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Issue #564: May 13-19, 2018

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It’s been a rather difficult week for this Geek and my extended family, as we grieve the tragic loss of a loved one.  So, I’m taking the week off and letting you, my dear readers, write this issue of It’s Geek To Me for me.  I must say, I don’t often receive reader communications which, rather than asking questions, simply provide useful information.  I find it more than a little interesting that I just happened to receive two such e-mails right when I need them.  Thanks, Geeks!

A: “Known Issue” time. Your recent column about Cox (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. Issue #558, April 1, 2018) jarred my synapses into action. I had occasion to need to use Cox’s webmail while on the road. To my great surprise, Cox took it upon themselves to shunt hundreds of emails into its self-created SPAM folder, a folder I did not ever send any emails to nor label as spam so they’d be screened. Half an hour on the phone with Cox’s illustrious “Level II Tech Support” had me learn that, “This is a known issue that we’re working on.” Along the way the technician made sure I was doing everything correctly (computer on, Internet working, blah, blah, blah), confirmed with me that NO spam filters were set, and that yes, their system is blocking me from getting emails in my Client – emails that are NOT SPAM. His solution? Go into webmail each day and open every email shunted to SPAM, and mark it as NOT spam, so it then downloads to my client. Their system has NOT learned anything, and continues to label as spam everything it has been, based on sender, keyword, or perhaps sentences ending with periods. Sheesh! I wonder how many other Cox customers are suffering this and don’t even know it. I’ve even had emails from my family shunted to spam…

– Bill R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: I fully understand your woes with the whole tech support experience, Bill.  On the occasions that I have had to call for support, imagine me trying to explain to the person on the other end of the phone, “Did I happen to mention that I’m the author of a Computers and Technology Q&A feature that publishes in multiple newspapers and on the web?  My column reaches between 250,000 and 500,000 people each week.  So, yeah, I’m pretty darn certain that it’s plugged in and turned on. Can we move on please?”

 

 A: An interesting issue related to your recent column, “Interrupting boot-up can cause problems” (Geek Note: I.G.T.M. Issue #562, April 29, 2018).  I needed to access the BIOS on my Dell computer, which has two monitors.  On the first two tries, the primary screen remained blank and I rebooted after 5-10 minutes.  After thinking a while, I discovered that the monitor used by the “system” is assigned by connector precedence and has nothing to do with the Windows settings most of us are used to.  My older second monitor, which was turned off the whole time, is plugged into the HDMI port because I had an HDMI-VGA adapter on hand.  The new primary monitor is hooked to the DVI port.  Once I remembered to turn on both monitors, I immediately saw the BIOS screen on “#2” and everything worked as designed.  I’m sharing in case others have had a similar issue.

– Rod W.
Niceville, Florida

A:  Ah, yes!  The old “When is monitor 1 not really number 1?” scenario.  I occasionally have a similar problem with IDE devices, as their physical order on the bus doesn’t necessarily match the order of assigned drive letters.  Nicely done in studying the problem and working your way through it in true Geek form!

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