Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


Getting out of sticky situations

July 4, 2010

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2010, The Post-Standard

   Happy Birthday, America! This is a great day for picnics and fireworks, and not a great day for stuff you have to study and learn. So let's list 10 ways to rescue yourself from sticky situations.
   1. Your computer won't turn off. Don't laugh. It happens. But it's easy to get out of this mess. Just hold down the power button for more than seven seconds.
   2. Your CD or DVD won't come out of the drive. On a PC, find the little hole below the drive's drawer and poke it with a bent paper clip. On a Mac, reboot while holding down the Eject button on the keyboard.
   3. Your monitor won't turn on when you power up the computer. Monitors usually have their own power button. Make sure it's turned on. It will turn itself off when you power down the PC.
   4. The entire text of your word processor document (or your e-mail message) suddenly disappears. Immediately press Ctrl-Z on a Windows PC or Cmd-Z on a Mac. (Those are the "Undo" key combinations. You accidentally selected everything and then made it all disappear with your next keystroke. "Undo" brings it back.)
   5. A key starts to stick just when you have to finish that report. Find the letter represented by that key in any document and copy it to the clipboard (select it and press Ctrl-C on Windows or Cmd-C on a Mac). When you need that character, paste it with Ctrl-V on Windows or Cmd-V on a Mac.
   6. The battery in your laptop is running out of power and your computer gives you a warning that it's about to shut down. Turn off the laptop and let it sit for 20 minutes. The battery will recover enough to let you finish what you were doing.
   7. Your Mac laptop didn't come with a two-button trackpad and you think you can't do a right click. Hold two fingers on the trackpad and click. Or, on older Macs, hold down Ctrl while you click.
   8. You just spilled Coca-Cola on your laptop keyboard and need to keep writing your dissertation -- but you can't because it's totally sticky. Borrow a normal keyboard from any modern PC or Mac and plug it into a USB port on your laptop. (Yes, the keyboards are interchangeable.)
   9. You just installed a new program and now your PC or Mac won't boot up. Hold down the Shift key while rebooting, then uninstall the troublesome program (in Windows) or drag it to the Trash (on a Mac).
   10. You need to make a zillion labels for an office project and there's no one around to help you. Go to the Avery Web site's label section (use this shortened address: tinyurl.com/5rmy7d) and grab a free label template that works in Microsoft Word.