Q. I've guarded my email address carefully, but somehow I still get spam. How the heck are spammers getting my email address?
A. Spammers are diabolically ingenious individuals, though you would never know it from some of the crappola (technical term) they attempt to sell. Many email addresses are software generated.
For example, AOL is a popular target for spammers because all AOL user addresses conclude with @aol.com. Some spammers use software programs that generate hundreds of millions of sequential usernames (muffin01, muffin01, muffin03, etc.) then attach the @aol.com suffix and send them out en masse.
Spammers also obtain email addresses from registration information provided to Web sites, from messages posted in chat rooms, discussion groups or forums, from "spambots," which are automated programs that crawl the Web looking for anything that includes an @ sign, from ISPs that sell their subscriber lists, from targeted email lists that spammers purchase, and from mailing lists to which you may subscribe. When it comes to procuring email addresses, just remember the old adage, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Hint: Instead of using your primary email address when registering on Web sites, making purchases online or joining mailing lists, consider using a free, disposable email address available from Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com) or try Sneakemail (www.sneakemail.com) or Spamex (www.spamex.com).
For an excellent software solution to spam, take a look at Spy Sweeper at www.webroot.com. Bcause it provides the ability to eliminate spam and other virtual vermin while still on your ISP’s mail server, it keeps spyware and even virus-laden files at bay, so they’re never downloaded into your computer.
Q. I’m moving to a house a couple of miles away and wondered if I need to inform my ISP of my new telephone number and whether this move will affect my email address or Internet connection?
A. There is no need to notify your ISP of your new telephone number. As long as you haven’t moved into an area where connecting to your ISP will be a long-distance call, you’ll be able to hook up your computer in your new house and log in, same as you did in the old ‘hood. Just be sure to notify your ISP of your new snail-mail address. You wouldn’t want to miss an invoice, if you receive them by snail mail.
Q. I created a Web site that looked great on my computer. When I went to a friend’s house to show it off, the font I used did not appear. Instead, something else was displayed and it looked awful. What’s going on and why does my site look different on her computer?
A. When it comes to the Internet, the general rule of thumb is that user preferences prevail. The font that visitors to your Web site see will depend on the settings they’re using in their Web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Netscape or Mozilla. Each browser has its own default font setting, but users can change that to suit their own tastes or use the font you select.
If you’re using Internet Explorer, click Tools > Internet Options, then click the Fonts button and select the font you would like to use. Click OK, then the Accessibility button. Check any or all of the three “ignore” options, then click OK, followed by OK again.
If you’re using Netscape, click Edit > Preferences > Fonts. Select the font you would like displayed, then select which of the three options you would like to use for documents displaying their own fonts. Click OK when you complete your selections.
If you’re using Mozilla, click Edit > Preferences > Appearance > Fonts. Make your selections, then click OK to exit.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Find out which celebrities share your birthday. This Web site has the largest database of celebrity birthdays on the Web, searchable by last name, first name, day, month, and year of birth.
Fast Food Nutritional Guide
Have you ever wondered about the nutritional value, if any, of the quasi-edibles available from fast food restaurants? This is a lean-and-mean resource for determining the sodium, fat, carbohydrates, etc. in the offerings of all your favorite quick-cuisine joints. Let's see, a light lunch consisting of a Burger King Whopper with cheese, an order of fries (French or Freedom) and a chocolate milkshake tips the scales at a belt-bustin', artery-cloggin', paramedic-callin' 73 grams of fat, and 1450 calories. Bon appetit.
Frugal Shopper’s Tips
Ever wish your nail polish would dry faster? I know I do. Before you switch on your hair dryer and waste untold pennies of electricity, try spraying your nails with the non-stick cooking spray PAM. You heard me, girl friend! This is just one of the cost-saving tips that caught my eye at The Frugal Shopper's Household Tips and Hints Web site.
Do you have a question for Mr. Modem? Join subscribers worldwide who receive Mr. Modem’s Weekly newsletter and prompt, personal responses to their questions. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.MrModem.com.