I can get new messages sent to the e-mail account that came with my Web-hosting service, but I can't send any.
This reader's Internet provider, EarthLink, lets users download e-mail from any server they like but allows them to upload messages only through its own "SMTP server" (the name stands for "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol," but think of it as "send mail to people").
Most Internet providers enforce the same policy; it's a common anti-spam strategy. How so? If a spammer uploads junk mail through an outside SMTP server, the provider will get blamed for the abuse even though it didn't actually help send the messages. By limiting its customers to its own server, the provider can watch for any spamming activity and, hopefully, stop it in its tracks.
The workaround for this user's scenario is simple: Set your mail program to send messages for all your addresses through your provider's SMTP server.
How do the two sizes of FireWire port differ?
FireWire ports (called "1394" and "i.Link" connectors by some vendors) come in two varieties, six- and four-pin. The first kind can provide electricity to devices, allowing you to recharge an iPod or run an external disk drive without plugging either into an outlet.
Smaller, four-pin FireWire ports only send data. For many other uses -- for instance, transferring video from a digital camcorder -- this variety is all that's necessary.
All Apple computers and some Sony models include a six-pin plug, but most other manufacturers include just the four-pin type (if they offer FireWire at all). Adapters to link the two kinds of plugs sell for about $5.
-- Rob Pegoraro
Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.