Walt Mossberg

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Using Yahoo Mail With Firefox

Here are a few questions about computers I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about using Yahoo Mail with Firefox, the inner workings of Slingbox and moving messages in Outlook.

If you have a question, send it to me at mossberg@wsj.com, and I may select it to be answered here in Mossberg’s Mailbox.

I recently started using Firefox instead of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, but have run into a problem with Yahoo Mail. In IE, I get the formatting toolbar when composing an email, but in Firefox I don’t. How do I change this?

Some Web sites have chosen to design features using proprietary Microsoft technologies that aren’t recognized by the standards-setting bodies that strive to make the Web work the same way, no matter which computer or Web browser is being used. Firefox and other Web browsers don’t support these Microsoft technologies, partly because they have been misused by digital criminals to spread viruses and spyware.

This particular feature of Yahoo Mail falls into that category. Yahoo states that the formatting feature in its email composing screen requires Internet Explorer for Windows version 5.5 or above. So, if it is crucial to you, I suggest you revert to Internet Explorer to compose your email in Yahoo, or find an email service that uses industry-wide technologies available on all browsers and computers.

I am not saying that this formatting toolbar in Yahoo is dangerous in and of itself. And I am not saying you can’t use Yahoo Mail with Firefox, or other browsers. You can use it with Firefox, and with Safari on the Macintosh, if you don’t need the formatting toolbar.

Last week, you reviewed and recommended a product called Slingbox that allows you to view the TV signals coming into your home on a Windows PC anywhere in the world. Does the Slingbox record these TV shows for you?

No. The Slingbox, which costs $250 at Best Buy and CompUSA, doesn’t have a hard disk or any recording capability. It merely takes all the programming you would normally get if you were sitting in front of your home TV and pumps it out over the Internet to any Internet-connected Windows PC anywhere that is running the company’s software. All you have to do is log into your home Slingbox remotely using the unique ID number of the box and a password you establish when you install the box at home.

However, while the Slingbox doesn’t include its own video recorder, it does allow you remote access of a TiVo or other digital video recorder, if you have one connected to your TV at home. You can sit in a hotel halfway around the world and not only see shows live on your PC as you would at home, but you can also see shows you have recorded to your TiVo or DVR. In fact, you get the TiVo or DVR menus and program guides right on your remote PC screen and can control the TiVo or DVR just as if you were at home. For more information, see www.slingmedia.com.

In the Outlook Express email program, how can I move messages from one folder to another in such a way that I am always given the choice of which folder they should be moved to?

I can think of three ways to move email messages in Outlook Express that will present a list of destination folders from which you can choose. If you highlight the email message, or messages, you want to move, and then click on “Move to Folder…” in the Edit menu, you should see a choice of destination folders.

The same choice should be presented if you highlight the message(s) in question, press your right mouse button, and select “Move to Folder…” from the menu that appears. And the same list of folder choices should appear if you highlight the message(s) and click on the optional “Move to Folder…” toolbar icon, which is a picture of a yellow folder with a green arrow superimposed upon it.

* * *

Because of the volume of e-mail I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by e-mail, or consult on individual problems or purchasing decisions. I read all questions I receive and select three each week to answer in the column.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at mossberg@wsj.com


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