Category: Tidbits

Awesome video

My sister shared this video with me:

I’ve always thought it would be fun to try to fun animations like this, but have never actually wanted to take the time to do it!

Sending mail in Outlook with AT&T DSL

I just killed a good part of my day trying to figure out how to get Outlook (2003) to send mail with AT&T DSL’s SMTP settings. Now, I don’t consider myself to be very savvy in terms of getting networks and internet connections and such to work, but I have configured Outlook several times in the past with various ISPs and didn’t have any problems as long as I had the proper setup instructions. We had SBC/AT&T DSL a couple years ago and email receiving and sending was fine. This time, however, I was stumped.

The handy booklet that comes with AT&T’s DSL modem has these instructions (which can also be found if you Google various phrases such as “Outlook AT&T DSL SMTP”):

If you use client mail and have trouble sending or receiving email, the problem could be incorrect settings. In this case, you need to enter this server information to tell your program where to retrieve your mail:

Your Email Address; For example,
Incoming (POP):
Outgoing (SMTP): (SMTP authentication required*)
Incoming mail server: POP3
Incoming mail port #: 995, secure connection (SSL) checked
Outgoing mail port #: 465, secure connection (SSL) checked

*You should find the authentication check box in the outgoing mail section of your account setup. For specific instructions, refer to the help section of your email client.
NOTE: If your email client does not support SMTP authentication, you won’t be able to send client email from your AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet account.

All well and good. I have ten or so email accounts that I check through Outlook. Here’s what I did:

  1. In Outlook, I went to Tools > E-mail Accounts > View or change existing email accounts.
  2. I selected my first email account and clicked Change…
  3. My former settings were already there (with Comcast info). I edited them so that they had the following information:
    1. Your name: Corrie Haffly
    2. Email address: []
    3. User Name: []
    4. Password: [my-password]
    5. Incoming mail server (POP3): []
    6. Outgoing mail server (SMTP): (note: depending on which AT&T provider you have, this may be different – log in at AT&T Help or look at the possibly out-of-date chart here)
  4. I clicked the More Settings button.
  5. On the Outgoing server tab, I checked “My outgoing server (SMPT) requires authentication.” I selected “Log on using” and entered my AT&T user name and password.
  6. On the Advanced tab, I checked “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)” and changed the port to 465.
  7. I repeated this for each email account.

The above configuration is correct, however, it didn’t work for me. I tried various combinations without effect. Finally, I contacted AT&T online chat support.

Having handled online chat support as the tech support person several times before, I tried to be succinct and clear with my problem. I forgot to save the chat, but here’s a reconstruction of how it went:

Me: Hi! I’m trying to configure Outlook 2003 to send email from different email accounts using AT&T DSL’s SMTP settings. Here is what I’m using:
Under more mail options, Outgoing server tab – checked requires auth. and entered my AT&T user/pass
Under Advanced tab – checked ssl, port 465
It’s not working for me – do you know if I’m missing something or doing something wrong?
Tech: I’m sorry you’re having problems. It sounds like you are having problems sending mail, correct?
Me: Yes.
Tech: Make sure that you have “My outgoing server requires authentication” checked and that “Use same settings as my incoming server” is checked.
Me: I am NOT trying to receive email from the AT&T account. I am trying to SEND email from a different email account. I have “outgoing server…” checked, but “log on using” selected with my AT&T user/pass entered.
Tech: I see that you are trying to check a different email account. What is the email address you are trying to use?
Me: I have several different email addresses configured in Outlook. I can RECEIVE email fine. I cannot send email.
Tech: What error do you get?
Me: Um… I don’t know what error I get. When I try to send, the “enter account info” dialog box pops up continuously and will not accept my username and password. I end up having to cancel the send.
Tech: This is a problem with Outlook. [inserts canned response about how Outlook doesn’t save the SSL information properly, so I will either have to pay for AT&T “plus” support or contact Microsoft, the creator of Outlook.]
Me: As there are so many Outlook users out there, I am surprised and disappointed that AT&T does not have a solution at hand for this issue.
Tech: I am sorry that you are having problems. We cannot support Outlook, as it is software provided by a different company, Microsoft. You will have to contact the makers of Outlook to resolve your issue, or I can refer you to AT&T paid tech support.
Me: No, I understand. Can you please look back at my info above and confirm that my settings are correct?
Tech: Yes, your settings are correct.
Me: Okay, thanks. I’ll try to find a solution on my own.

So AT&T thinks this is an Outlook problem? I refined my googling with “at&t dsl outlook outgoing smtp not saving password” and eventually came across this site, which suggested that a service pack would fix the problem. I couldn’t figure out if I had the service pack or not and finally downloaded it and, in trying to install it, found that I already had it applied. So that wasn’t the issue.

As I beat my head against the desk and tried different things, I finally found an error message by using the “Test Account Settings” button in Outlook:

Send test e-mail; the specified server was found, but there was no response from the server

Searching with keywords on that phrase brought me to a forum post that pointed me to this Yahoo Help article which explained the real issue: My email accounts had to first be verified. The Yahoo Help page basically explains the steps you need to take to verify EACH email account through Yahoo. Once verified, emails can be sent in Outlook using the settings described above.

I found that simply leaving the Yahoo window open and manually entering the verification code, as suggested in Step 9a-d, didn’t work for me. Step 9e, entering in my password, would shoot me out to the AT&T Yahoo! home page without actually processing the verification. I only got results if I clicked the verification link that came in the email for that specific account (I was using Firefox 3, didn’t try any other browsers).

I also skipped the step where you enter in your server info, as I didn’t want to check these accounts via the Yahoo interface.

I also read that you’re limited to 10 email accounts. I actually had 11, but luckily could ditch one without consequence.

Before I could verify my emails, though, I had one more atypical road bump. When installing AT&T DSL last night, I chose to do a manual install instead of using their install CD. During the AT&T DSL registration process, I created a username and password successfully, but the next page didn’t load properly for me. I went ahead and activated the modem with my new user/pass successfully, so I didn’t think anymore of it. However, it seems that simply creating a username/password wasn’t enough – it didn’t actually create or activate the account to allow me to access Yahoo!/AT&T services. So when I tried to log in at with my username and password, it told me that my ID didn’t exist. I had to go back and go through the registration process again (it worked, this time) to be able to access Yahoo Mail and thus Yahoo Mail options.

So this ended up being a three step process for me…

  1. Register new AT&T/Yahoo! ID properly.
  2. Set up Outlook settings properly (which I did in the beginning).
  3. Verify each and every email account using Yahoo! Mail options.

I’m still very disappointed with the AT&T live chat support that I interacted with. Is it really such a rare occurrence for someone to want to use a non-AT&T email address that they never run into this? Or was it a ploy to get me to pay for tech support? Seeing as how verifying email addresses through Yahoo was an integral part of the process and Outlook had NOTHING to do with it, my opinion of their customer support is currently very low.

Referencing other Google spreadsheets

I’m more and more impressed with Google spreadsheets as I get into them. Today’s new trick that I learned, as I was helping my sister figure out how to do it, was how to pull in data from one Google spreadsheet into another — and the data will theoretically update automatically in the second spreadsheet when you update the first.

I can’t think of immediate applications yet, so I’m posting this for my own reference in case I need to do it in the future!

Using ImportRange to pull in a range of cells from one spreadsheet to another:

Inside your new spreadsheet, select the top-left cell of the area where you want to pull in data. Then type this formula:


  • spreadsheet_key: The “key” variable in the Google spreadsheet link. For example, the bold text here is the spreadsheet key:
  • sheet name: The text that is in the bottom tab of the spreadsheet.
  • range: This can be a single cell or a range of cells – for example, B2 (single cell) or A3:A5 (part of a column) or A2:E10 (a block of cells).

Another seemingly roundabout way to do this is to use ImportData.

First, publish your original spreadsheet. In the Publish tab is a link for “more publishing options.”

Change the File format to CSV, pick the specific sheet you want to import, and type the range of cells. Then click the Generate URL button.

Use this URL in the ImportData(“published_url“) formula.

I’m not really sure what the pros and cons are of one method over the other, although ImportRange seems simpler if you’re working with your own spreadsheets as you don’t need to mess with publishing.

Anyway – it takes Google a minute or so to refresh new data from the original spreadsheet, but I think it’s pretty cool!

Soy Happy

My talented friend Holly has opened up a CafePress store called Soy Happy where you can indulge your taste for Very Cute Designs, including some of the below:

Soy Happy Together (ha!)

Soy happy together


Save Water

Cute but Vicious

And, ahem, my personal favorite for obvious reasons: Nutmeg. Holly created a custom design featuring MY CAT (!) doing what she does best.

Nutmeg could theoretically eat out of a bowl featuring herself!

As is typical with Cafepress products, you’re not going to find any bargain tees, but if you fall in love with one of the characters, you can support a starving artist. The profits from a purchase should be good for at least a couple packs of Ramen.

I may have to get a Wii…

…because Iron Chef: Supreme Cuisine is coming out for Nintendo DS and Wii. The trailer is hilarious!

Okay, I’m not really going to get a Wii (that would require owning a TV, first), but maybe my niece and nephew will get a copy (or maybe I’ll get them a copy, if it’s out by Christmas) so that I can go over and play…

Interview, letter, and quick update

Two links:

  1. I’ve had my first blog interview over at Grilling the Gurus, if you’re interested. Thanks to Jack Franklin for the opportunity!
  2. Steven is now two months old! I’m posting letters to him at my other blog from now on. Here’s the latest one with plenty of cute photos and even some video.

It’s definitely stretching me to take care of a baby, sleep two hours at a time, try to work from home, and take care of housework and meals. (Exercise isn’t even in the picture right now, despite well-intended Groundhog Day resolution goals!) I’ve been really amazed at how interesting a little baby can be – every day I am overwhelmed by cuteness! (I’ll have to change the tagline on my blog to “I take cute pictures of babies” since I don’t have kittens anymore!)

One of these days, I hope, I’ll be able to sleep through the night, dust off this blog, and go for a run. Until then, hope you are doing well, and thanks for keeping this in your RSS reader list! 🙂