Q: In early February our Comcast service went out, affecting our TV, phone and computer connections for about five minutes. Since then I can't send emails from Windows Live Mail. However, I can still receive emails and have no other Internet connectivity problems. What do you suggest?
A: It sounds as if your computer isn't connected to Comcast's outgoing email server. This could have been caused by the service outage, some unrelated PC configuration issue or by changes Comcast has made in the way it handles email.
If the service outage disrupted your connection to Comcast's outgoing email server (called the SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server), you may have to call Comcast's help desk to get it reconnected.
But try a couple of other things first. Sometimes PC configuration issues, such as your computer having the wrong date and time settings, can interrupt Windows Live Mail. For a list of common configuration problems, see Microsoft's forums at tinyurl.com/a5anlyl.
Another possible source of disruption is security changes Comcast recently made that affect sending email. To comply with these changes, you'll need to change some PC settings to shift your outgoing email from the PC's "port 25" to its "port 465." (These "ports" are software, not physical objects.) See "To configure your Windows Live Mail client" on Comcast's website, at tinyurl.com/ano2a4z.
Q: When my laptop goes to sleep, it loses its connection to my home Wi-Fi network. If I unplug the Wi-Fi router's electrical cord, then plug it back in, the laptop reconnects again. Any idea how to fix this?
A: You can change the settings on your computer so it doesn't go to sleep. Go to "Start," click "Control Panel" and select "Power Options." On the following menu, see whether the "balanced" or "power saver" option is checked; next to the one that's checked, click "change plan settings." Next to "put the computer to sleep" is a drop-down menu; from the list select "Never," then click "save changes."
Q: When I typed in the Web address for the Kindle e-reader software that you wrote about, it didn't work. Why?
A: The TinyURL addresses I use in the column work only if they're typed on the Web address line of your browser. If you instead type them into a search engine, they won't work.
Why? The TinyURLs aren't real Web page addresses, so search engines can't find them.
Then how do they work? They take you to the TinyURL.com website, where the TinyURL address you typed is translated into the real Web page address.
Why do it this way? Real Web addresses are often too long to print.
Steve Alexander covers technology. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a full name, city and phone number.