember that people are social creatures and like to be heard. This also helps to build up a community of users that are empowered and have a say in the products and services that you provide.
4. Write a personal email to each customer. Have you followed up on your customers after they have made a purchase of your products or services? This is essential, not only from the perspective of getting feedback on how to improve your offerings, but more importantly, maintaining the trusting, long-term relationship with your customer.  Send them an email within 3-4 weeks of the first purchase. In this way their experience with your products and services is fresh in their mind.  Remember, a customer who is ignored is a customer who is lost.
Spending time and effort on better communication with your customers will pay off. Your company will rise and fall not on the customers you gain, but on the customers that you don’t lose.  Loyal customers will be the ones that give you the best testimonials. They also provide you with the richest, organic, word-of-mouth marketing. Remember that every happy customer is a testament of your company’s success.

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Anonymous Proxy

Anonymous Proxy

An anonymous proxy, also referred to as an anonymous proxy server, allows a client to access a file, web page, or some other resources through a server which services the requests of the client through another remote server. For example, when a client accesses a web page through an anonymous proxy, the client talks to the proxy and the proxy talks to the web page, maintaining the privacy of the client, such as his/her IP address. The purpose of such a proxy, or a server, is to protect the privacy of the client from the service and from other individuals who may be logging and inspecting the client’s connection.

Such proxies are commonly used in schools and workspaces, to pass-by potential firewalls and monitoring services in place. Students will often utilize anonymous proxies to access social networking websites deemed and blocked by the school as harming the productivity of the students. Employees of a company may try to circumvent forms of monitoring within a company that may try to track or control which websites its employees are visiting.
Anonymous proxies serve as a wall between the client and the service being accessed. These servers can be used to bypass the restrictions and access these services possibly blocked by the country or some other organization providing the Internet connection, while others may use it solely for the privacy that is possibly guaranteed.
Risks Behind Anonymous Proxies
Because of how anonymous proxies, especially those running on web pages, are designed, all data sent to the proxy servers are unencrypted. Therefore, it is possible that confidential information such as logins and passwords can be recorded by a malicious proxy server. Also, through proxy chaining, some clients could potentially fall as victims to a web page displaying a false security measures, allowing all proxies within these chains to trace the client’s activities. Thus, only trusted anonymous proxies with a clear privacy policy should be used for security sake.

All You Need To Know About Proxy Sites

All You Need To Know About Proxy Sites

The proxy server connects the computer you use and the Internet. The Internet is used for accessing information, as we all know, and the proxy server helps with checking the information. With a proxy server, the information you try to access, will first get transmitted to that and only then reach your computer.
With proxies, one will talk about the security one needs while using the Internet as well as increasing the speed if you are downloading files. There are anonymous proxy servers, which could help you hide the IP address. With this, anyone trying to gain access to your computer through the Internet may not be able to do so.
Anonymous proxies can be used for any web pages, including free email sites. Proxies will help you transfer files at a faster speed, and also connect you to the Internet at a faster pace. Any kind of information you need will be instantly given to you. The most important advantage of proxies, is your privacy. It protects you from malicious Internet users.004_42+%282014_12_27+01_54_47+UTC%29
Proxy sites will also allow you to surf the web without anyone’s knowledge. This is especially useful for secret agencies and government organizations. It will help you redirect the request for information that you have asked for, thereby making you anonymous. There are even three types of proxy servers, and they are transparent, anonymous and high anonymity.

Steps To A Safe, Smooth Running PC

Steps To A Safe, Smooth Running PC

With PC and IT support many small businesses often see costs and not a lot of benefit. However what can cause the biggest problem for a small business buying IT equipment is why. Why this particular PC ? Why a server? What is a server and why should I have one? The benefits are not always obvious to non-technical users. Knowing what advantage the latest technology might have really doesn’t matter if you work out taxes or you worry where your trucks are.
I think there are a number of possible reasons why this happens.
Technical people can appreciate functionality but may not always explain clearly how it can satisfy customer needs.
They can be guilty of not using simple English and pepper conversations with TLA (Three Letter Acronyms) and other IT jargon.
They tend to use IT Speak to explain IT problems they understand as simple, rather than simple English.
So how can we get from IT Speak to Simple English?
IT Speak is its own language. When a language teacher is teaching a beginner class they use a limited range of sentences or expressions to instruct the learners. If they use too many expressions students can get confused and find it harder to understand and learn the language.
IT Speak like any language also has a beginner level and a range of simple expressions that can help users understand and learn.
This is where we need to start. When I was faced with this problem some years ago I recognized it was essential for me to come up with some guidelines to help me talk to users at the right level.
Explain where they are and where the technology will bring them
Work out the basic vocabulary to use
Talk about things the customer can see
Limit talk about things they can’t see, using words like “hard disk”, “memory”, “program” and “network”
Describe all actions in a step by step manner
Show users how to do things
Give them one easy way to perform an action
Encourage any kind of questions – this boosts user confidence in my experience
There is no such thing as a stupid question!
We also need to remember to stand back from the technology. By helping a customer understand the implications or benefits of a technology, trust is easier to establish and build. As a result there is more potential to develop a long-term relationship. It can also be a very rewarding learning experience. Make Your PC Smooth and SAFE!

More Common E-Mail Problems And What To Do About Them

More Common E-Mail Problems And What To Do About Them

As we continue to evolve into the world of e-mail that is part of our everyday life, sometimes little problems arise that bother the user.  Previously we talked about returned messages and lost connections, both which can be aggravating, and supplied solutions.  But there are a few more problems that can affect an e-mail user causing frustration and we will address these here, and again provide reasonable solutions to over come them.
Problem 1 – You Cannot Send a Message
Even when there is not a connection problem, you may attempt to send email, but find that it continues to remain in your outbox.
Solution
Typically this is a software problem, the result of otherwise apparent damage or corruption to one or more e-mail messages.  To address this problem, first copy any unsent messages as text.  Then save them on the computer’s hard drive or a back-up storage medium.  After all messages have been saved, highlight all the messages in your outbox and click on “delete” or “clear”.  When clearing your outbox, start over.  Just copy unsent messages from the text files, pass them into new e-mail messages and resend.
Problem 2 – The E-mail is Missing an Attachment or the Attachment Won’t Open
An especially handy feature of e-mail is the ability to send and receive attachments.  Transmitting documents, photos or other such information can save time and money compared to the U.S. Mail or express delivery services.  At the same time, attachments can be real headaches.  A common frustration is to receive an e-mail message that refers to an attachment, but then find nothing is there.
Solutions
Often the best solution is to request that the sender try once again, since it is not unusual for the writer to refer to an attachment, but then forget to attach it.  Even if this is not the case, your request might prompt the sender to re-think the attachment’s format before transmitting again.  If the problem continues, consider asking the sender to paste the contents inside an e-mail message and try again.  This may disrupt formatting, but can be an effective way to circumvent attachment problems.
If you see a message that the attachment has been deleted, it may be that your anti-virus software has detected a virus, and you’re better off without it anyway.  But if you find that all attachments are indiscriminately being deleted, check your mail properties.  If a box is checked that blocks all attachments, remove the check mark so that you can receive attachments.  If you then receive a message from an unknown person, or if the message or attachment seems suspicious, delete the message without opening the attachment.
A related problem is to see that an attachment has been transmitted, but find that you are unable to open it.  The causes (and thus the solutions) vary.  In some cases, the problem is that the software used by the sender does not match that of the recipient.  As with a missing attachment, a simple fix is to ask the sender to copy and paste the contents of the attachment within a follow-up mail message.  Even if formatting is disrupted, you can still get the gist of the information.  You can also use your own copying and pasting process to reformat the contents, if that is important.
Another strategy is to save the document to your hard drive, and then open the software program that was used initially to create it.  Once this program is in use, your computer may be able to recognize what had been the attachment, and open it.  If you do not have the appropriate software loaded on your computer, you may be able to download it from the Internet; just follow the on-screen prompts to proceed.
Problem 3 – You Have too Much Incoming Mail or Cannot Download What You Have
If you are receiving large volumes of e-mail, you may be vulnerable to several difficulties.
Solutions
Many Internet service providers place limits on the amount of storage provided to each user (although some have recently increased storage limits).  If a pre-set limit is reached (perhaps because you’ve gone too long without downloading your e-mail, or have been inundated by SPAM or virus induced flood of messages), additional messages will be bounced back to those who sent them.
Of course the direct approach is to download your mail and then we’d it out, but a smarter move may be to access your e-mail account via Web mail.  That way you can see a listing of all messages and quickly delete any that do not appear to be of interest.  The end result is the same, but this step can save a great deal of downloading time if you’re using a dial-up modem.  It also adds an extra measure of virus protection even if you have a broadband connection.  Since you’re deleting messages from your ISP’s server before they ever have a chance to infect your computer, it’s like killing mosquitoes before they bite you – instead of afterwards.
If you do not have a Web mail account, it’s easy to get one.  Simply go to a provider such as Yahoo (www.yahoo.com) or Lycos (www.lycos.com) and register.  You can also use a site such as mail2web (www.mail2web.com) or webmail4free.com without even registering.  Go to the site and enter you e-mail address and password.  You will see a listing of all incoming mail, which you can read and then retain for downloading, or delete, as you choose.
A similar challenge may be caused by unusually large message.  Again, this problem is more common with dial-up modems, where hefty messages may take an annoyingly long time to download.  In the worst cases, you may find yourself unable to receive other messages, because the connection with the server where your messages are stored is severed when a time limit has been reached.email button
Use of Web mail can also do the trick here.  Just log on to the third-party site, peruse the list of messages in your inbox, and choose the one that is the largest (most Web mail programs automatically list the size of each message).  If the message seems of potential interest, open and read it, and then delete it.  Or if it is obviously spam or something in which you have no interest, you can delete the message without even bothering to read it.  Once you have removed the offending message, your other incoming mail will no longer be blocked.
If you do not have Web mail, an option is to contact your Internet Service Provider and ask for help.  Once a customer service representative deletes the offending message from the ISP’s server, you can then download all remaining messages.
Also keep in mind that retaining too much e-mail can be an organizational problem, if not a technical one.  Take time to delete e-mail that does not need to be saved for future reference.  Allowing too many messages to accumulate wastes storage space and makes it more difficult to find important messages when you need to refer to them.  For messages that merit retention, create a series of folders so that they can be readily located, and so that your inbox will not become too full.

Common E-Mail Problems and What To Do About Them

Common E-Mail Problems and What To Do About Them

When it works well, e-mail can be great.  It’s hard to beat e-mail for everything from staying in touch with family to requesting information from businesses or other organizations.  Want to send the same message to several people?  Communicate with someone across the continent?  Transmit photos, manuscripts or other information?  For speed and efficiency, this virtually instantaneous medium is one of the most convenient features of modern life.email letter
But e-mail is not without problems.  If you key in the name of an intended recipient but your message keeps bouncing back, you might not be singing e-mail’s praises.  Ditto for attachments that won’t open or other such nuisances.  With just a little patience, though, you can readily overcome most e-mail problems.  What follows are 4 common e-mail problems along with solutions for overcoming them.
Problem – Returned Messages
This may be the most frustrating of all e-mail problems.  After taking the time to create a message, you click on the “send” button and consider your task accomplished.  But the next thing you know, the message pops up in your in-box with a heading that it did not reach its intended recipient.
Solutions
First, take the simple step of checking to see that the address of your recipient has been entered correctly.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes the only thing wrong is a misplaced letter, the use of “com” instead  of “net”, or some similar error.  If you know the correct address, this is a straightforward matter of double checking each character.  If not, you might need to experiment by sending multiple messages, or by entering alternative addresses with slight variations.  Under this approach, you simply keep track of which messages are bounced back and compare them with the overall list of addresses you used.  If you sent four variations but only three were returned, you have solved the problem by the process of elimination.
Sometimes the source of your problem lies with the recipient.  If messages to other addresses go through but fail here, try to contact the intended recipient by other means and report the situation.  The cause may range from a temporary problem with the recipient’s server to a switch to another e-mail provider, to a full in box.  In this case, simply waiting may be the best recourse.  Or a phone call or other communication may be required on your part to obtain the correct e-mail address.  If all your messages are being returned, you may have a connection problem.  See below for more details.
Problem 2 – You Have Lost Your Connection
Sometimes a failure to send or receive e-mail can be traced to a lost connection with your Internet service provider.
Solutions
If you see a “failure to connect” or “no response” message or have otherwise determined that you have failed to connect, check to make certain there are no physical problems.
First, check your cables and connections.  If you use a dial-up modem, listen to make sure it produces the normal high-pitched dialing sound.  If not, the problem could be a loose connection.  Locate the phone cord that runs from the back of your computer to the phone jack, and then make sure that each end is plugged in snugly.
If you will don’t hear the expected dialing sound, check to make sure your phone cord is undamaged.  If it seems worn, replace it with a new one.  Other steps include making certain the line is plugged into the right port, and checking the phone jack by plugging the cord into a different jack.  If you hear the dialing sound after any of these steps, you have made a successful connection.
Connection problems may be more common with dial-up modems than with broadband connections, but the latter are also dependent on physical connections.  A loose wire or poorly connected cable can easily be problematic.  Sometimes a glitch occurs that can be best addressed by repeating portions of the initial set-up process.  A simple fix touted by Verizon technical service reps for some DSL (digital subscriber line) customers is to disconnect the three lines from the back of the modem and then reconnect them in a specified order.  When this action is taken, the online connection is immediately regained.
If you are online but keep getting bumped off, the lost connection can be the result of an unintended software command.  In Outlook Express, for example, you will find the command “Hang up when finished.”  If the box in front of this phrase is checked, the connection will automatically be severed each time you send or download e-mail.  Sometimes a misdirected click of your mouse will cause you to place a check in the box even though you do not realize it.  Simply click on the check mark to make it disappear, and the hang-ups will cease.
These 2 common e-mail problems are quite easy to determine and when rectified will make your emailing experience more enjoyable.email alert

3 Rad Ways To Pimp Your Cell Phone

3 Rad Ways To Pimp Your Cell Phone

Nine times out of ten you’re thinking of dunking your cellphone into the fire or mixing it in the blender because everyone else seems to be sporting a snazzy, sexy cell phone, while you are stuck with one that’s snarky, ugly, obsolete and so unhip that it’s started to look like a pig’s behind. Chances are that you are planning to call it an antique and shove it down the throat of some wacko buyer on eBay.
Let’s move on to the next step – your new cellphone. Now you need to pick up something and jazz it up so much, that you can show it off and make your buddies go green with envy. So, here are the latest ways using which, you can pimp up your cellphone:
1. Turn your cellphone into an ecosystem: In other words, convert your cellphone into an environmental-friendly product and check out the “oohs” and the “aahs” you get when you gently explain, to the opposite sex, how your cellphone actually protects the ozone layer. Don’t buy cellphones that use non-biodegradable plastics; don’t go near cellphones that coat their phones with flame retardant chemicals such as bromine-based flame retardants; conserve electricity by charging your phone as much as is required – better still, there’s a new kind of phone that’s made using bamboo and is powered by solar cells. Go for that. Our planet is getting hotter by the day; at least make your cellphone look cool!
2. Go for total convergence: First, get your cellphone hooked into a mobile radio service – there are many mobile services available and many, many more are on the way. Next, get a mobile TV service going – it’s about 10 bucks a month, but that’s nothing if you want to really pimp your buddy up. Now, get mobile VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) going – make calls to anyone in the world using your local connection! Bang, that’s gonna get you some cool eyeballs! Now – here’s the sucker punch – build all these features into a full screen phone! Mobile companies are coming out with full screen phones where everything is touch operated and the screen lights up when touched! Imagine a full screen phone with radio, TV and Mobile VOIP! Cool!
3. Make it burglar-proof: There are applications available in the market that make your cellphone scream out like Bruce Springsteen did while bellowing out “Born In The USA”. Okay, the Bruce Springsteen bit was a joke, but, seriously, mobile applications are available that make your cellphone scream if it is stolen. Not just that, these applications lock in your private data, which can be recovered when you find the phone. Imagine what a techno savvy image you will project! Move over Neo, you two-bit son of an antique!
These are the top three ways you can pimp up your cellphone. Not only will your cellphone increase your social rank,004_18 it will also offer you protection from theft and provide you with entertainment when you need it the most – while at work or while studying. Plus, it will massage the ozone layer for you. Now what more can you wish for – Go for it, dude!

3 High-Tech Features Of The Apple Iphone

3 High-Tech Features Of The Apple Iphone

What’s the big deal behind the Apple iPhone? It’s expensive. It’s revolutionary. But are its features worth the money?
With all the popularity, you can assume everyone’s at least heard about it. What does the Apple iPhone feature and what can it do?
#1: Multi-Touch Technology
The most outstanding feature is the iPhone’s radical multi-touch screen. The MT screen allows any mechanical button to appear on this high tech toy. It simply allows you to use your fingers to operate it. This is contrary to any other phone today, which either have mechanical keyboards or a stylus.
By tapping the screen with your finger, you can navigate menus, dial phone numbers, write e-mail messages and likewise use the whole functionality of the popular gadget. The three-point-five-inch screen displays a keyboard for inputting text via multi-touch. Most consumers are seemingly skeptical about typing with the virtual keyboard, but Apple has predicted the common problems and has made sure the iPhone was constructed with features like automatic spell check and word prediction, not to mention an enhanced customizable dictionary. More so, the iPhone addresses the problems of typos commonly known to multi-touch usage by adding self-correction capabilities.
When scrolling, the usual wheel is not found at the side of the gadget. The multi-touch screen functionality allows its owner to scroll by dragging a finger in the desired direction. The speed of scrolling is designed to be proportional to the speed at which you drag your finger.
The multi-touch feature furthermore enables several more functions like multi-touch sensing for magnifying or reducing photos and even web pages. Using this feature, you can regulate object size simply by placing two fingers at the side of the object and then moving them, by dragging, either further apart or closer to one another. This feature does not distort images because images are initially scaled according to its original dimensions in the first place.
Hands down, the iPhone is more intelligent than any other phone today.
#2: Revolutionary Sensors
The gadget’s sensors have the ability to detect changes to the iPhone’s environment. The sensors are minuscule yet absurdly powerful. The three major sensors include an accelerometer, sensor for ambient light, and a proximity sensor.
The accelerometer sensor conveys the ability to detect any changes in the iPhones positioning. …The iPhone’s screen display will actually rotate to portrait or landscape, while still packing its contents into the 3.5-inch screen. Because it changes the view according to ratio, images are not distorted among web pages, videos, or photos.
The proximity sensors.
These high-tech features detect the location of the iPhone with regard to the skin. When you make a call and hold the iPhone up against your ear, the display will automatically set to standby. This is important in that it serves two basic functions.
One, by shutting off the display when not necessarily needed, this saves your battery’s life. More so, this avoids accidental touches to the screen, which would otherwise be sensitive. As soon as the cell is moved away from your face, the proximity sensors react in this way.
Ambient light sensor.
Through the AL sensor, changes in the phone’s environment are detected and instantaneously adjust the display’s brightness. Your iPhone’s display will always be well adjusted in regard to lighting.
#3: Mac OS X Operating System
The hype behind the Apple iPhone increased when Mac fans found out the Mac OS X would be included. The Mac OS X is the operating system inside the latest Apple computers. On the other hand, the electronic doesn’t have the complete functionality of the operating system. The entire OS X is too large to fit within the 4GB or 8GB internal memory. The iPhone contains a 500 MB version of the operating system.