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The Basics
E-mail (electronic mail) is a way of sending text messages to people anywhere virtually instantaneously. E-mail addresses are of the form login@domain (eg. and represent the person and machine that the messages go to or come from. Although the postal mail is secure, e-mail is not, so never send your credit card or password through e-mail.

How It Works
Once you type and send your message, it does not go directly to that person. First, it stops by our mail server which determines where the message needs to go based on the address. Then it sends it the quickest way possible to the recipient's mail server. This can take it through many different routing servers (hence, the insecurity) and the path may not always be the same. Once it gets to the other mail server, the message is processed and filed until the receiver opens the mail client and retrieves the message (with various headers, including who the message came from, what mail server it came from, and where replies should be directed). Files can also be 'attached' to e-mail messages and sent, even though the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) only supports text. Typically, your e-mail client will do the conversion of the file to straight text for you. Because the message must go through various servers with different file size limits, your messages should be generally no larger than two megabytes in size.

What You Need
All you need to send and receive e-mail is an e-mail client. Probably the most popular one used today is Eudora. You can download Eudora Light, a stripped down version of Eudora Pro, for free. The Professional version requires purchasing and adds a few more features.

E-mail Abuse
Because it's easy to send e-mail to anyone with an e-mail address, people can simply send out lots of unsolicited junk e-mail (also known as Spam). At Texas.Net, spam can be a reason for termination of an account, but most often, spam comes from large mailing lists like Cyber Promotions. Other times, giving out your e-mail address to discussion lists, newsgroups and web pages can lead to spam, so be careful who you give that address to.

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