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Bandwidth speed tests help you get most from the Web

Are you getting the Web connection speed you're paying for? Two bandwidth speed test Web sites that I've found helpful are http://speakeasy.net/speedtest and http://speedtest.net. The download speed represents your service level with your Internet service provider. If your speed is significantly lower than what you expected and you're connected to your router with a cable, then contact your ISP. It can test your line to make sure it is what it is supposed to be. If you have a wireless connection, it could be that the default transmission channel is not optimal. Typical channels used for wireless are 1, 6 and 11. Sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than the others. You can change your router's wireless channel through its configuration page through your browser at the special address of http://192.168.1.1 and retest to see if your signal strength improves. Your ISP's technical support can also help you through these procedures if you are not comfortable. Your computer will automatically detect the new channel.

I want to buy some hardware that will turn my PC into a DVR. I easily run out of space on my cable set-top box DVR. What do I need to do?

This is actually not that difficult to do. DVR capability is built into Vista Home Premium with Windows Media Center. You will need to purchase a TV tuner: either a PCI card or a USB device. One such vendor is www.hauppauge.com. Once your hardware is installed and you connect your video cable feed, run Windows Media Center. When WMC opens, scroll down to Tasks and then over to Settings. Click Settings and then TV. Click "Set Up TV Signal." You will be guided through the remaining steps.

I am running Windows XP Professional and Outlook Express. All of my e-mails have three to four vertical blue lines to the left of the body of the e-mail. When I forward e-mail, I cannot remove the blue lines without deleting the message. Any idea how to solve this dilemma?

The easiest way to get rid of this and any other formatting is as follows: After you click Forward, from the menubar click Format, Plain Text. This should get rid of the indentation lines.

When we are in Florida, I enjoy reading your paper. I now follow items of interest online. However, I cannot find your column.

You can find the Solutions column online at www.tampabay.com/writers/john-torro.

Send questions to personaltech@sptimes.com or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Bandwidth speed tests help you get most from the Web 07/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:42pm]

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