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Issue #279: November 25, 2012

Q: Is there a way to block all e-mail from a certain sites? ie: Could I block all e-mail from “”. I’m getting e-mail from someone that keeps changing the username but has the same domain. Appreciate your articles.

Glenn H.
Niceville, Florida

A: I can think of a few ways to do what you’re asking, depending on what e-mail software you’re using.  In Outlook, for example, you can set up rules for how certain e-mails are handled when they arrive. You could set up a rule that moves any e-mail that has the domain you want to block straight to your trash folder.  Some e-mail providers allow you to configure blacklists of names and even entire domains via their webmail interface.  The feature is not universal, so you’ll have to check with your particular provider for both whether they support it, and how to configure it.  Before you set off on this quest, I would suggest you consider the impact of the radical step of blocking e-mails from an entire domain. You could be blocking mail from other people you might not want blocked, if not now, perhaps in the future.  Worse yet, blocking the domain probably won’t defeat your nemesis.  As least, it wouldn’t defeat him if he was me.  Once I discovered you’d blocked my domain, I’d simply switch domains.  There are plenty of different free e-mail services out there.

Q: I have 3 questions.  First, when I play games on Facebook, the Flash player plug-in crashes. I have reported it to them. I also have uninstalled it and then reinstalled it. I am using Firefox and have Windows 7. Second, I have a Dell laptop and a Toshiba laptop.  I want to connect them where I can run both at the same time. Is that possible? Third, what do you think of Windows 8?

Christy C.
Abilene, Texas

A: Sure, Christy – here goes.  First: This problem seems to be unique to FireFox (See Microsoft haters? Not all problems are caused by Microsoft products!).  The solution I’ve seen that works most often is to disable hardware acceleration by going to the “Tools” menu and choosing “Options”.  Select “Advanced” and in the “General” tab, uncheck the box that’s labeled “Use hardware acceleration when available”.  Second: Yes, you can absolutely do that.  What you are describing is basic networking.  The heart of the typical home network is a device called a router, which provides each connected computer with a unique address so its network traffic doesn’t interfere with the traffic of the other computers on the network. A router can be either wired, requiring a separate network cable to connect each computer, or wireless, which is supported by virtually every laptop and tablet device made these days.  Many wireless routers also have a few wired ports built in for full compatibility.  The router also connects to your Cable or DSL modem, effectively sharing your Internet connection among all the connected computers.  Third: I think Microsoft is gambling an awful lot on Windows 8, but rightly so.  I think it is a logical step to take, given the wild popularity of tablet computing these days, and the competition they face from Apple and the Android market.  However, I also think that it’s too soon after expecting people to shell out money for Windows 7 to be expecting them to shell out money for a new operating system already.  I think I miss Windows XP.  I think people who use Windows 8 will learn to love it fairly quickly, and I think I will save more information on Windows 8 for a future column I’m working on.

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