Don: PC Columnist for San Diego Union Tribune
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Don Edrington             
PC Columnist - SD Union Tribune
                  Carl Von Papp

 Prof-Technician, Bellevue College (Carl's Site)
Don and Carl - Helping PC Users Since 1978

A Few of Carl and Don's Crazy Stories
The Von Papps' Unexpected Wedding
Don's First Date — High School Dance
Zelma Wanted to Sharpen My Pencil
Fell in Love at First Sight with Norma Jean
Stopped by Cuba on my Way to Korean War
Why I Moved to Puerto Rico
Starlight Ballroom Mystery
Carl and Sophia's Blind Date
Dial Compuserve and have the SWAT team knock on your door!

Mac Keyboard on
a Windows Laptop

Don's weird tale about accidentally spilling something into his Win10 laptop's keyboard:

I was about to start to cleaning it when I remembered having a couple of old desktop keyboards lying around. One was a Mac keyboard with a USB cable that connected easily into my disabled Toshiba. Guess what — it works perfectly.

This particular keyboard is not the sleazy one that Apple supplied with my iMac, but an upgraded model with comfortably spaced and tactile-friendly keys that make it extend beyond the Toshiba's width — but which rests easily on top of it — and which can be easily removed when necessary.

The end result has become my most ergonomically comfortable (and productive) work station. Yes, similar PC add-on keyboards are available, but the Mac keyboard was right here within my grasp.

One could argue that its PC compatibility is not perfect, since it has a "COMMAND" key, but no "ALT" key. Nor is there a "PRINT SCREEN" key — but there are easy work-arounds.


Speaking of keyboards, they are prone to collecting dust and should be periodically cleaned with an aerosol compressed air can or a small vacuum cleaner. USB-connected "Keyboard Vacuums" for less than $10 are available at Amazon and various office-supply stores, as are the air-spray cans.

These tools are also good for cleaning old-fashioned ball-bearing mice. I prefer the 4-button, Center-wheel Microsoft Optical Mouse.


Also, I'm asked periodically about mouse cursors that behave erratically on a laptop computer's screen. The most frequent cause is accidentally brushing against the laptop's "touchpad" while typing. Different laptop brands have different ways of temporarily disabling the touchpad when not needed. Consult your owner's' manual.

My fix is to tape a piece of stiff cardboard or a discontinued credit card over my touchpad, since I always prefer using a mouse.


When I recently wrote that automatic spell-checking comes with all email programs, a reader wrote that his Hotmail account does NOT have it. Well, spell-checking used to restricted to certain text-editing programs, such as Word and Wordperfect. Nowadays it's usually part of a computer's operating system or internet settings.

Try this: go to
Start>Control Panel>Internet Options. Under the "Advanced" tab click on a button labeled "Restore Advanced Settings" (which are default settings that originally came with the computer).

While you're at it, spend some time looking at all the various "Internet Options" to see if there are any you want to change.

Another area for consideration is your "Browsing History." Each time you visit a web page, your visit is noted and stored on your computer — which means others with access to your PC can see where you've been.

One's browsing history is saved in different places by different browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Edge). Type "browsing history" into each one for information on how to proceed.

You might also want to check out "Cookies" while you're at it. Cookies are small text notes various web sites post on your computer each time you visit them — including passwords you've asked to have saved for easier logins.

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  • Creating Symbols & Special Characters

  •    FREE Downloadable Swing Era Music:






    Brenda Lee, Dolly Parton, Vikki Carr, The Ink Spots,
    Ray Price, Andrews Sisters, Billy Vaughn
    + 100s of Other 20th Century Musical Artists

    Don's Favorite FREE Apps & Services:

    Yellow Stickie Icon Stickie Notes         VLC Media Player
    Gimp Image-Editor
    space fill Microsoft's FREE Security Features
    space fill Free Google Docs Spell-Checks Multiple Languages
    in a Document -- Amazing!
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