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Jewish World Review March 20, 2001 / 25 Adar, 5761

The Computer Maven by James Derk

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Consumer Reports

Naughty e-mails...which side up...see a castle -- LETTERS clog the box again and a few of them aren't ads for get-rich-quick schemes or porn! Imagine that!

Q. In one of your recent columns you said not much can be done about porno ads in e-mail. I disagree. I think a complaint to the ISP of the person who sent it can work wonders.

A. In theory I agree, except most of these sleazebags forge the return addresses in their e-mail accounts and often use the mail server of an innocent ISP. I still think having a "throwaway" account at Hotmail or someplace is the best defense. Never tell anyone but friends and family your "real" e-mail address and only check the Hotmail once a week.

Q. I have a question that I am scared to ask anyone else. How do you insert a floppy disk into the computer? Which side up and in?

A. No such thing as a dumb question. Floppies (I presume you mean the ones that are about three-inches square) go in to the computer with the moveable flap side in and the circle in the middle facing down.

Q. I have a copy of Microsoft Office 2000 that came with my computer. When I go to reinstall it, it wants the Product Key from the back of the CD case. Except mine has no key on the case. Where is the key?

A. On Microsoft software that comes with a new computer (so-called "OEM" or Original Equipment Manufacturer) software, the key is on the slim manual that came with the software or on a separate card. It also has a Microsoft hologram on it to vouch for its authenticity.

Q. The university I attend is selling software at very low prices. Is this legitimate? Can I buy it and resell it?

A. Yes and no. Yes, colleges often make deals for so-called "academic" versions of software packages. Most don't differ from the retail products. To buy them you are supposed to show student or faculty identification. (Make sure the academic price you are paying is not more than street price on the Web, though.) And no, it is a violation of the license agreement to resell it, though lots of people do.

Q. My computer has an internal ZIP drive but it is only 100 MB in size. I just bought a 250 MB version using the USB port. Can I have two ZIP drives connected at the same time?

A. Absolutely. That's one of the benefits of USB.

Q. I have Norton Anti-Virus installed on my Windows Me PC. My firewall program recently alerted me that two Trojan Horse files were on my PC because the firewall caught them trying to communicate out of my PC. Why didn't my anti-virus catch them?

A. Likely it would have when you did your next complete scan of your PC. I doubt you have e-mail-scanning enabled, so I bet the Trojans entered via e-mail. Launch Norton and hit OPTIONS. Under INTERNET make sure your e-mail accounts are being scanned.

WEEKLY WEB WONDER: See a live view of the Prague castle! See it at

James Derk is computer columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. Comment by clicking here.


03/16/01: Personal choices for the computer
03/06/01: Apollo printers...CD problems...more
02/27/01: Good firewalls to keep your computer safe
02/12/01: How to set up a LAN party
01/30/01: Used computers... picture.exe...other problems
01/23/00: Cool computer tricks

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