If cars ran on ink

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. Is it just my imagination, or is printer ink incredibly expensive? At one time I recall seeing a comparison of the price of ink with other items. Do you know what I'm referring to?

A. I do know what you're referring to and yes, printer ink is obscenely expensive. In many cases, printers are a loss leader for printer manufacturers. The real profit center is selling ink cartridges thereafter. The following comparison provides an enlightening perspective and one that never fails to raise a few eyebrows. When contrasted with the price of other liquids that we rarely think about on a per-gallon basis, it does give one pause for reflection and revulsion. For example:

Gasoline, the national average is currently $3.89 per gallon; Budweiser, 12 oz for $.92 equates to $9.75 per gallon; Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, 24 oz for $3.60 or $19.08 per gallon; Scope Mouthwash, 1.5 oz for $0.99 or $84.84 per gallon; Pepto Bismol, 4 oz for $3.85 or $123.20 per gallon; Whiteout, 7 oz for $1.99 or $362.18 per gallon; Cover Girl Nail Polish, 0.4 oz for $3.89 or $1,244.80 per gallon; Printer Ink (black) 1.42 oz for $32.99 or $2,972.39 gallon. So no, it is definitely not your imagination.

Q. How can I copy an image from a Web page?

A. Many Web-based images are copyright protected, so while nobody will ever know if you use an image for your personal use, just be aware that in those situations you should request permission from the site or copyright holder. As an alternative, there are many sites that offer copyright-free images. You will find a comprehensive listing of such sites at EduScapes, or run a Google search for “free images.”

Having now concluded my good-cyber-citizen speech, to copy a graphic from a Web site, simply right-click and select Save Image As. In the Save In field, locate a folder in which to save it, or save it to your Desktop. You can then either retain its default filename or give it another name, and click Save.

Q. I lost the little speaker or volume icon that used to appear in the lower right portion of my screen. How can I get that back?

A. It’s a well-known phenomenon that the volume icon occasionally disappears for no other reason than to keep us technologically humble. To return it to its full and upright position, Windows 7 users should click Start and type “volume” in the Search field, then select “Show or hide volume icon on the Taskbar.” Users of other versions of Windows, go to your Control Panel and select Sounds and Audio Devices. (This wording will vary depending on the version.) On the Volume or General tab, place a check beside “Place volume icon on the Taskbar.” If it already has a check beside it, you will have to resort to a somewhat technical procedure known as “the old switcheroo,” so remove the check mark, click Apply, replace the check mark, then click Apply > OK.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

Atlas of Plucked Instruments
A melodious Web site created by an instrument collector from Holland named Henny de Bruin. The site contains images and information about his collection of guitars, mandolins, lutes, banjos, sitars, chickorinas, and other plucked items. Browse this virtual encyclopedia by region, including Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East, and learn about different stringed instruments played throughout the world.

Jet Ready
To travel First Class and stay in five-star hotels these days, you don't have to be wealthy necessarily, but you do have to be travel-savvy. This site, created by Joel Widzer, author of "The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel," offers great tips and services to help you travel like royalty at coach prices.

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