04/30 - PC Chat presents Ask Mr. Modem! - East Valley Tribune: Business

04/30 - PC Chat presents Ask Mr. Modem!

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Posted: Friday, April 30, 2004 10:56 am | Updated: 4:37 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Q. I'm not very good using the mouse. Is there a way to use the keyboard instead of trying to click the little pictures on my computer to start programs?

A. While most people prefer to click the little pictures (called icons) that appear on their Windows Desktop to launch software programs, if you prefer to use keystrokes instead of mouse clicks, you can easily create what are called hot keys. To do this, right-click on any Desktop icon you would like to create a hot key for and select Properties. Click the Shortcut tab, then click once in the Shortcut Key field.

Type in the letter or the number you would like assigned to the Ctrl + Alt hot-key combination. For example, enter the letter K if you would like the hot-key combination to be Ctrl + Alt + K to launch a particular program. Then click Apply, followed by Close. Assigning a hot key will allow you to quickly launch a program at any time, just by pressing your assigned key-stroke combination.

Q. I used to have a little icon below the clock every time I connected to the Internet. It came in handy to let me know when I had a connection or when I wasn't connected. Lately, I haven't seen it. Is there some way to get that back?

A. By default, the little Network Connection icon found in the Systray -- the area below the time display -- does not appear. To get this icon to come out from hiding, click My Network Places or Network Neighborhood on your Desktop, or you can open Network Connections from your Control Panel. To display the Network Connection icon, right-click on the desired network (i.e. "Local Area Connection" or whatever is appropriate for your system) and select Properties. Within the Properties window, check the "Show icon in taskbar when connected" box at the bottom of the window, followed by the OK button.

Q. I just bought my first computer and was curious how I can save a Web site's address so I can return to it at a later time?

A. A saved URL (Web site address) is called a Favorite in Internet Explorer and a Bookmark in Netscape.

To save a Web site address in Internet Explorer, go to the Web page you want to save, click Favorites in the menu bar, then click "Add to Favorites." The next time you click Favorites, you will see the Web page listed.

To alphabetize your Favorites, click Favorites in the menu bar (not the Favorites button). Right-click a Favorite, then choose "Sort By Name." As you continue to add Favorites you'll need to periodically repeat this process to keep the list in alphabetical order.

In Netscape, it's almost the same procedure to create a Bookmark: Go to the Web page you want to save, click Bookmarks in your Netscape menu bar, then click "Bookmark this Page." When you next click on "Bookmarks," you will see the Web page listed.

Bonus Tip: Using either Netscape or Internet Explorer, if the name of the saved Web page is too long or too cryptic, right-click on the name displayed as a Bookmark or Favorite and select "Rename." Then type in a name that identifies the page so you can quickly find it again in the future.

Q. How can I check to see what plug-ins are installed in my Internet Explorer?

Plug-ins are small programs that can enhance your Web-browsing experience and are required by some Web pages. To remove or review any plug-ins, in Internet Explorer click Tools > Internet Options. Under Temporary Internet Files, click Settings > View Objects. From the top menu, click View > Details to get the full skinny on each plug-in. You'll probably see ActiveX, Shockwave and several others. Note: If you remove a plug-in (look at the "Last Accessed" column to determine if you're using it before deleting it), the next time it's needed you'll be prompted to reinstall it with a link to the appropriate site.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

My Bookmarks

A free Internet service that allows you to keep your Internet Explorer Favorites, Netscape Bookmarks, and AOL Favorite Places on the Web so you can access them from any location with Internet access. Your current bookmarks can be quickly imported, organized, and searched online, or you can export your bookmarks back to your browser.


Supermarket History

Supermarkets are part of the American culture. From Safeway in San Francisco to Kohl's in Wisconsin, "Did You Bring Bottles?" at grocerteria.net presents the history and architecture of supermarkets from the 1920s to the 1970s. Included are vintage photos and ads from Safeway, Alpha Beta, Kroger, A&P, Lucky and many stores that have since disappeared from the national food chain.


Test Password Security

Don't enter your real passwords, but by typing in passwords that are similar to your real passwords, this site will tell you how easy or difficult it might be for a hacker to "crack" a password. The site also contains suggestions for selecting secure passwords.


(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.)

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