QI signed up for "MarketScore" on my old machine; what's the best way to remove the leftovers from that before I transfer my stuff to a new computer?
ATo judge from my mail, many readers have been drawn in by MarketScore's pitch -- a free speed-up for an Internet connection in return for letting this company track your Web activity for marketing purposes.
This is accomplished through what's called a proxy server, a gateway site that, in this case, audits your activity in addition to rerouting downloads from popular Web sites through a faster connection.
I'm not a fan of this kind of trade-off, especially since so many Internet providers offer free "Web accelerator" services that don't intrude on privacy. Either way, though, this kind of software should always be removed before you sell or give your old computer to somebody else.
Go ahead and use MarketScore's uninstaller, but also check for any other programs with privacy risks: Run a spyware detector such as AdAware (www.lavasoftusa.com) or SpyBot Search and Destroy (www.safer-networking.org).
The signals from my wireless router don't go more than about 35 feet. How can I improve that range?
The same way you might try to improve a radio's reception -- with a better antenna. Most WiFi access points use omnidirectional antennas; what you want is a more precise antenna that will focus the radio signal in the way that a flashlight's reflector concentrates its illumination.
The WiFi equivalent of that reflector is a "patch antenna," an add-on that can be plugged into some WiFi access points with removable antennas. Falls Church-based YDI Wireless (www.ydi.com), for instance, sells one such add-on at its online store for $50 (model a2.4p7.5-S).
-- John Gilroy
John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU's "The Computer Guys" at noon 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.