SD card vs. thumb drive and other tech questions

Ask Mr. Modem

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 or flash drive plugs into a USB port and it is quickly removed so you can take it with you. Its small size also makes it easy to misplace so if your life is lacking drama and you enjoy a good adrenaline surge periodically, thumb drives are the way to go.

In your situation, you can’t go wrong with either option. I have external drives, which have served me well, but in recent years I have gravitated more toward flash or thumb drives simply because of their size and convenience.

Q. How can I print a Web page when there is no printer icon or no “printed version” link for the item?

A. Your browser should have a print command on the Menu bar, so click File > Print and you should be able to print it. CTRL + P is also a fairly universal Print command, so give that a try.

Q. Is there a way to set a default font style and size in Gmail?

A. If you are not enamored with the font Gmail uses when you compose an email, you can change the default font. You can even change the color of the font, but before you go crazy with color creativity, have mercy on the eyes of your recipients.

To change the default font, log into Gmail then go to Settings (the little gear icon to the far right). Locate the Default Text Style section on the General tab. Choose your text style using the icons above, “This is what your body text will look like.” Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

Q. Someone is using my email address to sign up for various mailing lists, seminars, meetings and other things. Aren’t there laws against this? What can I do to prevent it?

A. While there are federal and state laws against email “spoofing” and other forms of misleading or deceptive online practices, the problem is tracking down and prosecuting the perpetrators.

On its face it probably appears that a despicable human bean (don’t email me) is the culprit; however, in most cases of this type, automated scripts harvest email addresses from legitimate sources such as Web sites, message boards, blogs, social media and those dreadful “chain” emails so many people feel compelled to forward to others.

If you are receiving email from legitimate companies or Web sites that you recognize, it’s usually safe to click an Unsubscribe link located at the bottom of those messages. Don’t attempt to unsubscribe from messages that are not from legitimate senders. That type of Unsubscribe link is designed to trick you into verifying your address so it can then be sold to other spammers at a premium. (Of all the nerve!)

I recommend having a minimum of two email addresses, one being your primary address that you use to communicate with friends, family and other trusted individuals, and another address that you use for all other purposes, including making online purchases and registrations. I prefer free Gmail accounts for this purpose, but Yahoo! Mail ( is also an excellent choice.

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month

An Optical Illusion

If you enjoy optical illusions, this site features modern interpretations of illusions. The site is presented blog style, so scroll down the page and prepare to be wowed. You can also use the Older Posts link at the bottom of the page to view previous entries. My suggestion is to just dive in, but take a break if your eyes start to hemorrhage or if you feel your head is about to explode.

For the Love of Monet

I remember first becoming enamored with Monet’s art while I was living in Paris, working on my doctoral dissertation, “The Influence of Renaissance Mimes on Baroque, Neoclassicism French Architecture.” It was a magical time. If you’re a Monet enthusiast, you won’t want to miss this site. Once the site loads, you will have three paths from which to choose: Gallery, Journey and Practical Informations – yes, the non-traditional spelling with the silent “s”. Select Journey to begin your digital excursion. If you prefer a more traditional tour or to skip directly to the art, check out the Gallery, organized by the year of each work.

Web Crosswords

If you’re a crossword puzzle enthusiast, here you can select easy puzzles or L.A. Times crosswords, as well as other word-related games. In the unlikely event you get stuck, stymied or flummoxed, click the Solve tab or button to reveal a letter, a word or the solved puzzle. The daily, theme-oriented crossword puzzles are fun. A little timer in the upper right-hand corner is informative, yet humiliating.

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