Ask Mr. Modem: Sign Out Of Online Accounts


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Q. When I go to my online bank accounts and other sites that I have to sign into, does it make any difference whether I sign out or just click the X to leave? I’m thinking it doesn’t make any difference, but what is your opinion, Mr. M?

A. Yes, it makes a huge difference. Make that HUGE difference! Never ever, ever, EVER leave an account that you logged into without logging out. Failing to log out is tantamount to departing your home and leaving the door open. 99.99 percent of the time everything will be fine when you return. On the other hand, it is only going to take one time when you return to find your home ransacked or a colony of raccoons having taken up residence that will change your life forever. And then it’s too late.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s an online bank account or your Gmail account or anything else, always log off or sign out – whatever you prefer to call it. You log in for security purposes, and you must log out to close and lock the door behind you.

Most log-in venues have an automatic log-out feature so if your account has no activity for a period of time – usually on the order of two to five minutes – you will automatically be logged out in an effort to protect you from yourself. It only takes a split second to log out so it is well worth the effort for the peace of mind alone.

Q. My question concerns the conversion of Word documents to PDF documents. Why would I want to do that?

A. It might be that you don’t want to do that. It really depends on your document needs or any requirements imposed upon you. It’s been years since I converted a .DOC file to a .PDF because I just haven’t had any need to do that.

Many times people are required or requested to submit documents in PDF (Portable Document Format), so in that situation they are simply honoring the request or requirement. There are many reasons that the PDF format may be selected. For example, documents always look exactly the same for all recipients, regardless of the hardware or software used; documents can also be navigated by keyword search and hyperlinks can be included within a table of contents, which increases usability.

In addition, it is an excellent format for presentations, since PDF documents look exactly the same on all platforms; the file format is compact, so files can be easily emailed to recipients; the file format is excellent for archiving, since the look and feel of documents is preserved and the document size is compacted; the format is also an industry standard for business documents such as contracts and forms that must retain their exact appearance for legal reasons, such as tax returns, license agreements, ransom notes, tender documents, quotations and logos.

Mr. Modem’s Web Sites Of The Month

FlightRadar24.com
This is a very cool flight tracker that shows current air traffic worldwide. Click any of the little airplane icons to view detailed information about the flight. Be sure to read the site’s FAQ located in the About section. [www.flightradar24.com]

Science Daily
Here you will find breaking news about the latest discoveries and biggest research projects in everything from astrophysics to zoology. [www.sciencedaily.com]

Television Without Pity
Imagine this nightmarish scenario: Your TiVo or DVR fails and you miss last night’s episode of “The Kardashians.” I’d be despondent, too, but before you stick your head in the microwave, all is not lost. At Television Without Pity you can read a recap of your show, with color commentary. (Be sure to take a look at Hulu.com, too.) [www.televisionwithoutpity.com]


To subscribe to Mr. Modem’s award-winning weekly computer-help newsletter and also receive personal responses to your questions, visit www.mrmodem.com.


Photo credit: Ervins Strauhmanis / Foter / CC BY

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