"If it sounds too good to be true..."

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I need a new computer and I see lots of ads for very inexpensive ones. I’m leery about purchasing anything that’s too inexpensive, but I would like your opinion, Mr. M.

A. I would steer clear of any computer that’s priced far below what a typical, comparable system costs. For example, I recently saw an ad for a new computer for $174. When I read the fine print, I noticed that the computer didn’t even run Windows, but instead used the little-known, seldom-used Lindows operating system. As originally conceived, Lindows was a cross between Windows and the Linux operating system. I’m a big fan of Linux, but it’s not something you want to discover after you bring your new computer home.

Though the offer for a dirt-cheap PC may sound like the proverbial smoking deal, it’s often anything but that. An extraordinarily inexpensive computer is typically going to contain inferior components and may even lack a warranty. The old adage is usually true, “You get what you pay for.”

Q. How can I print just a portion of a page and not the whole thing?

A. One of the most frequently asked questions I receive involves how to print a portion of a Web page or other document, so let’s review how this is accomplished: Most printers will accommodate selective printing, so here's how it is generally done. There may be some slight variations with your specific printer.

First, using your mouse, select (highlight) the text you would like to print by placing your mouse at the start of the text. Hold down the left mouse button, drag the cursor to the end of the text. Release the left mouse button at that point and the text will be selected or highlighted.

Once it is highlighted, click File > Print. In the Print Range section, place a check by the word "Selection,” then click OK > Print, or whatever the appropriate command is for your printer. Only your selected text will be printed. Note: The Print Range “Selection” setting may appear in another area of your Print Options, so just look around and you’ll find it, if the ability exists.

Q. Occasionally I’ll find a winmail.dat file in my attachments folder. Do you know what that is and why I might be receiving it?

A. Yes, indeed. The culprit is Microsoft Outlook. The winmail.dat file contains Outlook’s email formatting information and is only created as an attachment when your email program cannot read the original email’s formatting. The creation of the winmail.dat file is essentially an attempt to keep the email's original formatting intact, as the sender intended it, even though it can’t be displayed in that manner by your computer.

If you, as the recipient, used the same program as the sender (Outlook), the email would be displayed as intended and you would not see the winmail.dat file.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

Tracks any private (IFR) or commercial flight and displays its schedule, current location, and recent flight activity for any airport. Enter the flight number or tail number of the aircraft for specific flight information, or enter the airport code to view current airport activity, arrivals and departures. Double-click the “Live Flight Tracker” graphic. Each tiny red dot represents a flight currently in the air. Trust me, you’ll never fly again without thinking of all those little dots.

Pets on the Go
Do you like to travel with your pet? If so, this site is the definitive guide for information about more than 30,000 pet-friendly hotels, inns, B & Bs, and private rentals. The “Pet Travel Tips” section provides excellent information if you’re planning to fly with Fido, cruise with Kitty, or surf with Sushi. (Okay, okay, I couldn’t think of anything else.)

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