Why Use Gmail (Googlemail) – Five Very Good Reasons

Why use Gmail? Deliverability, spam controls, labels, storage , aliases, multiple email addresses, filters – AND it’s free or very cheap.

At time of writing, I have 63,704 messages totalling 1.79GB and I pay all of $5 a year for an extra 20GB which gives me 36GB total storage for all my Google activities. My oldest message in one of my oldest accounts (I have several) is dated July 2006 (older messages were deleted) and reminds me that I bought a Nokia E70 cell phone (mobile) – which was state-of-the-art at the time. Ah, such memories. All sitting there for over 8 years! An even older email account goes back to 2001.


So, let’s take a look at five good reasons for using Gmail – or you can use it’s full name of Googlemail if you prefer – both work eg joeblogs@gmail.com is inter changeable with joeblogs@googlemail.com.

1. Deliverability. By this I mean your messages getting out to people and also you getting theirs. As with all email systems, you still need to frequently check your  spam box for ‘false-positives’, but most e-newsletters will accept Gmail accounts without question, whereas Hotmail, Yahoo and especially AOL may be banned from most simply because they all bounce too many messages.  This was happening 10 years ago too, when I ran a company newsletter – we had to stop people signing up with AOL accounts.

2. Collect messages from any number of your other accounts and have them all come into one. Use a filter on the other ones – which can be your own domain, another free account or other Gmail accounts. Have them all come into one central email reader. Gmail let’s you set it up so that when you reply it says it’s from the same account the sender wrote to. Very clever and saves a lots of time!

3. Labels are folders, but all in one place. When you want to keep messages of a certain subject, or from a certain person or company, all in one place, you used to have to set up folders and filters. Then go through each folder to read them. Well, Gmail is a bit more clever.  You can set up a label on an open message, then set up a filter for other messages to have that label as well. In your main inbox and All Mail box you will see the label at the top of the message, but you can also go directly to the folder of the same name to see them all. If you want to remove a message from that folder, just remove the label. I find this works very well if there are several members of staff who need to see a particular message, or it has information or questions which need answering by more than one of us. Add a label for each person. They see all their messages in one folder and when they have done their bit, they simply delete their label. Simple.

4. Inexpensive storage space. $5 for 20GB of extra storage space is brilliant. No need to worry about running out of room. The downside is that we all tend to forget to delete messages! My 63000+ can probably be cut down to several thousand if I took the time to go through them all. But it’s quite an historic record of my activities, so I think I’ll keep them there!

5. Integration with your Smartphone/cell phone. To get the most benefit on your Android device, you need to Register with a Gmail/Google account. This has several benefits. Firstly, it’s a continuous backup for your contacts – so no need to worry about transferring them all when you change phones. Register with Google Wallet and you can instantly by app upgrades without too much fuss. It’s great for looking after important documents, photos, music e-books too. In fact, the whole Google experience is a whole book in itself – and not the purpose of this blog post.

There are lots of things which having a Google account can do for you, but eMail is probably the first thing which comes to mind.

There have been reports of Google suddenly closing down accounts without warning. No idea why, but it happens from time to time. I use an email client (Thunderbird) on my pc and all my messages come down to that – as well as on my mobile. It’s a form of backup, so I shouldn’t lose everything if there is a hiccup but it’s also because I work in different ways depending what piece of equipment I’m using.

I’ll be looking at other aspects of email in my next post, but for now, let’s just say that I’m very happy with my 10 Gmail accounts and can’t imagine life without them.

Until next time.


Setting Up A New Computer – The Five Things I Always Do First

It’s great having a brand new computer (PC for short). You can set everything up just the way you would like it. When I set up a new computer, here are the five things I always do first. At the end of the post I will list the programs I currently use on my laptop. (BTW, when I speak of a PC I mean desktop, laptop, notebook – not tablets, and certainly not iPads. MACs or Linux machines).

laptop image

I just recently upgraded my laptop to an Asus X75V – so now is a good time to summarise how I set it up for real.

  1. First and foremost I get my Anti Virus or Security Suite loaded up and running. The two are different, by the way. Anti Virus, is usually just that, whereas a Security Suite does more. Which you get depends on how much you want to pay. I’ll go into details in another post. For this purpose, I really want to stress that getting your AV sorted out as quickly as possible is a must.
  2. Updating Windows and setting it to update automatically. As soon as they leave the factory, PCs are out of date. For security reasons, you must install all the updates which have come through since. Sometimes there will be a lot. The AV program may well prompt for you to do this anyway – DON’T SKIP IT! I just let the system do it’s job before I go on to the next step.
  3. Keeping in touch with the outside world is important to me, so I like to download my email messages to my PC so that I can sort and move them around however I want. Also means that even with our very slow broadband connection, I can do my messages at my leisure. I use Thunderbird as my email client and download from 5 accounts a the moment. So, setting up my email client is number two on my list.
  4. Browser comes next. It may be that this will jumpt to the top of my list, depending on when I do what, but my favorite browser and the one I am most comfortable using is Firefox. I’ll set this as my default and pop on the add-ons I need asap.
  5. The absolutely essential piece of software I must have avaialble straight away is OneNote. This is my project book and comes into my Top Five things I always do first simply because it is so easy to use. 90% of my online biz and non-biz information is stored in OneNote. It’s my personal assistant and has been for years.

So, that’s about it. I would then go on to add all my programs and set up my screens and taskbar, but these five items have top priority every time.

I usually upgrade my PC every two or three years. It provides a good opportunity for me to have a clear out, not install again those programs I have never used, and ring the changes with colour schemes and themes. My desktop looks very different now to what it did five years ago, let alone 30 when I first started using computers in the 1980s!

Do add a comment if you would like to – or if you would like to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what you would like me to cover in future posts. Keep it short so other readers will take an interest too.

Here’s my list:

  1.     Currently using BitDefender Total Security Suite 2014. bitdefender imageThey have a free AV option, but the whole suite is a good price on Amazon. I’ve   tried lots of the freebies, but they all seem to nag me to upgrade too much, or slow my pc down. MS Defender/Security Essentials was also a favourite, but MS are not keeping them updated as they used to,m so not a good choice these days.



  1. I used to have Windows download the updates and just tell me they were there, but then I’d skip running them. Not a good idea. The hackers like to look for PCs which are out-of-date. Better to let the system do it all automatically. The last thing you want is hackers coming in!
  2. Thunderbird is almost as good as Eudora was! Most of my accounts are with Gmail (googlemail), thunderbird logobut I also have some domains which I send to my gmail accounts. My main three I also access on my mobile. Thunderbird is an email ‘client’. I have set it up so that I can reply as from the address the message was sent to (gmail does that too). I don’t like hotmail or yahoo – far too nosey and intrusive with ads.
  3. If you don’t have a favourite browser, do try out some of the alternatives like Chrome. Opera, Firefox. Internet Explorer comes as standard, but with a new pc you are given a choice of which one you want to set as your default.
  4. OneNote (from Microsoft) is bundled with the Office Suites, but you can also buy it separately. onenote logoIt’s very similar to Evernote and Springpad – the latter I use on my mobile as it’s a great way to make quick notes. I’ll be honest – I do have OneNote on my mobile now, but have yet to set it up – the main reason I haven’t is because of the mass of info I keep on it, which I don’t need when I’m out and about.

In a future post I will introduce some of the other bits and pieces I use on my computer which you may find useful too, but for now at least you know the five things I always do first when I’m setting up my computer!


Top Tips For Choosing A Computer Mouse

Speaking to a friend yesterday, I was reminded of a very simple fact: no-one knows everything that anyone else knows. Hmmm. Perhaps that needs a bit more explaining.

We were discussing how we use our computers and software – including how we decide what to use and how to choose what we buy. So I thought this might be a good idea for a series of computer using related blog posts or articles. Nothing high-brow. So here we go.

My Top Tips For choosing A Computer Mouse

First up: Mice – or should that be ‘mouses’?

Types of Mouse

There are mainly three styles, or methods of moving the cursor around the screen: mouse, trackball, touchpad. There are one or two others (finger mouse, graphics tablet), but let’s keep mainstream for this purpose.

Apart from the fact that using the keyboard is arguably more efficient in many cases (which is not the purpose of this article), you have the option of a mouse – which you move around on your desk using your hand and wrist.; a trackball – which is fairly static on the desk, you move a ball with your thumb or fingers; or a touchpad – found mostly on laptops and netbooks. (Yes, I know Apple are coming out with a new touchy-feely mouse, but I don’t do Apple!) Continue reading “Top Tips For Choosing A Computer Mouse”

Updating My WordPress Blog

Updating My WordPress Blog

Should I update my WordPress Blog?

Never one to hang about – “yes”, was the answer as soon as I logged in this evening and saw an update was available.

And yes, it has gone perfectly.

Having done that, I decided to change the theme – what do you think? (The old theme was one of the basic WP ones and needed a revamp anyway). I have to go through it all properly, but the other week I exported all the posts in here to my other blog. I have still to check a couple of things – plugins etc, but it’s looking OK at the moment.

Next up, for today at least, is a radical change to what I’m going to do with this blog. That’s my problem. I really have no idea where I want to specialise – what I want to be my niche. Which is why I have gone overboard with all sorts of things and ended up very steadily getting nowhere – fast!

I have quite a few blogs, including Blogger blogs. My main biz one – http://www.acmeweblog.com – is really for bringing all my websites together. It’s still not right, but I sort of consider it my ‘main’ blog. This one, lynda-hill.com, is going to be a bit more personal and hopefully less of a biz promo site – more of a resource. Well, let’s see how it goes.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for years is help folks learn how they can use their computers better. So many people are terrified of doing any more than they have been shown – I want to help them (you?) realise that you can do a lot more – and do it much more easily too.

My next post will get it started – simply called ‘The Right Click’.

While you wait with bated breath for me to do it, why don’t you start ‘right clicking’ anyway!

Until next time

— LyndaH