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Why Comcast is Different

If you delete an email from one of your computer devices, does it get deleted from all your devices?

Yes. No. It depends.

Email systems come in two flavors, POP and IMAP. POP stands for “Post Office Protocol; IMAP stands for “Internet Message Access Protocol.” But that doesn’t really tell you much.

What is worth knowing is how their differences affect you.

IMAP systems synchronize with the server and your other devices. When you delete an email from an IMAP account, it automatically deletes from your other devices.

In contrast, POP systems do not synchronize with the server; you need to delete every email from each device manually.

Some email programs give you the choice to be POP or IMAP. Comcast is only POP. If you use a Comcast email address, you have to delete the same email from each device manually.

I am not suggesting that you abandon your Comcast address if you are happy with it. If you retrieve your email from only one computer or if you prefer to delete emails from your various devices manually, you need not change anything. If, however, you wish to have an email address that lets you synchronize with the server (delete once and not see that email again), you can create a email account with a company other than Comcast.

Note: If you pay Comcast to provide you with the cable modem service that comes into your house, you are not obligated to use the Comcast email address you have; changing your email address does not have to mean changing your hi-speed service.

Thanksgiving and Your Computer

There are two things I hear from my friends, family, and students right after the Thanksgiving holiday:

  1. They ate too much
  2. Their grandkids played with their computer (laptop, iPad, smartphone, etc.) and now it doesn’t look/work the way it used to

I should not offer advice about the eating thing. And I will tread lightly as I do offer the following advice about the other issue: do not let your grandkids use your computer devices!

Easier said than done.

Kids love to play with computers and mobile electronic devices, especially if the devices belong to someone else. They download apps, experiment with programs, change a few settings, and rearrange stuff. And then they go home. Not until after you finish the dishes and put your house back together do you realize that your once-familiar computer device has been — what I call — “kidpromised.” And you are left to figure out how to get it back the way you had it. Happy holiday indeed.

To avoid this scenario, consider:

  • putting your computers in places the kids won’t have access to them
  • suggesting to their parents that they bring with them their own — or the kids’ own — electronic devices
  • setting up a passcode on your devices to prevent unauthorized access
  • playing Scrabble … on a board, with wooden tiles….

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday … and don’t eat too much!

Sending Holiday Cards and Invitations

It’s holiday time and that means that some of you will send cards to friends and family. Maybe you will be inviting them to a party. For those of you who plan to send cards and invitations by email, please follow the “Bcc” etiquette.

I have written about this before — but it is important enough to repeat: please put the email addresses of your friends and family in the “blind copy (Bcc)” box, not in the “To” or “Cc” boxes.

If you put all the email addresses in the “To” box when you send an email to a group, everyone who receives that email will be able to see the addresses of other recipients. Not only will you have given everyone in that group some email addresses they might not have had (and can now add to their lists for their own business and/or personal use), but, in the case of an invitation, you will have shared your entire guest list with everybody.

When sending a group email, address the email to yourself (put your email address in the “To” box), and put all the recipients’ addresses in the “Bcc” box. This way, everyone you wish to receive the email will receive it, but will not see your other recipients or be privy to their addresses.

Of course, there are scenarios in which you do wish your recipients to see each other; in those cases, address the email accordingly.

Please consider the “Bcc” option when appropriate. Your friends and family will thank you for not sharing their information.

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Note: If you wish to design personalized photo holiday cards and invitations on your computer for sending by US Mail, you can visit

If you have an Apple computer, you can also create cards in iPhoto and upload them to Apple for printing.

Got Email?

Some of us get our email by going to our email company’s website; others have our email come to us through a mail management program.

Going to get your email (Web-based email):

Major email companies — AOL, ATT, Bellsouth, Comcast, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, etc. — have their own websites. You go to the website, log in, see the day’s news/stories/ads, and go to your inbox to read your mail. Easy.

Arranging for your email to come to you (Email Client Program):

Rather than go to an email website to check your mail, you can have your mail come to you by using an email software program — called an email client — such as Windows Live Mail, Outlook, Lotus Notes, Entourage, or Apple Mail. You enter your email address and password only once and each time you open the program, your email is available. Also easy.

Seems like basically the same thing; either way I get my email. Why do I need to know about this?

There are some differences. Here are a few:

  • You will not see news, ads, and features with an email client program. You will go right to your inbox.
  • Web-based mail will look the same no matter what device you use to access it.
  • Web-based mail companies update the program for you (whether you like it or not). Email client programs give you the option to upgrade.
  • Email client programs can track two or more of your email addresses from the same screen. Web-based mail makes you log out of one to log in to the other.
  • Email client programs use one list of contacts for multiple email addresses; web-based mail makes you keep separate contact lists.
  • Web-based email access if free. Some email client programs are free, some are not.

There are also some “hybrid” programs: AOL has its own locally-stored desktop software with a lot of “extra” features only for AOL accounts. Google (Gmail) and Yahoo! are all web-based but offer some client-like features.

The good news is that these choices are not mutually exclusive. You can access your email either way, or both ways. The choice is not about right or wrong — it is about your preferred system.

No need to change the way you currently access your mail — unless you wish to. It’s just good to know what your options are.