Ask Mr. Modem: Network Password? What Network Password?

Click to read more about Mr. Modem.

Click to read more about Mr. Modem.

Q. I forgot my WiFi network password and I’m in a panic. Is there any way to recover it? Help!
A. If you are still able to use your WiFi, you can view your saved password by clicking the wireless connection icon on the Taskbar, right-clicking the network you are connected to, then click Properties.
On the Security tab, one field will display the Network Security Key as a series of dots or asterisks. Below that will be a little check box to “Show Characters,” which will then display the Network Security Key and your saved password.
If you cannot access it in this manner, most routers have a Reset button on the bottom or back of the router, which will reset it to factory settings. You will then need to follow your router manufacturer’s set-up instructions (usually available from its website or on the CD that came with your router) to configure the router and assign it a new password.

Q. How can I make it so multiple start pages display in Firefox?

A. If you would like more than one Web page to display when you open Firefox, go to Tools > Options > General. In the field where you have your Home page entered, type in as many additional Web addresses as you wish, each one separated with a pipe (|) mark, which you can create by simultaneously pressing the SHIFT key and the \ key. Click OK when finished. Close then reopen Firefox and your multiple pages will display, each page in its own tab.

Q. Other than for security purposes, does shredding deleted files reclaim hard-drive space? If so, how does that work?

A. When you delete a file from your Recycle Bin, the file is still present and can be recovered. When you virtually shred a file, the computer overwrites the saved information with random data so the information contained in the file cannot be recovered.
The primary reason for shredding is security. If you delete something and you don’t want anyone to ever be able to access it again (think subpoena), shred it. Most free shredder programs, such as Eraser (, will make one pass, writing ones and zeros over the information. Industrial-strength, professional, no-fooling-around shredder programs, such as, will make one pass writing ones and zeros, then additional passes writing different characters in order to obfuscate (wow!) previously written information.

Mr. Modem’s Web Sites Of The Month
Launched by a physician in 2008, here you can access a database of patient opinions, comments and ratings as they relate to the effectiveness of various medications. It also includes weekly consumer opinion polls on health care topics. The multiple-choice poll question I was asked when I visited the site was, “By what percentage has the taking of antidepressants increased in the past 10 years?” I was too depressed to participate. Perhaps next time. {}

Ask Numbers
Measurement conversion charts and converters for metric, Imperial and U.S. systems. In addition to conversion calculators, scientific calculators, definitions, abbreviations and formulae, the site also provides printable metric conversion tables and unit converters for commonly used items such as feet to hectometers, meters to perch and the always useful kilometers to dekameters. {}

In Search of Myths and Heroes
This site, which is based on the PBS program of the same name, focuses on four myths: The Queen of Sheba, Shangri-la, King Arthur and “The harder you swing, the farther the golf ball will go.” Just kidding. The fourth myth is Jason and the Argonauts. (One of my favorite ’50s rock groups.) This site has lots of interesting features and I particularly enjoyed the Living Legends Quiz, so you won’t want to myth that. {}

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Ask Mr. Modem: Transmit Super-Large Files

Click to read more about Mr. Modem.

Click to read more about Mr. Modem.

Q. I have approximately 100 pictures from a recent vacation that I would like to e-mail to others. What program should I use for this?
A. Unless you know your intended recipients very well, that’s a lot of photos to inflict upon anybody. One hundred vacation photos equal 400 non-vacation photos to anybody who did not accompany you on the trip.
The best thing to do is to compress (ZIP) those 100 photo files into one humongous file, then use a service such as or to upload your gonzo file to a secure area. A link will be provided to your designated recipients that they can click to download your file, thus circumventing any ISP-based file-size restrictions. Both sites offer free and paid services, which are explained on the respective sites.
To compress (ZIP) your photo files into one file, click to select the files then right-click and select Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder. E-mail the resulting .ZIP file as an attachment. Your recipients can right-click the file, select Extract and designated a location for the files on their computer.
Another option is sharing your vacation photos in an online album that your invitees can then “enjoy” until their respective heads explode. Sites such as, or will serve that purpose quite nicely.

Q. Why is it that some sites require the www and for others I just have to type http, without the www?
A. In a Net shell, a website name is converted (using a DNS or Domain Name System server) from alpha to numeric format. In other words, the word(s) you type as the address of a website are translated into a series of numbers called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. This address tells your browser where on the Internet the website can be found. (It’s a bit more technical than that, but I’m already losing interest, not to mention consciousness.) Some website DNS records are configured to allow you to type the alone, while others are configured to require the “www” (for World Wide Web) prefix.

Q. Is there any way to test for color blindness online?
A. Before sharing information of this type, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend seeking appropriate medical evaluation and consultation for definitive answers to health-related questions. I am not a doctor, nor do I portray one on television, though I did play one on radio back in the ‘70s – well, until the Cease and Desist Order was issued. With that caveat, there is, indeed, a color blindness test located at the appropriately named Web site.

Mr. Modem’s Web Sites Of The Month

The Dorcus Collection
A collection of men’s fashion photography from the ‘50s, ‘60s and polyestered ‘70s. Caution: Some of the language on this site is a bit on the coarse side so sensitive readers, or those subject to chafing, should proceed at their own peril.

This site helps visitors connect with educators in order to learn whatever skill they are interested in learning. There may be a fee associated with some classes, so be sure to review the Frequently Asked Questions in the Help area. Better safe than hysterical.

Song Facts
Song meanings and music trivia, including highest album and chart position achieved. The trivia is quite interesting and links are provided to view a song’s lyrics, purchase the song or obtain the sheet music.

Subscribe to Mr. Modem’s award-winning weekly computer-help newsletter using promo code CITYSUN and receive a free month with your six-month subscription. 

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