Check e-mail when traveling

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. What's the best way for me to check email when I'm traveling? I'd rather not take my laptop along because I can use somebody else's computer when I'm on the road.

A. The easiest method is to use Web-based email that you can check from any device with Internet access. Most mail service providers offer a Web-based alternative (called WebMail). If your regular mail service provider does not offer WebMail, one of the handiest email tools to keep in your e-bag o’tricks is Simply go to the Web site, enter your email address and password, then check your email.

A free, Web-based mail service such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail also makes it easy to check mail while traveling, from any computer.

Q. While using Microsoft Word, I notice that the text of documents appears without the top margin when I look at it in Print Layout view, though it does appear in Print Preview. Could I have done something to change this? If so, can you help me change it back to the way it was?

A. When you click View > Print Layout, you should see what looks like a sheet of paper with the blinking cursor (insertion point) inside the margins. If the margins are not displaying, click Tools > Options > View tab and look for the section that says Print and Web Layout Options, then the "White space between pages" setting. Make sure there is a check mark in that box, then click OK.

Close, then reopen Word, and view your document again in Print Layout view. You should see the normal Print Layout view, complete with margins.

Q. Sometimes when I see email addresses on Web sites and occasionally in email messages, the word “mailto:” appears before them. Why is that? Is it something I should be typing when including an email address in a message?

A. The “mailto:” that you may occasionally see in front of email addresses instructs a computer to automatically open its default email program when the address is clicked. The address usually appears in blue font, as a clickable link. Most current email programs automatically make email addresses clickable by performing this function behind the scenes, but when creating Web pages, for example, to make an email address clickable, the “mailto:” prefix is added. You do not need to add it as a prefix to any email addresses you're entering in email or on Web-based forms.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

NYC Subway Smells
A charming online resource, courtesy of, a site that specializes in daily Manhattan media news and gossip. Simply drag your mouse over any subway station on the map to see how pungent the subterranean air is. Categories of aromas include alcohol, perfumes, sewage, mold, and other fragrances too distasteful to mention in a civilized publication like this.

Ultimate Flash Face
If you have ever dreamed of becoming a police sketch artist -- and who among us hasn't -- dreams do, indeed, come true. Think of a friend or relative then use this site to create a police sketch of their face. I tried creating one of Mrs. Modem. She was not amused. Double-click to select hairstyle, nose, eyes, lips, etc., then using your mouse, position the various facial components. It's definitely easier said than done.

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