CCNC/CCNC Module 1/ICT in Everyday Life/Subsection Level CCNC Template23
Email refers to the transmission of messages between computers across a network or across the Internet. Email allows text, graphics and sometimes sound. Users are able to send files together with messages. These are sent as attachments to the email.
To use email, you need to have access to a network or the Internet. A mail client is installed on the computer. This is used for the creation, sending, receiving and storage of email messages. Well known email clients include Evolution, KMail, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.
Web based email systems only require that you have access to the Internet. Many of these such as Yahoo, Hotmail and Eudoramail are free. Web based mail systems act as remote mail clients. Effectively, you log on to the mail client on the server using a web browser. From that point on, it acts in much the same way as a mail client installed on your own computer. You can log on to your web based mail system where ever in the world you happen to be.
Email addresses Email address consist of two parts separated by an @ symbol. The first part is the name of the user and the second part is the name of the mail server.
For example, in the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, the user name is david and the name of the mail server is icdlafrica.com. This is the address of the computer which holds his mail.
Advantages of email
- It is very fast and efficient. Mail is transmitted from the sender to recipient in a matter of seconds. Recipients can reply immediately. If both happen to be on-line at the same time, they can conduct a conversation using email.
- Documents and files can be sent with the email. The only limitation is the maximum size of attachments that your system will permit.
- It is very cost effective. The cost of sending an email is a fraction of the price it would be to send it as a letter.
- There is a saving on paper, printing and envelopes.
- Email clients can be organised so that copies of emails that have been sent can be stored under appropriate directories.
Disadvantages of email
- If there is a problem with the telephone lines, email cannot be sent or received.
- There are certain security problems such as the interception of email by hackers. This can be overcome by encrypting email. This requires the email to be coded into an unintelligible form using a key. The recipients system has access to the key and is able to decrypt the email.
- Occasionally problems in the complex system between the sender and recipient occur which cause email to disappear. To know when this has occurred, it is possible for your system to request a receipt of delivery from the recipients computer.
- Unsolicited email or spam is becoming a problem. Because it is simple to send thousands of identical emails to users at the same time, some merchants acquire lists of email addresses and compile these into distribution lists. They then send the same advertising email to everyone on the distribution list. To overcome this, anti-spamming software is now available which identifies certain addresses as sources of spam and discards any mail that comes from them.
E-commerce is the name given to the process of carrying out commercial transactions over the Internet.
One of the best known examples is Amazon.com. You can purchase books anywhere in the world from this web site. You make payment using your credit card at the same time as making the purchase. Amazon.com exemplifies many of the characteristics of e-commerce. You are entitled to post a comment on the site, whether good or bad, about any book you buy. Before you purchase a book, you can look through the comments of other purchasers. They also have a procedure in place that allows you to return books under certain circumstances.
To purchase goods using an e-commerce site you need to provide a name and physical address to which the goods must be sent and a credit card. You can also specify the delivery method. This will depend on how urgently you need the goods and how much you are willing to spend on delivery. Good e-commerce sites will tell you in advance, the availability of the goods, how long they will take using the different delivery methods and the cost of delivery.
There are two types of e-commerce site. Business to consumer or B2C sites sell directly to the consumer. Other sites involve transaction between business themselves. These are are Business to Business or B2B sites.
CNP transactions When a purchaser uses a credit card to purchase goods, this is known as a Card Not Present or CNP transaction, since the vendor does not physically see the credit card. A purchaser not only has to give the credit card number but also the three digit security code. This means that there are a number of dangers associated with CNP transactions.
- In utilising CNP transactions:
- Vendors need to be sure that:
- The card is not being used fraudulently.
Purchasers need to be sure that:
- They can afford the goods they are buying. It is very easy to spend money using a credit card on the Internet.
- The vendor will not abuse the information and make unauthorised debits. They should not deal with any unknown sites.
- The information will not be stolen by employees and used fraudulently. Once again, well known reputable sites will have measures in place and will generally take responsibility if anything does go wrong.
- The information will not be stolen and used by hackers. Only use sites that are able to encrypt the information you send using a secure link such as SSL. This eliminates the risk of insecure payment methods.
Doing Business over the Net
Advantages of on-line purchasing
- No restriction on shopping hours. You can purchase goods 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- You are not put under pressure by a salesperson and have time to make a more rational purchase decision.
- You are not restricted to shopping in an area to which you have physical access. You can shop across the world.
- Usually it is much cheaper to purchase goods on-line from a virtual store. If you purchase at source you can eliminate the mark up of intermediaries. Further, on-line sites have lower overheads than conventional shops.
- You have access to a wider range of alternatives.
Disadvantages of on-line shopping from a virtual store
- It is more impersonal as you do not interact with a human being with whom you can discuss the product you wish to buy.
- You cannot physically see and touch the item you are buying.
- There are certain risks associated with purchasing goods on the Internet with a credit card. See the section on CNP transactions above.
- Returning defective or incorrect goods can be a problem. This is especially the case if they have come from another country.