Single-handed surfing not too hard to grasp

Ask Jim

Plugged In

February 08, 2007|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,Chicago Tribune

I have a problem with your recent praise for the new Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 Web browser regarding handicap issues.

For years I have used "right-click -- open in new window" to effectively create tabs that appear at the bottom of the screen. In IE 7, I apparently have to use two hands -- CTRL-click -- to open a link in a new tab. Now we can't do one-handed browsing. Maybe I just haven't discovered how to do it?

The other downside to IE 7 is that the tabs take up another horizontal strip of real estate on the screen and leave less room for the content we want to view.

-- Brian Davies, Macomb, Ill.

Because of my own issues, I, too, have pretty much become a one-handed Web surfer, so I feel your pain. And I've got some fixes.

There are a couple of keyboard shortcuts that address the issues of using one hand to create new tabs and less space to view content. First, you can move the mouse cursor so it is hovering above a hot link and tap the Enter key to force the new Web browser to open that link in a new tab.

Also worth mention is that it is a modest stretch of a single adult-size hand to press down both the Control key and the N key. This creates a new tab out of the page you're using, letting you open the link with another click. You also can tap Control + W to open a new browser window.

To eliminate all those toolbars and task bars at the top and bottom of the screen, just press the F11 screen. Everything but the actual contents of the page at hand will vanish, improving what a single screen can hold. A second tap of F11 will bring you back to the regular display.

All of a sudden my computer will not recognize my digital movie camera when I hook it up. My computer is HP Media Center PC. I connect using the FireWire (IEEE 1394) port. There are two ports on the computer. I have tried both; neither works. I have purchased a new cable but still no luck. In the past when I would have the camera connected, Windows Movie Maker would immediately know the camera was there. Now when I connect to the computer, the computer screen keeps telling me that there is no camera connected. Any suggestions?

-- Norman Lefly,

Let's try a lazy workaround first, and then we'll talk about actually fixing things. I'm betting your computer would see the camera fine if you were to get a new cord that plugs cameras into the USB ports instead of the IEEE 1394 FireWire outlet that is failing you.

Most cameras and camcorders work with FireWire and USB. Using a different cable will force the computer to once again detect your camera and install the driver software needed to run it.

The other fix, the more responsible one, I suppose, is to force the computer to recognize the camera the way it is supposed to by using that IEEE 1394 FireWire connection. It does take a tad of doing.

First, you need to remove the camera from the computer and then reboot.

Windows is designed to detect a new device whenever it gets plugged in for the first time, so that the needed driver software can be installed. But Windows then creates a record of that device and will not detect it again. So you need to blot out that record and then repeat the installation process to get the camera back on FireWire.

Give the My Computer icon a right-click and pick Properties and look for the Hardware tab in the menu that appears. In the next display, pick Hardware and open the Device Manager button in the next screen.

In the Device Manager display, you will find a list of all hardware connected to the computer in the past, including that IEEE 1394 camera. So select the entry for the camera and give it a right-click. Select uninstall in the pop-up that you'll get there. The computer will take some time to remove its record of the camera, along with its drivers.

Now all you need to do is reboot and go back and install the camera just as you did the first time you plugged it in.

Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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