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PC Chat appears twice weekly in San Diego's North County Times & in Riverside County's The Californian.

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Year 2000 aro-grn.gif Click Here for Complete Listing of 2000's PC Chats
Year 2001 aro-grn.gif Click Here for Complete Listing of 2001's PC Chats
Aug 5, 2001 Some Interesting Aspects of Email
Aug 7, 2001 Windows XP + More "Classmates" Stories
Aug 12, 2001 Communicating with Computers + Downloading "ZIP" Files
Aug 14, 2001 Time for a Confession (about not using an anti-virus program)
Aug 19, 2001 More Information on Protection from Viruses and Worms
Aug 21, 2001 Virus Tips from Readers + Using the Windows Phone Dialer
Aug 26, 2001 Beta-testing Windows XP + Using "Thumbnails" with Paint Shop Pro
Aug 28, 2001 More Beta-testing Windows XP + Faxing While Online with a Cable Connection
August 28
More Beta-testing Windows XP + Faxing While Online with a Cable Connection

     In response to a recent column saying that cable and DSL connections are not capable of sending and receiving faxes, Marla Vance wrote to say that she uses her cable modem to connect to the Internet and uses her dial-up modem to send and receive faxes all the time. Well, I had a cable modem installed over the weekend and found I can do the same. With a dial-up connection, you can be online with your ISP or you can do faxing; but not both at the same time. With a cable connection you can.

     By the way, I'm still using 32Bit Fax, which can be freely downloaded from I've been using the program for over a year and a half and have been very satisfied with the way it works. However, when I recently installed the beta version of Windows XP, the faxing software was trashed, as were several other of my most-used programs. (I assume Microsoft will have this fixed before the finished version of XP goes on sale in October.)

     Anyway, upon reinstalling 32Bit Fax, I discovered that it can be set up as a single-user program, or as a multi-user "network" application. Since Windows XP has been designed to be used in a network environment, I chose that option for the faxing program and am very pleased with the way it works.

     Things to Expect in Windows XP

     Speaking of WinXP, here are a few more things its users can expect to find. With previous versions of Windows, we've all learned that the opening screen is called the "desktop" and have always been able to return to it quickly and easily from wherever we might be on our hard drive. With WinXP you will have two or more "desktops" depending on how many users you tell it will be using the system. The same goes for frequently used folders such as My Documents and My Download Files. Other features that you've become accustomed to finding in just one place will also be divided up among multiple locations. It does take some getting used to.

     WinX Has Built-In CD Burning

     One of the programs that WinXP killed was Adaptec Creator, used for burning CDs. However, I discovered that WinXP has its own built-in CD burning software, which works just fine. WinXP also has built-in "zipping" software, which means you don't need to have WinZip in your system.

     I've heard that other software providers are complaining that WinXP will be cutting into their sales by providing similar built-in programs; most notably Eastman Kodak, who cites WinXP's digital camera software as a clone of theirs.

     Voice Recognition Built-In to MS Word XP Speaking of XP products, I've been using MS Office XP for a while and will soon be reporting on some of its advanced features, as I learn more about them. I'm particularly curious as to how well its MS Word voice recognition software works. I've used Dragon Naturally Speaking in the past and want to see how they compare. I'll let you know.

     Tricks for using Rulers in MSWord

     Regarding Word, here's a handy trick for getting quickly into the Page Setup area. If you have a ruler showing, either horizontal or vertical, simply double-click anywhere on it to bring up the dialog box that allows you change margin settings, switch from "portrait" to "landscape" view or change paper size. Keep in mind, however, that doing a single-click on the horizontal ruler will place a tab stop at that point.

     If placing a tab stop is your intent, click on the little "L" at the far left of the ruler to choose from among Left, Right, Center, Decimal, and Line tabs. If you want to change the location of any tab thus set, simply drag it left or right with your mouse. To remove a tab setting, just drag it off the ruler.

     Speaking of rulers, I've yet to find any practical use for the vertical ruler in Word, although it comes up by default in the Print/Layout view. To keep this ruler from appearing altogether, go to Tools, Options, View and UNcheck Vertical Ruler.

August 26
Beta-testing Windows XP + Using "Thumbnails" with Paint Shop Pro

     Viruses have been spreading at an alarming rate lately. However, some valuable information regarding these threats can be found on the PC World website at the following links: The Sircam Worm - More about Sircam - New Trojan Horse Worm - Code Red Information

     In October new PCs will begin arriving with Windows XP, while users of previous Windows versions will be able to upgrade to XP. After beta-testing XP for the past few weeks, I've learned some pros and cons.

     Con: Users of previous Windows versions will find that XP is a whole different world with numerous changes in the way one navigates the system and uses the new features. If upgrading were free, I'd say go ahead and try it. However, I'd be inclined to stick with Win98 or ME before spending about $100 for the upgrade. XP was designed to work best in a networking environment.

     Pro: Windows XP comes with easy to use built-in CD-burning software. It also has the ability to view certain graphic files in Windows Explorer as "Thumbnails" by clicking on View, Thumbnails. In current versions, one has to first click on the folder containing the graphics and choose Enable Thumbnails.

     In addition to being able to view thumbnails more easily, WinXP will even display thumbnails of two or three of the graphics inside a particular folder by superimposing them over the folder icon. This helps you decide if the folder is the one you want to open.


     Speaking of seeing thumbnail views of images, Paint Shop Pro is a program that will display thumbnails of many more types of graphic files, including vector drawings, such as those created with Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Windows thumbnails are limited to bitmap images such as BMPs, GIFs and JPGs.

     If you're not familiar with PSP, it's one of the most popular graphic programs used by those who create images for Internet Web pages, as well as by those who do professional editing of photographs. PSP has features comparable to those found in Adobe Photoshop and Corel PhotoPaint, but is available for about $100 while the others sell in the $300 to $600 range. You can download a free 30-day evaluation copy of the program at

     PSP can be found in any computer store, or can be downloaded from Jasc also makes other popular software, including QuickView. QuickView used to come built-in with earlier versions of Windows, but, sadly, not anymore. The program lets you click on most any kind of a document and then displays a preview of the enclosed text. Very handy if you have, say, a collection of MSWord files that you want to take a quick look at without having to open each one.

     Speaking of viewing thumbnails of JPGs, the most popular file format for editing photographs, if you find that your current version of Windows won't display them, try changing the filename extension from JPG to JPEG.

     When I wrote recently about using the Windows Dialer, as well as earlier versions of MSWorks, to dial phone numbers, Tom Inglesby pointed out that this only works on computers using modems for their ISP connections. The feature is not available to those using cable or DSL connections. This is also true regarding the sending of faxes from your PC; you can do it with a modem, but not with cable or DSL.

     Speaking of image-editing programs, all Windows users have a "no-frills" one built-in: PaintBrush. This utility can be accessed by clicking on Start, Run and typing in PBRUSH. I've written in the past about how PBrush can be used for simple editing of photos, as well as for resizing them. It can also be used to display a view of how it will fit on a sheet of 8-1/2 x 11 paper. Go to File, Print Preview. If the picture is too large for the paper, go to Image, Stretch/Skew to resize it.

     When I wrote recently about finding old friends on, several folks wrote to say that is another good web site for finding old school chums. When I mentioned looking people up on, others wrote to say that (I Seek You) is another good tool for conducting personal searches.

August 21
Virus Tips from Readers + Using the Windows Phone Dialer

     One of the things I find most useful about my PC is being able to use it as a speed-dialer for my phone. You didn't know your PC could do this? Well, click on Start, Run and type in DIALER. You'll be presented with a 10-key telephone pad and a place to store eight numbers.

     You say your phones already have speed-dialing; and they can hold way more than eight numbers? Keep reading.

     Although the Windows Dialer has a limited number of slots for favorite phone numbers, all calls made using the keypad are saved in a log, and can be recalled later when needed. Here's how this works.

     To keep the Dialer on your desktop, right-click Start, Explore and double-click the Windows folder. Find the Dialer phone icon and right-click it. Choose Create Shortcut and drag the shortcut icon onto your desktop. Now, assuming you have a phone connected to the same line as your computer's modem, just punch your number in and be prepared to pick up your handset and talk. The call will be automatically entered into the Dialer's log. To access the log, click on Tools, Show Log.

     To place names and numbers in the speed-dial slots, click on Edit, Speed Dial, and type in the data. Finally, click Save.

     I like Dialer, but I've always liked the dialing capabilities of MSWorks even better. If you have a Works version previous to 6.0 or 2000, get into the Spreadsheet application, and type a phone number into any cell. With this cell selected, go to Tools, Dial This Number. This function actually works through the Windows Dialer, but the advantage is that you can list hundreds of names and phone numbers. Simply put your names in one column and the corresponding phone numbers in another. Of course, addresses and other information can go into additional columns, and everything can be sorted, as in any spreadsheet. As always, save the file with a name of your choice.

     To make the dialing even easier, put a phone icon on the Works toolbar by going to Tools, Customize Toolbar, Tools, and drag the icon into place. To dial, select a phone number and click on the icon. You can also use the Database and Word Processing functions of Works to do all this. Pick the utility you prefer, and follow the above steps to put the phone icon on its toolbar.

     If you like using Works as your phone list program, put an icon to your saved file on the desktop so you can quickly get into it. On most computers, Works files are saved in a folder named Documents, which is inside the MSWorks folder, which is usually inside the Program Files folder. When you've located the file, right-click it, choose Create Shortcut and drag the shortcut onto the desktop. Finally, right-click the shortcut's label and use Rename to call the file anything you want.

     You still don't see any advantage to using your computer over the speed dial system built into your phone? Well, when I have to make several calls in a row, I sometimes forget which person or business I've dialed by the time someone's answered the phone. A quick glance at the monitor tells me whom I've dialed. Also, adding, removing and/or editing phone contacts is much easier here than with many phone systems.

     Regrettably, Microsoft omitted this feature from MSWorks 6.0 and later. I have no idea why, but I keep Works 4.0 and 6.0 on my computer and find them both useful in different ways.

     In any case, Works is not the only program that has (or had) a phone dialing feature. Microsoft Outlook also has this capability.

August 19
More Information on Protection from Viruses and Worms

    When I wrote recently that you can't get a computer virus by simply reading an e-mail, I got feedback from some technically-savvy readers saying that it's possible to get a "worm" under certain circumstances; particularly if one's computer is connected to a network, DSL or cable system.

     The readers' letters contained links to a number of Internet sites that had numerous pages of documentation, along with advice about installing a variety of antivirus programs along with "firewalls" such as those used in network environments.  

     Rather than try to list all these links here, I'll just mention here parts of a letter from Tom Inglesby, a professional writer and editor on Internet issues:

     Tom points out that many users of Outlook and Outlook Express configure their screen with the "preview" pane open. This opens the e-mail as you scroll the list of incoming messages, but does NOT open any attachments. However, one type of virus/worm propagation is via HTML documents which connect to their Internet source for any graphics that are displayed. This is also passive, assuming the reader is connected at the time of the message coming into the preview or read window.

     Those with cable or DSL connections are most vulnerable in this case. While this is, literally, a variation of "a file attached to the letter" it doesn't require the reader to do anything to open the file. The HTML coding opens the carrier (the connection to the Internet source) automatically. In other words, if you see the graphics, they were not "attached" to the e-mail but came from somewhere over which the reader has no control.

     One solution is to set your e-mail client to "text only" so there is no HTML connecting going on behind the scenes.

     Personally, says Tom, I run a firewall, two antivirus programs in resident mode, to scan all incoming everything, plus two "worm hunter-killer" programs that also scan all incoming mail. I update everything at first boot in the morning.

     I recently got hit with, a virus that is a mutation of one that's been around since 1999. My antivirus program, Computer Associates' eTrust, said it had infected seven files in three programs. Why didn't the antivirus stop it? I found out later, after deleting the three programs, that it was "a false alarm that will be corrected in the next database." That hurts!

     In any case, defenses are made to be overcome. That's the virus-builders' mantra. Updates for antivirus programs are after-the-fact, by nature. Patches for vulnerabilities come after those vulnerabilities are publicized, and after a lot of damage may have already been done.

     Tom has much more to say about this, and the above is just part of his e-mail. The whole letter can be found at

     Several readers wrote to say that they found Norton's antivirus much easier to install and to keep updated than that of McAffee, whom they say is much less responsive to requests for support. Several others wrote to say that an antivirus program called Panda seems to be giving them very good service. Panda can be freely downloaded from or a CD can be purchased for about $30 at any computer store.

     For those needing network firewall protection, ZoneAlarm is a popular program that can be freely downloaded from

     Regarding a recent Chat telling how to change text sizes on Web sites, Jonathan in Encinitas wrote to say that using the Ctrl key with the left & right bracket keys will do the same thing with highlighted text. Ctrl+] makes type bigger, Cntrl+[ makes it smaller. This not only works with Web pages, it works with e-mail text, as well as with MSWord.

     Speaking of Word, Ron Jordan wrote to ask if names and address in the Windows Address Book can be copied and pasted into a Word document. Actually they can be copied and pasted into any Windows document. If you don't have a Windows Address Book, it can be created by highlighting your contact list in Outlook Express and going to File, Export. Give it a name and the extension .WAB will be attached to it, making its data available for copying and pasting into all Windows applications.

August 14
Time for a Confession

     I frequently get asked which virus protection software Iíd recommend, McAffee or Norton. Well, I have a confession. I haven't had any virus-protection on my computer in a long time. Why? I always seem to be too busy to stop and do it. However, I did buy a McAffee CD last week and expect to get it installed soon.

     In any case, don't let my tardiness in getting this done dissuade you from installing anti-virus software and from keeping it updated. I just happen to be very careful about what I download and open.

     Here are some facts about the danger of getting a virus into your system: You CANNOT get a virus just by opening or reading your email. An e-mail letter itself CANNOT be infected. However, a file attached to the letter CAN be a virus-carrier.

     Itís safe to open and read the message of any e-mail, even if the letter has an attached virus. Here's an analogy: If someone mails you a loaded gun you can't get hurt just by looking at your mailbox. You can't get hurt just by taking the package out of the mailbox. You CAN get hurt if you take the gun out of the package, aim it at yourself, and pull the trigger.

     The lesson here is to not download any attachment you're unsure of. If you do download it, it still can't hurt you if you delete it without opening it (double-clicking it). Be alert, however. Even an attachment sent by a friend can bear a virus, since some of these time-bombs are designed to send themselves to names found in the address book of someone who may have downloaded one unintentionally. Just be careful.

     Changing the Size of Text on Web Pages

     Here's a trick that can make Web pages easier to read in both Internet Explorer and Netscape. Click on View, Text Size and you'll be offered several options for making the text larger or smaller. The size of the graphics won't change, but the text will. If you have a mouse with a wheel between its buttons you can also change the size of an IE Web pageís text by pressing Ctrl while you roll the wheel forward and backward.

     Some Formatting Principles of Spreadsheets

     A reader asked why numbers such as 15.00 lose their decimal point and zeros when entered into a spreadsheet. Well, spreadsheet cells need to be formatted in order to have digits appear with the number of decimal places desired. In Excel, go to Format, Cell, Number. In MSWorks go to Format, Number. Here you can also choose to make negative numbers appear in red or in parentheses, as well as setting the number of decimal places and whether or not to use commas as "thousands" separators.

     If you preformat a block of cells to have two decimal places, then 15 will automatically become 15.00 when it's entered. Entries such as 2500 will become $2,500.00 with the proper formatting. Experiment. It's fun and not hard to do.

     Speaking of spreadsheets, have you ever sorted a list of names and have them all come out alphabetically correct, except that Wagner somehow came out on top, ahead of Able, Baker and Carson? The reason is very likely a blank space in front of the W in Wagner. Blank spaces and symbols always precede alpha/numeric characters in a sorted list. With modern, proportionately spaced fonts, a blank space tends to be very narrow and can be easily overlooked.

     This can happen in other situations, as well. I recently found I couldn't log onto my web site after inserting a password. I knew the password was correct, but each time I pasted it in I got an error message. Finally I noticed the intrusive blank space and everything worked fine when I deleted it.

August 12
Communicating with Computers + Downloading "ZIP" Files

    When I first got into desktop computers in the late 1970s, they were regarded primarily as "business" machines that could solve mathematical problems, keep track of items in a database and do some bare-bones word-processing. Little did we dream that they would become the powerful "communication" devices that we know and love (and sometimes hate) today.

    In any case, email and IMs (instant messages) handle the vast majority of my communications, while things like hand-written letters fade further and further into obscurity.

    When I wrote recently about being surprised at receiving an email from someone I hadn't seen in over half a century, my mailbox began filling with similar stories from others who'd also made contact with friends and family from their distant past.  Most of these contacts were a result of signing up with, however some were achieved by using a variety of "white pages" services, such as

    Using the latter, locating men is relatively easy because their last names seldom change.  One of the advantages of Classmates, however, is that they encourage you to sign up with the name you were known by in high school, thus letting women be sought by their maiden names.  But this can also work for the guys.  At Hollywood High I was known as Don Hall, using the last name of one of my stepdads.  I put my graduation year down as 1950, even though I'd actually dropped out two years earlier.

    The friend who found me had moved away after we graduated from junior high together.  However, since most of her friends went on to Hollywood High, she looked up the class of 1950 to see whom she might find.  She not only found me, she put in me in contact with another friend I hadn't seen since the mid 50s.  It's been a very rewarding experience, all the way around. is really very versatile and gives one lots of latitude in looking up old friends. They've also recently begun an "I'd Like to Meet Someone..." service, which I rather imagine will be equally successful.

Downloading Email Attachments

    One of the things about which I continue to get lots of questions is "downloading" files attached to email.  As we know, photos are popular items to send and receive via email.  Your service has Help files that tell you how to attach one or more photos to an outgoing letter, but people often get confused by what they download on the receiving end.  The sent photos usually have filename extensions like .JPG, .GIF or .BMP.  But the received attachment may have a .ZIP or .MIM extension.

    Here's what happens.  When multiple items are attached to a single email, they get bundled together and compressed into a single file which can be uploaded and downloaded more quickly.  For instance, if you attach three photos to an email, they might be named "Mom.JPG," "Dad.JPG," and "Baby.JPG" but will very likely arrive as a single file named "Mom.ZIP."  When downloading "Mom.ZIP," make a note of the folder into which it will be stored.  Go to that folder and double-click the "Mom.ZIP" icon.

    Doing so will activate WinZip* and cause the program to display the three original filenames, where double-clicking any of them will cause the photo to appear in a temporary folder.  However, in order to save the photos as actual files you need to click on "Extract."  This will extract the three photos and place them in a folder on your hard drive.  By looking carefully, you'll see which is to be the target folder. However, you can type in the name of any folder you prefer.

    Users of AOL and CompuServe normally have all this done for them automatically when logging offline.  The pictures typically end up in the AOL or CS "Download" folder.

    After the photos are extracted, "Mom.ZIP" will normally remain on your hard drive and can be used as a "backup" to the photos, since it still contains the compressed ("zipped") files and can be decompressed ("unzipped") again at any time.  If you're sure you'll never need to do this, delete the file and free up some hard drive space.

    I've used "photos' here as an example of files that are often attached.  However, the same "zipping" and "unzipping" applies to any kind of an attachment, including word processing documents, spreadsheets, PDF files and even executable programs.

    The latter will have an .EXE extension and should be accepted only if you are positive they are something you asked for.  Most of the viruses with which we've been plagued arrive as .EXE files.  However, viruses can also be embedded in Word documents (.DOC) and Excel files (.XLS).  The deadly SirCam virus that's been going around (I send you this file for your advice...) always has a "double" extension such as DOC.LNK or XLS.PIF.  Do NOT open any attachments with this kind of an extension!

    *If you don't have WinZip, a free evaluation copy can be downloaded from

August 7
Windows XP + More "Classmates" Stories

     I received my beta test copy of Windows XP over the weekend and have been putting it through its paces.  It's a whole other world from its predecessors, Win95/98/Me, and was designed for a multiple-user environment, where different users have their own Desktops, Taskbars, and My Documents folders.

I installed the program as a two-person system where my assistant Mary Hanson has all her features separate from mine.  Having previously worked with networks, Mary is picking it up rather easily, but I seem to spend half my time using the Search command to find out where everything is.

     An immediate downside to installing Windows XP was the fact that it corrupted some other programs, most notably WordPerfect Office, Microsoft's major competitor in the office suite market.  But I'm sure this was just a coincidence.  Well--wasn't it?

     In October new computers will begin arriving with this operating system installed, but my advice to those who are comfortable with their current versions of Windows is not to spend the money to upgrade to XP unless you have some very compelling reason to do so.

     When I mentioned recently that I needed a procedure for weeding out duplicate entries in a list of e-mail addresses, one reader wrote and suggested putting the list into an Excel spreadsheet.  After alphabetizing the list with Data, Sort, one can then go to Data, Filter, Auto Filter, Advanced Filter, and click on Unique Records Only. This procedure eliminates duplicates, and I appreciate receiving the very helpful tip.

     A reader of my newsletter in India wrote to tell me of a free download from called WorldCast, which is an email add-on which will also eliminate duplications.  Dr.Suresh Bhimsingh is a physician who's created a website,, dedicated to helping senior citizens in his country learn more about computers.  The doctor maintains the site at his own expense, with no commercial advertising, as I do with, which was also created with the idea of helping mature PC users.

     When I recently mentioned being contacted by a friend I hadn't seen in half a century, as a result of being listed with, Fran Winkle wrote to tell me of finding classmates from the Class of 1946 in a Texas orphanage where she'd been raised.  They even got together for a 55-year class reunion.  Another reader told about looking up someone to whom she had once been engaged, and finding out some things that made her even more glad she didn't marry him.

     Gerald Goldstein wrote to tell of finding two school chums he hadn't heard from in 60 years and a military buddy he hadn't seen in 47 years.
These are just a few examples of how email and the Internet can be used in some truly remarkable ways.  Here's another:

     A personal friend of mine was tracked down through an online "white pages" service and told that he had inherited a considerable sum of money from a benefactress who had once been befriended by his mother. Space here doesn't allow for the whole story, but if you suspect anyone might be trying to find you to give you an inheritance, try listing yourself with or one of the other "people databases."

     Speaking of e-mail, Steven Barisof asked how to get the phrase "undisclosed recipients" to show up on mail that has been sent to multiple recipients.  It gets put there, by some email services, when addressees are entered as BCCs (blind carbon copies).  Other email clients just show the name of each individual recipient.

     A lady named Patty wrote to say that names will be treated as BCCs in Juno if you place them in the "Carbon Copy" box with the complete list enclosed in a set of parentheses.  However, Patty went on to ask how this is done with web-based services such as Hotmail. Well, they generally have a separate BCC box where the names should be entered.

     I continue to get questions about how to make MSWord stop doing "helpful" things that some folks don't want done, such as capitalizing the first word in a sentence even if the word is iMac or eBay.  Just go to Tools, AutoCorrect and UNcheck all the things you don't want to happen automatically.

August 5
Some Interesting Aspects of Email

     Have you signed up for You see their ads all over the Internet. Listing your name, your high school, and your year of graduation, plus a little information about yourself is all free. Searching the service's files for names of old school chums is also free. However, if you see the name of someone you'd like to contact, you're required to sign up for Classmate's "Gold Service" for a $29.95 annual subscription.

     Well, I've had no luck finding the names of anyone I knew back then--but that's not surprising since my mom and I moved around a lot and I didn't make many close friends in those days. However, I was shocked last week when I received an email from a woman who said, "Hi, Don. Are you still doing magic?"

     The letter was from someone who'd lived across the street from me in the mid-1940s and who remembered my doing magic tricks for the kids in the neighborhood. Furthermore, she was my best neighborhood friend, but we lost contact when she moved to another city after we'd graduated from junior high school together. Hearing from her again after 55 years really made my day, and we've been getting reacquainted via email and phone calls. Isn't email wonderful?

     Speaking of which, I've opined in the past that those who send out multiple copies of a letter should always use BCCs (blind carbon copies) so that each recipient sees only his or her name on the incoming message. This is a matter of common courtesy, to protect recipients from having their email addresses displayed multiple times for others to see and, possibly, to misuse.

     As an example, I send this newsletter to over 1800 people. If the letter contained sales pitches or ads of any kind (which it does not) I could easily double the number of names on my list just by copying all the ones I see daily on incoming mail, where BCCs were not used. However, I choose not to do this.

     Well, one of my readers sent me his solution to this problem. After repeatedly asking an acquaintance who routinely sent out jokes with all his addressees' names showing, my reader did the following: he wrote a letter containing links to a couple of sleazy "adult" websites and sent it to all these names, and made it appear that the email came from the non-BCC-user. Not surprisingly, subsequent emails from the joke-teller have NOT shown the names of all his addressees.

     Speaking of e-mail, a reader asked if it's possible to have more than one ISP on her computer, and to send and receive mail via the different services. Yes, it is, and I've been doing it for years. My reason for using multiple e-mail services is to learn more about them so I can answer questions from readers. Others have told me they like to have a second ISP as a "back-up" in case the first one fails for some reason.

     In case you wonder how I keep track of the 1800+ addresses on my list, I put them into an MSWord document, with one name per line. To keep them in alphabetical order, I click on Table, Sort. On my email service (AOL) having names listed one per line is acceptable. Other services require each name to be followed by a comma and a blank space. If I want to make my list conform to that format, I do the following:

     With my cursor at the beginning of the list, I click on Edit, Replace and type ^p into the Find box. The "caret" sign, followed by a lower case "p" is Microsoft's code for a "carriage return" (i.e., pressing Enter). In the Replace With box I type a comma followed by a blank space. When I click on Replace All, the transformation is completed, with only the first and last entries needing a slight bit of editing.

     My biggest challenge is to eliminate the accidental duplications of names. I do this by visually scanning the list, which isn't always reliable. If someone knows of an MSWord macro which would do this automatically, I would appreciate hearing about it.

See the August 7 column (above) for the answer to this.

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