Ask Mr. Modem!
Q. I'm a news junkie and wondered if you had any suggestions for great news sites beyond the typical news media sites?
A. I still prefer the newspaper for reading the news, but you cant beat the Internet for up-to-the-minute reports. There are literally hundreds of news-related sites, but three of my favorites include Google News ( http://news.google.com), which aggregates news from more than 4,500 news sources. For local news, take a look at Topix (www.topix.net). Click Change City and you can easily check hometown news or local news in other cities. Last, but not least, I like Newser (www.newser.com), which presents news in a novel 20-square grid pattern. Click Newser Grids and you can increase the grid to 42-squares, which is guaranteed to give you a headache.
Q. Id like to insert a photo into the body of an email using Outlook Express. When I click Insert, the Picture option is grayed out most of the time. How can I have that option available to me at all times?
A. Before you can send email with inserted pictures, you have to enable HTML formatting. Click Tools > Options > Send tab, and make sure that the Mail Sending Format is set to HTML.
Next, click the HTML Settings button and place a check in the Send pictures with messages box. Click OK > OK to save and exit.
When you compose an email and want to insert a photo, click the location in the message where you would like the picture to appear, then click Insert > Picture. If you click Insert without first clicking within the body of your message, the Picture option will be grayed out and unavailable to you.
Q. Is there a safe way to remove files from my computer, even if I don't recognize them?
A. If you are only so-so sure that you want to delete a file, but not absolutely, positively sure, the safest thing to do is either leave it alone, or if your objective is to remove clutter from a folder, move it to the Recycle Bin. Unless you intentionally empty the contents of your Recycle Bin, anything placed in it will remain there indefinitely, so its a handy place to keep files that youre iffy about deleting. If you decide that you do need a file at some point, you can simply open the Recycle Bin, right-click the file in question and select Restore. The file will be returned to the location from whence it came.
When it comes to removing programs, if you encounter a stubborn program that will not vacate the digital premises via the Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs, RevoUninstaller (www.revouninstaller.com) is an excellent third-party program remover. It is available in free and paid versions.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
All together now, Awwwwwwww! Few sights in nature are more heartwarming than that of a newborn, regardless of its species -- well, with the possible exception of my cousin Irene's baby. Whew! That kid is going to be howling at the moon any day now. Animal lovers will get a kick out of this fun-loving Web site which boasts great photos of newborn turtles, koalas, rabbits, pandas, puppies, bear cubs, elephants, kittens, and just about every other animal in the wild kingdom.
Viral Video Chart
No need to search Google Video (http://video.google.com) or YouTube (www.youtube.com) for the best videos, when you can view the cream of the video crop in one location. The Viral Video Chart is a digital-age version of the "Top 20 Countdown," a daily listing of the top 20 viral videos on the Internet. Adios productivity.
For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus helpful PC tips, subscribe to Mr. Modems Weekly Newsletter. For information, visit MrModem.com.