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How Do I Automate Boilerplate Text in My E-Mail?

You can transform anything that you type regularly--such as multiple signatures or your street address--into boilerplate text so that you can insert it anywhere without retyping. Here's how to set up boilerplate text in Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, or any Web-based e-mail system.

Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail support multiple "signatures" that you can insert into any message at will. To set up one of these automated text blocks in Outlook 2003 or 2007, assuming that you aren't using Word for e-mail, select Tools, Options, Mail Format, and then click the Signatures button. (If you are using Word, you can enlist that program's AutoCorrect tool to perform boilerplate work.) In Outlook Express or Windows Mail, simply select Tools, Options, Signatures.

To insert boilerplate text into a message while using any of these programs, all you have to do is select Insert, Signature and then choose the right signature.

If you do your Web surfing with the Firefox browser, you can use the free Signature add-on to add boilerplate to Gmail or any other Web-based e-mail program.

How Long Can a PC Go Unprotected, and Yet Uninfected?

In 2004, tests by the SANS Institute Internet Storm Center suggested that a Windows PC with no firewall, no security software, and no router would likely be infected within 20 minutes.

But security expert Ben Edelman calls the SANS 2004 data "too pessimistic." He says, "These days, infections tend to originate via Web exploits, rather than port-scanning worms. Plus, many glaring security gaps have been closed."

But how long can an unprotected user wander around online before visiting the wrong Web page? According to a McAfee SiteAdvisor study, "The average search engine user performs 43.1 searches per month and clicks on 2.3 results per search--yielding one dangerous site every 8 days, on average."

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