Leo's Answers #31 – June 23, 2006

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Leo Notenboom


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*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

Ready for disaster?

Are you ready for the worst case scenario?

Continue reading: "Ready for disaster?" Article Includes Audio

* * *

Why do I get a black screen on my computer after a while?

My computer switches to a black screen after about 5 to 15 minutes of use. Then I have to turn it off to get another 5 to 15 minutes of use. Maybe someone could just post what part of my computer is causing this black out.

This is another of those questions that I get very, very regularly. Unfortunately it's hard for me to offer concrete help. The problem is that there are so many possibilities, and there's no single "part of my computer" to point at. There are many things to look at, and look for.

Continue reading: "Why do I get a black screen on my computer after a while?"

* * *

How do I remove Microsoft Outlook's Favorite Folders pane?

I was hoping to find a way to remove the Favorite Folders pane in Microsoft Outlook. I went to the help feature and it explicitly states that the pane cannot be removed. Have you ever found a work around to remove it?

In the words of a past U.S. president, I feel yer pain.

I, too, don't use the Favorite Folders feature in Outlook. And I don't appreciate that a) it takes up space whether or not I want it, and b) it occasionally resets to folders which are most definitely not my favorites.

It's a hack, but here's what I do...

Continue reading: "How do I remove Microsoft Outlook's Favorite Folders pane?"

* * *

What's the difference between Windows Live Messenger, Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger Service?

OK, something called "Windows Live Messenger" just released. It seems I'm now floating in "Messengers" ... Windows Live Messenger, Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and this thing called Windows Messenger Service. Do they relate? How do they relate?

And which one do I want to use?

One of my older and more popular articles here on Ask Leo! is one covering the difference between MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger, and Windows Messenger. Unfortunately with the release of Windows Live Messenger, names have only gotten more confusing.

Let's sort this out, one name at a time:

Continue reading: "What's the difference between Windows Live Messenger, Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger Service?"

* * *

How do I disable the Windows Messenger service?

I keep getting these pop-up messages. They're very plain, just grey boxes with an OK button, but they are annoying. Someone told me it's from something called the "Messenger Service" and that I can turn it off. How?

First let's be clear, Windows Messenger Service is not related to the Messenger instant messaging programs - it's something else entirely. It's a "service", which is software that runs in the background, listening for incoming network messages, and popping up a very simple box containing the message when one arrives.

And it's very easy to turn off.

Continue reading: "How do I disable the Windows Messenger service?"

* * *

What's a Captcha?

It'd been quite a while since I received your newsletter and it was then that I realized that the reason for this was that my GMail through Outlook 2003 was not working! I browsed over to Gmail.com and sure enough, the mail was there! Someone pointed out that I should go to UnlockCaptcha. And I did, that's when my Gmail POP started working .

I am curious what is a "Captcha"?

It's a bit of computer science geekery that you probably have interacted with many times before.

Captcha is an acronym for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart." It's even trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University.

Here's why that's important...

Continue reading: "What's a Captcha?"

* * *

How should I store my travel pictures while I'm away?

I have a Kodak DX6490 that I purchased a couple of years ago. I have only used it here around the house and have been so pleased with it, but I do know it only holds about 400 photos. I know how to download those photos here at home to my PC with the dock that came with the camera. All I have to do is press one button and they download automatically, but I have no idea what to use on my laptop to do the same thing, other than take the dock with me and store them on the laptop. I will be away from home for a month, so 400 pictures won't do. I suppose I could buy a ton of those little cards that go into the camera and just keep the photos on those cards and not even take the laptop, but I can email back to my family here if I take the laptop.

Between your laptop, the memory cards, and emailing the pictures back home, I'll vote (strongly) for two out of three of those.

And email's not one of them.

Let me explain why ...

Continue reading: "How should I store my travel pictures while I'm away?"

* * *

How do I connect to the internet while traveling abroad?

We are going on a cruise to Europe in October and I want to take my laptop with me to use in the airport and I suspect I can use it on the plane and on the ship to communicate back home, though I am not sure as I am not a traveler. I don't even know if I can use my cell phone in Europe, as I've never gone before. I also know that my battery will only work for about 2 hrs. and then will have to be plugged in somewhere to be able to use it and not sure there are places to do that anywhere but on the ship.

It's been a while since I've gone abroad, and at that time both travel, and connectivity, was provided courtesy of my employer. It's a good work if you can get it, but not an option for everyone.

There are two major issues that need to be thought of before you head out. Let's review them...

Continue reading: "How do I connect to the internet while traveling abroad?"

* * *

What's OEM software? Is it safe to buy?

I need to buy a new XP disc and license key. I see some websites sell the OEM version. What's the difference between that and a version I'd buy off the shelf? Will Microsoft let me activate an OEM license key if I'm only a consumer?

OEM stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer", and those are the folks like Dell and HP and Sony and others who manufacture computers. OEM Software is the software that they install on your machine, or provide with the machine, when you purchase it new.

How, then, can one buy OEM Software without purchasing a machine?

That, my friend, is exactly the issue.

Continue reading: "What's OEM software? Is it safe to buy?"

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

I wrote this article back in 2003 in part to promote my (at that time) new ebooks at the time dealing with interviewing - both as the interviewee and interviewer. I find it funny the number of comments I continue to get that miss the point and try to "answer" the question.

So Just Why *Are* Manhole Covers Round?

Well, I'll tell you, but if all you want is the answer, then you missed the point of the question.

And why am I talking about manhole covers anyway? Well, to be honest, it's an excuse to plug my newly published ebooks of interviewing tips for both interviewees and interviewers: 10 Quick Steps to Interviewing for Tech Jobs and 10 Quick Steps to Interviewing the Tech Jobseeker, both now available as PDFs or MP3s at 10quicksteps.com.

Continue reading... So Just Why *Are* Manhole Covers Round?

*** Thoughts and Comments

No, I didn't have a disaster, in case you were wondering. This week's podcast is actually in response to several more cases of folks losing their information on HotMail. You've probably heard me rant before about how bad it is to keep your critical information in a free email account without backup elsewhere, but it's really just a symptom of a larger problem. That problem? This'll sound very cynical, but people trust their computers and computer services too much.

Sounds funny, doesn't it? I mean we trust them for many things, every day, but anyone who's used computers for any length of time knows that "stuff" happens. Computers crash, accounts get hacked, data gets lost.

I get a lot of questions from people who're just learning that lesson for the first time. Often the hard way.

Now, I'm no different ... I've lost my share of work, but it's been a long long time. I learned my lesson - and I'll admit it, it took more than one lesson :-).

I know keeping a backup seems like an annoyance, but trust me - it really beats the alternative.

Take care,


* * *

The latest at Forwarded Funnies:
"Canadian Health Care"

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

The most recent tip at Leo's MovableType Tips:
"Repurpose the Excerpt"

*** Newsletter Administration

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Newsletter contents Copyright © 2006, Leo A. Notenboom & Puget Sound Software, LLC.

Posted: June 23, 2006 in: 2006
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/2701
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