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03-16-12 Ask Mr. Modem! Weekly Column
by Mr. Modem

iPhone Camera Quick-Draw

Q. I know how to use my iPhone's camera, but it takes me about 15 seconds to unlock the iPhone, tap Camera, check to see whether it's the front or back lens being used and whether I'm taking video or still photos. By the time I check all that, I often miss the shot I wanted to take. Is it just me or is there a faster way to do this?

A. There is, indeed, a way to be a bit faster on the digital draw. First, unless you frequently take pictures of yourself or video conference, keep the camera set on the lens that faces away from you. Right off the bat, that's one less thing to check. If you primarily take still photos, leave that setting as your default as opposed to video. Then, when you see something you want to shoot, even though your phone is locked, press the Home button twice fast, then tap the camera icon that appears and you will be ready to shoot. This quick-draw technique is perfect for those occasions when you spot Bigfoot, a UFO, or a unicorn.

Q. I'm using Windows 7 and I read somewhere that I should create a System Repair Disk. What is it and how do I create one? Thanks for being there, Mr. M.

A. Windows 7 is very stable, but any operating system can crash for any of a number of reasons. The worst-case scenario involves a crash, after which you cannot boot back into Windows. In that situation, a recovery disk can save the day.

Click Start > Control Panel. In the default view, click System and Security > Backup and Restore. In the Classic view, click Backup and Restore. In the left pane, click Create a System Repair Disk, then select the CD/DVD drive you want to use, insert a blank disk, and click the Create Disk button.

It may take a few minutes for Windows to check the validity of your operating system (no bootlegged versions, please) and write the disk, so be patient. When it is done, you will be able to use it to boot to your system for troubleshooting purposes, or bring the repair disk to your reputable computer repair person who will use it to jump-start your computer.

Q. The pop-up captions that appear when I hover my mouse over buttons and toolbar items in Word 2007 get in the way. Can I turn them off or disable them?

A. Although they are intended to be helpful, Word 's ScreenTips can be annoying, especially if you are familiar with the program and don't need them. To turn them off, click the round Office button in the top corner of the screen and choose Word Options at the bottom. Click Popular in the left pane, and in the ScreenTips Style area, select Don't Show Screen Tips, followed by OK.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

Devastation in Japan
Aerial photos of various locations in Japan before and after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck March 11 of last year. Use the slider below the images to reveal the horrendous changes in the landscape.

Swizzle Stick Collection
Take a peek into one person’s somewhat eccentric but passionate hobby of collecting swizzle sticks. This vast collection includes more than 50,000 sticks with a collective value that probably exceeds three dollars.

Ugly Dresses
With Spring just around the corner, we’ll soon be entering the season for proms, weddings, and social occasions of all types. Visit this site before ordering that "special" dress that will haunt you for the rest of your life. is an archive of the most hideous bridesmaid, wedding and prom dresses in the history of fashion. Visitor contributions of fashion nightmares are cheerfully accepted.


For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus great computing and technology tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s award-winning WEEKLY newsletter. Subscribe using Promo Code MODEM and receive a free month (four weekly issues!) with your six-month s

Published: Mar 5,2012 18:48
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