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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Click Tips
Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click Online's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems.

Louise York asked:

I am living in Brazil at the moment and currently using a local internet service provider. Shortly I'll be in Europe for around two months and then I am moving to Australia. I've had a bad experience with Hotmail and do not want to use it again, but what other suggestions do you have for me if I want a world-wide email address.

Just about the most useful thing about the internet is just how borderless it is. That means you can sign up with an Australian internet company before you even get there. Make sure you find one who offers full POP or IMAP e-mail, so that you can send and receive messages wherever you are in the world.

That means you can get an Australian e-mail address in Brazil or Europe and it will work exactly as if you were in Sydney or Hobart or Darwin. But you also can buy an e-mail address on its own, without having to subscribe to an ISP, and there are plenty of companies who will provide one.

Try searching for 'E-mail Providers' in your favourite search site. Or have a look at the Free Email Address Directory, which lists a good number of free and paid-for e-mail service providers. The best part about paying is all the add-ons you get, like spam filtering and virus checking. It can be well worth it, and not as expensive as you might think, around £10 a year.


Richard Lapington, from Finland, asked:

Passwords should never contain a real word. In your example you used the word Koala. Even with random letters added it is relatively easy to find hacking programs that will run through all password possibilities.

You're absolutely right, and it would probably have been better in our example to spell it with a zero and a 1 like this: K0a1a. But the point was to reach a balance between having a different password for every site, and being able to remember them all easily.

Software can certainly crack any password given enough time, but many sites lock you out if the wrong password is entered too many times, so there's some added protection there. And of course there's a big difference between the personal information that's held in your online banking website, and one which you log into to check film times at the cinema. Do you really need 128bit password protection for both?

Abhijeet Anand has suggested another way of constructing passwords:

Consider this, the type of which I generally use, a1b2c3d4e5f6g7. This password is not only very easy to remember but at the same time very hard to crack, because if I'm not wrong it is more than 126bit secure. Isn't it?

I think you may find that your password might actually be easier to crack than mine! Because it follows a regular sequence it makes it much easier to guess than one which has random letters in it. Of all of the problems about data loss which we get sent here on the programme, most would never have happened if people had selected a good password. Good passwords are: long, don't contain real words, and aren't written down.


Vishal Kambli, from Goa, India asked:

"What is the difference between Bluetooth and 802.11b technologies?

Now there is a brave person, not for asking, but for proving that they aren't a regular viewer of our show! They are quite similar technologies because they both use wireless connections.

Bluetooth was invented for short range communications, as a replacement for cables for items that don't really need to send and receive a lot of information. Things like wireless mice, or printers, digital cameras, and mobile phones. So, low data rate, short range. Wi-Fi transmits more data over a larger distance. It's Wi-Fi that you're using when you go to an internet café, and use wireless internet, or Wi-Fi hot spots, as they're known.


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