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It's easy to jump online and be productive with Mac OS X, but it's also easy to stop there. Many users haven't explored the depth and richness of this powerful operating system and the applications that come with it. In Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics, Chris Breen helps those who are already comfortable with Mac OS X discover new features in everyday applications like Mail, iCal, and Safari. He also explores the often overlooked "power user" tools, including Terminal, Disk Utility, and Automator, and provides troubleshooting and maintenance tips.
If you have looked at my Leopard Essential Training title, you know how to create an email account. We will now look at ways to tweak your account, so that they will be more useful to you. First thing we will do is we will launch mail. Choose preferences and click the Accounts option. The account information tab allows us to spend a little time with the outgoing mail server, which is the SMTP area. Why bother? Well suppose you have more than one email account, say a POP account at home, a work account and then perhaps a free Gmail account? You may notice that when you take your laptop on the road, you can't send from your home pop account, this is because the location you are attempting to send from a hotel or a coffee shop, for example doesn't allow mail relaying through it's ISP, meaning you are trying to send from one ISP's SMTP server through another ISP's SMTP server a technique that spammers often use.
Within the outgoing mail server area, there is couple of things that you can try. From the Pop-Up menu choose, Edit Server List. In the sheet that appears, select your regular SMTP server and then click the Advanced tab. In the Server Port field, enter 587, you can leave your other settings alone. You use Port 587 because many ISPs use it as an alternate SMTP port and unlike the default SMTP port 25 they don't restrict Port 587.
It doesn't work, no problem. If you don't have a Gmail account, signup for one for free from Gmail.com. Here you see the option to signup for Gmail, this will walk you right through the process. We don't need to do that, just follow along and you will be fine. Gmail lets you acquire POP as well as IMAP accounts. You may recall the POP accounts are those that store your mail locally meaning on your Mac and IMAP accounts store mail on the central server and you access your mail through a live connection to the internet. Now that you have a Gmail account, choose your regular account and return to the outgoing mail server pop-up menu.
From that menu, select SMTP Gmail and then the name of your account. This tells mail to send email from this account from Gmail rather than the receiving accounts, SMTP server. You do this because Gmail is rarely blocked in public places. And don't worry when people receive your email, the return address will be from your regular account rather than from your Gmail account. When they reply, you will receive their message on your regular account not on Gmail. One thing to note, if you don't want to go through all this bother, you can simply create a message.
And we will send from this account, that won't really send. You try to send it and up comes a sheet that tells you, I am sorry I can't send from this SMTP server, let's use something else instead and then you choose which one you want to try to send from. The tip, I offered previously was a much more permanent solution, it's always going to send from Gmail. This is a temporary solution where if a particular account won't send at that moment, you can try a different SMTP server and you are on your way. We will return to Mail Preferences and look at the Mailbox Behaviors tab.
There is not a lot to say here other than that this is where you determine how notes are stored, how often sent messages are erased, if they ever are, when junk mail is erased again, if you choose to have it done automatically and how trashed messages are dealt with. How you configure these settings is largely up to you. I feel better knowing that I always have a copy of my sent messages, should I need to go back and check on something that I allegedly promised. Now look at the Advanced tab, which is more interesting. The first option is Enable This Account, with this on mail will show the account under the inbox setting.
Also when you click the Get Mail button, which is here in the upper left, mail will check this account. Next option is include when automatically checking for mail. This is a little different. If you don't want Mail to automatically check this account for mail, disable this option. Note that the account will be check when you use the Get Mail button unless you switch off Enable This Account. Now the options below that change depending on what kind of account you have. In a POP account, you will see Remove Copy from Server after receiving a message.
If you have just have one Mac and you are good at backing up your data, it's fine to switch this option on, particularly if you have an email account that doesn't have a lot of storage. With just 10 or 20 megabytes of email storage, the high resolution images Aunt Noma sends you from her last trip abroad would make subsequent messages from your boss bounce, if you don't remove those huge messages from the server. This will do that automatically. If like me, you have a lot of Macs and an iPod Touch and an iPhone and you retrieve your mail from all these things, leaving messages on the server helps ensure that you can get all your mail at anytime.
Of course having an IMAP account where all your mail is stored on a server is a better solution for this kind of thing. Go back to the IMAP account and you will see the Keep copies of messages for offline viewing. Here again, you can decide how you want to manage your mail. You can keep all your messages and their attachments, all messages, but omit attachments, so you want to see what's in the text, but you don't need the huge attachments to be stored on your Mac. Only messages that you have read and don't keep copies of any of my messages, you decide how you are going to configure this.
Back to POP, Prompt me to skip messages over x number of kilobytes. This option is less necessary now that broadband is so common, but in the modem days, it was really helpful. If you have a very slow connection to the internet, you don't want to have to download a 3 megabyte attachment that includes the picture of some one's cat. With this option on mail will ask you if you want to download pictures over a certain size. Now be careful, you don't set this number too low, like at around 20 kilobytes. If you do, you will see endless warnings make it something like 200 kilobytes and only the largest messages will trigger a warning.
And then below here, we see the Gray Line options. Both IMAP and POP accounts have a gray separator after these options, it indicates that the area below is for more advanced use. Once you have initially set up your email account, you shouldn't have to change these settings. For example, we see IMAP Path Prefix and the port there for IMAP account and then the port for SSL or secured connections and the kind of authentication that you might use. Your ISP or IT person will tell you if these settings need to be changed. We will close accounts and in our next lesson, we will look at organizing and viewing new messages.
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