Leo's Answers #21 – April 14, 2006

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Why are one manufacturer's processors faster than another - even at the same GHz?

I've read that AMD's 2.0 GHz processors are comparable to Intel's 3.0 GHz processors. That seems totally counter intuitive. Why would that be?

To be totally honest, this is one of those areas that I actually spend very little time on. There are hardware geeks out there that will happy rant and rave at how one is better than the other. In fact, I kinda hope some of them will enlighten us with a comment on this article.

But clearly, all Gigahertz are not created equal.

Continue reading: "Why are one manufacturer's processors faster than another - even at the same GHz?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_are_one_manufacturers_processors_faster_than_another_even_at_the_same_ghz.html

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Why does the URL change when I go to some pages?

Every time i put http://www.zone.com on my browser it changes to http://zone.msn.com/en/root/default.htm. I can't access the http://www.zone.com page. I've seen this trying to access other sites also. Why can't I access http://www.zone.com?

It's on purpose. To be absolutely strict about it, there is no http://www.zone.com. Just like there's no http://www.hotmailtips.com.

But they both take you somewhere. On purpose.

Continue reading: "Why does the URL change when I go to some pages?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_does_the_url_change_when_i_go_to_some_pages.html

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Old Technology on the Road

A couple of tools I use to manage old technologies while traveling.

Continue reading: "Old Technology on the Road" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/old_technology_on_the_road.html

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Can a USB thumbdrive "wear out"?

I have a database application that I share between multiple computers. We keep the database itself on a USB thumb drive and simply move that drive to the other computers as needed. The database is never copied off the thumbdrive, we just update it in place. Seems very simple.

A friend of mine just told me that I was asking for trouble. He said something about thumbdrives "wearing out", and that sooner or later, probably sooner, the data on my thumbdrive would become corrupt.

Is that true? Do these USB drives actually wear out?

Let me put it this way: I strongly recommend that you backup the contents of that drive - also sooner rather than later.

Flash memory, the type of memory used in USB thumb drives and other devices, is very, very cool. In fact I'm loading up a gigabyte SD-Ram card for my MP3 player as I type this. But there is a dark side that people don't talk about much.

Flash memory "wears out".

Continue reading: "Can a USB thumbdrive "wear out"?"
http://ask-leo.com/can_a_usb_thumbdrive_wear_out.html

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How do I sign into multiple MSN accounts in messenger?

How do you set things up so you are signed in MSN Messenger using two different accounts at the same time? I have an account with my new friends, but I also have an account that I use with others that I want to talk to at the same time.

You're not alone. I get this question frequently. Sadly, MSN Messenger, or it's lesser twin Windows Messenger, simply don't allow you to do this. At least not directly.

But, as they say, we have ways of letting you talk.

Continue reading: "How do I sign into multiple MSN accounts in messenger?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_sign_into_multiple_msn_accounts_in_messenger.html

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Is there an easy way to stop internet activity on a computer?

Can you tell me of a way that I can stop internet activity on a computer? I am an American living in Russia and I have ADSL but they charge me by my traffic. Norton Internet Security has a feature to "block internet activity" which stops all in and out traffic. That way I am assured that nothing is going on over the web. But, we have three computers networked and I do not have Norton on each because of cost.

I would like to be able to either: 1) stop internet activity per computer (like a turn off switch for Internet), or 2) stop any activity at the modem level

Do you know of a way? I know I could turn off the modem, but looking for something a bit more practical at the user level.

I have a few ideas, but to me none of them are really any more practical than turning off the modem. Let me throw those ideas out, and perhaps they'll be appropriate for your situation, or perhaps a reader will suggest a more elegant solution.

Continue reading: "Is there an easy way to stop internet activity on a computer?"
http://ask-leo.com/is_there_an_easy_way_to_stop_internet_activity_on_a_computer.html

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

For various reasons I'm feeling a little grumpy today. It happens. However it also reminded me of this article I wrote some time ago that I still like, and wish I had the guts to refer people to more often:

WHY IS EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET SO GRUMPY?

"WHY DOES IT SEEM LIKE EVERYONE I EMAIL OR INSTANT MESSAGE GETS ANGRY OR CURT WITH ME? DOES THE INTERNET JUST MAKE PEOPLE GRUMPY?"

Well, computers and the internet certainly make people upset from time to time, but in this case, I'll bet it's something much more specific.

In this case it might just be you.

Continue reading...
http://ask-leo.com/why_is_everyone_on_the_internet_so_grumpy.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

At the risk of continuing to sound a little "grumpy", I thought I'd share this. I got an interesting reader comment in response to last week's newsletter:

When I first subscribed to your newsletter, I found it extremely interesting and I thought I finally found a good, non-geeky, informative missive.

Now, after receiving it for awhile, and having submitted several questions, of which I have had no reply, nor have I seen anything remotely similar to its content being addressed, I am finding your weekly content very boring and mundane. (I learned how to do most of what you are now addressing 7 or 8 yrs. ago.) I find that most of your content deals with the obvious and to the point of being blatantly 'stupid questions' which most people can find out themselves simply by making one extra click in their option areas or tools sections of programs.

I'm sorry I seem to be 'burning' you on all of your hard work, but, either get into the meat and potato areas of the computer with actual problem solving, or I guess I'll have to keep looking for that one elusive editor out there that knows what problems people really want answers for.

I really don't think that too many people want to see the repetitive stuff about MSN Hot Mail, "how do I change my passwords?", etc., etc., etc.

First off let me clarify that I'm not at all offended by the comments. In fact, there's some validity to them. Obviously, this newsletter, like any other, isn't going to be right for everyone, and I get that. While it's a tad on the old side, I even have an article that discusses other tech newsletters: http://ask-leo.com/what_are_some_good_tech_newsletters.html - for the most part the list remains valid, though I hope to update it sometime. Readers have also contributed several additional recommendations for tech newsletters that they find helpful. I would encourage anyone with an interest in additions or alternatives to Ask Leo! to check them out, and encourage adding your own other favorite newsletters or sites to the list.

The point I really want to address, though, is the misconception that I'm answering questions that people don't care about. On the contrary, I'd estimate that roughly 60 to 80% of my content is a direct result of the most frequent questions I get asked. Since I can't answer every question, I try to take a look at the rate and the trends of incoming questions and answer those that are most common, and where I feel I can actually add a little value.

Yes, lots and lots of people are asking those very questions that others find boring and mundane.

There's a tendency to believe that because an answer might be easy for you and I to find, that it should be easy for anyone to find. That's simply not the case. Not everyone can just whip a few terms into Google and make sense of the results.

There is a circular effect that I'm also aware of: as I write more on a topic, say Hotmail, more and more people find the site, and ask more questions on the same topic. I post answers on the topic, more people find me on the topic, and ask me still more questions on the topic. It's a vicious circle that could easily turn Ask Leo! into a one-topic site. That would be boring ... especially to me!

That's where the 20-40% of answers that aren't directly related to rates and trends come in to play. I also choose questions that are clear, interesting, sometimes provocative, and perhaps most importantly, questions where I actually stand a chance of generating a useful answer. You can actually read some of my tips about asking questions here: http://ask-leo.com/why_didnt_you_answer_my_question.html.

But I still can't answer them all.

And for the record, Ask Leo! should have it's 800th article posted in the next day or two, and this newsletter just crossed the 5,000 subscriber mark. I thank everyone for their support and constructive comments along the way.

* * *

The latest entry out at Forwarded Funnies: "Married to a smart ass"
http://www.forwardedfunnies.com

*** Newsletter Administration

Do you have a question? A comment, perhaps? Newsletter subscribers can drop me a line at leo <at> ask-leo.com. (I only give that email address to newsletter subscribers, so I'll know it's from one of my loyal readers.) If you like, you can make sure you get past any spam filters by simply posting your question or comment using the Ask Leo! question form: http://ask-leo.com/askleo.html.

I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I'm currently quite backlogged. I simply cannot answer absolutely every one. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

Leo's Answers Newsletter is a weekly publication of Ask Leo! and Leo A. Notenboom. It's also available as an RSS feed at this URL: http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.xml?UD=nl. Archives of previous newsletter issues can be found on the Ask Leo! web site, http://ask-leo.com/newsletter.html.

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Till next week!

Leo Notenboom

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3 comments on “Leo&apos;s Answers #21 – April 14, 2006”

  1. Dear Leo
    I often receive this message on my computer> “Your system is low on virtual memory…..” What is this .

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