Ask Dr. Webbie
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.
To assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible, be sure to include the following: the name of the browser you are using (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 1.0, etc.), the name of the e-mail software you are using (i.e. Microsoft Outlook Express 5.5, OS 10.3 Mail, etc.), and the version of your system software (i.e. Windows 98, Windows XP, etc.)
Q. My computer got "fried" this last summer during an electrical storm. It was plugged into a power strip. Shouldn't this have protected my computer?
A: A power strip is merely six outlets in one plug. If you were using a power strip and not a “surge strip" or a “UPS" (uninterruptible power supply -- basically a large battery), I doubt that you had protection against a power surge as extreme as a lightning strike. Talk to your Internet Service Provider to find out what they recommend as the best surge protection solution.
Q. Please tell me how I can delete entries in my e-mail address book. I've got hundreds of contacts listed in my address book but I've actually entered only a few of them myself. How did they get into my address book in the first place and how do I get rid of them? I use Outlook Express.
A. There is a setting in Outlook Express that will automatically add the name and e-mail address of a person to your address book when you reply to that person’s e-mail — provided that person is not already in your address book. This feature can cause your address book to fill up rather quickly. To change this setting, follow these steps:
1. Open Outlook Express.
2. Click your cursor arrow on the “Tools" menu and select “Options" from the resulting drop-down menu.
3. Click on the “Send" tab. Uncheck the box that adds everyone to your address book.
To remove an entry from your address book, follow these steps:
1. Open Outlook Express.
2. Click your cursor arrow on the “Tools" menu and select “Address Book" from the resulting drop-down menu.
3. Highlight the entry you want to remove (click on it once) and then hit the “Delete" key. The entry will be removed.
Q. I would like to eliminate the two-toned “ding” sound made by my computer whenever I receive an incoming e-mail message. How do I do this? I use Windows XP Home Edition and Outlook Express 6.0.
A. An audible two-toned “ding” sound is the default setting in Outlook Express which notifies a user that they’ve received a new e-mail message. To remove this sound notification, follow these steps:
1. Open Outlook Express.
2. Click your cursor arrow on "Tools" located on the menu bar and select “Options" from the drop-down menu.
3. When the "Options" window appears, click on the "General" tab.
4. Under "Send/Receive Messages," look for the check box next to "Play sound when new messages arrive." If you want to turn off the alert sound, uncheck its check box.
5. Click on the "Apply" button and click "OK" to close the window.
Q. Believe it or not, I've still got information on a 5 inch floppy disc and I'd like to transfer the information to a CD. I no longer have a computer with a floppy drive. Do you have any suggestions?
A.Wow, I thought I was the only one in this boat. Although hindsight is 20/20, the best solution for data storage is to keep up with the times. Transferring data from a floppy disc to a CD, to a DVD each time you upgrade your computer is a prudent policy. (It's sort of like transferring your home movies from 8mm to VHS to DVD through the years.) As hardware keeps getting updated, data storage options continue to change and improve as well.
Regarding your situation, the viable/usable lifespan of a floppy disc can be ten years so your data may indeed still be intact. There actually are inexpensive options to your dilemma. You can buy either an internal floppy drive (slides into a “bay” on your computer) or an external drive (which connects to your computer via a USB port). The external drive is the easiest option. In either case, you can copy the data from your floppy disc onto your computer’s hard drive and then burn it to a CD or DVD. Of course, you may then have a challenge of actually viewing the data if it was created in an outdated software format.
Q. I use a Macintosh computer and every so often I have problems viewing certain websites. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, it's annoying. Do you have any suggestions? I am using Safari as my Internet browser.
A. The vast majority of websites are coded to work well with the various popular browsers -- Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox. However, sometimes a website may not have been programmed to work correctly with a specific browser — in your case, Macintosh’s Safari browser. The reasons are varied. Some site programmers do not have a testing platform to make sure that their site functions correctly when using the Safari browser so they are unaware that any problems exist. It could also be that certain features of a site won't work properly with Safari, the site developer is using non-standard programming, or the site is optimized for quirks in Internet Explorer that don’t work well with other browsers. In the past, the Firefox browser had the advantage of being the only cross platform browser. Safari, however, is now cross platform, too. In summary, try using Firefox on your Macintosh if a site does not work properly when using your Safari browser.