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Mysteriously Moving Margins in Word

In Microsoft Word 2008 (and older versions), if you put your cursor in a paragraph and then move a tab or indent marker in the ruler, the change applies to just that paragraph. If your markers are closely spaced, you may have trouble grabbing the right one, and inadvertently work with tabs when you want to work with indents, or vice-versa. The solution is to hover your mouse over the marker until a yellow tooltip confirms which element you're about to drag.

I recently came to appreciate the importance of waiting for those tooltips: a document mysteriously reset its margins several times while I was under deadline pressure, causing a variety of problems. After several hours of puzzlement, I had my "doh!" moment: I had been dragging a margin marker when I thought I was dragging an indent marker.

When it comes to moving markers in the Word ruler, the moral of the story is always to hover, read, and only then drag.

 

 

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California Outlaws Spam

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Joining the U.S. states of Nevada and Washington, California has now passed two bills regarding spam, both of which go into effect on 01-Jan-99. The Bowen bill requires spammers to make spam easier to identify and filter by labeling it with "ADV:" in the subject line; adult-oriented spam must use "ADV:ADLT". The bill also requires spammers to set up toll-free telephone numbers or use accurate return email addresses to enable Internet users to remove themselves from spam lists. Violators are subject to a $500 fine for every message sent and a misdemeanor offense. The bill applies to spammers in California or those sending spam to users living in California.

<http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/asm/ab_1651- 1700/ab_1676_bill_980820_amended_ sen.html>

The Miller bill, aimed at protecting email providers, allows any organization that provides email and has equipment located in California to sue spammers for computer trespass and to recover losses caused by dealing with spam attacks. The bill allows for damages of $50 per message with a maximum of $15,000 per day, or actual damages, whichever amount is greater. The bill also makes it illegal "to knowingly and without permission use the Internet domain name of another individual, corporation, or entity in connection with the sending of one or more electronic mail messages and to thereby disrupt or cause the disruption of computer services."

<http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/asm/ab_1601- 1650/ab_1629_bill_980312_amended_ asm.html>

Neither bill is likely to eliminate spam, though the Miller bill offers some ammunition to organizations that are being exploited for spam delivery. The Bowen bill is more problematic because it in some ways legitimizes spam. It also worries some free speech advocates because of its labeling requirements. The hard part remains tracking down spammers to prosecute them; in addition to email headers, spammers also tend to forge physical addresses, phone numbers, credit card processing details, and ISP contact information. In my view, the fact that these people go to such lengths to hide indicates that even they don't believe they're engaging in legitimate business activities.

 

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