2012.03 History: Feb. Q&A

Dave Weston, Quizmaster

Q: How do I set up Mail to be able to accept incoming mail from my wisc.edu account?

A: Set up a separate POP account under “Preferences” (Mail menu), and everything sent to ANY of your accounts will show up in your in-box.

Q: Suppose I wanted to get rid of a bookmark in Safari. How would I do it?

A: Fire up Safari, go to the Bookmarks menu (or the equivalent book icon on the menu bar), click on the name of the bookmark you don’t want to select it, and hit “delete”. You can move a bookmark around by clicking on it and dragging it to where you want it.

Q: Firefox won’t let me trash a bookmark.

A: It should. You should pick “Show All Bookmarks” from the “Bookmarks” menu.

Q: I can’t make URLs stick in “Top Sites” view.

A: You won’t be able to, because “top sites” are determined dynamically as the ones you access most often. If you haven’t used a site very much or very recently, it’ll drop out of this collection. You CAN make anything “stick” by remembering it to either the Bookmarks menu or Bookmarks bar.

Q: What’s the latest version of Mac OS, and should I update to it?

A: It’s 10.7.3, and you can download it thru Software Update. Be sure you’re plugged in to an external power source and allow overnight to let it run, because it takes a long time to download, then it turns your computer off and on a couple of times during the installation. Yeah, it’s probably worth doing. They’ve worked out almost all the bugs in Lion.

Q: Should I upgrade the RAM (random-access memory) in my computer?

A: It’ll speed things up, it’s fairly cheap, and you can do it yourself with the enclosed instructions. The new chip only fits one way, so you can’t insert it backwards or sideways. And if you’re too nervous, the Apple Store or MacXprts have pros who can do it for you fast and cheap.

Q: What does a lock icon under my wireless (Wi-Fi) network options mean?

A: It means it’s password protected, and you can’t access that connection without the password. You should be sure that you have set up your OWN wireless router with a password known only to you and individuals you trust. Otherwise other people can start using your connection (tho they can’t get at your data). Any name with no lock is something you can just select and start using, sucking up their bandwidth to your heart’s content. Some places like restaurants and coffee shops require a password to sign in the 1st time, but thereafter will remember your computer whenever you walk in.

Q: Why won’t my computer remember my password when I click “Remember me”?

A: That’s not its job. It’s the job of the website you’ve navigated to, and they periodically flush their memory of such log-ins for security reasons.

Q: I saw recently that some computers can use a thumbprint instead of a password. How does that work?

A: It’s what’s called a biometric scanner, and it’s not currently available as a commercial application (IE, something YOU could use). Thumbprint scans are rumored to be easy to fake or spoof, and retinal scanners (more reliable) are much more expensive. Passwords are a necessary evil but, for now, your best bet for computer security. For most end-user consumers, you’re beneath the notice of most hackers, because you don’t have enuf data or money to be worth their attention. Does not apply if you’ve got a maniac stalker or deadbeat brother-in-law.

Q: How often is “often” in “you should change your password often”?

A: A couple of months. Most workplaces will require you to do it every couple of months. It’s probably not as important for home use to change frequently. You should probably have a different password for banking purposes than for anything else and change THAT one more frequently than your others.

Q: We’ve got 2 Macs in our house. Do I have to pay for 2 separate upgrades to Lion for them?

A: Technically, legally, yes. Physically, practically, probably not. If you’ve got a store-bought DVD you can use it on multiple machines. Downloading from the App Store, tho, may be trickier. There IS a family-pack price if you look for it.

Q: I often have a lot of windows open in a browser. Is there a way to do tab browsing?

A: Absolutely. In Safari, for example, go to “Preferences” (under the Safari menu) and click on the “Tabs” icon, which will let you open new sites in tabs by default. To create a new tab, click on the “+” sign on the tabs bar.

Now that you’re using tabs instead of windows, you can close a whole flock of tabs at once by holding down the option key while clicking on the “close” (X) icon on the one tab you want to keep open.

Q: How can I watch my home when I’m away?

A: You can get iCam, which lets you set up a videocam plugged into your Mac, which you can then access via the internet from anywhere else. Camera not included.

Suggestion: I use Gmail for calling. It works anywhere in the US and Canada, and it’s free.

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