Zoho Mail Setup

If you have an email account with Zoho, you can setup your email with IMAP using these settings.

Incoming Server Settings:
Incoming Server Name: imap.zoho.com
Port: 993
Require SSL: Yes

Outgoing Server Settings:
Outgoing Server Name: smtp.zoho.com
Port: 465 with SSL or
Port: 587 with TLS
Require Authentication: Yes

Google Login With No Password

Google is currently testing a new way to login using no passwords. It sends notifications via smart phones and users can login using push notifications. This is much more secure knowing that some users use really weak passwords. Two factor authentication has been around for a while. It also speeds up logins. Essentially, every time you login to your email, it sends a push notification to your phone. You press yes and it allows you in and read your emails.

Amazon WorkMail

Amazon plans to launch WorkMail, an enterprise email and calendar service, in the second quarter of this year. WorkMail will compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Gmail and Google Apps. WorkMail is built on Amazon’s cloud computing unit called Amazon Web Services or AWS. The email service is going be to encrypted and companies specify which regions to store their messages. WorkMail will cost around $4 per inbox per month. It comes with 50GB of disk space. Read more.

Yahoo Mail is Down

Yahoo Mail is down. Again. It doesn’t happen often, but it does go down every once in a while. My experience with Yahoo Mail hasn’t been good. The mail interface is quite problematic. I often had to refresh the Yahoo Mail page every time it becomes unresponsive. I think it’s time to think about using another email service. Either start using a free service like GMail or perhaps running your own personal server. I’m leaning more towards running my own email server.

Fixing CodeIgniter Email Setup

I have been using an application I wrote in CodeIgniter that sends email notifications when an advertising link is activated or when it has expired. Several weeks ago, it suddenly stopped working. It was no longer sending email notifications as intended. I was using GMail’s SMTP server to send out the email notifications. GMail’s SMTP does require authentication. Typically, the CodeIgniter’s email preferences are located in the “config/email.php” file. It dawned on me that changing my GMail password broke my script. Here’s my email preferences found in the config/email.php file.

$config['protocol']='smtp';
$config['smtp_host']='ssl://smtp.gmail.com';
$config['smtp_port']='465';
$config['smtp_timeout']='30';
$config['smtp_user']='yourusername@gmail.com';
$config['smtp_pass']='your password';
$config['charset']='utf-8';
$config['newline']="\r\n";

So, updating the password fixed my problem.

A Newly Redesigned GMail

Look for Google to announce in the upcoming weeks the newly redesigned GMail. Google recently slipped a video (see below) of the newly redesigned GMail. The new look and feel will give users the power to customize their email that way they want it. Most likely, integration with other Google services such as Google+ and Google Docs is in order.

I can’t wait for this to happen. What do you think?

Simple Invoices

I’ve been looking around for a simple invoice program. I even thought of creating one. Then, I found an open source program called Simple Invoices. I downloaded it and gave it a try. The installation was very straightforward. The process starts with downloading the program, editing the config.ini file, uploading to a server, and running the installation.

The installation gives the user the option to populate it with sample data or with no data. I chose no data. I entered myself as a biller and created several customers. I also created several product types like Labor, Hardware, Software and Miscellaneous. I would love to see more details in this area, perhaps a description field for each product type.

Once an invoice is created, it can be viewed, printed, exported in many formats like PDF, DOC or XLS. The invoice can also be sent via Email with a PDF attachment. Simple Invoices uses your host’s mail servers. The email feature doesn’t work on a localhost installation with no mail support. It worked on mine hosted at Hostgator. I imagine it will work on most host servers with mail support.

I wanted to modify the invoice number so that it will start at a certain number. This is for the continuity with my existing invoice numbering sequence. The default invoice number starts at 1. Unfortunately, there is no facility to change the invoice number except to manually edit it the database via PHPMyAdmin. The documentation about this sketchy, but I figured it out after a couple of tries. You will need to edit the cs_invoices and si_index tables and change the ids and the index_id.

Another great feature is the integration with Paypal. I’m using PayPal as a payment method and it works pretty good. The invoice can be sent via email to each customer. Simple Invoices places a Paypal button with a link to each invoice. The link redirects customers to Paypal to initiate payment. The customer can then use their Paypal account or use a credit card to send payment.

I have been unable to see any of the reporting features because I dont have the XSLT processor installed on my localhost. I’m using MAMP on the MacBook Air. I figured most hosting companies have this feature as standard, but after scouring the internet for a few minutes, I’m not so sure if Hostgator supports it. Will I ever see the reporting feature on this program? I’m not sure. I won’t know until I install it online. Update: this feature works at Hostgator!

Overall, the Simple Invoices program is great. It’s simple enough to be picked up by anyone. It has some excellent features such as exports to PDF, Word or Excel. The Paypal payment method is great. Simple Invoices needs more work in some areas, but it’s not bad start for an open-source program.

Finally, all software need some good documentation, and this one especially needs it. I’m sure the author can use a few volunteers here and there.

Facebook Mail Coming Soon

Rumor has it that Facebook is set to unleashed its own email service next Monday. It’s certainly no surprise since Facebook already has that capability with its own private messages between friends. With this new mail service, Facebook will be able to send out messages not just to other Facebook members, but to the rest of the world.

So, what’s the big deal? That’s exactly what I said. But there’s a catch. Facebook apparently has been working with Microsoft in integrating Microsoft Office Online Tools. Facebook users will be able to share Office documents with other Facebook users and possibly with everyone else.

One more thing, with this new email service, Facebook users will be able to use the ‘facebook.com’ domain as part of their email address. The email address format will most likely be: username@facebook.com. That’s one thing you’ll have in common with a Facebook employee, having the same email domain.

Is this a threat to GMail? I don’t see it that way. GMail has enough features that will stave off users from jumping to Facebook. In addition, Facebook has a marginal record when it comes to security and privacy. Will I trust them enough to run my email. That’s one concern that will be on everyone’s mind.

Switching Back To Yahoo Mail Classic

What’s wrong with Yahoo Mail? I’m talking about the New Yahoo Mail, that’s about two years old. Here’s the problem. Occasionally, when I try to open email, all I see is a blank page. I tried refreshing the page, closing the tabs, restarting the browser, but still the same results.

I thought it was just my computer, until I borrowed a friend’s laptop to check email. The same thing. Blank messages. It doesn’t happen all the time. Just a few messages here and there, but it’s enough to drive me nuts. So, I decided to switch back to Yahoo Mail Classic.

The Yahoo Mail Classic user interface instantly brought back memories. It works and that’s all I expect from an email service.