Q. What should I do when I'm confronted with an "Illegal Operation" message?
A. It depends on the situation. If the message is delivered by subpoena, I'd suggest you retain a good criminal defense attorney. If you're referring to a computer-related "Illegal Operation" message -- and I'm going out on a limb here thinking that's probably what you mean -- it really depends what you're doing at the time the message appears and how persistent it is.
For example, if it's a one-time occurrence when you're performing a particular task, I'd suggest shutting down your computer, then rebooting (restarting) it. That type of isolated instance is probably caused by a memory (RAM) error. Restarting your computer will clear out your system's memory.
If the problem happens repeatedly when you're using a particular program, it's probably related to a bug or glitch in the software itself. In that case, visit the Web site of the software vendor and determine if there's an update (it may be a small "patch" file) available that will resolve the problem.
If "Illegal Operation" messages are coming fast and furiously in random fashion, it's most likely an operating system instability. In that case, I'd suggest backing up your data and consider reinstalling your operating system (Windows). If you're using an older operating system (Windows 95 or 98, for example), you might want to view this as an opportunity to upgrade. If you haven't personally upgraded your operating system in the past, I'd suggest letting a reputable computer repair facility do it for you. After they reinstall or upgrade Windows for you, have them test your system to make sure the error message doesn't reappear.
Q. Is it okay to unplug the power on my notebook computer when it's in "sleep" mode?
A. Your computer should be shut down properly before you unplug it, so wake up your computer from its snooze by moving the mouse or pressing a key on the keyboard. Once it regains consciousness, click Start > Shut Down and let Windows shut itself down. Once it's powered down, then you can safely unplug your computer.
Q. This is kind of a strange question, but it's something I've been curious about. I have a digital camera that uses a flash memory card for data storage. My MP3 (music) player uses the same type of card for its data storage. Can I use the digital camera's card in my MP3 player and vice versa?
A. Excellent question! Technically, the cards are interchangeable, but it's best to use each card with its respective device. A card would have to be reformatted in order to use it with a device other than as originally intended. Formatting a card for a new device is very simple, though. For example, if your MP3 card has more memory than your camera's card and you want to use the larger-capacity card in your camera, as soon as you slip it into your camera, a message will appear that asks you if you want to format the card. If you answer "Yes," the card will be reformatted so it can be used by your digital camera. You can reformat the card as many times as you wish, but all data on the card will be lost each time you reformat.
Mr. M's Geekspeak Translator: Associate
No, not the newest member of a law firm, but as a verb it means to connect files having a particular extension (such as .jpg or .doc) with a specific program. When you double-click a file that displays a certain extension, the associated program is launched (started) automatically, and the file opens. Associated files are frequently referred to as "registered" files.
Mr. M's Web Sites of the Week:
Digital Photography Review
Features the latest in digital camera and imaging news, including in-depth reviews which can be helpful if you're digital-camera shopping. You'll also find informative discussion forums and the largest database of digital camera specifications on the Web.
Earn points taking online surveys, which can then be redeemed for rewards. These polls include entertaining surveys about TV shows and a variety of products and services. All you have to do is register, which is fast, easy, and no credit card is required. ePoll is an interactive marketing research service, so don't sign up unless you enjoy receiving email and being asked a lot of questions. And no, you cannot plead the Fifth.
Are you a list person? Do you make to-do lists, shopping lists, packing lists, etc? The hosts of this Web site have thoughtfully gathered lists for just about every purpose imaginable. Looking at the "to-do" list category alone, there are daily to-do lists, weekly to-do lists, monthly to-do lists, honey-do lists (for your spouse), delegation to-do lists (for your children); there are grooming lists, personal care lists, home maintenance lists, alphabetized shopping lists, and places-I-need-to-go-today lists. So if life has no meaning without a list, be sure to put this site on your list of sites to visit.
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