Q. I’m writing an article for my computer club and would like to include several Web site addresses, but they’re so long, they spill over onto additional lines.
I’m afraid nobody is going to be able to type them without making mistakes. Is there any way to shorten a long Web address?
A. Yes, indeed. Long, convoluted URLs can be a challenge. I was just looking for something on the Microsoft Web site and noticed that their search page has a nice, easy-to-remember Web address: h-t-t-p://search.microsoft.com/search.aspx?mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US.
After I copy and paste the bloated, 64-character Microsoft Web monster address into TinyURL, the result is a svelte, 24-character http://tinyurl.com/32bsx address, which is a marked improvement. Another excellent URL shrinker is http://smurl.name.
Q. Is there any way I can check my Hotmail by using Outlook Express? I’ve been going to the Hotmail Web site, but it would be so much more convenient if I could use Outlook Express. By the way, I bought your CD (www.MrModem.com) and it’s fantastic! I’ve been using the Internet for years, but I can’t believe all the great Web sites I wouldn’t have known about without it. Thanks, Mr. M.
A. I’m glad you’re enjoying the CD. Yes, you can check your Hotmail account using Outlook Express, thanks to Hotmail's fairly seamless integration with Outlook Express. Unfortunately, it requires quite a few steps to set up Outlook Express to check your Hotmail account. I can’t run through all the steps here due to limited column space, so I placed an article in my Web site Library that explains precisely what you need to do. To review the article, please go to http://tinyurl.com/lx3xl.
Mr. Modem’s Geekspeak of the Week:
Disk vs Drive
Let's say you're about to download a file from the Internet and you encounter a screen that presents two options: "Save to disk" and "Open from current location." Which one do you choose, or is the pressure to make a decision so intense that you collapse in a sobbing heap, as I usually do?
It’s best to select “Save to disk.” The "disk" in this instance refers to your hard drive, not a floppy disk in your A-drive (if you even have one.) Saving a downloaded file to your hard drive provides an opportunity to check it for viruses with your anti-virus software. If you select “Open from current location,” the file will open and possibly expose your computer to a virus, worm, or other digital undesirable.
So why doesn’t the message say, "Save to hard drive" instead of “Save to disk”? Because that would make too much sense and be too easy to understand, of course!
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:
Color by Number
Remember the paint-by-numbers craze years ago? This program will convert any scanned photo or graphic into a numbered outline, allowing you to take a step back in time and paint your own photos. Try it for free for 15 days or it’s $19.95 to purchase.
Nursery Rhyme Origins
It’s a little-known fact that most nursery rhymes are based on historical events. This site includes the meanings and origins of most popular nursery rhymes, many of which would give children and adults nightmares if the actual meanings were revealed. For example, “Ring Around the Rosie” refers to the Bubonic plague and the “all fall down” part -- well, need I say more?
The senses challenge is a series of 20 questions incorporating optical illusions, relative size, distorted angles, perspectives, and many other mind-boggling exercises. It requires approximately 10 minutes to complete, but it is both entertaining and fascinating.
For personal answers to your questions by email, plus easy-to-understand computer tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s Weekly newsletter. Don’t miss Mr. M.’s best-selling CD-ROM featuring more than 1400 of the best Web sites. For more information, to view an excerpt from the CD, or to order, visit www.MrModem.com.