Stories by Steve Bass

Ten tools to make Windows shine

Are you worried about malware and spyware plaguing your system? I have a cool, free tool that gives you an extra layer of defense when you're Web surfing. I also have two free utilities that can lock up and hide your sensitive folders and keep them from prying eyes. Plus, for readers who didn't like my earlier tip for disabling the Insert key, I offer a nifty program to watch your Insert, Caps Lock, and Num Lock keys.

More quick fixes for common Windows annoyances

If you've got a multislot media card reader, chances are you face a mess of drive letters every time you double-click My Computer. I've finally outsmarted the Redmond kids in my battle with the dumb way Windows handles drive letters--and in this column I give you the fix. Plus, I share an easy way to restore the fickle Safely Remove Hardware icon to your system tray, and a trick to combat Insertus idioticus--by disabling the Insert key.

Steve's Big Webcam Adventure

Where was Marlin Perkins and his Wild Kingdom TV show when I needed him? Here I was with a scrub jay pecking at my head while I scrambled through my backyard flora, trying to attach a camera to a pole.

Secure Your PC From Thieves

He landed on both feet: I could see his footprints on the bathroom floor. The sheriff said the burglar was a pro, looking only for jewelry and cash. And my depreciating-as-we-speak PC? Fortunately, it wasn't touched.

Help Your PC Beat the Heat

Who needs a campfire when you can roast marshmallows over your PC? I'm only half joking. I recently checked the temperature inside my PC's case and was shocked to discover it was nearly 110 degrees. That kind of heat can kill some PC components.

High-Speed Survival Guide

The phone rang. "Mr. Bass?" The voice sounded official. "Your house is glowing on our satellite photos." No wonder. I had two digital subscriber lines (DSL), a cable-modem connection, and an Internet-beaming satellite dish installed in my home office.

Mailing Lists for the Masses

It's no secret--I suffer from a new psychological disorder called E-mail addictitus. Here's the first symptom: You check your in-box for mail and discover you have no new messages. You check again, just to be certain, and then you e-mail yourself to make sure that the mail program's working.

Product review: I declare war on telemarketers

"Hi, this is Stan. How are you today?" Oh, jeez, another intrusive telemarketer calling, shattering a brilliant thought. (Now where was I?)
"I'm terrific," I responded. "Can you hold a sec?" With a home phone and two business lines, I'm inundated with these calls. But this time, instead of following my usual modus operandi -- saying something obscene in Cobol and hanging up -- I turned to my PC and loaded Enigma. This slick program helps me thwart telemarketers and keeps them from calling back. Best of all, it's free.