Yahoo! Mail has long been my email provider of choice. However, recently, I've been using it for more than its intended purpose of email. With Yahoo! now offering unlimited storage space, it has opened up a wide range of possibilities when it comes to uses. For example, I've begun to use it to archive all of my important documents, much like a filing cabinet. Having a back up document online gives me a great comfort that I'll always have what I need no matter what happens to my original document.
To make this work, one needs several things:
- A Yahoo! email account -Their free, but since I use Yahoo! email at work and for my own business, I've upgraded to Mail Plus to eliminate the ads that appear as taglines at the bottom of individual emails on the free account.
- An email folder labeled "Docs" - I prefer tags, as folders are pretty one-dimensional, but, alas, folders are what we're given with which to work. On the left sidebar, click on the "add" link beside "My Folders" and create the folder. Label it "Docs"
- A Yahoo! AddressGuard disposable address - One
of the slickest things Yahoo has provided is the disposable address.
Designed to thwart web sites that ask you for an email address and then
flood it with Bacn, we exploit it to serve a different purpose. It
takes the form of a base name (it never changes) and a keyword (an
extra word of your choosing) separated by a hyphen. The result looks
like this: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Don't try clicking on the link to the left, your email ain't going
anywhere!). The concept is simple: Create a disposable address to
register for things online. When the spam (or Bacn)
begins to flood your email inbox, you simply kill the disposable
address and the spam stops. Your original Yahoo! email address is
protected and still available to use for personal emailing. You then
create another disposable address and begin the process all over.
For our purpose, in the upper right-hand corner of the email screen, click on "Options" and choose "Mail Options" on the sub-menu that opens up. In the left sidebar, click on "Spam". Scroll down to "Disposable Addresses" and click on "Set up a Disposable Address". Follow the instructions to create a disposable address by choosing a base name. Choose any name you'd like. On the following screen, choose "Docs" as your keyword. On the next screen, set the drop-down option to send the email to the "Docs" folder. Finally, click on "Set up AddressGuard" button in the bottom left corner of the screen and you're done!
- A filter called "Docs" - Navigate back to the options page and choose "filter" in the sidebar. Following the instructions, create a filter that looks for incoming email addressed to your newly created disposable address and directs it into your "Docs" folder.
- A scanner - You're on your own on that one!
Now to work the system, here's what you do:
- Scan a document into your computer.
- Using any email program or email website (You are using Yahoo!, aren't you?), address an email to your new Docs email address.
- Attach your scanned document and send it on it's way.
The filter will scan the incoming email, note that it's addressed to your "Docs" disposable address and route it to your Docs folder.
Since beginning this, I've been archiving birth certificates, warranties, copies of insurance cards, tax documents, reference documents from work, financial documents and contracts, etc. It's quite calming to know that should my filing cabinet be lost in a fire, my most prized documents are safely online on redundant servers until I need them.
Since this was successful, I now have dedicated disposable addresses, folders and filters set up for receipts of major purchases. What else can you do with your Yahoo! Mail?
Tomorrow - Instructions for Gmail.