What causes those arrow marks in my e-mail?

Ask Mr Modem

Q. I probably should not even bother you with this silly question, but I’m curious: What causes all those “> >” marks that appear in the body of e-mail? They can be very irritating and sometimes they even overshadow the text.

A. Those angle brackets are there by design, and depending on the e-mail program involved, you may see >> marks or vertical lines, both of which designate replies or forwards. The number of marks or lines allows you to track the “depth” of a reply or forward. One >, for example, indicates it’s the first reply or forward; > > indicates it’s the second round of replies or forwards, etc. That’s why when you receive a joke or hoax message that’s been forwarded a bazillion times, you will often see > > > > > > in front of each line.

People deal with these marks in a variety of ways. Most simply ignore them; others delete them using their software’s Find and Replace feature (CTRL + F in some applications). There are also programs that can be installed, such as PaperCut’s eMail Stripper at http://www.papercut.com/emailStripper.htm or easy-to-use Web-based applications such as the similarly named Mr. Ed’s Email Stripper at http://www.mistered.us/stripper/index.shtml.

Q. When I want to go back and look at old e-mail I received in Gmail, only the first 50 e-mails will come up and I cannot figure out how to access the next 50. While I’m at it, I can’t seem to locate Gmail’s Help, either. Can you help me with these issues, Mr. M?

A. When viewing the Sent Mail folder, if you look in the top right of your Gmail screen, you will see numbers such as 1-50 of 214 with < and > arrows. That refers to messages 1 through 50. If you click the > arrow, you can view the next 50, messages 51 through 100, etc.

To access Gmail’s excellent Help, click the little gear icon to the far right, then select Help from the drop-down menu that appears. Gmail’s Help is one of the best there is, so any time you need to learn how to do something with Gmail, be sure to search its Help section.

Q. Please help me stop the very annoying Yahoo! Messenger from popping up when I boot the computer or receive e-mail. It’s driving me crazy!

A. Open Yahoo! Messenger when it appears, then click Messenger > Preferences or press CTRL + SHIFT + P. Under Category, click Alerts and Sounds. In the “Alert me when” box, click “I receive e-mail in Yahoo! Mail.”

Next, uncheck the boxes next to “Display a dialog box,” “Show an icon in the system tray,” and “Show a message in the bottom right corner of my screen.” Just to clarify these three options, “Display a dialog box” refers to the dialog box that pops up to notify you of new mail. “Show an icon in the system tray” references the little envelope that appears when new mail arrives. “Show a message in the bottom right corner of my screen,” is the box that displays the subject of the message or how many messages are present.

If you prefer not hearing the “Pow!” audible alert – and heaven knows why anybody wouldn’t want that jolting the bejeepers out of them – uncheck “Play a sound.” Lastly, click OK and you’re done.

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