Small Alan McNeill
Alan McNeill

Living with computers is easy if you take small bytes and chew thoroughly before swallowing.

Q. Tony Rath wrote in the newspapers on the many functions one can undergo with just an e-mail account."you can even search the web with just an email account". Is this really possible? could you please give some details on how to do this.
Natalio Soliz, August Pine Ridge , Orange Walk

A. It is possible but not much fun. It's like the monkey getting termites out of the nest with a twig - one termite at a time. If you only can have e-mail, then it is very much worth learning how and doing it, and if you check back to Tony's excellent article (July 26), you'll see how to begin.

If you are CHOOSING to have an e-mail only account, stop it, quit it, give it up- it's like shutting off the picture on a movie and only listening to the sound. Get the ppp connection. Then you can use Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer and the entire termite mound is there for the browsing, twigs in every hand; more like a vacuum cleaner than a twig, more bang for your buck.

Q. During the last storm our power went out and one of our computer's was completely fried. We had a surge protector on it, what gives?

A. There are three ways to protect your computers from electrical power problems, you unfortunately chose the wrong one. (Note to technoweenies - I'm not going to even mention line conditioners - give them up, go get a UPS). Here's the short and simple course.

1. Use a laptop - it's always separate from the power, even when it's plugged in. It just charges it's little internal battery, and pays no attention to what’s happening on the power line.
2. Use a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). It is a larger version of what's in a laptop. If the power goes up or down in voltage, it uses it's own battery until everything is normal, or until the battery runs out. That can be as little as five or ten minutes, but it gives you time to shut down.
3. Use a surge protector. This is a TERRIBLE idea for Ambergris Caye. It's only use is to give you more places to plug in power cords. A surge protector "clamps" off voltage that goes too HIGH. It does nothing when the voltage goes LOW. These "brownouts" cause your power supply to pull more current than normal, which makes heat. Heat browns your toast and cooks your computer!

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