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Take Control of Apple Mail: Solve Problems, Work Smart, and End Spam Paperback – Oct 13 2004
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From the Back Cover
Mail, Apple's built-in mail application with Mac OS X, is largely unsung. It's used by millions of users, but there's no manual to show you the ropes. In Take Control of Apple Mail, longtime Mac consultant and writer Joe Kissell puts Mail through its paces, teaching you in step-by-step, illustrated examples how to best configure and use Mail's simple yet powerful features. You'll learn numerous solutions to real-world confusions and problems with Apple Mail, such as fixingproblems related to sending and receiving mail, dealing withauthentication errors, sending attachments successfully, repairingdamaged mailboxes, and connecting to Exchange servers. Joe alsocovers various ways to address outgoing messages quickly, backup and restore email, set up rules, and more.Along the way, you'll learn how to prevent spam from overtaking your mailbox, while two appendices cover related issues including sources and a brief description for third-party software that can enhance or supplement Mail.
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Of course, there is a little bit more to email than just the client side. You have to get your messages from a message server. An unavoidable complication. So Kissell delves into POP and IMAP servers, without drowning you in technical details. He gives very straightforward explanations, directed at a lay audience.
As a sign of our times, he offers an extensive discussion of spam filters for the Mac. By now, there are several available. None of these are very effective. Filtering messages on keywords that are bad words may detect some porn messages, but the nonporn spam is much harder to tackle by this method. Plus, there are many ways for a spammer to insert deliberate misspellings, to avoid these tests.
The Bayesian methods are probabilistic and require training on known sets of spam and nonspam. Plus, such Bayesians can be poisoned by spammers sending messages with all sorts of irrelevant words. You will need to periodically retrain it.
You will just have to tolerate the spam any of these methods let through, until better techniques come along.
Peachpit Press and TidBITS Electronic Publishing, 2005
Reviewed by FMUG member Jim Martin
TidBITS is well known for its series of "Take Control" publications on the web. They have now worked with Peachpit on this printed book covering Apple Mail.
Mail was created as part of OS X, and has become the mail application of choice for many Mac users. While its features and controls are, typical of all Apple software, "clear and clean", there are some capabilities for which users will appreciate further guidance. "Take Control of Apple Mail" does this quite well. One advantage is that TidBITS offers free electronic updates to the volume, solving a common problem of obsolescence which affects so many computer books.
Author Kissell focuses on Mail operations beyond the basics. While many users may rarely need such features, when they do this book will be a valuable aid. It is based in part on unpublished tips and techniques which help make the user smarter about Mail and able to use it more smoothly.
Handling outgoing mail, viewing incoming mail, and attachments for both are covered, along with saving your communications. Also, to quote, there are "nine pieces of essential advice about rules, seven ways to improve your Previous Recipients list, and six tips for working in the Viewer window". Of course, the critical relationship between Mail and the Address Book is included. And despite the quality of the Mail application, there is information about the sometimes needed troubleshooting.
While this reviewer had previously consulted other texts on Mail, he found refreshing new ideas in "Take Control" and better ways to deal with several features he had used a number of times. For everyone other than those who use only Mail's most basic capabilities, this will be an excellent addition to the Mac user's library.
The step by step instructions for setting up mailboxes were very good. The book gives very clear examples with illustrations on setting up preferences to help sort your incoming mail. The troubleshooting checklist has a lot of solutions to those annoying ERROR messages that sometimes pop up when sending mail. The author covered some areas that I had never given a thought to, such as backing up email. After looking at all my saved emails, I realized that I did have a lot of important info that was not backed up. That issue has now been corrected.
Another section that I found very helpful was on setting up rules to direct your emails to the proper folders and help prevent spam. I have already cut down the amount of spam I was receiving by using these methods.
The only drawback to this book is that it was published before the Tiger release, But you can get free updates online. Full instructions on downloading the updates are given in the book. These cover all the great new features that Tiger has for Mail.
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