Tech Notes – Difference between POP3 and IMAP

I get this question a lot.

“What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP? I get my mail, who cares how it happens.”

Well, yes, but the magic is behind the protocol.

POP has been around since email was a thing. POP stands for “Post Office Protocol” and POP3 is just version 3 of the Protocol.

IMAP has been around nearly as long, and stands for “Internet Message Access Protocol“. The two can be used interchangeably on the same email account but one should be warned. POP takes the email off the server onto your device, IMAP is a remote access version of your email box.

Let’s look at an analogy. You access your email on you device through an email client. This could be Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or Opera Mail or any of them, really. The email server is your email provider, like Yahoo, GMail,, or another provider.

The email client is synonymous to your eyes. You view you email with your client or your eyes.

The email server is your local post office. Your post office keeps all your mail in your PO Box. In this case the PO Box is synonymous to your email account. Your email account is something like

In IMAP instances, you go to your Post Office (email server), open your PO Box (use your password on your email account), take all the mail out and run to the copy machine and copy it all (download the email). You put the originals back into your PO Box and close and lock it, taking the copies with. In this instance IMAP email needs a larger PO Box, so your PO Box would be much bigger. In IMAP protocols, this allows you to view your same email in multiple locations, like on your PC then on your phone.

In POP instance, you do the same thing, but instead of copying email, you simply remove it all from the PO box. This enables you to have a smaller PO Box than your IMAP but at a cost…once the email is downloaded to your PC or mobile device, it’s on there and only there – you can’t view it anywhere else.

POP was popular with email providers many years ago, before the invention of GB and TB hard drives. POP allowed the email provider to give you only a small amount of space to store your email temporarily, usually not more than 10MB. Once the email was downloaded onto your PC, the local copy on the server was deleted, so the space was able to be freed up. Providers didn’t have enough storage for 500,000 email accounts using 10GB (as much as GMail provides you now) back then, as that would have needed 5,000 TB of storage space! Now that we have the technology to easily cluster servers, and large enough hard drives to store all that data, IMAP has quickly replaced POP, especially with many needs to view and access email from multiple devices.

Electric service to the 21st century!

Here we have upgraded electrical service!

I had an electrician hired to come out and do this service. Under the bylaws and ordinances of Plano I could have done this myself, and I have the know how, but I thought this sort of work was best left to the professionals. Most of the other electrical (and plumbing and HVAC) projects I’ll have can and will likely be done myself. The cost was about $3,750 out the door.

I had the fuse panel upgraded to a breaker panel and moved into the main room of the basement, near to the furnace. The old fuse panel was located in a less frequently travelled portion of the basement with a dirt floor and a large presence of cobwebs. Now, it’s easily accessible and no more cobwebs.

I had a 60 amp subpanel run out to the garage, underground. Little did I know that the electrician didn’t put a main disconnect on that panel, which is a bit of a problem for me. I want that main disconnect on that panel out there so that I can quickly kill all power to the garage if I need to, so that will be done soon.

Here are some pictures.

And this is the main panel. 44 breakers of capacity.
This is the main panel. 44 breakers of capacity.
This is the 60amp subpanel service coming from the house and going underground.
This is the 60amp subpanel service coming from the house and going underground.
This is the 60amp service running into the garage.
This is the 60amp service running into the garage.
This is the garage subpanel. No, the door will never open. It's sided on the outside and I don't feel like moving it.
This is the garage subpanel. No, the door will never open. It’s sided on the outside and I don’t feel like moving it.
And no more shelf to facilitate a new shelf and the wiring for the lights.
And no more shelf to facilitate a new shelf and the wiring for the lights.
This is the shelf in the garage after it was tore down.
This is the shelf in the garage after it was tore down.
This is the old shelf in the garage that I tore down to allow a light switch next to the entry door. Off to the right you can see the new 60amp subpanel in the garage.
This is the old shelf in the garage that I tore down to allow a light switch next to the entry door. Off to the right you can see the new 60amp subpanel in the garage.
This is the end of the first day, they had up to this point done. This is the 200amp main service line running through the basement.
This is the end of the first day, they had up to this point done. This is the 200amp main service line running through the basement.
This is the main 200amp line running from the outside (left) to the new main panel (to the right).
This is the main 200amp line running from the outside (left) to the new main panel (to the right).
This is the 60 amp line leaving the house.
This is the 60 amp line leaving the house.

I have to do some additional wiring for some outlets and more lights in the garage. That’s part of my projects this upcoming week.

Updates on progress!

So I moved the blog over to my new server and figured I’d post an update here. I have not been keeping up with this and I’ll see if I can do better.

Some life progress

Since my last blog post I lost my ex-girlfriend and gained my current girlfriend, Kim. She’s wonderful and everything I was missing from my previous relationship. She’s helped me with a few ideas with the house and a few things in my life. Nearly 1 year later as of August 14th, things are still as wonderful as the day we met. Not much else besides this has happened in the realm of life

Some recent trips

I added a “state I’ve visited” to my list, Delaware. I was only in the top 50 miles of the state, but I can still say I’ve been there! I was also in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Minnesota. All local trips, but those are nice because I get to soak up the mileage reimbursements 🙂

The house

Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

The gutter

The gutter on the south side of the house next to the backdoor was split into two pieces. 3/4 of the gutter length drained into an area in front of the garage, doing some major erosion on the soil and creating a tripping hazard with a downspout right next to the backdoor. The last 1/4 of the gutter length drained to where it was supposed to. So, I removed both pieces of gutter, got new pieces, tacked and sealed it together, and hung it up.

Gutter before
Gutter before
New gutter being put together in the garage
New gutter being put together in the garage
New gutter hung. No more downspout!
New gutter hung. No more downspout!

It’s not the best hang job because the back part of the house is sinking, but it still works.

The upstairs

Upstairs there was a unsightly wall between the stairs and the bedroom, where I slept. Being built in the old days, drywall was mostly unheard of, so it was plaster and lathe. I was somewhat prepared for this. It opened the room up to around 25×14 feet. The wall made a nice landing/den area for a desk but I decided that the room was better suited for a bigger bedroom so I could eventually get a larger bed (and it would be coming down after I finished everything anyway because the stairs will most likely go on the other side of the room from where they are now). You can see the pictures below and the various steps and stages of wall destruction.

Near future plans

The near future plans are to get a few quotes from electricians to upgrade the old fuse panel into circuit breakers and run a new 60 amp line out to the garage. After this, I will likely finalize plans on the downstairs and start moving everything around!

House pictures!

FINALLY, I have house pictures!

Bed, and trip details

So, my bed was dropped off last weekend. I haven’t been able to update because my blog was down! Stupid Apache updates.

Anyway, I got my bed! It’s not as comfortable as I remember, which is a bit of a bummer. I’ll take some pictures later. I thought I had some.

Since my last post I took a trip to the west coast, for work. Here’s a nice picture of a brown mountain in southern California. It’s extremely dry there.

Pictured: Brown mountains and someone with a fine
Pictured: Brown mountains and someone with a fine

You can tell who gets the measly fine for abusing watering privileges, and most of them were in Hollywood. Those folks have the green lawns while all the rest of the people have brown lawns. I was staying in Valencia, CA which is slightly north of LA. The Santa Clara river runs through here, which at some points was 15+ feet deep and 2,000 feet across. the river was completely dried up. No more water, no more fish, no more birds (I hardly saw any birds). The locals reported that the river dried up at least 4 years ago.

Then, I had the pleasure of re-visiting Seattle, WA. Last time I was there was in March and at that time, it was a bit foggy and I was unable to get this awesome shot:

Mt Rainer


That would be Mount Rainier. I wish that there would have been more time to visit it this time and last, but alas, maybe in the future.

Was a chaotic trip, as I originally flew into Los Angeles, then halfway through the week flew up to Seattle, then back home. Gone for 4 days was crazy.

Punch down list of long term goals

I have a few long term goals of the new place, long term being that I’ll probably never be able to afford them and they’ll probably never happen, but it’s nice to think ahead and have that goal to work toward.

The house is currently 1.5 bedrooms, 1 bath. I say 1.5 bedrooms because I wouldn’t consider the downstairs bedroom to be a bedroom, the dimensions are about 8×7 feet. The bathroom is off of this bedroom so I’d consider it a hallway if anything. The first of the long term goals and the one I’d probably do over the other one is to add-on to the second floor of the house. The layout would allow me the footprint to do maybe 2 more bedrooms and perhaps 2 bathrooms (one being a master bath) upstairs. The master suite would be over the kitchen in the back of the house and the bedroom would be over the current bedroom downstairs. A bathroom, perhaps utility room with washer/dryer and linen closet would be between the new bedroom and the existing bedroom. There is a “porch” off the back of the house that would be excellent to put a second floor master suite balcony on. This would ultimately facilitate me moving the stairs (currently out of code and in the wrong place) which in the realm of a second floor expansion would be the least of my concerns.

The second (very crazy) idea or goal I have is to dig out underneath the kitchen and expand the basement. This would also lead into a basement rework where I’d turn the floor that is currently dirt under the original portion of the house into concrete and then move the basement stairs to the “porch” area and rebuild that porch to be more of a screen in porch instead of a “mud room”. Obviously this is the more ambitious of the two ideas, but still a “goal” if I were to live in this place for any length of time, I could easily forsee myself making this house into what I want it to be.

Winning the lottery? That’s another day! 😀

First major issue, maybe.

So, I think I’ve run into my first major problem with the new place.

For those that don’t know, the original part of the house was built in 1892. Yes, I didn’t typo. 18. 92. As such, the house is all fused, and the circuits are traced through the house like the original knob and tube wiring was. So, on a run, all in a row, one fuse contains a kitchen outlet, then it makes a run to the mudroom, then out to the garage (I swear I’ll get some drawings of this place soon).

The wiring was all updated except for one major part: When they did the updates, they didn’t update the second floor. It’s still all knob and tube, and there are only lights up there. No outlets.

The stairs to the second floor are in the living room, and there’s only two outlets in the living room, one next to the stairs (which is on a shared circuit with the outlet I have the microwave on currently) and one across the room from the stairs. Currently to power a fan upstairs I have an extension cord running from the outlet next to the stairs up the stairs and to the fan.

I was hoping because the outlet opposite the stairs in the living room was the only thing on the circuit I might be able to tap into it and run some power upstairs, but I find out there are a bunch of studs in the way, I’d pretty much have to rip apart the wall to do it.

The upstairs lights are on a shared circuit with the dining room outlets, with I already have a PC on (albeit not as powerful as my PC). One of the issues with using the existing circuit up there is that its all knob and tube wiring up there, something which I have no idea about.

Since the dining room outlet is fairly accessible from the basement I -might- be able to move it to another circuit, like one that is used by the corner outlet in the living room. Then, I might be able to split off the wiring in the attic. Another difficulty I face is wanting to put a whole house fan upstairs, with a couple of roof fans to ventilate the attic. Blah old houses.

Spent the night!

When I closed on the property, the sellers left behind a sofa with a pull out bed.

I ordered a memory foam mattress for that pull out bed and received it Tuesday night. Last night was the first night I was able to spend in the new place (which was peaceful and way better than I would have imagined).

Yesterday, I gathered a few ideas on what I wanted to do, moved a few things around, including this monstrosity.

Pictured: My new closet
Pictured: My new (old) closet

The stairs in the house were built before a time where “building codes” were required. The stairs have a roughly 8 inch rise and a 7 inch deep stair, only 28 or so inches wide. Current building codes call for no more than a 7-1/4″ rise and an 11 inch deep stairwell, with 36 inch width.

This is one of the things that has to go up that was down.

The sellers left this wardrobe closet behind when they closed. It was tucked under the stairs waiting for me. Under the stairs in the future will go some shelves (more on that later), so this had to come out.

Closet space in the new place is limited. The upstairs has the roof in the way of building a proper closet, so this had to go from under the stairs to up the stairs and in the bedroom so I can later hang my shirts up in the bedroom.

First, I mistakenly tried to pull it up the stairs and that wasn’t going anywhere. Then, I stupidly got under the thing and pushed it up the stairs on its side. I got it to the top and realized that without the help of anyone, I couldn’t get it fully up the stairs cause I would have to push it up and onto the railing. If it fell, BAM!, no more closet.

So, I ripped the railing out of the stairs (in my defense it wasn’t properly done and was only a foot and a half or so tall), and pushed the thing up there again, and then got under it and shoved it over. Kids, don’t try this at home.

I got it up there, and after being afraid I wouldn’t be able to stand it up, I stood it up and moved it into its new home. I may still move it again; I have to get my bed in there and then figure out what the space looks like before it’ll be in its final home.

Tonight, I have to get my dresser (way lighter compared to this thing) and my desk up the stairs, THEN wire in a way to get power and network upstairs so I can watch TV in bed or play on the PC.

Ever so closer!

Moving In…

I’ve had the house for a week now, and it still hasn’t completely sunk in yet, perhaps because I’m not totally moved in yet.

Unfortunately last weekend, I lost my uncle. He was one of the closer uncles I had. I always remember going to the pet shop he had and playing with the cats and dogs, and running the register. He always reminded me the most of my grandfather because he was always energetic, always making you laugh and teasing you about things too.

The visitation and funeral is this weekend, so unfortunately will not have much time to move things. I’m getting ever so close as I pulled all my kitchen stuff left over from my apartment out of storage and got it all organized and cleaned yesterday evening while laundry was going.

After using the house like a house and not like a storage unit for the last couple of days (making meals, I took a short nap there on Friday last week, doing laundry, moving about) there are a couple of things that are really going to start to bother me.

* The backdoor is on a spring hinge, which means when you open it, it automatically wants to shut. I’m planning on getting a proper solid back door for back there eventually.
* The “screen door” for the backdoor is also on a rather taut spring and slams shut all the time, catching whatever you’re bringing in
* There is an extremely low hanging duct right over the washing machine, which is on the way to the dryer. I plan on perhaps getting rid of this by moving the washer and dryer up to the “mud room” but need to dig out a bit under the kitchen to be able to run the plumbing.
* The windows, which will probably end up being my first major expense. I’ve found 2 dead bees in the house that weren’t there previously. I’m not sure if they tried to get in through a window, were on the floor and I stepped on them or what….but the windows are very old, have the outside removable screens/storms and don’t stay open or don’t stay closed all the way. Replacing the windows now will afford me a bit lower heating bills, and when I get air conditioning probably next year, it’ll lower the cooling bills as well. Not only that, I won’t have to put the damn storms in again when winter rolls around. I have to check with the city of Plano because I think to replace windows you need a building permit, and you need a licensed contractor to install (which is extremely stupid but eh).

My ultimate plan eventually is to expand the basement under the kitchen. Right now there is a small (perhaps 1-2 foot) crawl under the kitchen which is not really adequate for storage or anything, with a dirt floor and such. Compounding this sort of project however is a cistern under the kitchen that I kinda want to try and preserve, but the issue with that being that its probably big, and going to be quite a chore to get out of the basement.

More later, supposed to be working.

Well, 24 hours…

Can’t believe it.

In [less than] 24 hours, I will be a homeowner. I always knew this day would come, but didn’t think it’d come quite so fast.

It’s worth an explanation of how I got to this point, I will likely also go into detail on what the process entailed, but for now, a summary of what’s happened along my journey.

First, I had reached out to a Realtor that my lender had recommended. She was nice in a personality type of way but not really 100% there as far as what I was thinking was concerned. Additionally, my price range was low, under 100k, and something tells me she dealt with a lot of people who’s budgets were over 100k (think, 1.1 million). I was soon right when I looked at her portfolio and noticed some of the houses she was showing and selling, one was $2.1 million! She also always showed up in a fancy car, full jewelry, flashy electronics, so on and so forth. I, however, decided it would be best to give her a chance, so I informed her what I was looking for, how many bedrooms I would want, garage, basement, where I was searching.

Unfortunately for me, she rarely got out to the places I wanted to go. For instance, she worked primarily east of the Fox River, not anywhere west, so my searches with her were limited to West Chicago, the East side of Batavia, Wheaton, so on and so forth. It was stressful, but West Chicago, Wheaton and such wasn’t bad, so a few times I went out with her and we looked at a couple of properties.

One of them in West Chicago didn’t tickle my fancy because it was everything new, and slightly out of my price range.

I guess I should elaborate: I wanted a house that required some work, either cosmetic or structural, as part of the reason why I was buying a house was for educational, as well as just something to do. I wanted to make it my own with customizations, or look at a repair and say “I did that X months ago by myself, it was so awesome”. Be occupied, make changes, that’s part of the fun with buying a house. If I wanted to not do any of that, then I would be looking for houses or apartments to rent again!

The second house we found was a cute little ranch in South Elgin, listed for way under my price range, but required a bit of work, the stoop was falling away from the house and the bathroom floor needed repair. This didn’t really bother me all too much as this was the work I was looking for. The kitchen would have needed a complete re-do as well in the future, something of which was perfect for that house, the kitchen was a pretty decent size that any work was entirely possible to do.

She steered me away from it…”Oh no, this isn’t the house for you, requires too much work, no lender will lend on it, it’s just not for you”.

We went to go look at a few more houses after that, and again and again, they didn’t fit what I was looking for, were too far east, or out of my price range. I finally decided that was it after she hadn’t contacted me for almost 2 months, and got another Realtor.

Who I switched to was wonderful. I had been eyeing a house down in Plano for a while and tried to get the previous realtor to show it to me and she wouldn’t so I looked this gal up and she showed it to me the next day, at 5:30pm (the last realtor I was with wouldn’t work after…4?). But instantly I could tell she knew what she was talking about, she knew the house, how things went in the older houses, the area was nice, but had some water damage. That was OK with me, but she always said “I bet we can find you something a bit better”. Okay I thought, let’s do it. So three days later she had appointments lined up for several houses around that area, all of them except for 1 complete duds. I waited too long on the 1 and it slipped away.

It happened a fair few number of times until I found a nice 3 bedroom ranch in DeKalb that required the right amount of work. It looked it fair and decent condition to I jumped on it and laid down an offer the day we saw it, I wasn’t going to let another slip away.

The inspection didn’t reveal a whole lot wrong, but didn’t reveal a whole lot right, but I was still sold on it.

Fast forward to 3 days before the closing when the underwriter told us “The water needs to be working for us to lend on it”. Oooo-kay. I had to let it go because we couldn’t get the water working.

Back to looking I suppose, around the beginning of December. We didn’t do much during the winter months as far as looking at many houses, until I found a huge 4 bedroom house for my price in Sandwich around February. The thing was almost 2000 sq. ft! Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the kitchen was about to fall into the basement…..the inspection did. Sigh.

Then, we stumbled upon this house. A 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1.5 car garage just north of downtown Plano. Decent sized yard, 1200 sq ft. house space, new siding, roof, water heater, furnace. I jumped on it and made an offer the DAY they put it on the market, and bam, they accepted it. It was an Estate sale and run by 7 kids (who all grew up in the house, more on that later) and there was a bit of tension and had a fear about half way through they’d back out and get a different offer, but they stuck with it.

And now, here I find myself closing on this house TOMORROW. Arrgh I’m so excited. Only 20 hours to go!

I’ll be posting more updates regarding my journey, what I find wrong and fix, what I update, and etc regarding this house, which was built in 1892. What a ride it’ll be.