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January 2014
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

Change Folder Icons

When you delete a file from your Recycle Bin, the file is still there and can be recovered. When you shred a file, the computer overwrites the saved information with random data. Although the file is still physically present, and still taking up the same amount of space, the information contained in the file is obliterated and cannot be recovered. 

December 2013

Been Filing off Your Fingerprints Lately?

The older you get, the less reliable fingerprint identification becomes. The skin on our fingers which was once soft and pliable grows a little harder, making it impossible to for some people to use a fingerprint scan. Imagine if your only way to use an ATM was by providing a fingerprint.

Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

Upload Video from iPhone to YouTube

Some “experts” recommend that  flash or thumb drives not be left in a computer when not being used, but having used flash drives since they first arrived on the digital scene, I have never experienced any problem leaving them inserted. And that way I know where the drive is, as well. 

November 2013
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

Transmit Super-Large Files

If, however, by “send” you mean you would like to share your vacation photos in an online album that your invitees can then peruse until their respective heads explode, any of the popular online album-hosting sites such as, or -- and there are countless others -- will serve that purpose quite nicely.  

October 2013
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

When Fine-Tuning Fails

Leaving a computer on maintains a stable, internal operating temperature which is desirable. I have 11 computers here (Mrs. Modem is destined for sainthood) and all of them run 24/7. 

September 2013
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

Why Rebates, Not Discounts?

A cursor can take several forms. For example, it may change into a small hand when hovering over a link, or it may become an animated cursor, in the form of a rotating hour glass, when Windows is in the process of loading a page or program. (My cousin Leo became an animated cursor once when he got hit in the head by a golf ball. No damage to the ball, fortunately.)

August 2013
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

Tips for Using Computers

Ideally positioned, you should not feel any strain on your back, neck, arms, forearms or wrists. If you have restricted mobility in either hand, consider purchasing a one-handed keyboard, available through 


Password Meltdown

However, our friends encouraged us to stay on course. They said we would eventually master all the nuances and it was important to prove to our children we weren’t too old to learn. Unlike our parents, who were ancient in their 70s, we have eternal youth.

July 2013
Mr. Modem
Ask Mr. Modem

APP-ropriate Permissions

Q. What do you think about letting other people take remote control of your computer to analyze and fix problems?

A. I would be inclined to use something like that right after I have a microchip implanted in my body so my cat knows where I am if I wander off. In short, I wouldn't.

June 2012

The New Car vs. My Old Brain

I was so frustrated I didn't know whether to scream or cry. I told our salesman "I'm not smart enough to drive this car." Obviously he'd had many dealings with older clients and calmly assured me he'd explain everything – again.

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