Computer Maven Newsletter - October 2004
Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs in the
past. This is my monthly newsletter, containing computer tips
that I hope you'll find helpful and interesting. If you don't
want to receive this newsletter, just let me know, and I'll remove your
name from my mailing list.
As always, please contact me at any time with your computer
questions. I want to help you get the most from your computer.
Steve Winograd, Boulder Computer Maven
Web Site: http://www.bcmaven.com
Helping People Use Computers in Boulder
for Over 20 Years
Bargains on Computers and Accessories
Sharing a Printer
Are you shopping for computers, printers, monitors, digital cameras, or
other electronics? How about accessories like networking
equipment, hard disks, cables, printer paper, or blank CD-R
disks? Check the weekly ads from computer and office supply stores
in the Sunday newspaper. They offer great bargains through sale
prices and/or mail-in rebates. Be sure to follow rebate
instructions completely and to submit the rebate form and accompanying
documentation (usually the sales receipt and the UPC code cut from the
box) before the specified deadline.
Bargains are available from companies on the Internet, too. Here
are some that I buy from and recommend -- click the name to go to a
company's web site: DealSonic
If you have multiple computers, you
don't need to buy a printer for each one. All of the people in
your house can print to a single printer, regardless of which computer
they're using. There are two ways of sharing a printer:
- Connect the printer to one of the computers and configure it as a
shared printer on the
- Use a print server to
connect the printer directly to the network.
With a shared printer, the computer that it connects to must be turned
on if any computer wants to print. With a print server, the
printer is independent of any computer. I use a D-Link DP-300U
server on my network to give all of the computers access to a laser
printer and a color inkjet printer. There are wired and wireless
print servers. A wireless print server lets you put a printer
wherever it's most convenient in your house.
a Pest-Infested Computer
My fellow Microsoft Most
Richard G. Harper has written a great article
on how to remove spyware, adware, viruses, worms, and other pests from
your computer and how to prevent them from coming back. For some
informative and amusing reading, see his web page on Cleaning a Pest-Infested
. If you don't want to do it yourself, please call me
for expert pest removal and computer security help.
the Kids from Messing Up Your Computer
you can see from the article above, it's a jungle out there on the
Internet. You practice safe computing, but it can be hard to get
teens and younger children to do it. If you share a computer with
kids, then you end up sharing the pests that they let in. And
kids sometimes install undesirable programs or change settings that
cause the computer to malfunction.
The surest solution to the problem is not to let the kids use your
computer. That's especially important if you use your computer
for business. Give the kids their own computer, discuss safe
computing with them, and let them know that keeping their computer safe
is their responsibility.
If everyone in the family uses the same computer, Microsoft's Windows
XP operating system has some features that can help keep it working:
- Create a separate user account for each person.
- Give yourself an account with administrator privileges so that
you have full control over the computer, and create a password for your
account so that only you can use it.
- Give the kids accounts with limited privileges so that they can't
change vital settings or install new programs and hardware.
- If the kids are technically savvy, start the computer in
Safe mode and create a password for the hidden Administrator account,
too. Remember the Administrator account password, or write it down
and store it in a safe place. You might need to log onto the
Administrator account to fix critical Windows problems.
I'm proud to announce that, for the sixth consecutive year, I've
received the Most Valuable
Professional award from Microsoft. This annual award
recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to
Microsoft's technical communities in the past year. MVPs aren't
Microsoft employees and don't receive any monetary payment from
Microsoft. They receive a small award of software to help them
learn about Microsoft products and solve problems for Microsoft
customers. For more information, see the MVP
As an MVP, I get to try out new Microsoft products before they're
released to the public. I have contacts with the product
development and test teams and can influence product designs and report
problems. But I have no obligation to Microsoft, because the
award is in recognition of past contributions. My only obligation
is to you: to help you get the most from your computer. If a
Microsoft product has problems, I'll tell you so. If a product
from another company serves your needs better than one from Microsoft,
I'll tell you so.