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Articles written by Richard Sherman

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Mr. Modem says it's time to move on

After more than 30 wonderful years as a writer, I have decided to retire. I know what you’re thinking, “He’s much too young to retire.” Okay, so maybe you are not thinking that, but it’s my final column, so would it kill you to work with...

 

Email freezeups and overheated USB hubs

Q. Sometimes people I send email to tell me that when they open my message, their computer freezes. I’m sending you one of my emails that did this. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong that might be causing this? A. The email you sent me...

 

These tools can resize your photos in a jiffy

Q. Is there any way I can reduce the size of a photo that was given to me in .JPG format? A. There sure is: Irfanview is a free graphics viewer/editor. Once installed, click "File", then "Open" to display your photo. With the picture displayed,...

 

You, too, can perform easy screen captures (and other high-tech tactics)

Q. How do I capture or save what appears on screen? A. Depending on the version of Windows being used, press the Windows Logo Key and the Print Screen key, which is sometimes displayed as the PrntScrn or PrtSc key. Pressing the Print Screen key...

 

Do I really need the Facebook app on my phone?

Q. I use Facebook in a browser on my Android phone. I don’t understand why, if I can easily use it in a browser, do I need to install the Facebook app? A. Excellent question! You certainly can continue to use Facebook as you are doing and it will...

 

Net neutrality and other tech complexities

Q. It seems like lots of “experts” have varying opinions about Net Neutrality. Can you explain it in layman’s terms? I am against the government sticking its nose into my business, but I don’t understand the issue. A. Net Neutrality 101....

 

Creating special characters with your keyboard

Q. My keyboard has several diacritic marks, including the tilde and circumflex accent. How does one place such a mark over a letter? A. Diacritic marks? Circumflex accents? Pulleeeze! Around here we refer to those as doohickies and squiggly things,...

 

Who or what regulates the Internet?

Q. Is there a governing body that regulates the Internet in the United States? A. No one person, company, organization or governmental agency oversees the Internet at this time, though that is certainly subject to change. There are some individuals...

 
 By Richard Sherman    Columns    May 1, 2015

How to silence an excessively 'clicky' iPad, and other top tech advice

Q. I use my iPad during business meetings and the clicking sound it makes when I unlock it is distracting. Is there some way to silence that noise? A. Having invested years perfecting the art of stating the obvious, my best recommendation would be...

 

Let it go: Windows XP is not coming back

Q. I know you’re probably sick of hearing from us XP user/whiners, but it is such a good operating system, I just don’t want to move to something else. I have heard that Microsoft was losing money on XP, but why can’t they just charge XP users...

 

Here's how to investigate that slow connection

Q. I’m using high-speed Internet over a phone line. It works okay, but on occasion it goes so slow that most sites never finish downloading. Is this a provider problem? A. I would start your investigation with your Internet service provider, and in...

 

How to print a folder index, reduce photos and more

Q. Is there is any way to print the contents of a folder so I can obtain a list of the filenames, sizes and dates modified? A. Yes, you can print a list of the files and subfolders contained in any Windows folder, and while this can be accomplished...

 

'How can I cheat at Solitaire?' (Really?)

Q. I’ve heard there is a way to cheat when playing Solitaire. I hate to ask, but can you shed any light on this? A. I don’t know why as many people ask about this as they do, particularly since Solitaire is a game you play against yourself, but...

 

Gmail settings, Excel calendar dates, other advice

Q. How can I explore the various settings in Gmail without messing up what I currently have? Is there any place I can see demonstrations of what the various Gmail features and options do? A. Any changes you make to Gmail through its user settings...

 

Always, always sign out of online accounts

Q. When I go to my online bank accounts and other sites that I have to sign into, does it make any difference whether I sign out or just click the X to leave? I’m thinking it doesn’t make any difference, but what is your opinion, Mr. M?...

 

Help! My hard drive is full, what do I do?

Q. What happens when an external hard drive runs out of space? Does that mean I have to spend money to buy a new one? A. When you start to run out of space on your external drive, one possibility is to purchase another, larger drive. A better option...

 

Let it go: Windows XP is not coming back

Q. I am debating about buying a new laptop with Windows 8. I know that some people don’t like Windows 8. Do you think Microsoft will keep this format in the future or will it go back to something like XP or the Windows 7 format? How do you feel...

 

Print spoolers and other baffling tech marvels

Q. When I try to print certain photos, I get an error message that tells me that Windows cannot connect with my printer and that I need to restart the spooler. What the heck is a spooler and how do I restart it? A. Spooler alert! A print spooler is...

 

It's easy to move photos from smartphone to PC

Q. Can you recommend a simple program to move pictures from my Android phone to my Windows 7 computer? A. You really don’t need a program or an app to do that. Instead, follow these steps and you should be all set: First, connect your smartphone...

 

How many cell phones, tablets can your Wi-Fi handle?

Q. I want to create a new folder in my Documents folder so I can consolidate several folders into one. The problem is, when I create a new folder, it appears at the top of the list of folders, and the ones I need to move into this new folder start...

 
 By Richard Sherman    Columns    May 1, 2014

Flash drive longevity and other tech questions

Q. I went to delete a file and it just deleted without asking for confirmation. I intended to delete it, so the lack of a confirmation wasn’t a big deal, but I prefer having a “safety net” requiring me to confirm any deletions. Do you know why...

 

Is my computer use being tracked online?

Q. When I go to Google and search for items to buy, later on I see those same or related items as ads at the top of other pages I visit. It sure seems like I’m being tracked and then being solicited soon thereafter. Is that what is happening or do...

 

SD card vs. thumb drive and other tech questions

Q. I’m dithering between purchasing an SD card and a thumb drive for the storage of photos and documents. Is one better than the other or should I get an external hard drive? A. SD cards and thumb drives basically use the same technology. A thumb...

 

Default programs, safe mode and risky downloads

Q. Whenever I open Internet Explorer, it asks me if I want it to be my default. Does that mean that it will be my start page? A. If a program is your default, it means when an action is initiated that requires the use of a third-party application (pr...

 

Tips on Wi-Fi passwords, folder icons, more

Q. Is there a way to create custom folder icons or pictures associated with folders? I don’t necessarily like the ones that appear by default and wondered if I could change them? A. Right-click a folder that displays an icon you find repulsive and...

 

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