Ask Mr. Modem: How to jump-start a big printing job

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

Mr. Modem's sites of the week

106-year-old film clip

David Kiehn, with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, determined through analysis of weather reports at the time, license plates shown in the film and other related information, that this nine-minute, 35mm visual time capsule was filmed four days before the great earthquake of April 18, 1906. The film was shipped by train to New York for processing and thus survived the earthquake. This video provides a fascinating look back in time, through the lens of a camera mounted on the front of a San Francisco streetcar as it travels down Market Street. Note that the clock tower at the end of the street, at the Embarcadero wharf, is still there today.


An unusual search engine that allows users to search for specific sounds. For example, I can't count the number of times I've needed a squishy sound or the sound of a yellow-beaked junco for a project I was working on. For aural oddities, you can't beat FindSounds.

Google recipe search

Search for recipes based not only on ingredients you have on hand, but the calories you want to consume and even how much time you have to cook.

Mensa Workout

Mensa is an organization whose members have IQs in the top 2 percent of the population, so clearly Mr. Modem has no firsthand experience with the group. If you think you're a candidate for membership, try the Mensa Workout, which requires solving 30 problems in 30 minutes. Typical problem: "If it were two hours later, it would be half as long until midnight as it would be if it were an hour later. What time is it now?" I answered, "Time for my head to explode," which was not correct. After automatically tabulating your score, the workout will tell you if you're Mensa material or if you should leave the website immediately and never return.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

To readers: Because Mr. Modem's column did not appear on June 6, we are running two weeks' worth today.

Is it possible to print multiple files at one time, even if they're different types of files?

Yes, it sure is. Go to the folder where the files you want to print are located, or if the files are in different folders, create a temporary folder on your Windows Desktop and copy the files you want to print into it. (Hint: To create a Desktop folder, right-click anywhere on the Desktop and select New > Folder.)

Next, hold down the Ctrl key and select the files you want to print, or press Ctrl + A to select them all. Right-click one of the highlighted files, choose Print, then stand back and let the printing begin!

I never automatically save passwords for websites, but for some unknown reason one got saved and I don't know how to stop it from being automatically entered when I visit a certain site. Somehow I must have accidentally clicked the button that asked if I wanted to save the password when I first entered it. I'm using Internet Explorer 8.

There is nothing wrong with having your browser save your passwords. If you prefer not to use it, however, go to Tools > Internet Options > Content tab > AutoComplete Settings, and you will see where you can manage or delete passwords from that location.

I really like the Google Calendar that you mentioned a while back, but when printing my personal calendar, I can only print a month beginning on the first of the month. If I'm midway through the month, for example, I can't print a 30-day calendar starting at the 15th, so I have to print the entire following month. Is there some way I can print a 30-day calendar that does not begin on the first of the month?

To print a portion of your monthly Google Calendar (, highlight whatever you want to print in the little calendar that appears to the left of the main calendar, then click Print or File > Print Preview to take a peek. You can print any number of days or weeks you wish.

I noticed some empty files in my C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local folder. The files display long numbers instead of words for their file names. I ran security scans, but nothing of concern was reported. A friend in my computer club suggested I use something called the Sysinternals Process Monitor, but I wanted to check with you first. What would you suggest I do?

If they are empty files and aren't causing any problems, why do anything?

There are certainly times when legitimate issues require immediate attention because a computer isn't functioning properly, but I would not go out of my way to look for items to tweak.

The reality is that when it comes to computers, there are always going to be little odds and ends that you can expend a tremendous amount of time and energy pursuing. Many times a well-intentioned tweak or a little casual fine-tuning will create new problems where none previously existed.

If the presence of the empty files is upsetting, you can certainly try deleting them -- they are truly empty. Personally, I wouldn't do a thing and would instead seek out other things to annoy me.

The program that was recommended to you, Sysinternals Process Monitor (, is a sophisticated utility that many professionals use for higher-level troubleshooting. You can install it if you're so inclined, but there is a very good chance that the information it provides will be incomprehensible. I would suggest visiting the website and reading more about it before making a decision whether to install it.

Sometimes when I'm using my wireless keyboard or mouse while traveling, the connection is lost, or I've also had the batteries go dead. If I can't use the mouse, how can I shut down my computer, or do I just hit the power switch and bail out that way?

You can still control your cursor by pressing Alt + Shift + Num Lock. This launches the MouseKeys box. Press the Enter key to convert the numeric keypad into a quasifunctional mouse in which the arrow keys will move the cursor.

To return control to your wireless mouse, press the Alt + Shift + Num Lock keystroke combo again and select Cancel.

Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem!" each week, featuring PC tips, tricks and plain-English answers to your questions by e-mail. For more information, visit

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