Q. I'm having trouble printing Web pages. To try to track down the problem, I hooked my printer up to an old computer and everything printed okay, so I don't think the problem is with my printer. But when I try printing Web pages with my new computer, I just get partial pages or sometimes blank pages. Any idea what's going on? I'm using Internet Explorer and Windows 98.
A. This could be caused by a number of things. For example, if a Web page you're attempting to print is part of a site that uses frames (smaller windows) to display content, each frame will tend to print on a separate page resulting in the always-popular partial-page effect. To avoid that and print an entire page, click File > Print > Options tab. Then select "As laid out on screen."
It's also possible that there is a problem with an Internet Explorer setting that relates to encoding language. This is a setting that helps IE display Web-page content based on the language that was used to create it originally. "Auto-Select" is the default setting, which could be the source of the problem. Try disabling it by clicking View > Encoding, then click the Auto-Select option to remove the checkmark beside it. If that doesn't work, try manually selecting the "Unicode (UTF-8)" option by clicking View > Encoding > More. After making the changes, close Internet Explorer, then reopen it for the changes to take effect.
Q. On some Web pages I can't read very small text that appears in certain areas. Is there any way to enlarge just the places that I can't read?
A. Thanks to Windows' accessibility options, you can magnify any portion of what's displayed on your screen. To do this, click Start > Programs > Accessories > Accessibility > Magnifier. If you don't have an Accessibility menu, you'll need to install the Accessibility tools. To do this, insert your Windows installation CD, then click My Computer > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs. You'll see a list of available programs and components you can install. Select Accessibility tools and follow the prompts for fast, easy installation.
Q. I have some short stories that I'd like to sell on CD, but I'm concerned that somebody might copy them and try to resell them. My stories are in Word format. Is there any way I can keep people from making copies of files on the CD?
A. Welcome to the wild and wacky world of copyright protection. For better or worse, technology has made it easy and convenient to copy just about anything, so there really isn't much you can do to prevent someone from copying a CD. You could convert your Word files to .PDF (Adobe) files using the conversion service available on the Adobe Web site (www.adobe.com), then password-protect your .PDF files. The problem with that approach is that you would have to provide the password to people who purchase your CD, so it's ultimately not going to be as secure as you would like.
All you can really do is try to monitor auction sites such as eBay and any other locations online where you think somebody might try to sell your stories. If somebody swipes your work product, you can then send them a "cease-and-desist" letter or email, or retain an attorney to handle it for you, if necessary. But the bottom line is that protecting your work product once released in CD format is virtually impossible.
Q. What is the difference between a playback device and a player?
A. Besides the spelling (I just love a good straight line) a playback device is any device that's capable of playing audio or video such as a VCR, a video camera in VCR mode, a CD player, DVD player, or a Web cam. The term "player" generally refers to software that can play or display content on a computer. For example, Microsoft's Media Player is the player for movies that you create with Movie Maker or other similar programs.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Hark, the herald Christmas Web site, just teeming with activities for revelers of all ages. Move your mouse when you arrive on this site and observe one of the coolest mouse-cursor trails of all time.
The perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for individual or to start young people on the road to fiscal responsibility -- or ruin, as the case may be. Here you can purchase a single share of stock from a long list of companies, including Microsoft, Harley-Davidson, and the Boston Celtics, and have it custom mounted and framed. No minimum deposit is required and the paperwork and fees usually associated with purchasing stock are handled by OneShare.com for $39, plus the cost of the stock itself and an optional frame.
Patron Saints Index
A searchable database of more than 4,600 patron saints that include portraits, biographical information, areas of patronage, links to related sites, quotations, and more. If you're looking for some divine intervention -- and who isn't -- be sure to visit this site. You'll find patron saints of everything from abandoned people to zoos, including Mr. Modem's favorite, St. Isadore of Seville, the patron saint of computers.
(For prompt, personal answers to your computer questions, subscribe to Mr. Modem's weekly newsletter at www.MrModem.com. Read Mr. Modem's column each month in "Smart Computing" magazine. For a free issue, visit www.MrModem.com and click the "Smart Computing/Mr. Modem" logo.)