QHow can I stop my laptop from getting bumped off of my home WiFi network by other people's wireless signals?

AWe can all cut down on interference by putting some walls around our own networks.

The simplest step is to enable your WiFi access point's encryption -- in most cases, that's WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), but newer hardware supports a more effective system called WPA (WiFi Protected Access). Either way, your machines will use a stored password to join your network, and other people's computers will be automatically blocked. Check your access point's manual for instructions on how to use this.

What if you've done that and your neighbor's WiFi network keeps bumping you offline? In Windows XP, right-click the WiFi icon in the system tray (it looks like a pair of monitors) and select "View Available Wireless Networks." Click the "Advanced . . ." button, look under the "Preferred networks" heading and delete any network listed there that's not your own.

My old computer included a copy of Microsoft Publisher that I'd like to move over to the new machine I just bought. Can I do that?

If your old computer included CD-ROMs for all its bundled software, just pop it into the new computer and install Publisher. If it didn't, or if you can load this program only by running a system-restore CD, you might be out of luck.

That answer, however, addresses only the technical part of the question. There's also the legal part of it: Did that copy of Publisher come licensed for use on any other computers? This should be spelled out in the old computer's documentation, but if it's not (or if you no longer have those items), you'd have to ask the old PC's vendor for the details.

-- 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 at jgilroy@iteminc.com.