Q. I use Microsoft Internet Explorer on AOL. How do I get rid of cookies?
A. When you surf the Internet, some sites reach out and place a small text file on your hard disk. This is called a "cookie." This is generally done to make your surfing experience easier--the cookie may remember a password for you or perhaps the area on the Web site you prefer to view. Some people, however, feel cookies are a potential invasion of privacy and don't like them being put on their computers.
When you first install Internet Explorer, it makes some basic assumptions as to cookies--that you will want to accept all cookies. But you can reject them with Internet Explorer, as well as other browsers, notably Netscape Communicator.
If you have Internet Explorer 4.0, select "edit" from the menu bar, then "options." Click the "advanced" tab and then scroll down to the security section to disable the acceptance of all cookies. If you have Internet Explorer 5.0, select "tools" at the menu bar, then "Internet options." Select the "security" tab, and scroll to the bottom.
My wife likes the special ergonomic keyboards and I like the standard type. Unfortunately, we have one computer. Can we use two keyboards on one machine?
Have no fear--USB is here. Universal serial bus (USB) is one of the latest innovations in connecting keyboards, modems and other devices to your computer. If you have Windows 98 and a computer with a USB connection, you have an easy solution.
Keep one keyboard connected to the standard keyboard port. This is a circular port on the back of the machine. Now take a look to see if there are USB connections there. On most machines manufactured in the past four years, you'll find them--two small, rectangular ports. You can buy a USB keyboard and plug it into the USB port.
Before it will work, however, you will need to go into your computer's CMOS setup menu--this is normally done by hitting a series of commands as your machine is booting--and enable the USB. From there it's a breeze: Both keyboards will work.
A company called MicroInnovation sells a USB keyboard for $34.95.
First it was kilobytes, then megabytes, now gigabytes. What follows after that?
We often think of a kilobyte as being 1,000 bytes, or characters, though it's really 1,024 bytes (2 to the 10th power). A typewritten page of text takes up about 2 kilobytes.
A megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes (2 to the 20th power). A floppy diskette can hold about 1 1/2 megabytes. Today's popular Zip disks hold 100 megabytes.
When the first desktop Pentium 133s came out, they typically had hard drives that could hold around one gigabyte of data--or 1,073,741,824 bytes (2 to the 30th power). Today's standard machines have around 4-gigabyte hard drives, although you can find power user systems and file servers with about 9 gigabytes of space.
If you want to impress your friends, you can talk about terabytes (2 to the 40th power), petabytes (2 to the 50th power), zettabytes (2 to the 70th power), or even yottabytes--not Yoda, "yotta"--which is 2 to the 80th power.
Your vocabulary will increase, but not your storage--most hard drives with these strange names are in our future. The biggest drive that market leader Seagate Technologies offers for sale these days is 50 gigabytes.
John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU-FM radio's "The Computer Guys" at 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Send your questions to him in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071-5302 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.