Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mediacom, IMAP and real e-mail clients

The FHG lives in the Midwest and the FHG's ISP, Mediacom,  has been enabling IMAP support for their e-mail accounts for a while now, mine just got enabled yesterday.  You get an e-mail before, and when it's enabled for you. Mediacom gives us a 1GB of mail storage.

This is a good thing, people should be using IMAP with proper e-mail clients, works better with multiple devices that way. With IMAP, your e-mail stays on the server so your inbox, saved mails, read mails, etc etc, are in sync no matter what you access it with.

Was looking around in Mediacom's various webmail UI preferences and saw an export feature for things like contacts, which is a good thing. If you've been using their webmail you can bring over contacts into a real e-mail client.   Said export feature exports what we 'nix users call "tarballs" aka ".tgz"  archives.

It's like a zip file, but it's not commonly used by windows users.   Mediacom must have not checked things over well when they installed their Zimbra setup.  Yeah, it's a Zimbra backend.

If you're on Windows, installing Open Source 7-zip is the easiest way to get tgz support. 

In most cases you want the 64-bit MSI, only install the 32-bit version if you're running XP or an older 32 bit Vista.

If you use Mediacom's "webmail", which you shouldn't be doing, here's the real help page on it:

But using a real e-mail client to read your e-mail is better.  Remember kids, using webmail instead of a real e-mail client with GPG and S/MIME support makes the FHG cry.

I usually recommend Thunderbird (with the Enigmail addon)

or the GPG4Win packaged version of Claws-Mail (which includes the GPG secure e-mail software as well, which you will need anyway if you use Enigmail with Thunderbird)

You may have noticed the section on "Secure Email", that's for their "Network" version users aka businesses.  Yeah, if you're a business user of Mediacom you can use S/MIME signing and encryption with the webmail version.  (S/MIME is the other system of email security, a good e-mail client supports both.)

But that's okay, because using a real e-mail client anyone can use S/MIME

Mediacom gives you a Calendar too, works like Google Calendar and you can access it with whatever calendar application you have like Calendar on OSX, Sunbird, and probably including your phone's calendar app, but it's fiddly and not quite as easy to use as the Google calendars are. I had to set the webcal URL in the vcalendar plugin on Claws-Mail manually  a la:


then it worked.  But you probably wouldn't have to do that in Calendar or on a phone.

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