I have seven different email accounts. One day I realised that six of them were spammed and scammed on a daily basis, whereas one of them never contained any offending emails at all.

This led me to think, “there must be a better way”. The account which was always problem-free was my Gmail account so I thought I should learn more about this account I was using.

After going through all the help files and making sure I understood all the settings, I decided to do the following.

First of all, I arranged for all my email from the six other accounts to pass through my Gmail account. Just a case of typing in the email names and, when a “test email” was sent to the account, clicking on the link – simplicity itself. This cured my spam and scam email problem immediately.

Also, when sending email from my Gmail web account, I could choose from my seven accounts exactly which email to show as the address from which the message would appear to have come.

Excellent. One major problem solved. I then set up Pmail – an email account that allows me to bounce messages and then bounced five years email messages to my Gmail account. (Bouncing means that, when my messages arrived into the Gmail account it actually shows the sender as the original sender, not from my email program.)

Now I had a web based account that had, on file, my entire collection of emails for the last five years.

This came in very handy recently in South Africa when I was to call on a friend and found I had lost his address. However he had sent me the address about two years previously, and a quick trip to an Internet Café, together with Gmail’s excellent retrieval skills, I had the errant address and a great evening was had by all. Most web based email websites will only have the emails which have arrived since you last logged on to your email.

Perfect. Now all I had to do is to set up, within Gmail, an operation to send all new emails to my email program. And change the SMTP protocol in the email program to send all mail via Gmail so a copy would be there. A few clicks and the job was done.

Now all I had to do was to fire up my email program, the emails would be downloaded and I could work as I normally did. The only difference was, no offending spams and scams, and all my mail available, anywhere in the world, at any time.

However, this might be suitable for most people, but for those of us who have many computers – I have two desktops and one Notebook, there is a problem. This is not a Gmail problem, it wouldn’t matter how you collected your mail, you would only really be able to use one computer if you wanted all your email in one file.

A few years ago POP3 was progressed to IMAP. IMAP with Google is a blessing for me. By using IMAP on my many computers I log on with my email program through my broadband connection and although it looks like I am working in my email program, I am in fact working on the Gmail database. All this is transparent to the user but it means that when I switch from my Windows machine, working in Outlook, to my Ubuntu Linux machine working with Evolution email, the picture of my message base is exactly the same and I even have copies of the emails I sent on my Windows machine.

In addition I use Google Documents for word processing and Spreadsheets, and now Presentations so that they are always available, even in Internet Cafés.

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