Ask Mr. Modem: The Perils Of Remote Access

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Q. What do you think about letting other people take remote control of my 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. To grant anyone that level of access, in my opinion, is – I believe the correct psychiatric term is “nutso.” That type of access is not limited or restricted; it is full, 100-percent, wide-open, help-yourself-to-my-data access.
Most remote repair services require you to install their software so they can take control of your system. You are then relying on the honesty and integrity of people you don’t know while effectively saying, “Hey, unknown people, I give you permission to poke around inside my computer and fix whatever you think needs fixing.”
For those who have had a computer problem resolved via remote third-party access, congratulations! But while you’re basking in the glow of problem resolution, keep in mind that there are many people who also wind up with compromised computers and new problems where none previously existed – sometimes days or even weeks later. At worse, steer clear; at best, caution is advised.

Q. I have a PDF form that I have to fill out each week, but I can’t always get the form to open so I can type into it. Is there some other way to do this? Thanks, Mr. M.

A. Fill Any PDF ( is an online PDF form filler-outer and is an easy way to crack open a PDF file. There is a video on the site that demonstrates how it works, so give it a try and you shouldn’t have any problem.

Mr. Modem’s Web Sites Of The Month

Einstein’s Big Idea
Filled with fascinating facts about the legendary E=MC2 genius and his life’s work, you will also find interesting articles about Einstein’s personal life (who knew he was a big fan of the Three Stooges?), as well as some interactive features that explain the science behind the famous equation that few of us understand.

Phone Arena
If you become woozy trying to sort through features in an attempt to figure out which mobile phone is best for you, at the Phone Arena you will find phone reviews by actual users who aren’t trying to sell you anything. How refreshing! You can also observe side-by-side comparisons, editor picks and obtain the latest news about phones, including when the next version of your phone will be released, thus rendering your new phone obsolete. (Hint: Obsolescence generally occurs within 30 minutes of purchase.)

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