PC Doctor July 14, 2010

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Dear PC Doctor:

            I am a big Facebook fan but I wonder if there's any way to not appear as if I'm online?  I love to check it out but often people will start up conversations when they see me online and I have other things that need to get done.  I don't want to appear rude and just ignore them but sometimes I'll have 4 or 5 people trying to message me at once.


Dear Ally:

            There is an easy way to appear offline yet still be able to see Facebook posts.  When Facebook is opened up, just go to the right hand corner of the screen (where you normally see how many people are online) and click on that 'Chat' icon.  Above the list of names you will see the word 'Options'.  Click on that and then select 'go offline' off the dropdown menu.  This should take care of your problem.  If you then want to go back online, just reverse the procedure and click 'go online'.

            PC Doctor

Dear PC Doctor:

            I have a new laptop and a cable dsl connection for the internet.  Currently I have a regular computer that plugs into the cable connection in the wall.  I would like to be able to use my laptop anywhere in the house.  Should I be buying a router or an access point - I don't really know the difference between the two.  Thanks for your advice.


Dear Gail:

            They are basically the same thing except that the router also provides some added security benefits.  If you have no existing hardware in place right now, then I would choose the wireless router to set up your laptop.  You can purchase one at any computer store or over the Internet.  I would suggest if you have no experience with this, you might go to a store such as Staples, Best Buy, etc. and talk with a salesman for the router that will best meet your particular needs. 

            Once you have purchased one (they start at around $35.00), it should be simple to install.   Always follow the directions that come with the equipment, but basically you just plug the router in the electrical outlet, then into the cable modem.  Then turn on your laptop and you should be able to connect to it.  If you have a wireless printer or other such device, you should be able to access those as well since you have a router.  With the plain access point you would not be able to do that.

            PC Doctor

Dear PC Doctor:

            The CD drive in my computer died and of course the computer is out of warranty.  Otherwise my computer works great.  How hard is it to replace one of those?


Dear Caron:

            Unless you are pretty savvy with computers, it might be a little difficult.  You could call a local repair shop and just ask what it would cost to replace one to get an idea.  Otherwise you would need to be sure when purchasing the new drive that it was compatible with your computer (if you are going to attempt it yourself).  You can't just buy a new one off the shelf and expect it to work, especially if your computer is older.  One thing you could do instead that is very easy is to purchase an external CD drive that plugs into your USB port.  Those are pretty simple to install and you can use it at any computer.

            PC Doctor

Until next time& happy computing