Leo's Answers #49 – October 27, 2006

Leo's Answers
A Weekly Newsletter From
Ask Leo!
Leo Notenboom

Hello!

*** Contents

*** New Articles of Note on Ask Leo!

MSN Hotmail: how long will Hotmail keep my account open?

I'm about to go on a trip for a while, and I want to make sure I don't lose any of my on-line information. I keep a lot of important emails and contact information in my MSN Hotmail account. If I don't login for a while, how soon will Hotmail discard it?

You keep important things in your Hotmail account?

And only in your Hotmail account?

SIGH

In case you haven't guessed, that's one of my pet peeves. Let's look at why, and what you should be doing. And we'll answer your question too.

Continue reading: "MSN Hotmail: how long will Hotmail keep my account open?"
http://ask-leo.com/msn_hotmail_how_long_will_hotmail_keep_my_account_open.html

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Why is the byte activity different on my wired and wireless connections?

Why is the byte activity (sent and received) exponentially greater when I connect to the internet via wireless compared to the land line connection?

I don't have a specific "this is it" answer for this, but I do have a couple of ideas.

Continue reading: "Why is the byte activity different on my wired and wireless connections?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_is_the_byte_activity_different_on_my_wired_and_wireless_connections.html

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How should I protect myself from other computers sharing my internet connection?

I share a house with a friend who has a broadband connection. I recently decided that I need my own internet access so added a wireless card to my laptop. I purchased good anti-virus protection, and the sort of thing I use the internet for is to look at academic sites, iTunes, a bit of shopping, that sort of thing. My concern is that my friend sometimes uses his connection to download pornography and surf some of the less reputable sites on the net. As a result has had some serious virus problems in the past which often accompany that kind of site. His virus protection is minimal and I'm worried about the possibility of my computer being infected through the wireless connection. So in a nut-shell can my computer be infected/be more likely to be infected through a wireless connection? If so, is there anything you can suggest given that I can't persuade my friend to beef up his anti-virus protection?

The short answer is that yes, you are at risk.

The bad news is that your friend is a part of the problem - he's one of the bad players on the internet.

The good news is that we know how to deal with that, because in reality, we deal with that every day.

Continue reading: "How should I protect myself from other computers sharing my internet connection?"
http://ask-leo.com/how_should_i_protect_myself_from_other_computers_sharing_my_internet_connection.html

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Why does my computer shut down after an hour or two of playing music from my external drive?

I am a DJ and use my laptop (1.2ghz Intel Celeron, 256mb ram, no spyware or viruses, up to date with windows patches and drivers) to play to the music. Ever since i started playing the music from my usb2.0 external hard drive my laptop would turn off by itself with no warning after say.. a few hours, then more and more frequently. So i thought it was overheating but not sure.

As you know mp3s need to be decoded before playing. I tried converting a DJ set into wav files (no compression, therefore not as much processing) and played a set all night from my external hard drive using wav instead of mp3s without my laptop turning off once. I can do a set using mp3s on my internal hard drive without my laptop switching off but my internal is only 40 gig.

I want to DJ music via my external hard drive without having to convert all my mp3s to large wav files! Is it overheating?

Would buying more ram eliminate the problem? Maybe i should get a Firewire external hard drive instead of a usb2 one because they are a little bit faster? Or is the only answer to buy a bigger expensive internal laptop hard drive?

Maybe put my laptop on bricks of ice?

Well, I certainly agree that it feels like an overheating problem.

And I suppose, depending on where you're working, putting your laptop on ice has a certain appeal (make sure it doesn't get wet, ok?).

More realistically, though, there are some clues and some things to try.

Continue reading: "Why does my computer shut down after an hour or two of playing music from my external drive?"
http://ask-leo.com/why_does_my_computer_shut_down_after_an_hour_or_two_of_playing_music_from_my_external_drive.html

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Did ya miss me?

The Ask Leo! podcast returns.

Continue reading: "Did ya miss me?" Article Includes Audio
http://ask-leo.com/did_ya_miss_me.html

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*** Popular Articles from the Archives

Last week we talked about what you can (or cannot) do if you don't have an installation CD-ROM for Windows. (I once again strongly recommend that you always get one, by the way.) This week we look at one of the folders on your machine that's often one of the alternatives that manufacturers use.

So just what *is* the I386 directory anyway?

I've seen you talk a lot about the I386 directory, particularly for folks that don't have an installation CD for their system. But I'm still confused ... not every machine has this I386 directory, or if they do, it doesn't seem to have what you say it does. What is it, really? Should I have it? What if I don't? Do I want it?

Whoa ... seems my answers around the I386 direectory have been generating lots of additional questions as well. Let's see if we can clarify they "I386 mystery".

Let me start by answering a question you didn't ask, because it's related, incredibly important, and the reason that I386 appears in so many of my answers: In my opinion, you should never purchase a pre-installed operating system without also getting the CD-ROM of the operating system that came pre-installed.

Never.

Clear enough? Now, let me tell you why I feel so strongly, and how it relates to I386.

Read more... So just what *is* the I386 directory anyway?
http://ask-leo.com/so_just_what_is_the_i386_directory_anyway.html

*** Thoughts and Comments

I finall broke down and installed both IE 7 and Firefox 2 on one of my machines. I'll be reporting on the both in coming days, but my initial impressions are simple: Firefox keeps doing well (though I hope the extensions are updated quickly), and Internet Explorer continues that fine tradition of Microsoft changing things for no apparent reason.

OK, maybe I tipped my hand there a little bit, but I have to admit, the "WTF? factor" was pretty high when IE7 came up for the first time. There are some very nice parts to it, but what appear to be some definite annoyances as well.

I've only used them a short time, so I'll keep it at that until I've got more of a track record with both.

In other news, you may notice a change in the text down below - I've stopped using the "leo <at> ask-leo.com" email address as a way for newsletter subscribers to contact me. The reason? Probably the same reason you get frustrated with your email as well: too much spam.

Instead, I've made a duplicate "submit a question" page specifically for people who read the newsletter. Submit your question via that form, and I'll try to process it a little quicker, in return for your being here. All the usual caveats apply - I can't respond to every question - but I do try to prioritize questions from folks who've subscribed when I can.

So subscribers, you can use http://ask-leo.com/askleosubscriber.html to ask any questions or pass on any comments.

Until next week...

Leo

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The Latest:
Forwarded Funnies: "Marine Studies"
Taming Email: "Don't Ask for Spam"
Leo's MovableType Tips: "Changing Page Names Mid-Stream"

*** Newsletter Administration

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I'll be honest: I'll try to respond, but I get a lot of questions every day - I just can't answer everyone. Rest assured, though, that even if you don't hear from me directly, I read every email I get.

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