All Is Not Lost, If the Product Key Is

Q. I am preparing a document that was created in four different files. How can I combine all four files into a single file so that I just have one large document file?

A. Copy and paste the contents of three of the files into the fourth. For example, lets say you want File 1 to contain your entire document. Simply copy and paste the contents of Files 2, 3, and 4 into File 1. Presto! You'll have all four parts in one file.

To copy the contents of a file, open the file and press CTRL + A to select (highlight) all text. Press CTRL + C to copy the text, or right-click and select COPY. Then go to your destination location, place your cursor where you want to insert the text and press CTRL + V, or right-click and select PASTE.

Q. I was recently asked what type of email I had, and I had no idea how to respond. Is there more than one type of email?

A. There are two primary types of email, Plain Text and HTML. Plain text refers to email in ASCII format, which is the lowest common denominator that virtually every computer can display. Plain text does not include any additional formatting code, nor any graphics. When in doubt, you can never go wrong sending a message or document in text (.txt) or ASCII format.

Semi-interesting tidbit: ASCII (pronounced ASK-ee, not ASK-2), is an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, which is used to assign English characters to numbers, so they can be interpreted and displayed by computers.

HTML email, the most popular form of email, refers to messages written in HyperText Markup Language, which is the underlying code of all Web pages. This differs from plain text in that it allows the inclusion of graphics, colors, and animation, resulting in more aesthetically pleasing, dare I say entertaining, email.

Q. I need to reinstall Windows. I have the original DVD, but I lost the Product Key. What can I do?

A. In order to install or reinstall Windows, you must have access to a Product Key, which is usually found on a yellow sticker on the jewel case of the original installation DVD, or occasionally on a small sticker on the computer itself. If you dont have access to the Product Key, you have effectively lost your Windows license. (Oh, the humiliation!) All is not lost, however.

The Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder ( is a free program that will retrieve the Product Key from your Windows Registry. You can then either save it to a text file or print it for safekeeping -- which I highly recommend.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Make Your Own Kaleidoscope
This one reminds me of the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Remember The girl with colitis goes by? Maybe not. Copy and paste the address to any .JPG image (or use the sites default) into the Image: field, click the Load button, then hold down the left mouse button and move your mouse to enjoy the groovy kaleidoscopic images. It makes me feel like I just had a hit of tofu. Man, thats good veggie.

Google Earth Lite
Google Earth ( is incredible, but it requires some fairly hefty computing horsepower for it to work its magic, plus its a very large program. Flash Earth (aka Google Earth Lite) is an experimental Web-based application that uses satellite and aerial imagery from Google Earth. Its not as robust as Google Earth, and you cant tilt and pan images the way you can in Google Earth, but the zoom works great, plus its fun, which is a tough combination to beat.

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