Ask Mr. Modem! 7-6-07 - East Valley Tribune: Business

Ask Mr. Modem! 7-6-07

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Posted: Friday, July 6, 2007 6:54 am | Updated: 7:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Q. I used to use AOL, but left them for Cox Cable and high-speed Internet access. It works great as long as I’m at home, but what do I do when I travel? How can I get online to access my email when I don’t have cable access? I look forward to your newsletter every week. Thanks, Mr. M.

A. Cox (as do Comcast and other high-speed providers) also provides dial-up access, so all you have to do is activate your Remote Dial Access. Go to Cox Support ( and select your state from the map. When the Technical Support page appears, scroll down to Remote Dial Access. There you'll find lots of information about activating it, what settings to use, etc. Once you have Remote Dial Access activated, it's no different than using any dial-up access, including your former days with AOL.

In addition to dial-up access, Cox (and other ISPs) provides WebMail so you can send and receive mail from any computer with Internet access. This is particularly useful when traveling. With WebMail, you simply navigate to your WebMail page, enter your username and password, and access your email account. You’ll find information about WebMail on the same Cox Support page referenced above.

Another easy-to-use option for checking mail is On this site you simply type in your email address, password and check your mail.

Q. I’ve been told that no matter who sends me an attachment, I need to scan it with my anti-virus program. Would one way to avoid that be to have my family members type in a little code, like their initials, in the Subject line? That would confirm the email was really from them and not the result of some hijacked address book sending out infected messages. One of my friends suggested that and I thought it was a pretty good idea.

A. Your friend’s suggestion is well intentioned, but it contains a fatal flaw in that the person putting his or her initials on the Subject line might not know that they are sending out infected messages. If you then observed their initials, you might conclude that the message is safe and the result would be “presto, infecto!” The suggested “secret code” would only let you know that the message is from the designated sender.

Any good anti-virus program is going to check incoming email, which is the best way to protect yourself. My favorite anti-virus program is AVG Anti-virus ( It’s available in both free and paid versions. Most people do just fine with the free version, which is available at

Q. I recently purchased a newer computer and was forced to move from Windows 98 to Windows XP in the process. I’m still struggling with XP, though making progress slowly, with your help. One of the many things I haven’t been able to figure out is how to get programs that I use frequently to appear on the Start Menu so I can launch them with one click. Can you explain that?

A. To add a program to the Start menu, right-click the shortcut to that program under Start > All Programs, then click Pin to Start Menu. The shortcut will be copied to the left-hand side of your start menu. Note: This only works with the standard XP Start Menu, not the Windows Classic Start Menu. If you are using the Classic Start Menu, right-click the Start button, select Properties > Start Menu tab and change your setting from Classic Start Menu to Start Menu.

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