A lot of us here on h2g2 use pseudonyms, and want to be able to send and receive emails using our hootoo log-ons without all that tedious faffing around with browsers required for Hotmail or Yahoo accounts.
Well, it may be easier than you think! A little one-off faffing around means that you can send and recieve Yahoo email via Microsoft Outlook. And if you use another email package, the same principals apply.
What are you going to do?
And you set up an account in Outlook with HooTooResearcher as the sender's name and [email protected] as the return email addy.
But since nothing is that easy in this virtual world here are some more detailed instructions.
Step One - Who are you? (This is important)
Remember your h2g2 id - we will call you 'HooTooResearcher' for want of a better name. Lets pretend that your RL name is - er - Joe Doe.
Step Two - Set up a free mail account
Go to one of the free browser-based email service providers. At the moment (Summer 2001) Yahoo does provide forwarding to a Pop Mail service and Hotmail does not. I am not sure about other browser-based email services.
Do not forget to put HooToo Researcher in the boxes which ask for your name. These are the boxes that control the name of the sender of the email, and it would be a tad embarrasing if it said 'From: Joe Doe' when the whole point is to be pseudononymous.
Send a mail to your normal email account to make sure it works.
Step Three - Set up auto-forwarding to your Outlook mail account
Yahoo will forward mails to another mail account. They imply that they may send spam, but I have never noticed any. In Yahoo at the moment (Summer 2001) you go to the Options sections in your Yahoo mail account and select Pop Access and Forwarding.
Follow the instructions on the web site, using your normal email address: [email protected] This will involve flicking backwards and forwards between Outlook and the website so that Yahoo can verify the service. Their instructions are fairly clear.
Step Four - (Optional) - Set up Outlook to automatically put these in a separate folder
When the message comes in to Outlook, open it and click Actions > Create Rule. This will launch a New Rule Wizard. Follow it through, creating a rule for all emails addressed to [email protected] to be put in a separate Outlook folder. Mine all go into a folder called 'H2G2' but you could call yours 'Overdue Supplier Invoices', or 'Plots to Overthrow the Monarchy' depending on how paranoid you are. You can create the Outlook folder from within the wizard.
Step Five - Set up Outlook so that you can use it to send emails from [email protected]
This is more fiddly, but - hey - how complex can a Microsoft product actually be?
From your main Outlook mail screen go to Tools > Accounts
You will have at least one mail account there already. What we are going to do is copy most of that account with a couple of not-so-subtle differences. The one potential 'gotcha' is that you need to know the password on your existing mail account.
The simplest thing to do is to use the Properties button to work your way through the Servers and Connection tabs, copying down what is entered in there already.
Then use Add > Mail... to work your way through the wizard. Again, don't forget to put 'HooTooResearcher' in the Display Name field and [email protected] in the email address fields. All other fields remain the same as the ones you noted from your other account.
And there you are!
Step Six - Sending mail using your HooTooResearcher account
When you send a mail from your Outlook account, DON'T just click the Send button: Click File > Send using... and select 'HooTooResearcher' from the list of accounts.
You may like to add one other refinement.
Step Seven - (Optional) - Filing replies in the same folder as the original message
Deep in the heart of Outlook's Options is a nifty little feature which means that Outlook will store any reply you send in the same folder as the mail to which you are replying. (Replies to messages in the 'Inbox' are stored in the 'Sent' Folder). Tools > Options > Preferences Tab (default) > Email Options > Advanced Email Options.
And there you are!
And there you are! You can now send and recieve emails pseudonominously using your normal email software package. You should be aware that a mail tracker may be able to track the email back to your ISP - so this is not a foolproof anonymous service. But it is reasonable for everyday use.