Help File

Help File: Managing E-Mail From Multiple Locations; Cleaning Plasma TVs

By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, April 5, 2009

QHow can I check my home e-mail account from multiple locations without losing track of which messages I've read and answered?

AIf this reader's Internet provider supported an e-mail standard called IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), it would be easy: IMAP keeps your mail in sync across multiple computers.

But like most firms, his only supports the older, less flexible POP (Post Office Protocol) system.

The Web-mail interfaces most Internet providers offer, in turn, are usually clumsy, slow and ugly.

One workaround, as suggested by another reader in the same Web chat, would be to set up an IMAP-capable Web-mail account to fetch messages from the first inbox. For example, Google's Gmail allows IMAP access and can fetch mail via POP; the mail system in Apple's $100 a year MobileMe service offers those features, too. Then, whether you check e-mail on the Web or in a program synced to the Web-mail account, you'll always see which messages you've read, answered or forwarded.

Set those applications to use your original account as your return address and nobody will realize you're using this somewhat Rube Goldberg-esque routine.

What's the right way to clean a plasma TV?

The screen is made of glass, but household cleaners can eat away at the chemical coatings manufacturers apply.

Instead, use only a lint-free cloth barely dampened with water and, if necessary, very little dish soap. Panasonic's Web site suggests "1 part mild liquid dish soap diluted by 100 times the amount of water." (Samsung's site differs, recommending the screen cleaning solutions sold in most electronics stores.) The same drill applies to LCD TVs and computer monitors.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or Turn to Thursday's Business section or visit anytime for his Fast Forward column.

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