Q: I have a new PC with a 16X DVD player, but movies on it are darker and of poorer quality than on a regular DVD or VCR player. Any thoughts on why?
A: First thing we'd try is checking the settings on the monitor--for instance, turning up the brightness a bit, but not too much because that will cause premature monitor failure--followed by software settings. To get there, right-click the computer's desktop and then click the Settings tab in the Display Properties box.
The setting you probably want to play with is colors. See if your system can handle 24-bit true color. Use caution, since telling your monitor to try something beyond its capabilities can leave you with a blank screen and a few hours of work ahead of you.
Q: I just purchased a new computer. How can I transfer my long list of Internet favorites from my old computer to my new one without retyping them by hand?
A: Well, you neglected to tell the friendly geeks at Q&A; labs which version of Internet Explorer you use. So, let's spin the wheel of Internet Web browsing software and see what comes up. And we'll be answering this question for: IE 5.0.
Click the File menu and then hit the line that says Import and Export. The wizard opens up and if you click on the Next button, followed by the Export Favorites line, you'll be able to make a copy of your favorites onto your hard drive, floppy, Zip or whatever. Load that data into your new box, then use the Import Favorites function to put them on the new version of IE.
Q: I wonder if you could help me set up e-mail filters to block junk. I have Outlook Express in Windows 98. I can use the wizard to set up some simple filters such as "subject has $$$ then move to folder MONEY" or "from sender JOE then move to folder BUDDY." But I don't know how to set up the two following filters. The first is "if my e-mail address is in the BCC [blind carbon copy] then move to folder BCCFOLDER." The other is "if the sender is not in my address book, then move to folder UNKNOWN."
A: We're looking at Outlook Express 5.0 and don't see any way to set up a rule for BCC addresses, which sort of makes sense, since the software probably can't see an address in the BCC line. BCC is used to send e-mail to people without revealing the address, which is especially useful if you're sending a list of names to people.
There also doesn't seem to be a "not" function, which strikes us as a bit of a flaw. But, assuming your address book isn't huge, we think we have a way to get around it. If you set up rules for everybody in your address book, by default, the "not" rule will take effect on anybody who doesn't have a rule. Not very elegant, perhaps, but we think it will work. We welcome alternative proposals from readers.
Dave Wilson is The Times' personal technology columnist. Submit questions to Tech Q&A; at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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