Leo's Answers #28 – June 2, 2006

Leo's Answers
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Leo Notenboom

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*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

What's the different between "plain text" and "HTML" email?

I tried posting to a moderated email discussion group I'm on, but my post was rejected because the moderator said it was "html". They wanted me to switch to "plain text". What are they talking about, and how do I do it?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It's the way web pages such as this one are encoded to handle things like bold, italics and even color text red.

Plain text is, well, it's plain.

There are reasons and times you might want to use both. Switching's not hard, if you know where to look.

Continue reading: "What's the different between "plain text" and "HTML" email?"
http://ask-leo.com/whats_the_different_between_plain_text_and_html_email.html

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Is Big Brother Watching You?

Reports are that law enforcement is asking ISPs to keep records longer. Should we worry?

Continue reading: "Is Big Brother Watching You?" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/is_big_brother_watching_you.html

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Will I have to start paying for Hotmail and Messenger?

A couple of friends sent me that weird email saying that, starting this summer, if I don't send that same email to at least 18 people in my contact list, I will have to pay to use messenger and my Hotmail account.

Is that true?

No.

It's just another email hoax that's making the rounds.

It's wrong on so many levels. Let's look at why, and what you can do to tell beforehand.

Continue reading: "Will I have to start paying for Hotmail and Messenger?"
http://ask-leo.com/will_i_have_to_start_paying_for_hotmail_and_messenger.html

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Should I reinstall Windows from a fresh boot, or by running the installer from within Windows?

I need to repair my Win XP Pro SP2. I lost my original install CD so I bought another new, never registered, full install CD with SP2. From what I've read, there are two methods: 1) Fixing from a fresh boot and, 2) Starting from within Windows.

This question actually turned into a series of related questions regarding the two options, so let's take a look at some of the nuances of installing a new copy of Windows XP.

Continue reading: "Should I reinstall Windows from a fresh boot, or by running the installer from within Windows?"
http://ask-leo.com/should_i_reinstall_windows_from_a_fresh_boot_or_by_running_the_installer_from_within_windows.html

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What does "Beta" mean?

I'm having a problem with <some non-Google software package> version <something> Beta. Can you help?

Before I answer that, I want to make sure you understand what the word "Beta" means. It's not exactly the same everywhere, but as long as the software isn't a Google service, the meaning is fairly consistent.

It means you're going to have problems with it.

Continue reading: "What does "Beta" mean?"
http://ask-leo.com/what_does_beta_mean.html

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What are my high speed internet options?

I live in an area that's not served by wired broadband providers such as DSL or cable. Am I really stuck with only dialup? It's so slow!

Surprisingly I can say this with all honesty:

I feel your pain.

OK, not the exact same pain, but my options are also limited, and it's frustrating.

Let me throw out the alternatives I'm aware of. Perhaps someone will chime in with something new and exciting and we can both get a faster internet fix.

Continue reading: "What are my high speed internet options?"
http://ask-leo.com/what_are_my_high_speed_internet_options.html

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Why does my email sometimes show up with funny characters like "=0D" in it?

I'm one of the moderators on a large email discussion list. Quite often when we receive a message for approval it might be full of what I can only call "funny characters" or character sequences. They always begin with an equals sign, though. For example things like =0D=0A and =3D appear throughout the message.

But wait, this gets even more odd. If we allow such a message to go through to our list, most members who receive the messages individually don't see this oddness; messages look just fine to them. And yet, members who receive these messages in a periodic digest see the same funny characters as we moderators do.

What's up what that?

You'd think that with plain-text email having been around for as long as it's been issues like this would have been resolved by now.

The problem is that there's "plain text" email, and then there's "plain text" email. That's correct - not all "plain text" is created equal.

Continue reading: "Why does my email sometimes show up with funny characters like "=0D" in it?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_does_my_email_sometimes_show_up_with_funny_characters_like_0d_in_it.html

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Changing ISPs is nothing new. Neither is the hassle of changing your email address when you do. This article offers some suggestions:

Is there a way to keep my email address when I change my ISP?

Cell phone carriers are now required to let you keep your cell phone number if you switch providers, but unfortunately no such requirement exists for ISPs. So, probably not. But there are definitely a few things you can do this time, to make it possible to keep your email when you switch next time.

Continue reading... Is there a way to keep my email address when I change my ISP?
http://ask-leo.com/is_there_a_way_to_keep_my_email_address_when_i_change_my_isp.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

I'm puzzled.

It's not a new puzzlement, but it's about something that happened again this week, and I am so confused as to why.

If you take a look at the comments on the article What's the difference between a Hub, a Switch and a Router? (http://ask-leo.com/whats_the_difference_between_a_hub_a_switch_and_a_router.html) you'll see this comment: "Can any one tell me,What's the difference between a Hub, a Switch and a Router?"

The comment asks the exact question that is answered by the very article that the person is commenting on.

This is not a unique occurrence. In fact, over the years I've made changes to the pages so that you can only add a comment from the page that has the article on it. The notes around the comment box, as well as the submit button, have gotten borderline obnoxious in reminding people to read the article that they are commenting on.

And yet, once a week or slightly more often, I get comments on an article that are nothing more than questions answered by the article.

I'm mystified.

It happens often enough that I can only believe it's my own fault - there's must be something about the site, the presentation, or how people are submitting comments that leads them to miss the article itself completely. That concerns me, because I really want people to find the answers they're looking for - especially if the answers are already there!

Every once in a while I mention it here, in case someone has an insight as to why this might be happening. If you have an idea, drop me a line: leo <at> ask-leo.com

Take care,

Leo

* * *

The latest at Forwarded Funnies:
"Airline Industry Fix"
http://www.forwardedfunnies.com

The latest essay on Taming Email:
"Subjects are Everything"
http://www.tamingemail.com

The most recent tip at Leo's MovableType Tips:
"Dealing with a Wealth of Comments"
http://www.mttips.com

*** Newsletter Administration

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