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Self-destructing e-mail address service

THIS WEEK NetSpeak features a few auto-expire, disposable e-mail address services.

It is common knowledge that an e-mail id, which is in wide circulation, becomes more vulnerable to spam or junk mails. As regular readers of this column would recall, one solution to control this menace is to make your main e-mail address less known to the public. Actions such as publishing the address on web sites, providing it to on-line services while signing-up an account with them and the like are some of the means through which an e-mail address gets out of your hand.

One trick that will make an e-mail id less public is to use a throwaway or disposable e-mail address.

This column has already featured a few such services. The service, Mailinator (http://www.mailinator.com) that helps us create instant e-mail ids and the e-mail alias service, Mailnull (http://mailnull.com/), are typical examples. Here, we explore some free mail forwarding services that automatically expire after a specified period.

Spamgourmet (http://spamgourmet.com/) is almost similar to `Mailnull' but with some extra features. It allows you to create several e-mail ids that can be made to disappear into the cyberspace automatically, after use for a specified number of times. To use the service, you have to provide a log-in name and an e-mail id for forwarding your mails.

Once the registration process is over, whenever you want to provide an e-mail id to a public service, you can create a self-destructing e-mail address of the form: your-service-name.n.your_log-in-name@spamgourmet.com. Here `n' is the number of e-mails you want to receive in this address before you want this e-mail id to die.

That is, if the name of the service you want to sign-up with is `lug', your spamgourment `user name' is `jmspam' and you want to receive 5 mails in this address, the disposable address can take the form: lug.5.jmspam@spamgourmet.com. Mails addressed to this id will automatically get forwarded to your real mail address and once the number of mails exceeds five, `Spamgourment' will stop forwarding the mails addressed to the disposable address.

Jetable.org (http://www.jetable.org/en/index) is another disposable e-mail address service worth a trial. For your real e-mail id, the service will provide you with a disposable e-mail alias that can last for one to eight days. During the Jetable e-mail alias' lifetime, any mail addressed to it will be forwarded to your real e-mail id. To create a disposable address, enter your real e-mail id, select the new address' life span and click on the `create' button.

TrashMail (http://trashmail.net/) is a `one use' disposable mail redirection address service. Here, only the first email sent to the disposable address will be forwarded to your real address. After the `first use' the address gets deleted.

Search engine for words

For savvy netizens, a printed English language dictionary is well-nigh a thing of the past. To get the meaning of a word or the definition of a phrase, you need to just look at one of the several on-line dictionary services available on the Net. Of course, may like to look at more than one of them to get a broader/better output.

However, scanning all the dictionaries separately just to get the meaning of a word is not feasible. The dictionary search engine, `OneLook' (http://www.onelook.com/) is a handy tool in such situations.

When you enter a word into `OneLook's search box to find its definition, the service immediately produces a set of dictionary web sites that describes the meaning of the word. Apart from this service, Lookout can be used to get the translation of a word into other languages.

Split web pages

It is probable that while on a lengthy web page you may need to view different parts of the same page simultaneously. Of course, an easy solution is to load this page twice in two separate windows. Obviously, this is neither elegant nor efficient. The best one will be to split the current Window into two frames and make the same page available on both frames so that you can easily navigate through both in any manner you like. The bookmarklet, available here: www.jmesnil.net/weblog/2004/07/bookmarklet-to-split-html-document.html which can be used to split a web page into two within a browser, will be quite useful on such occasions.

Whois bookmarklet

Each machine on the Net has an IP address, which is a string of numbers. One way to know more about the ownership and other registration details of a machine whose IP address or domain name is known to you is to enlist the `whois' service that digs these details from the relevant database. Coolwhois (http://www.coolwhois.com/) is one such service that can be used for this purpose.

But during your web journey, if you want to get the registration details of the current web page, you will have to move over to the service's site for invoking the `whois' service. Naturally, this is a little annoying and one would like to invoke the service directly from the page. You can get around this difficulty by using a bookmarklet that lets you access the whois database directly from the browser.

The bookmarklet `Whois URL' (http://www.canufly.net/georgegg/WhoisURL/getwhois.htm) is one such tool. Drag this bookmarklet on to your browser toolbar and whenever you are on a page whose domain details are required, just click on it.

Wikipedia in English

It is unlikely that you are unaware of the project Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) that aims to create an on-line multi-language encyclopedia using the Wiki technology (a Wiki is a web site with editable web pages).

To help readers with poor English language skills understand its contents easily, the promoters of the project have started a version of the site where the content is available in simple English. For more details: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.

J. Murali

Email the author at:
murali27@satyam.net.in

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