QTo share a modem and printer with computers using Windows 95 and Windows XP at home, should I go wireless or use the new power-line networking technology?
ANo matter which technology you select, the modem will be the choke point. All of today's home-networking options -- including wireless connections, power-line links and conventional, wired Ethernet -- can send data far faster than a modem.
Your cheapest option -- if both machines are in the same room -- is Ethernet networking. You may need to add a network card, at $20 or so, to the Win 95 machine. Then you can buy an Ethernet hub ($30), set up a basic peer-to-peer network and hang the printer off one of the machines.
If you just need to share a printer between two PCs in one room, parallel-port sharing devices may be even cheaper. If the computers are in separate rooms, your best choices are wireless and power-line networking. Wireless is in much wider use and there is a better choice of products and vendors, so my advice would be to buy a wireless access point and a couple of adapters, for a total of about $300.
Can I erase my Web history?
You can make a good stab at deleting a browser's record of your Web habits, but not if you're on an office network.
Internet Explorer's "Clear History" command, in the Internet Options control panel, deletes the more obvious records; to scrub things completely, Panicware's Don't Panic utility (Win 95 or newer/Win NT 4 or newer, $30 at www.panicware.com) will expunge your Web history and IE's auto-complete database.
That won't be much good in an office, where your Web history is recorded on a server as well as on your PC. Your system administrator can know precisely where you've been.
-- John Gilroy
John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU'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 or via e-mail to email@example.com.