Mr. Modem: Folder icons need not be bland and boring

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 01, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Mr. Modem’s sites of the week


The focus here is senior and assisted living by city and state. The site features best cities for retirement and provides reviews from seniors living in each city. Access to a seniors general-issues blog is also provided.



An unusual site that combines word-game competition with nonprofit philanthropy. Players are presented with a vocabulary word and four definitions from which to choose. If the player chooses the correct answer, the Wizboy or Wizgirl cartoonish character gains an article of clothing; if incorrect, the character loses an article of clothing. (No, this isn’t “strip vocabulary,” for heaven’s sake, it’s all very innocent and not the least bit salacious or inappropriate.) Eight correct answers in a row results in a ribbon. After earning four ribbons, a one-cent donation is made to Graph It Forward Today (GIFT), an organization that provides school supplies to disadvantaged college-bound students.



If you have a hankering for some cuteness in your life, ZooBorns is just what the doctor ordered. Here you will find the cutest newborn animals from zoos around the world. I defy anybody to spend any time here and not say, “Awwwwww....”

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Is there a way to create custom folder icons? I don’t like the ones that I have and wondered if I could change them.

Right-click a folder that displays a hideous icon and choose Properties > Customize tab. Under Folder Pictures, select Choose File or Choose Pictures, depending on the version of Windows.

Browse to a location on your hard drive that has a picture or icon (.ICO file) you want to use, click to select it and choose Open, followed by OK. Presto! Your folder now has your selected picture and life, as you know it, is worth living once again.

I recently purchased a 32GB USB flash drive. I right-clicked the drive and selected Properties. It indicated a capacity of 34,359,738,368 bytes. Why is there a difference between these numbers and the 32GB it is supposed to have?

The capacity of storage media is measured in bytes. There are eight bits to a byte, and a byte is a character such as a letter or number or my Uncle Earl. The fly in the digital ointment is that the definition of a megabyte or gigabyte differs between computer and storage-device manufacturers.

To use the same definition would obviously make too much sense.

Computer manufacturers define a kilobyte as 1,024 bytes and a megabyte as 1,024 kilobytes. So one megabyte (one million bytes) is actually 1,048,576 bytes. To get to 32GB or gigabytes we have to multiply 1,024 (bytes) x 1,024 (kilobytes) x 1,024 (megabytes) x 32 (gigabytes) which gives us — let’s see, doing this in my head...carry the naught...OK, it gives us 34,359,738,368 bytes.

Data storage manufacturers decided to round things off and use 1,000 bytes instead of 1,024 bytes for quantification purposes. While you do obtain 32 billion bytes when you purchase a 32GB USB drive, pursuant to the manufacturer’s calculations, your computer isn’t counting those bytes in the same manner, hence the disparity. Whew.

I would like faster access to two apps that came with my Android phone. Is there an easy way to set that up?

There sure is. Apps installed from the Android Market/Google Play Store generally create Home screen shortcuts, but when using pre-installed or downloaded apps for which shortcuts are not created, you can create your own.

To create a shortcut, open the app launcher, then long-press (tap and hold) a frequently used app and drag it to the Home screen. If you accidentally drag the wrong app to the screen, or if you later decide the shortcut is unnecessary, tap and hold the shortcut, then drag it to the Trash.

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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