Tablet Life & Arts

Ask Mr. Modem: Memorize this storage terminology

Once and for all, will you please explain the difference between RAM space and hard drive space?

RAM is short for “random access memory,” and is frequently referred to as “memory.” RAM is a temporary storage area used to hold programs or files that are currently open or being used. In other words, if you launch your word processing program, it loads into RAM. By having a program loaded into RAM, it’s conveniently accessible and saves your computer from having to continually send and retrieve data to and from your hard drive.

If RAM is your computer’s temporary storage area, your hard drive is its permanent storage area. Programs not loaded into RAM reside on your hard drive. When summoned into action, they are loaded from the hard drive (long-term storage) into RAM (short-term memory).

I know what an email filter is, but what is a negative email filter and a positive email filter?

A negative filter is created to block email based on the sender’s name or address, words used in the subject line, body text, etc. In other words, there is a negative connotation associated with the email: You don’t want to see it, so you create a filter to block it or route it directly into the trash. Conversely, a positive email filter would be created primarily for email addresses of people you do want to receive messages from, such as friends, family members, or gruff-but-lovable Mr. Modem. Positive filters bring messages to your attention. A filter’s action may change the color of the message header, play a little tune, or transfer the message to a designated mail folder.

This is a stupid question, but I’m new to computers and I cannot figure out what the difference is between the DELete key and the ESCape key? Can you explain that to me, Mr. M?

Besides the spelling, in a word processing application, for example, the DELete key removes a selected (highlighted) character, word, paragraph, etc., vaporizing it from the document. Pressing the ESCape key cancels or aborts the current operation — whatever it is you’re doing at the time — but does not perform an action, such as removing a character (or other item) from the screen or program.

The CTRL + Z keystroke combination is the universal “undo” command that will usually reverse the last action taken. This can be a lifesaver on occasion, particularly after accidentally pressing the DELete key, which is usually followed by a scream.


Alan Cooper’s Homonyms

When you arrive on this site, you will land on its “About” page, which provides background information about homonyms — words that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently, such as “allowed” and “aloud” or “cent” and “scent.” Once you have had your fill of educational information, click the “Go to the List” link. If you enjoy words, as I do, you will find this an interesting site; if you’re not into words, you might want to pass this one by, bye, buy.

Complete Work of Charles Darwin

The largest collection of Darwin’s writings ever assembled in one location. You can spend hours reviewing more than 50,000 pages of publications, manuscripts and audio MP3 files of his work, as well as descriptions, reviews, obituaries and more than 40,000 images. Yikes.

Say Cheesburger!

In the mid-1920s, a gentleman named Lionel Sternberger (what are the odds?), in a slice of creative culinary genius, added cheese to a hamburger patty, thus inventing the Sternpatty. No, that’s not right, he invented the cheeseburger. Here you can read the complete history of the cheeseburger (assuming the above doesn’t about cover it), obtain recipes and read thrilling cheeseburger stories. And view a photo of the world’s largest cheeseburger at