Wireless on the road

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I understand many campgrounds have "hot spots” where you can access the Internet with a wireless adapter on your PC. Can you tell me more about setting up such a connection and what equipment I will need to use it?

A. All you really need is a computer with a wireless network card (802.11g) though most current laptops automatically detect the existence of wireless networks in the area through a process called 'sniffing'.

If you're using an older laptop that doesn't have integrated wireless capability, all you really need is the aforementioned wireless network card that will insert into the laptop's PCMCIA slot. You can purchase the card at any consumer electronics store such as BestBuy, Fry’s, or similar establishment. (PCMCIA technically stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an association created to establish a standard for connecting peripheral devices to laptop computers. I believe it stands for People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Abbreviations.)

Install the card by inserting it into the PCMCIA slot and turning on your computer. Windows' hardware wizard will detect it and walk you through the rest of the installation. Next, open your Web browser and the card will detect if you are in a wireless service area or "hot spot." If you are, your browser will display a page that will have instructions about the campground's wireless service, how to use it, and if there is any charge to access it.

To find out if a campground offers wireless service, visit any of these sites: TengoInternet, LinkSpot (www.linkspot.com), RV Access or RV WiFi.

Q. I’ve been reading your newsletter for several years now, and I never fail to learn something from each issue that I look forward to every Friday. I need to create some large letter characters using Word fonts that I can physically cut out and paste on a project that I'm working on. The problem is that the fonts go up to 72 points, and I need letters that are four inches in size. I can't figure out how to make them that large. Can you help?

A. There are a couple of ways you can enlarge letters to that size. Using Microsoft Word, open a new Word document, click Insert > Picture > Word Art. Select the WordArt style of text you want to use and double click it.

In the Font section of the screen that appears, click the drop-down list to select a font and in the Text area, type the letter or letters that you want to create. Click OK when you’re done, and you will see your text in the Word document. If the letters are not large enough, using your cursor, point to the corner of the box surrounding your letter, and while holding down your left mouse button, drag the edges of the box to make it larger.

If you are not using Word, or you prefer an easy, low-tech solution, just make the letters as large as you can using whatever program you’re using, then print them out. Once printed, use a copy machine to enlarge them, then cut them out and paste or glue them wherever you need them. Many printer-scanner combination machines will copy and either reduce or enlarge a page. If you don’t have a copy machine, you can use one at an office supply store such as Staples, AlphaGraphics or Kinko’s.

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Hip Hop Gram
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Identity Theft Resource Center
The epidemic of identity theft makes this a must-visit site for consumers seeking preventative tips and what to do if the worst happens.

For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus helpful PC tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s Weekly Newsletter. For information, visit www.MrModem.com.