A server by any other name...

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. One of my friends frequently uses the word “server” referring to his Internet service provider. I don't want to correct him without knowing for sure what it is, but I don't think he's right. Can you shed any light on this for me, Mr. M?

A. The word “server” refers to a computer that delivers or “serves” information upon request. All websites reside on servers. When you type a Web address or click a link, your browser requests that the information at that address be “served,” so it can be displayed on your monitor. Okay, okay, it's a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the general idea. Many people refer to their Internet service provider or their email program as their “server,” but technically that’s incorrect. If your friend insists that he is right and he wants to place a friendly wager, take the bet.

Q. Every time I type a Web address in my word processing program, it appears in blue and underlined, which makes it stand out from the rest of the text. Is there some way I can prevent that from happening?

A. When using most word processing software, typing a URL or email address will automatically create a clickable hyperlink that appears with a blue underline. To avoid that, in WordPerfect, click Tools > QuickCorrect > SpeedLinks tab, then uncheck “Format words as hyperlinks when you type them.”

In Microsoft Word, click Format > AutoFormat > Options button. Under Replace, uncheck “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks,” followed by OK.

In OpenOffice, click Tools > AutoCorrect Options > Options tab, and remove the check mark beside “URL Recognition.”

Q. When I print Web pages, sometimes they appear in one font and another time they will appear in a different font. I want all my printed Web pages to use the same large font so I can easily read them. Is there any way to do that?

A. If you are occasionally or chronically annoyed that different Web pages display different font sizes, here’s a trick that will make your fonts a uniform size: In Internet Explorer, select Tools > Internet Options > General tab. Click the Accessibility button and check “Ignore font sizes specified on Web pages,” followed by OK. (The specific wording varies depending on the version of IE).

In Firefox, click Tools > Options > Content tab. Under Fonts & Colors, click the Advanced button. Make your font style and size selections, then remove the check mark beside “Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of my selections above.”

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

The Business of Baseball
The baseball/hot dog season will soon be upon us, and like all sports and entertainment industries, behind the glory of the game is the harsh reality of big business. This site provides research tools that visitors can use to learn about all facets of America's pastime, read interviews with owners, review information about proposed expansions and articles on current challenges facing the business side of baseball. Most site resources can be accessed for free; though paid memberships are also available. Batter up!

Exercise Your Mind
Many people spend a lot of time exercising and eating well in an effort to stay physically fit, but what can we do to keep our minds from turning to pudding? This article from the Online Education Web site offers 77 tips to train your brain to become a “faster, deeper, and better" learning machine. No, seriously.

Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.