FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Is there an Internet question you'd like to see answered in a future edition of Website Compass? E-mail your question to DrWebbie@WebsiteCompass.com.
Be sure to tell Dr. Webbie what web browser you are using (Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Netscape's Navigator, etc.), AND what type and version of e-mail software you are using (Microsoft's Outlook Express 5.5, Netscape's Communicator 4.7, etc.) to assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible.
Q: How do I resend an e-mail that my sister claims she never received? I use Outlook Express.
Because there’s not a “resend” feature in Outlook Express, you’ll have to open the e-mail you want to resend from your “Sent Items” folder. Copy and paste it into a new e-mail message and send it.
When I closed my browser yesterday I saw a smaller Internet Explorer browser window on my monitor that said my computer was infected with spyware. It further stated that I needed to click on a link to install some software that would get rid of the spyware. Is this for real?
What appeared underneath your Internet Explorer browser window is something called a “pop-under.” It’s a version of pop-up ads that have been common now for a few years. The pop-unders hide until after you close your main browser window.
Even if you had spyware on your computer, the pop-under ad would not be able to determine if you did. When ads like this appear, close them by quitting your browser.
Why do some web pages load soooooo slowly and others don’t?
There are several things that factor into slow loading web pages. Some pages are simply designed with less elements (less images, text, etc.) and thus load faster. Web pages with bandwidth intesive content (large files like movie clips, flash movies, high resolution photos, etc.) will take a lot longer to download since there is more data.
Also, the websites which you are visiting could simply be popular pages on slow or overloaded servers. You really can’t do much to speed up such websites other than having their images cached on your computer. Caching is a process in which frequently accessed data, such as images and other parts of websites, is kept on your computer rather than being constantly downloaded from the place where it is stored. Some ISPs frequently cache the most popular web pages–such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.–to make sure they are more quickly available to customers.
If a web page is taking too long to load, what can I do?
Click the Stop button and then the Refresh button on your browser toolbar. If the page still doesn’t display, check the URL to see if you have it entered correctly. If it still doesn’t work, wait a while and check it later. The site you are trying to visit may be experiencing heavy Web traffic.
What is a “bot?”
“Bot” is derived from the word “robot.” A bot is a software program that performs repetitive functions, such as indexing information on the Internet.
At first bots mainly indexed websites for search engines and directories. But with the rise of spammers and other Internet criminals, there is now a plethora of bots that harvest e-mail addresses from web-pages and bots that spam people.
I notice in my e-mail preferences I can choose between using IMAP or POP. What’s the difference between the two? Better yet, what do they mean?
POP stands for Post Office Protocol. This protocol is how your e-mail program and your ISP’s mail servers communicate and transfer e-mail messages. When your e-mail program connects to the mail server using POP, the server sends all the mail to the your computer and erases it from your ISP’s server.
IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. This protocol is a method of accessing e-mail that is stored on a mail server instead of on your computer. IMAP e-mail can be accessed from multiple computers with Internet connections (unlike POP which downloads the e-mail to one computer). For example, e-mail stored on an IMAP server can be manipulated from your computer at home, your computer at work, or at a relative’s computer while traveling. Webmail typically uses the IMAP protocol. One downside of using IMAP is that usually you are assigned limited space – around a few megabytes – to store messages on your mail server.
How can I tell which browser version I have?
With your browser application open, do the following:
1. Click Help on the browser’s menu bar to display the drop-down menu.
This procedure also works for telling what version of an e-mail program you currently use.
How can I find who is the owner of a specific website?
If you run across a site that doesn’t list the contact information on an “About Us” or “Contact Info” page, you can try the following:
1. Go to a “Whois” search page such as http://www.internic.net/whois.html.
Most domain name registrations will list the contact information for the owner of the domain you entered. Unfortunately, some registrations will only list the company that the domain is registered through. Also, this will not work for people that have sites created under another domain (such as Geocities).
I want to type in a special character like a trademark symbol (™) or an umlaut accented character (ü) in my e-mail? How do I do this?
To see all the characters you can use for a particular font, click Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, and then click Character Map. You can copy and paste the characters you need from Character Map into your document.
There are also key commands that make typing in these characters easier. Check your software’s help files (usually under the Help menu) or any documentation that came with your software. You can also do a Web search for “typing special characters” or “alt key codes” to find out even more information.
If you use special characters, you also run the chance of them showing up wrong in your recipient’s e-mail program. Most likely if they use the same e-mail program as you, it will be okay. But if they use a simpler e-mail client – like a Webmail program– it may show up incorrect and be difficult for them to decipher.
Where can I find a good recipe for goulash?
I usually don’t answer questions like this but, hey, I like goulash. Try recipesource.com or epicurious.com.
How often should I change my password?
It is recommended that you change a password every 4-6 months for good Internet security (just make sure you remember it!). Here are some tips for creating more secure passwords:
• Use the maximum number of characters possible for your password. If you have a choice between six to eight characters, use the full eight.
Why do some of my friends complain that they can’t read my e-mail when others can read the same message?
It’s possible that you are sending e-mail in HTML format rather than plain text format. Their e-mail program may be unable to read HTML formatted e-mail. To send only plain text e-mail, do the following:
1. With Outlook Express open, click on Tools, and then Options.
What is that little orange “RSS” button I’m seeing all over the Web these days?
Depending on where you look or who you talk to, RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary.” Basically, RSS is a Web syndication protocol that allows a Web author to publish content that changes on a regular basis.
For example, a news website’s RSS feed usually shows up in the following format: a news headline, date, story summary, and a link to the main story itself. Other people use RSS to display a daily comic, or a summary of their latest weblog entries.
RSS also allows a Web user to be notified when a website has been updated through the use of programs call RSS readers (commonly referred to as RSS aggregators).
More and more types of websites are adding RSS feeds. Apple’s popular music program, iTunes, can notify people when they add a new artist in a genre they like. Amazon uses RSS to notify potential buyers of items in different categories of the Amazon store.
When I search Google, why are some of the results in “.pdf” format? And why can’t I read these documents?
To increase its search capabilities, Google actually searches more than HTML formatted Web pages. It can search up to 13 additional file types including Microsoft Office documents, Macromedia Flash files, and Adobe PDF files.
As you can see in our handy glossary, PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It was a file format created by Adobe to provide a standard form for exchanging files regardless of the program originally used to create them.
To read PDFs, you’ll need a program that will open them, the best and most common being Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. It’s available for free download at www.adobe.com.
As an alternative, you can just click the “View as HTML” link next to these results in Google as well. (When viewing PDFs this way, the results don’t show up the way as the author intended, but most of the time you’ll still be able to read the information contained in them.)
When I send e-mail to friends, they say my messages show up and are labeled 6 hours before I actually send them. This makes them show up out of order in their inbox. How can I get the proper time to show up?
First, check the date and time on your computer to see if it’s set correctly. Go to the Date/Time control panel to set the correct time and date. Make sure you choose the appropriate time zone under the Time Zone tab as well.
If the date and time on your computer are set correctly, then it could be a software bug (either on your computer or your e-mail server) or your e-mail server’s time settings are incorrect. If you’re experiencing the problem using Webmail, try using another application like Outlook Express and see if that fixes the problem. Otherwise, if you think it’s the mail server, you’ll need to contact the manager of your e-mail server and have them look into the problem.
My friend says he uses Mozilla to browse the Web. What’s that?
Mozzilla is a free open-source Web browser and e-mail applications suite which is growing in popularity. To find out more, point your browser
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