BT Premium Email Price Increase

This is Money website has recently reported that BT are to increase the cost of their email service to their ex-customers who still wish to use the service, from £5 per month to £7.50 – at the time of writing this post, 17th July 2018.

I regularly help people with their email and every time I see the BT inbox I wonder why it is so bad, design wise. Naturally if you use BT mail then you may be using it with Outlook or Thunderbird – the two most popular email clients. However, the price increase pushes it to a wopping £90 a year – more than Microsoft charge for  their whole office suite.

There are options, you could simply stump up £7.50 a month or there are the free services from Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook. There is also a fabulous paid option called Fastmail.

There are no adverts in Fastmail and the user interface and mailbox are so clean, crisp and tidy that I cannot find anything close to it – I have been a faithful user for three years. I do also have accounts with Gmail, yahoo and Outlook etc but having those is just an extension of my job. My everyday mail platform is Fastmail.

All of the free services will offer to import your email for you (you will need to know your password) and also your contacts, but we live in an imperfect world so these systems do not always go to plan, you may need some extra help.

Should you create a new account elsewhere then upon first login there is often a wizard to take you through things but if there is not or you somehow get rid of it then there are settings in these webmail services from where you can get everything set up and import your BT mail and contacts.

 

Backup Photos and more with Google Drive

Google Photos App
The Google Photos Ap

It is always important to have a back up of your photos and while that trusty external hard drive is faithfully doing it’s job it can decide to simply say goodbye and quit It’s job without warning. The best way, in my view is to have your stuff backed up on an external or internal drive and also in the cloud and my favorite application for this is Google Drive, specifically Google Photos.

Before we get you set up I will briefly explain two options, I think these are very good. One is that you can have free unlimited photo storage on Google – yes free. At the time of me writing this, to get free unlimited space you need to allow Google to reduce the size of your pictures slightly while still maintaining a good quality before they are uploaded to the cloud. I have found out that this ‘good quality’ is actually around 16Mp (megapixels) – not to be sniffed at. There are still many of us taking photos of less quality these days.

However, if your pictures are bigger than 16Mp and or you want them to be kept in their exact size then you can have 15Gb of free space on Google cloud and once it’s used just purchase more, it’s not expensive, I don’t think and personally I pay Google £1.50 a month for an extra 100Gb.



Google photos does more than just back up your photos, it is a whole new photo experience. Want a panorama? Just take three photos (possibly four) and the ap will back them up to Google’s cloud where the magic happens. You will be notified that a new panorama is available and given the opportunity to save it. Google also creates little movies for you, so if you have been to an event – a wedding perhaps then Google will create an album for you and let you know when it’s ready.

Another impressive feature about Google photos is that it uses a thing called ‘image recognition’ – put simply it knows what a cat picture looks like just as it knows what an architectural picture looks like, so, the next time you want to search for a picture of your pet or an old holiday snap just try typing in something about what the picture/pictures contain.

Google Photos Search Box
Google Photos Search Box

You can also free up space on your phone (Android & Apple) or tablet by accessing the menu (The three horizontal lines in the left of the search box). In this menu is an option to free up space. The ap will calculate how many pictures it has backed up and how much space can be freed up.

Google Photos menu
Google Photos menu

 

Why you need a mobile phone for your email

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All of the major email providers like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Apple plus many more offer the option to link your mobile phone to your email account, Why?

The answer is simple. Many of us have our systems set up so that when we log into our email the log in details are automatically filled in for us. Well this is fine until the day when that does not happen, your computer crashes or you have a new one or something else happens, and you have forgotten your password…

If you have a mobile phone, and I mean just a mobile phone as it does not have to be a smartphone, just so long as it can send and receive text messages and calls you can register the number with your Google, Microsoft or Apple etc. Then if you find yourself locked out it can be as simple as receiving a text message from your provider with a code, just type the code into the web page provided and then, providing all is well you will be prompted to create a new password – simple. Without this very useful facility getting back into your account can be nothing short of a nightmare and it can take days or weeks and sometimes never.

There is another great feature of using a mobile phone with your email and that is Two Factor Authentication. Put simply if you try to log into your email from any computer other than your own you will be prompted for a one off access code via your phone – it is automatically sent. Tap this in and you’re away. It is a great way of securing your account especially as these days we hold so much more important stuff it them. Usually one can find their account settings in the menu where you log out of your account, providers change things often enough that it’s not worth making a walkthrough for it.

For more info on getting a budget mobile phone, something that will cost minimal to run, see my other website called Mobilefoneinfo.com

 

What is a Microsoft or Google Account?

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I find many people are a put off from having a Microsoft or Google account because it is often confused with holding an account with a local company, in other words, at some point one expects to get an invoice. This is not accurate and in fact in the case of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple etc it is entirely possible to have an account and pay nothing. Apple will ask you to provide a form of payment but it will never be used providing you don’t purchase anything from their app store.

In a nutshell an account is simply that you have access to email, storage and, if included, office applications and the free levels of service offered are usually fine for most people.

A Microsoft account will give you free access to email, 5Gb of storage on Onedrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage) and access to their on line office applications.

A Google account will give you access to email, 15Gb of free storage and their on line office. It should also be noted that if you have an Android phone or tablet, and if you use the Google Photos app you can have free unlimited photo storage – Google just reduces the quality of your pictures a little (They still look great) but if you want your pictures to stay exactly as they are then you may choose not to do this and start paying for extra storage after reaching the 15Gb allocation.

You can also use the Google Photos app on Apple devices (it’s also known as Google Sync – especially on desktops) and have the same free unlimited storage. See my post here about this.

An Apple account (icloud.com) is usually attached to an apple product but also gives access to an online world. You can log in via icloud.com and use online versions of Apple’s office software and also send/ receive email.

Yahoo also gives you email and photo storage via it’s Flikr platform.

Also worth reading – Why you need to link your mobile with your email provider