TIP OF THE WEEK: The first and most often thing people use on the computer is e-mail. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. I will devote a few columns to e-mail so let's start with content and a bit of "netiquette". Try to write like a letter so you will be clearly understood. Be especially careful with sarcasm, remember you cannot see your reader's response. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS - it is considered rude and screaming at someone on the Internet. If you are sending photos, watch what size before you click send - large files take a long time and some servers cannot accept them. Use a short subject that will make your intent clear and concise to your readers. Avoid forward when possible, take a moment to copy and paste to your new mail it is much nicer to your recipients. PLEASE do not keep forwarding mail as you get it! As a recipient, I do not want to open a dozen attachments and as a sender, I am not sure I want my addy (e-mail address) given out to all of your friends.
PLUGGER'S PICKS: Seek and ye shall find! There is an art to searching and at the heart of that art is your choice of a search engine. There are thousands of search engines and more everyday. Each ones searches a bit differently, using various "spiders" to look at distinct criteria on the web. The more you learn, the better you get. You can start a search with a very wide perimeter and narrow down or start very detailed and then broaden your search. You don't want to wade through more than 3 or 4 pages of results so too many returns on your search is the first indication you should get more specific. Many browsers have chosen your search engine for you but usually you can change that preference if you find a favorite one you like to use. Different projects may indicate a change of your search engine if you need a specific picture or looking for a certain sound. Again, a word of caution! Even a very innocent search can return some nasty stuff so be with your kids. Listed here are some ideas:
Google my favorite - very fast!
Ask Jeeves! good beginners engine, ask your questions like a sentence. Also helps define a search well.
MetaCrawler searches seven different major directories for you all at once.
iWon has contests and awards money for searching here.