Ask Mr. Modem: Color-coding can help in sorting USB drives

Posted Tuesday, May. 06, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Mr. Modem’s sites of the week



CRAYON stands for “CReAte Your Own Newspaper,” the name of one of the longest-running sites on the Web, having made its debut in March 1995 — long before many people had even heard of the Internet. To get started, go to the Help area, which will guide you through the process of creating your own newspaper with step-by-step instructions. If you have ever experienced the desire to only read the parts of a newspaper you enjoy reading, CRAYON can make that happen.


Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills

Whether you are a college student who has just entered the world of having to cook meals for yourself, someone who wants to learn more about cooking or a parent who wants to teach children how to cook, this site (created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver) is for you. The site was designed for people with a desire to obtain their home cooking certification (who knew?), and to help enlist schools to provide the appropriate educational courses.


NIH Senior Health

The National Institutes of Health site for senior health information. I particularly like this site because it was designed for mature eyeballs, meaning the font is easily changed to something more readable. You can even change contrast colors to make it easier to read. The menu at the top of the page contains Health Topics A-Z and Video A-Z.

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Back in the days when I used floppy disks, I could write the disk’s contents on a label. The flash drives I use today are too small to write anything on. How do you keep track of the contents on your flash drives, Mr. M?

I use different flash drives for different purposes so I don’t really have any need to label the contents. For example, I have one flash drive that I use for backing up documents, one that I use for Quicken backups, a drive that I use for photos and one for music backups. When I insert a drive into a USB port, I can view its contents. I generally purchase different-color flash drives, which makes it even easier to keep track of what’s what.

As an alternative, some flash drive users keep their drives in small plastic bags and jot down the drive’s contents with a felt-tip marker on the bag itself.

How can I upload a video from my iPhone or iPad to YouTube? Do I have to save it to my computer first?

If you create a video using your iPhone or iPad, you do not need to save it to a computer in order to upload it to YouTube. Simply tap the Send button (the square with a little arrow), then tap the YouTube option.

When I move the cursor on my laptop over the icon that lets you know whether the laptop is plugged in, a bubble pops up that shows “94 percent available. Plugged in, not charging.” Shouldn’t the battery be charging?

It’s possible that your particular battery won’t begin to charge until it is at a certain level, such as below 50 percent or 25 percent capacity. Plus, depending on the type of battery, you may not want small, partial charges because the battery may only have X number of charging cycles. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter whether you charge it 10 percent or 90 percent — both count as one charge cycle, so the fact that it’s not charging could be to protect you from wasting finite charge cycles.

For a truly definitive answer as it relates to your specific computer/battery, contact the manufacturer of your laptop through its online Support area. In the alternative, look at your battery, note the brand, type or model number, then go to the manufacturer’s website, where specific charging details and recommendations will be available.

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

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