Leo's Answers #27 – May 26, 2006

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Can I check when my last Hotmail login was?

How can I check what time and where my last Hotmail login was?

I get questions similar to this a lot.

To the best of my knowledge: you cannot. Period. I know of no way to make it happen.

Continue reading: "Can I check when my last Hotmail login was?"

* * *

So what do we do about spam?

So if not Blue Security's approach, then what?

Continue reading: "So what do we do about spam?" Article Includes Audio

* * *

How can I enlarge a PDF for printing?

My eyesight is starting to go, yet as a master's student, I have to read scholarly papers (in PDF format) on a regular basis.

These scholarly papers have small print due to their two-column format, and it's a pain to read them on the screen. I'd like to be able to print each 8-1/2"x11" page across two pieces of paper - printing one half of each page on its own sheet of paper, followed by the other half on the next sheet of paper, zooming the print to 200%, thereby giving me a larger font which should be easier to read. Any idea how to do this? The print drivers I've seen are set to cram multiple pages on a single sheet - I want to do the exact opposite. In case it'll help, I have Adobe Acrobat Full version 6, so if creating a PDF as an intermediary step is part of the process, that's not a problem.

I had no idea how to go about this, but it's such an interesting question. It seems like there should be a way, right?

This is one of those cases where it really pays to know smart people. I asked a few of my friends, and quickly had several potential solutions.

Continue reading: "How can I enlarge a PDF for printing?"

* * *

How can I read my email on more than one machine?

I just bought laptop so I can work downstairs as well as on my desktop. Is there a way I can use Outlook on both machines in such a way that they are synchronized? Right now if I open email on one it doesn't appear on the other, and vice versa. Any way around this?

This is a problem I've dealt with for years. Being the geek that I am, I have several computers, and often will want to use one, or the other or another still to read email.

I've settled on one solution, but there are many, many approaches to this problem. Naturally each has both pros and cons.

Continue reading: "How can I read my email on more than one machine?"

* * *

Does seeing a different IP address mean I'm seeing a different computer?

I have a friend in Ukraine who uses gotomypc.com for remote access to work on my computer here in California. Gotomypc records the IP address of each computer when connected. Is it possible that her connection would cause several different IP addresses to appear in gotomypc, even though she is operating from one computer and one connection? Or is that impossible and that different IP addresses definitely mean different computers?

I hate when I have to say this:


It depends on several things, but most importantly how your Ukrainian friend is connected to the internet.

Continue reading: "Does seeing a different IP address mean I'm seeing a different computer?"

* * *

Should I upgrade my DSL modem?

We always hear people talking about upgrades/updates for RAM, programs, BIOS, etc., but what about DSL modems? Do they ever need upgrades? How long does a modem typically last? Do they give any warning signs when they're about to fail? What does a $75.00 modem do that a $40.00 modem won't? What should one look for when buying a first modem or replacing one that has failed? If an ISP provides a modem as part of the install package, is that modem ISP specific or can any modem be used?

Lots of questions about a topic that we rarely think about. But it is kind of interesting. Does it ever make sense to replace or upgrade a DSL modem?

Continue reading: "Should I upgrade my DSL modem?"

* * *

Why do I have to hold down the "Fn" key to get normal letter?

As i type right now, i have to hold down the "Fn" key just to get normal letters. I don't know how it happened, but I'm on a laptop and the only way for me to get the "u,i,o,l,;,k,j,m,7,9,0,/,p" keys are to hold down the "Fn" key. It is purple on the lower left of my internal keyboard.

One of the compromises that laptop manufacturers had to make to support a full-sized keyboard into the space of a laptop is that numeric keypad that most keyboards have. What they've done is overlaid it "on top" of the regular alpha numeric keyboard.

The trick, of course, is noticing it, and then turning it on, or in your case, off.

Continue reading: "Why do I have to hold down the "Fn" key to get normal letter?"

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Poor Internet Explorer. It gets little respect. When it crashes, everyone assumes it's to blame, when more often than not it's something else entirely. Here's an article that details what to do when that happens.

"IExplore.exe has generated an error." Now what?

IExplore.exe, which is Internet Explorer, or more commonly "IE", is perhaps one of the most used pieces of software ever written, next to the Windows operating system itself. 87% of all visits to http://ask-leo.com are from IE users.

Unfortunately, being such a big target, when it crashes a lot of people notice. And since not all crashes that look like IE are actually caused by IE, things get very confusing, and perhaps very frustrating, very fast.

Let's look at some of the clues to help identify the problem, as well as some steps that may help resolve some of the issues we find.

Continue reading... "IExplore.exe has generated an error." Now what?

*** Thoughts and Comments

Spam sure gets people's blood boiling. In my podcast this week I asked the general question: what can we really do about spam. Comments have brought out some strong supporters of a company called Blue Security and their "attack back" approach, as well as some additional ideas on the topic.

One thing's certain - everyone hates spam.

And yet, it exists because it works.

My friend Anne Mitchell of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP) has more details of the whole Blue Security fiasco at her site Take Back the Net - Secure Your Computer. As the name implies, she's spearheading an educate the masses program to help shut down one of spammer's favorite tools: bot nets. The steps are simple, and things we should all be doing already anyway, but too many people still don't. While I don't agree that it's the solution to spam, it's still a critical part of putting the breaks on not only spam, but spyware and viruses as well.

Regardless, doing nothing is not an option. And that's exactly what too many people are still doing.

If you haven't read it already, I still believe that How do I keep my computer safe on the internet? is perhaps the most important article on my site.

Take care,


* * *

The latest at Forwarded Funnies:
"Presidential Jogging"

The latest essay on Taming Email:
"Do I Have New Mail? Do I Have New Mail? Do I ..."

The most recent tip at Leo's MovableType Tips:
"Dealing with a Wealth of Comments"

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Posted: May 26, 2006 in: 2006
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/2668
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.