Introduction to Electronic Mail (Email)

Need an E-mail package? check here.

Have a UNIX shell account at work and want to get mail? Here's a program that will enable you to read your shentel mail:

Electronic mail gives you the ability to exchange messages with anyone on the Internet. Your unique Internet mail address is your PID followed by

For example, if your PID is jsmith, your email address would be:

You may send and receive individual messages or participate in mailing lists of interest to you. You may also exchange text and binary files with other e-mail users.

| Sending mail | | Receiving mail | | Header fields | | Nicknames and groups | | Mail enclosures | | Using a signature | | Email to other online services |

Your email program

Eudora (Mac, Windows) and NuPOP (DOS) are types of client/server mail. The "server" computer acts as an e-mail post office, collecting letters addressed to people in the local domain, and forwarding letters from local users to other mail domains. The "client" program runs on your personal computer, providing an interface for composing messages, looking up e-mail addresses, acquiring and sending your mail. Since the client only connects to the post office server long enough to acquire new messages and send outgoing mail, the post office computer can support many e-mail users.


Sending mail

To send electronic mail, you only need an Internet mailing address and a message. You'll compose it using your mail client, and the software will take care of delivering it when you are ready. See your Installation Guide for more detail.


Receiving mail

When you retrieve mail it is moved from the mail server to your computer's hard drive. Once it is stored on your hard disk, you can read messages, discard them, forward them, or reply to the sender.


The header fields

The header is the top portion of the message that includes the address and subject fields. Below are descriptions of some of the fields.

To: the recipient's e-mail address, multiple addresses separated by commas.
Cc: (carbon copy) sends a copy of the message to this address
Bcc: (blind carbon copy) addresses listed here receive copies but they aren't listed in the message header of the recipients. This is useful when you want to send a copy of a message to someone without everyone else knowing you did so.


Nicknames and groups

Email addresses can be long, complicated, and cumbersome to type. A nickname can be assigned to act as an easily remembered, shorter substitute. You can also assign a nickname to a group of recipients. These nicknames can be used in the To:, Cc:, and Bcc: fields. Each email program has a way of creating, storing, and changing nicknames and groups.


Sending and receiving mail enclosures

Very often you will want to send files along with mail messages. If the file is simple text, you may want to copy and paste it into the body of your message. If the files are more complex such as word processing documents or binary (e.g., software, .sea) files, you'll want to include them as enclosures.

Make sure an outgoing message window is the current window. Choose "Attach Document..." from the Message menu in Eudora and "Append" from the File menu in NuPOP. Locate the file you want to enclose and click on Open. The file will act as a rider to the email message; it will not be seen within the message text but the name of the file will appear in the header. Plain ASCII text files will be added to the body of the message.


Using a signature

A signature is a short file that you can have appended automatically to every mail message that you send. A signature is usually no more than three or four lines of information about yourself. Items that often appear in a signature are:

Some also include a short quote from a famous (or not so famous author) that they like or find particularly meaningful.


Email to other online services

All the major online computer services allow their subscribers to send and receive email from Internet users. Use the list below to make sure you address the mail correctly.

America OnLine (AOL)

Note: Compuserve users often list their userids with a comma separating the first four digits from the second five digits. Be sure to use a period in place of the comma when addressing the mail. Also, some Compuserve addresses vary in the number of digits in the userid; use whatever is listed (that is, don't try to change the number of digits to conform to the example above).

To send mail to somebody who uses a Fidonet BBS, you need the name they use to log onto that system and its "node number". Fidonet node numbers or addresses consist of three numbers, in this form: 1:322/190. The first number tells which of three broad geographic zones the BBS is in (1 represents the U.S. and Canada, 2 Europe and Israel, 3 Pacific Asia, 4 South America).

The second number represents the BBS's network, while the final number is the BBS's "FidoNode" number in that network. If your correspondent only gives you two numbers (for example, 322/190), it means the system is in zone 1. Now comes the tricky part. You have to reverse the numbers and add to them the letters f, n and z (which stand for "FidoNode," "network," and "zone"). For example, the address above would become

Now add "" at the end, to get
Then add "FirstName.LastName@", to get
To send mail to a GEnie user, add to the end of their GEnie user name, for example: Unlike users of other networks, however, GEnie users can receive mail from Internet only if they pay an extra monthly charge.
To send mail to somebody with an MCIMail account, add to the end of their name or numerical address. For example:
Prodigy Note that Prodigy users must pay extra for Internet email.

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