Ask Mr. Modem: Why Rebates, Not Discounts?

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Q. Why do online companies offer rebates instead of just selling a product at a lower price? It seems like there are always strings attached or restrictions on the rebate check received.
A. There are three primary reasons that companies offer rebates: First, the time between the purchase and the rebate can be several months, a period in which your money is in the company’s possession. This may seem insignificant, but to a company that sells hundreds of thousands of widgets, it can be substantial.
Second, what better way for a company to obtain your personal data for subsequent contact or to sell to others than by offering you money (in the form of a rebate) for your information?
Third, companies know that most people are busy or lazy (or both) and won’t go to the trouble of cutting out a bar code or providing the requisite paperwork to obtain a rebate. In this way, the company gets to attract purchasers by advertising a low price, and in most instances selling an item for a higher price because the purchaser never applies for the rebate. What a deal!

Q. Should I purchase a copy of Windows 7 and set it aside for a future installation? I’m worried that Windows 7 won’t be available a year or two from now.

A. Historically, previous versions of Windows have been available for years after they are no longer the current operating system. For example, Windows Vista replaced Windows XP in January 2007, more than seven years ago, yet if you search, you will find a number of retailers who still have XP available. If history does indeed repeat itself, Windows 7 is going to be available for many years to come.

Q. I know this is a weird question, but what is the proper name for the little mouse pointer?

A. Weird questions are always welcome! The object that moves on the screen when you move the mouse is often called a cursor, although some nitpicking purists might argue that technically only the blinking line that comprises a DOS prompt can be properly called a cursor. For most users, myself included, the terms “pointer” and “cursor” can be used interchangeably.
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 Leon became an animated cursor once when he was hit in the head with a golf ball.)

Mr. Modem’s Web Sites Of The Month

This color-matching game is deceptively easy… at first. Your challenge is to mouse over the color wheel to find a matching color to what is displayed. There is one small catch: Your cursor is tied not to just one point on the color wheel, but to two points and then four points as the game progresses. To play, click the color wheel, then try to match the colors displayed. Highest score, or the first person to get a splitting headache, wins.

This is a free service that can test the protection afforded by your firewall by doing a simple probe and/or a port scan.

Here you will find free tools for tasks you might want to perform on an uploaded image, such as resizing, converting, splitting or cropping.

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