Ask Mr. Modem: Push the mute button on noisy websites

Mr. Modem

It drives me crazy when I’m looking at various websites and I happen to land on one that has some blaring soundtrack going. It’s particularly annoying at night. Is there any way to avoid that?

I hate it when that happens. How many times have you visited a website only to be “welcomed” with some dreadful soundtrack that a tone-deaf site owner thought you might enjoy?

I usually keep my speakers turned off so I can avoid such aural assaults, but if you encounter a site that features the vocal cacophony of Yoko Ono, or perhaps a jaunty little tune when you’re not in a jaunty little mood, just press the Escape key to stop the madness. This won’t work on pages that contain Flash media, but it’s still worth a try when your cursor inadvertently strikes up the bland.


Is there any maximum length for an email address?

The username (the first part of the address, before the @ sign) can be up to 64 characters, which is much less than the domain part, which can be 255 characters. That means the total maximum email address length can be a whopping 320 characters.

Realistically, any email address that long is going to continually run into problems because most programs assume a shorter length, and even the Microsoft Access database program only allows 50 characters for an email field.

When it comes to Internet specifications, there is always a gap between what is permitted and what is supported. Shorter email addresses are desirable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they are easier to remember and utilize on a daily basis.


I have a Kindle app on my phone, but I am not sure how to remove a book once I’ve finished reading it.

Choose the book you wish to remove, then press down and hold. Giving the book a tap will only open it, so you will need to press and hold.

When the menu appears, you will be offered the choice between removing the book from the device or from the carousel (the Home screen for the Kindle App). Removing it from the carousel means you won’t see the book when you open your app, but it will still be on the device.

If you want to free up space on your device, choose Remove from Device. (You do have to remove the book from the carousel as well, if you don’t want to see it.)

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

Mr. Modem’s sites of the week

Happy News

If you’re feeling that the news today is too distressing, this is a site that will make you feel better about the world around you, even as the wheels are coming off. Happy News — perhaps even more appropriate this time of year — presents real news, compelling stories, always with a positive slant. The pathologically cheerful individuals behind this site believe virtue, goodwill and heroism are relevant news stories, so they deliver up-to-the-minute news to lift spirits and inspire lives. It’s a great place to turn if network and cable news is starting to get you down.


Record Tripping

Yippee! Another highly addicting game! This game is a Webby Award winner and will really put your mousing skills to the test. The game uses a mouse scroll wheel to move left or right, and you press and hold the mouse button to slow the on-screen action. Think of it as being a disk jockey and it’s your mission to scratch or scrub the record to solve the puzzle. Have fun.


Scrabble helper

If you’re a fan of the Scrabble board game, you’ll love this site. Enter the seven letter tiles in your Scrabble rack. The Wordplays Helper will then figure out and display all the possible word combinations that can be composed. You can even specify beginning and ending letters or ask for words of a certain length.