Ask Mr. Modem! 11-10-06 - East Valley Tribune: Business

Ask Mr. Modem! 11-10-06

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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2006 3:29 pm | Updated: 2:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Q. I've heard if I add the word "spam" to my email address, I can block spam. Is this true?

A. That “strategy” (and I use the term loosely), is a relic from days gone by on the Internet. In an earlier time, some individuals would add the word “spam” to their email address (e.g. on the theory that real human beings would remove that part of the address to obtain their real address. They did that as a way of dodging automated spammers and spam software that harvests email addresses from various online locations. Spammers quickly caught on, of course, and today there isn’t any email-gathering software that doesn’t look for and delete the word “spam” or “remove” or “removeme,” or other similar email address add-ons. So despite rumors to the contrary, I would not rely on adding the word “spam” to an email address to prevent spam.

Q. Thank you for publishing your newsletter. I’ve been telling everybody I know about it, so I hope you get lots of new subscribers. Now that I’ve buttered you up, a few months ago you told us how to double-space a Word document and I can’t find that tip. Could you please explain that again—and I promise I won’t misplace it this time.

A. Thank you for helping to spread the word about Mr. Modem! Turning to your question, to double-space any Word document, simply select (highlight) the text you want to change, then press CTRL + 2 (press the Control key and the numeral 2) for double-spacing, or CTRL + 1 for single-spacing. If you need to select an entire document, you can do that by pressing CTRL + A.

Q. On a digital camera, what does 12X Optical/4X Digital mean? Is the higher number better?

A. It’s all about the zoom. A higher number means you can zoom in closer. Digital cameras often reference two kinds of zoom: Optical and Digital. Optical zoom uses the lens itself to bring an image in closer, just like a telephoto lens on a 35mm camera.

Digital zoom is not technically a zoom and instead uses the camera’s “programming” to enlarge a portion of the image, thus 'simulating' optical zoom. In other words, the camera itself crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it.

There’s a big difference in quality between the two techniques, according to zoomerologists. Optically magnified images look crisp and clear. Digitally zoomed images tend to get fuzzy. When camera shopping, my recommendation is to compare optical zoom specifications and ignore the digital zoom. You can always use your image-editing software to create the effect of a digital zoom.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Drug Digest

This site is a non-commercial, consumer-information resource where you can check drug interactions using a database of more than 5,000 drugs, vitamins, and herbals, and 12,000 potential interactions. It kind of reminds me of the ‘60s. Visit the Drug Library to compare drugs, to see top performers, and side effects. You can search by health condition or drug name, plus review symptoms, treatments and risk factors of common conditions.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

Are you annoyed by critics who praise only the most obscure "films," or the reviewer who says he fell out of his seat laughing at every silly site gag? If so, take a look at Rotten Tomatoes, a site that offers tabulated results of the best, most objective reviews for all the movies. With more than 127,000 titles and 650,000 review links in its database, Rotten Tomatoes provides a composite critical reaction from top movie critics, handily summarized via the Tomatometer, which either awards a fresh tomato or flings a rotten one. You can also view movies and show times in your area by using the ZIP-code based search.

Mr. Modem’s weekly computer-help newsletter provides prompt, personal answers to subscribers’ questions by email, plus unbelievably helpful computer tips. Mr. M.’s popular CD-ROM profiles more than 1400 of the best Web sites ever! Makes a great gift! To view an excerpt from the CD, visit

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