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Readers to the rescue

Readers sound off about paper jams, unemployment benefits, motherboard providers, and two of the greatest freeware programs on the planet.

Regarding the problems Joe DeRouen had with Windows Media Player (“Sound off”): If he’s using his motherboard’s built-in sound system, the problem may be there. Even if he has gone to the Web site of his motherboard provider and downloaded all the available drivers, he may still have problems.

Windows likes standardized stuff. That’s why they provide compatible hardware/software lists. If it’s not on the list, chances are when they come out with an update such as in Media Player, it creates an incompatibility issue.

Joe’s problem may be solved by one of two things. If his CD-ROM has a firmware upgrade and he installs it correctly, that might work. On the other hand, he could get a new CD-ROM or DVD, or whatever will be compatible with his system. — Donald P. Hutchins, [email protected]

“Bargain bin” reminded me of two programs that are great and that, best of all, are free. AVG Antivirus is an antivirus program that I’ve used for more than four months. I think it is even better than Norton antivirus which I also have installed. AVG even caught one or two that Norton missed.

The second one is Spyware Blaster. This program blocks 99 percent of all spyware. I usually scan my PC for spyware once a week using Ad-Aware, and it usually finds anywhere from 29 to 45 pieces. But after I installed Spyware Blaster, Ad-Aware only found four on my last scan. It also cuts down the number of junk cookies on your system, but doesn’t affect messageboard cookies at all. — Ed Nelson, [email protected]

This is just an enquiry about your otherwise direct and excellent Dictionary of Domain Suffixes.

Why do your definitions of .com, .org, and other TLDs state, “A top-level domain name for [organizational] Internet sites in the United States”? In fact, most of these TLDs are used for sites worldwide.

We have been a UK-based .org for years and never so much as done business with the United States, let alone stepped on your soil. — Dick Arnall, [email protected]

Thanks for your insightful article on unemployment for IT professionals. I wanted to point out one error in your article, however.

You say that starting your own business prevents you from collecting unemployment no matter how much or how little the business generates. That’s not true. I did it last year successfully. I simply documented for the unemployment department (Washington state) that my business: 1) helped me keep my skills up in the industry; 2) in no way interfered with my looking for full-time employment; 3) would be abandoned as soon as I got full-time employment.

All I had to do was report my income from my business and it was deducted from my weekly allocation. All other weeks I received an unemployment check as usual. Starting a business helps offset the cost of health insurance and equipment you may need to be a contractor. — name and e-mail withheld by request

In his article “White-knuckle ride” Matt Lake writes that he spent $35 for a HP LaserJet 6L paper jam kit, watched a CD, and using tools to take the unit apart, replaced the bad part, then after a couple of white-knuckled hours later, got it working again.

I had the same problem with my 6L and a friend also had the same problem with his printer. I went to HP’s Web site, did a quick search, found a free repair kit called Separation Pad. I ordered two and received them in a few days. It is a cardboard frame that holds a soft pad. You insert the kit into the printer’s paper supply slot, and the cardboard frame guides the pad to the correct location. Once it’s inserted, you pull a blue plastic strip to reveal the adhesive, and press to install the pad to the correct location. It took about two minutes, including reading the instructions. That was over two years ago, and I have not had a paper jam since.

So please don’t buy any more kits for your remaining six printers. Just go to the HP Web site and get six free separation pads. — [email protected]

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