Leo's Answers #29 – June 9, 2006

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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Can I mix and match RAM I add to my system?

I just purchased 1 gigabyte of RAM for my computer and it works great. What didn't work was trying to use my previous 2 256MB ram sticks in combination with my new 1GB Stick. Is there any way to make this combo work? Perhaps a specific order to install the RAM?

The short answer is: maybe.

On some computers you can, and on others you cannot. On some you can, if as you suggest, you do it "the right way". So how do you tell?

Continue reading: "Can I mix and match RAM I add to my system?"

* * *

Googled Yourself Lately?

Do you know what the internet says about you? And would you want your mother, or your boss, to see?

Continue reading: "Googled Yourself Lately?" Article Includes Audio

* * *

Must my mail server have a specific name?

I'm setting up my own mail server for my domain. For example I own "example.com", and I want my server to process all the mail for "example.com".

I keep seeing domain names like "smtp.example.com", "pop3.example.com" and "mail.example.com" - do I have to create those kind of subdomains for this to work? And if so, which ones do I need?

Well, there's nothing special about "smtp." or "mail." - they're just names.

But you might want to consider using something like them. They can make certain future changes a little easier.

Continue reading: "Must my mail server have a specific name?"

* * *

Is this message that I'm infected a hoax?

I wonder the about the origins of viruses. I mean, are things detected as viruses really viruses, or its just a way for anti-virus software to make us feel good about running their products? Or perhaps the anti-virus companies also make the viruses, so that we have a need for their product? And could the scanners get confused by other problems that are mis-identified as viruses?

There's a gut instinct to react to this question by saying "boy, you sure are paranoid". I mean, the question implies some heavy-duty conspiracy is at play.

The problem is that, as with any fear, there's a grain of truth to it. That means that if you ask me "is this 'you're infected' message a hoax" the best I can offer is "maybe".

We need to check a few more things before we can really say one way or the other with any certainty.

Let's look at a few of those things...

Continue reading: "Is this message that I'm infected a hoax?"

* * *

What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?

I'd like to access my MSN HotMail account through Outlook Express. What do I put in for the "Incoming mail (POP3)" and "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" server settings?

I've actually written about this before, but I keep getting the question so often that it's clear that my previous articles are not clear enough.

So let me be extra clear:

There are no POP3 and SMTP servers provided by HotMail. None. There is no configuration for Outlook Express, or Outlook, or any other mail program that will let you download your email directly from HotMail for free.

There are alternatives that people seem to get all wrapped up about, but they are not what you think. Let me explain why ...

Continue reading: "What are MSN HotMail's POP3 and SMTP settings for Outlook Express?"

* * *

Why does my screen resolution change when I run this program?

I'm running Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 6000. Firefox is my browser. Every time I turn Foxfire on, my screen resolution drops from 32 bit to 8 bit.

If I leave Foxfire on and reset the resolution to the original 32 bit, it stays there unless I turn FF off and then on again when the problem reasserts itself again.

Any idea why, or what to do to prevent it?

Well, I know how to do it on purpose, but having happen by accident is a new one to me.

Let's look at how it's done on purpose, and see if undoing that helps you.

Continue reading: "Why does my screen resolution change when I run this program?"

* * *

What's a good portable PDF reader?

I have many .pdf books and docs ... is there a decent portable device to download and read them on the go? I heard about e-book readers and pda's, but am frustrated in internet searches? Must I settle for a laptop to read them?

So far, every solution I've seen to this one has some serious disadvantages.

The most promising, however, depends on how far you want to stretch the definition of "laptop".

Continue reading: "What's a good portable PDF reader?"

*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Ever wish that this key were "over there" instead of "over here" on your keyboard? This article from November of 2003 talks about exactly that:

How can I disable my "Windows" key? Or for that matter, remap my entire keyboard?

If your needs are "standard" then the approach, while well hidden, is pretty easy. However if you want a truly arbitrary mapping, this is one of those areas that you'd expect to be a lot easier than it turns out to be.

By "standard" I really mean "something that Microsoft has already thought of". That boils down to two things: a predefined set of foreign keyboard layouts, and the Dvorak keyboard layout. (Dvorak is an alternative to the standard QWERTY layout that you can read much more about here.)

If you want to do something non-standard, though, things get very interesting. And possibly complicated.

Continue reading... How can I disable my "Windows" key? Or for that matter, remap my entire keyboard?

*** Thoughts and Comments

I want to thank everyone who write in last week in response to my puzzlement.

To refresh your memory, I was wondering why so many comments on articles on Ask Leo! were simply questions that were answered by the very article people were commenting on. I was concerned that perhaps I'd missed something in my presentation, and that there was a common or legitimate way to see the question and the opportunity to comment, and completely miss the article.

The consensus among those who wrote in is that it's not my fault.

Jeff in Ontario wrote:

Whether it's a sign on a door, a post to a newsgroup, or an article in a newsletter, fewer and fewer people are reading and understanding words that are right under their nose.

I wish I knew the solution, Leo. It's as serious to writers as if we were musicians and large numbers of people were going deaf.

It definitely does seem like many people don't see what's in front of them, doesn't it? But then, we all do that from time to time - I know I'm certainly guilty of it. Is it increasing, as Jeff suggests? I have to say that it sort of seems that way.

Danny, in the Phillipines offers a slightly different perpective:

Welcome to the world of communication and language. This problem has been around for centuries. In fact it has been around since Aristotle. There are plenty of barriers that lead to problems in communication. Most of the time, it is plain and simple: inattention. What happens is people juggle several sources of information a day [...] and they have to contend with all these information.

I definitely agree that there are more things competing for our attention these days, and as a result our approach to absorbing information is changing. It's possibly inattention, but if so, it's perhaps inattention due to the short amounts of time we allow ourselves before moving on to something else. Perhaps impatience would be a better word. Regardless of the reasons, it appears that more people need short, quick bits of information in order for things to register. Unfortunately that makes true education much more difficult, since not everything can be packaged that way.

That sentiment was echoed by more than one reader:

Perhaps it is because many people are downright impatient, have short attention spans. We live in an era of sound-bite newscasting and instant gratification. Some people don't have the patience to listen and engage in good give-and-take conversation; some people don't have the patience to read thoroughly.

And yet another perspective:

Bottomline there will always be clueless newbies who know how to press the submit button.

Well, yes. Most definitely. But that's also one of the reasons I ask the question. It's exactly the less experienced that need the most help, so it's frustrating to me to provide that help, and see them completely miss it.

But yes, I do sometimes have to restrain myself when I see "Can you recover my password" for the umpteenth time. :-)

Thanks again to all who wrote.

If you have a suggestion on how to make the site, or this newsletter, more useful or more friendly, don't hesitate to let me know. Obviously I can't do everything, but I appreciate all the different perspectives that you bring. Drop me an email at leo <at> ask-leo.com.

Take care,


* * *

The latest at Forwarded Funnies:
"Baby Fat"

The latest essay on Taming Email:
"Subjects are Everything"

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

*** Newsletter Administration

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Posted: June 9, 2006 in: 2006
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/2684
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