From the Kenosha News on 4-16-06

Tips from readers provide tested advice

I often get very useful tips from readers and colleagues. Most are fairly brief, so I’m compiling several into one column.

Tip #1: If you’re getting more spam than you want and think it might be because you sign up for contests, free offers, etc., you can use disposable addresses for these without making your primary address as susceptible to spam. This web site tells you how:

Tip #2: In my January 8, 2006 article, I explained how to create foreign language characters. A colleague pointed out that when using the International keyboard, the RIGHT Alt key (to the right of the space bar) produces special characters that the left Alt key does not. For example, pressing right-alt then comma produces ç, whereas left-alt and comma produces nothing.

Tip #3: The REAL web site for the free annual credit report to which you are entitled is They provide access to credit reports but not credit scores from the three major credit bureaus. The highly advertised is indeed NOT free, as you need to sign up for a subscription to get your credit report from them.

Tip #4: If you have an empty ink cartridge from HP, Dell, or Lexmark, you can take it to Office Max and exchange it for a free ream of paper. A limited number of returns are allowed per person per month.

Tip #5: If you buy a computer with mail-in rebates, be prepared for a bit of work. One reader kindly chronicled his rebate experience and gave permission to share it with readers. He says: “This COMPAQ AMD Sempron package was purchased from Circuit City (in 2005.) It was for a package listed at $689.99 less $300.00 worth of rebates which consisted of $150.00 mail-in rebate from Circuit City, a $100.00 mail-in rebate from Compaq, and a $50.00 mail-in rebate from HP. Circuit City furnished me with a sales receipt and three forms to be filled out and mailed in. The salesman suggested reading the instructions carefully. Each form was about 4" wide x 18" long. Each one differed slightly: one needed serial numbers and the original UPC bar from the container, another asked for same for other units, and another one wanted copies of serial numbers and UPC bars. Each one needed a copy of the sales receipt. To save repeat trips for copies, I made a list of my needs before going to Insty Prints. Also, I made copies of all forms which I had sent. Each claim had to be mailed to a different address or you could claim it online. I chose to mail-in, because claiming online was more difficult for me; besides it takes about 10 weeks to process. Now that I put it on paper, it doesn't seem so bad, but when you have to dig out the boxes that you threw away, cut out the labels, make copies, and read all instructions, it is frustrating. I was ready to give up, but my frugal wife and son-in-law would not allow me. As an added precaution, my daughter checked everything.” He reported later that he did indeed receive all the rebates.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 4-16-06