Safe mail

Ashish Bhatia        Print Edition: March 2012

Keeping Your Mail Organised And Manageable
Just as many of us have this tendency to dump all our files in My Documents or the desktop, we mostly keep all our mail in the Inbox. Over time, the mail accumulates and we forget where we saved what. To avoid this mess, learn to find a specific, obviously named and logically locatable folder for all the files on your system. Create folders systematically and label them according to the appropriate subject, topic or sub-topic. This will not only make it simpler and quicker to locate files in a jiffy even after several weeks or months, but also help you backup folders without any confusion. Similarly for e-mail.

Keep only actionable mail in your Inbox. Move what you have already taken action, or would need later, to an appropriately named folder or subfolder. Definitely filter those chuckle forwards out of the Inbox and keep them in a separate folder. And positively delete what you don't need. You don't need us to tell you how unimportant trivia accumulates and starts swamping the vital and the necessary.

Ever heard of Email Stripper? Wipe that leery grin off your face. Email Stripper (www.papercut.com/emailStripper.htm) does not reveal any scantily clad forms of the female persuasion whatsoever. Yes, it may come with an overly suggestive Strip It button too, but it somberly removes just those ugly series of greater-than signs (>) and similar formatting characters from the emails you forward and reply to. So when you next receive a messy looking e-mail littered with a string of >>>>>> signs that you want to forward to someone else, run it through Email Stripper first to clear the clutter. The program also deletes the gaping breaks between lines. This means that you hardly have to do any formatting yourself to make the forward look tidy. Apart from e-mail forwards, you will find it invaluable for cleaning out lengthy and threaded e-mail conversations which can get rather tedious to scroll through sometimes.

Trimming Fat From Your Gmail Account
The smartphone aside, Gmail has become the hub of our communications universe. Well, for most of us at least. And never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that one day we would accumulate close to 7.5GB of mail and be squeezed for space. Now, as your collection hovers near the brim at 95 per cent, the "You are almost out of space for your Gmail account " is both galling and worrisome. To trim the fat in your account, here's what you should do:

1) Obviously, the large e-mail attachments-video clips, photos, audio files, PPTs, etc-must be killed first to free up space. A simple `has:attachment' string in the search box in your Gmail will show you all the attachment-loaded e-mails you have sent or received. But we need to delete attachments selectively. Since the most expendable attachments are those frivolous videos, fire a 'filename:wmv' query. This will ferret out all e-mails with Windows Media Video file attachments. Keep what you need and knock off the rest. For MOV files, type: 'filename:mov'. A search for 'filename:mp3' will sift out mails with MP3 attachments and 'filename:pdf' will fetch PDFs. A 'subject:fwd' will list mail forwards friends and colleagues have been sending you.

2) You can automate the whole process of finding the biggest attachments too if you're willing to trust a third party service with your account. A free tool like Find Big Mail (www.findbigmail.com) does a superb job of sorting the attachments in your Gmail by size (over 10MB, over 5MB, etc.) and categorising them under easily understood labels. It does this through a temporary OAuth token and claims to store only your message sizes on its server.

3) If you want to see e-mails with attachments that you sent and received before a certain date, fire a 'before:2009/05/25 in:sent has:attachment' search, replacing the date mentioned here (2009/05/25) with whatever is appropriate for you.

Copy-Pasting On Steroids
Windows versions come and go but its clipboard service continues to be pathetically spastic and limited with little flexibility and no intelligence. Clipboard Help+Spell (http://is.gd/e9Nlo) is a deft clipboard utility that extends the ability of the clipboard store to every scrap of alphanumeric data that you Ctrl-C-for easy viewing, modification, search and use subsequently. You can use it for storing and organising hierarchical notes- searching, sorting, filtering by text, modification date, last view date, etc-at will. You can also type/edit text directly into the Clipboard program screen. A built-in spellcheck ensures that typos are contained.

Careful at Cybercafes
Never be nonchalant about using a cyber cafe just because you have a complicated password. Or have chosen a corner seat where no snoopy slimeball can peek at your login information. The machine could have a keylogger, a clipboard logger or similar spyware installed to capture and save whatever you type in. Always avoid any sort of financial transactions on a public terminal.

For cyber cafes and public Internet locations, carry a USB pen drive which has Neo's SafeKeys (www.aplin.com.au) on it. This mousebased keyboard program stalls keyloggers by allowing you to mouse-click your password on an on-screen keyboard instead of typing it out on keyboard- thus stalling a keystroke trapper from recording your login details. Your password with SafeKeys keyboard appears within a "*****" mask. You simply select the "*****" and drag-drop it onto the password box of your online login form. Another good option is Anti Keylogger Shield (http://is.gd/Ae7EUE)

Ensure you've logged out of all your accounts, and clear the browser's history and cache. Also, before you login always keep your eyes peeled for checkboxes that say "Remember my password" or "Remember my email address". It will take only a second to uncheck these but could save you lifetime of grief.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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