Greetings from a couple of dinosaurs who read your column but don't own a PC. But we really want e-mail so that we can communicate with our children while we travel to places like Mexico.
Can you advise us how to acquire an e-mail address and tell us of any difficulty we might expect?
For several years now I have been a fan of the PocketMail service, which sounds absolutely perfect for a pair of chipper travelers who don't want to mess up vacation time fiddling with computers.
For about $100 you can buy a PocketMail device that looks like one of the clamshell electronic organizers but has a telescoping device on the back that you pull out and press against the earpiece and mouthpiece of a telephone.
You pay $10 per month for an e-mail account with the company and then compose e-mail on the small keyboard using the liquid crystal screen to view the text. When the note is ready, you dial a PocketMail 800 number and hold the gadget up to the phone.
The gadget generates a series of squeaks and howls that PocketMail translates as text and sends your e-mail.
Meanwhile, any e-mail waiting for you gets sent to the device by the same sounds.
You can find an online dealer at www.pocketmail.com.
Can you tell me if there is software that would allow me to type letters in English (the only language I know) and to have them translated into French? I have a cousin in France who knows only French. I am too old to try to learn a new language, and I desperately want to correspond with him.
Your translator awaits at http://babel.altavista.com. This added offering of the superb AltaVista Web search engine includes a sophisticated translation service along with the much better-known Internet keyword searches.
Babel.altavista.com lets you type in several hundred words and then uses artificial intelligence and a huge database of multilingual dictionaries to translate back and forth.
It does English to French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. It also renders English translations for those who type in text in any of those languages.
Would you please tell me what is the Windows keyboard shortcut to maximize a screen, to use in place of clicking onto the middle box [restore/maximize] on the top corner of a screen?
You've focused on what probably stands as the single most useful trick to avoid continually moving the mouse around the screen when you wind up with a large number of open Windows and want to minimize some or all of them to simplify the display on your monitor.
The trick is to hold down the Alt key and then press the space bar. You then tap the N key to minimize a window. Or, if the Window is already minimized, you hit Alt and space and then X to maximize the window.
Send e-mail to jcoates@ tribune.com.