Smart Fixes for Your Printing, E-Mail, and Audio Hassles

Nothing is more expensive than replacing inkjet cartridges. In this month's column, I'll talk about the tips and tools I use to save ink--and paper. I'll also give you the lowdown on removing leftover Registry-clogging Class IDs, show you how to correct another irritating Outlook flaw, and offer two easy ways to control your computer's volume.

Zap Ink-Slurping Web Pages

The Hassle: I use up too many inkjet cartridges (and the prices are killing me), especially when I have to print full Web pages with big images and ads just to get one line of useful text.

Clean Out CLSIDs

The Hassle: My Registry cleaner is listing a stack of CLSIDs. What are they, and is it okay to delete them?

Revo Uninstaller does a great job of removing junk that program installers leave behind, which could save you from having to mess with your Windows Registry.
The Fix: Class IDs (known as CLSIDs) hold information about specific program parts, namely COM objects and ActiveX components. If your Registry cleaner specifically refers to them as broken or invalid CLSIDs, it's safe to send them to their doom; programs with sloppy uninstall routines leave these CLSIDs behind. (Use Revo Uninstaller to remove applications--it scours the Registry for uninstalled program remnants.)

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Heads Up: Trojans and Viruses Are Out to Get You

Have you received your virus-infected e-mail yet today? I don't know what's up, but in the last week I've received dozens of e-mails with a virus infected attachment or a link to a backdoor Trojan horse. There are three variations and all have one thing in mind--luring me into getting zapped with a nasty payload.

The first has a link to an authentic-looking CNN alert. Click the link (no, don't!--I was speaking metaphorically) and you'll land on a malware-hosting site that attempts to download a malicious executable onto your PC. Read "Fake CNN Alert Still Spreading Malware" for details.

I've also received a smattering of e-mails created by clueless cretins, dopes who haven't taken the time to run a spell checker on their even dopier messages. One tells me my FedEx package hasn't been delivered and asks me to click on the attached zipped Trojan horse to print the invoice. What caught my eye was the tracking number in the subject line, and I worry that some of you might not pay attention to the message and click the link.

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Who's Responsible for Outrageous Gas Prices?

Here in southern California, gas prices are dropping--down to a whopping $4.20 a gallon. [Wow, that's terrific! The cheapest I've seen it here in San Francisco is $4.35. --Editor]

Are the outrageous prices caused by oil speculators, the oil producing nations, or a hyper-conspiracy by--hold the phone--the government? I'm still not sure, but I do know that lots of people--pundits, the airlines, and average Joes--are all giving me compelling stories.

Speculator Greed

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Eliminate Hassles With Antivirus, Flash, Task Manager, and iTunes

Has the new edition of AVG, your beloved free antivirus tool, slowed your system to a crawl? Is the sound missing from your favorite time-wasting YouTube videos? I have fixes for those hassles, plus an easy way to restore the Windows Task Manager Toolbar and a free utility to transfer music from your iPod to your PC.

Speed Up AVG Free Antivirus

The Hassle: I upgraded to AVG Free 8.0, and now Firefox is slow and my whole system is unusually sluggish. What happened to my favorite antivirus program?

Tool of the Month: Easy Duplicate File Finder

If you're tired of duplicate-file clutter, try Easy Duplicate File Finder. Search on all files or just images or videos, and filter for size. You can delete duplicates, or safely move them to another folder. The tool guards against deleting system files and folders, so no need to worry. This freebie works in XP and Vista.

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Microsoft Is Giving Up on Windows

It's true: Microsoft has confirmed that it's abandoning Windows as we know it. Cagey as ever, the Microsofties won't say when it'll happen, but they have talked a little bit about what the next OS is going to look like--or not look like.

Microsoft code-named the project Midori. As best I can figure, it's cloud computing: Everything, including applications and data, is on the Internet.

What Exactly Is Midori?

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When Is Vista not Vista? When It's Mojave!

The Microsofties are appealing to you to try Windows Vista. You'll really, really like it, they insist. They've gone out of their way to prove to you that it's a swell operating system, too, by creating a series of see-we-told-you-so videos.

Microsoft's Experiment

The crew from Redmond dressed Windows Vista up in a flashy new box, called it Mojave, the next Microsoft OS, and foisted it upon--no, sorry, make that "introduced it to"--volunteers.

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Assurz Folds--Are Customers Stuck?

If you've ever done business with Assurz, you're out of luck. They're kaput. Assurz is the company that offered a guarantee if you had trouble with a product. Read "TigerDirect Offers Assurz's 90-Day "Satisfaction Guarantee" for the back story. Also read "Easy Product Returns--at an Extra Cost?"

According to Internet Retailer, the company didn't give participating companies--and definitely not consumers--much notice:

"In its May 30 e-mail notice to eImprovement [a participating Assurz retailer], Assurz, citing a contract stipulation that lets it discontinue service with a three-day notice, said it would terminate its service as of June 2 because 'your refund rate has been consistently greater than fees we have received for the services, leading to cumulative net losses from refund payouts by Assurz.'"

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