Schedule timely reminders

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Q. I have to take several medications each day and I'm having trouble remembering when to take them. Since I use the computer most of the day, is there any type of pop-up reminder program that would signal me when it's time to pop a pill?

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A. I'm always losing lose track of time (and occasionally consciousness) while at the computer, as the eternally patient Mrs. Modem will be happy to attest. To help remind me that I need to get up and walk around periodically, I use a program called that announces the time. I find that I rarely need additional aerobic activity because the announcement usually scares the bejeepers out of me.

The program can also announce the date, for those who are seriously disoriented. It can be programmed to announce the time at specified intervals, or you can create multiple reminders, each of which can display a message on screen or play a sound. Reminders can be scheduled for one time only, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or at Windows startup.

Say-the-Time is available for a free 30-day trial, and if you decide to keep the program, it's $24.95. There are also many free reminder services which you can review at .

Q. I recently read a story about the "source code" for Windows being leaked to the general public. Would you explain why that was such a big deal? I never did understand what all the fuss was about.

A. It was actually a portion, estimated to be 15 percent of the source code for Windows XP, that was posted on the Internet.

For the typical computer user -- myself included -- having access to a program's source code is meaningless. But a hacker with criminal intent (also known as a "cracker"), could use that code to exploit operating system vulnerabilities. A worst-case scenario would be the spread of viruses for which there would be no readily available fix. Eek!

The FBI is investigating the case you referenced. It is believed, based on evidence contained within the code itself, that an employee of a subcontractor of Microsoft was responsible for the leak. Definitely not a good career move for the individual involved.

Q. Are Word and WordPerfect the same thing?

A. Similar, yes; identical, no. Microsoft's Word and Corel's WordPerfect are both word processing programs, so to that extent they are similar, but they are two separate, unrelated programs. Both are excellent, though Word enjoys greater popularity. Word is part of the Microsoft Office suite, or it can be purchased separately.

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Rather than spend several hundred dollars for Microsoft Office, I recommend the free OpenOffice suite at .

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

SoundTransit An unusual search engine that invites you to search for specific sounds. For example, I can't count the number of times I needed the sound of an 1890's steam tractor or the sound of a cauliflower being broken into pieces, so the next time you need an aural oddity, turn to SoundTransit.

Virtual Vaudeville Take an entertaining trip back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to the convergence of nostalgia and technology. There are many fun features on this site, the highlight of which is the VVLPSS, which we all know is the Virtual Vaudeville Live Performance Simulation System. Learn about the development and production of this concept, which preserves live theater for future generations to experience and enjoy. At least that's the theory.

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