Leo’s Answers #105 – November 30, 2007

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hello!

*** Contents

*** This Week's New Articles on Ask Leo!

Should I convert to Linux?

I gave my eleven year old son my old laptop to surf with but it's too slow with a 1 gigahertz CPU, 384 megabytes of RAM (maxed out)and running Windows XP. With 1 PC and 3 laptops in the household upgrading isn't really an option, and besides, it's a great laptop.

What do you think about converting it over to Linux, or am I wasting my time? What applications and utilities are compatible ie. browsers, anti spyware, virus protection etc.. How would you go about setting the computer up. I have moderate experience, utilizing forums and sites like yours when encountering major problems.

Linux is a great way to extend the life of older computers, simply because the resource requirements of many Linux distributions are so much less than that of Windows.

There are naturally a few "gotcha's" along the way.

But before we even go there, we need to make sure that we're solving the right problem.

Continue reading: "Should I convert to Linux?"
http://ask-leo.com/should_i_convert_to_linux.html

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Should I Install Windows XP SP3?

I've got several questions with respect to Windows XP SP3. Do you think SP3 will install IE7? Have the IE7 bugs been worked out? Do you think people will be able to opt-out of downloading IE7 if it's part of SP3 or at least uninstall it after download and return to IE6? I have almost 200MB of hot fixes, patches and updates to XP Pro SP2 that Microsoft has issued; would SP3 be in addition to the 200MB already installed or would it automatically delete them and just install itself (presumably a download equal to SP2)?

First I need to clarify that this is an opinion piece. I've not seen SP3, and much of what we hear about it is currently either rumor or information that could change before it releases.

That being said, I do have some opinions.

Continue reading: "Should I Install Windows XP SP3?"
http://ask-leo.com/should_i_install_windows_xp_sp3.html

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How do I burn something to CD?

I am having the hardest time trying to understand how to save files to CDs. Do you have to format a CD first? Do you have to use a program like Roxio? Personally, I would rather use Zip disks as it seems much less complicated to save a file to one of these. The drawback, as we know, is the amount of storage on those compared to CD's. On one occasion I wanted to save a file to CD-RW so I could go back later and change or update information in that file. I wasn't allowed to make any changes even though it was a CR-RW. Please help me as I am so frustrated with CD's.

There many approaches to CD and DVD burning. Rather than say "this is how you must do it", I'll show the basics of Windows XP CD burning and then touch on a couple of the alternatives that you might investigate as well.

Continue reading: "How do I burn something to CD?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_burn_something_to_cd.html

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If I Had to Do It All Over Again... [rerun]

I reflect on the one thing I would have done differently and why I think it matters.

Continue reading: "If I Had to Do It All Over Again... [rerun]" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/if_i_had_to_do_it_all_over_again_rerun.html

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So, what do you think about Kindle?

I heard you got a Kindle. What do you think of it?

That's actually a made-up question, but I expect people, particularly some of my more techie friends, to be asking me very soon. Hence, this article to answer it for everyone.

The other day my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her to wait until Monday and I might have an answer. After Amazon's announcement I spent some time reviewing the device's specifications and decided.

Kindle was the answer.

Continue reading: "So, what do you think about Kindle?"
http://ask-leo.com/so_what_do_you_think_about_kindle.html

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How can I view large web pages without having to scroll right and left?

I am a very hesitant user of e-mail and the internet; but for bank stuff and keeping in touch with things I have to. My eyes are not good, so I have to make things larger. So far I have been able to visit most of the desired web pages without scrolling to the right - my laptop has an almost square screen (800 x 600) - now lots of sites are so wide, that I can't read the contents without scrolling to the right for ever and ever. I forget what it said at the beginning of the row. How can I make those pages narrower without making the letters smaller?

This is a real problem that more and more people are facing.

Some things can be adjusted, while others cannot. I've touched on some of these concepts before, but your scenario is interesting because it presents perhaps the most inflexible of situations.

Continue reading: "How can I view large web pages without having to scroll right and left?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_can_i_view_large_web_pages_without_having_to_scroll_right_and_left.html

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Should I unsubscribe from things I've signed up for to avoid spam?

In order to try to cut down on spam I usually opt out at the end of the offer. Is this a good idea or am I just confirming my email address is a good working one which invites even more spam?

It's hard to say without knowing what you mean by "at the end of the offer".

But you're quite right: sometimes the unsubscribe link isn't an unsubscribe at all. In fact, sometimes it's the moral equivalent of a "send me more spam" link.

The problem is that you really do need to know when it's legitimate and should be used.

I can offer some guidelines as to when you should and when you should not click on something that claims to be an unsubscribe link.

Continue reading: "Should I unsubscribe from things I've signed up for to avoid spam?"
http://ask-leo.com/should_i_unsubscribe_from_things_ive_signed_up_for_to_avoid_spam.html

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There's no going back

Change is inevitable, and often unexpected. So what do you do when faced with changes you don't want?

Continue reading: "There's no going back" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/theres_no_going_back.html

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

It's that time of year. This article still holds true:

What computer should I give?

In a recent article, What computer should I get?, I discussed the criteria I used as I decided what computer to purchase for myself and what criteria you might consider for yourself.

But what it it's not for you? What if you're looking for a computer as a gift?

Things get more difficult, that's what.

Continue reading...
What computer should I give?
http://ask-leo.com/what_computer_should_i_give.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

Sorry again about missing last week's issue. I want to thank everyone who expressed well wishes in case it was something serious. Sadly, I must report that it was. I won't dwell on it too much here but my father, Leo J. Notenboom, passed away at age 91. He'd been in a nursing home for the past few years, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but naturally the specific timing still was.

Conventional wisdom is to keep this kind of overly personal stuff apart from business, but since it had a direct impact on the newsletter's publication I feel somewhat obligated to let you know what was up. My apologies if it's "TMI" (Too Much Information).

On to happier things...

If you didn't notice my article on it, I now own a Kindle, Amazon's new portable electronic book. It's very convenient, but certainly not for everyone. One of it's major surprises? You can read Ask Leo! on it! For free! (After purchasing the device, of course.) Pretty cool. So, what do you think about Kindle? has my take, including both pros and cons. (And yes, there's plenty of both.)

I certainly can't recommend that everyone just run out and buy one, but it's definitely worth a look. And of course if you happen to have an extra $400 to spend, it might well be worth a very close look. Smile

'till next time...

Leo

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*** Newsletter Administration

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