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Minimize wasted printer paper, ink

It seems that e-mail messages and Web pages are fated to run two or three lines longer than a printed page, ensuring a steady waste of paper and ink. Some Web browsers will try to prevent this, but most mail programs don't.

Instead, the print-preview command in your browser or mail program can tell you how much paper will emerge from the printer: In Windows, go to the File menu and select "Print Preview;" on a Mac, go to the File menu, select "Print..." and click the Preview button in the print dialog box. You can then see what will appear on each page of the printout, and if the last page will yield only a few lines of irrelevant text (such as those long disclaimers at the end of e-mails from lawyers), you can tell the computer to skip that page in the print dialog.

If you still run Microsoft's Outlook Express, it's time to dump it. This clunker of a mail program — included with versions of Windows prior to Vista — lacks the search and security features of every other modern mail program and hasn't seen a meaningful upgrade in years. Microsoft's free Windows Live Mail (get.live.com/wlmail/overview) will pick up all of your Outlook Express messages, settings and addresses automatically, screens out spam and phishing messages and can subscribe to the "RSS" feeds many sites offer. (Tip: Uncheck its installer's three "customize" options, which have nothing to do with e-mail.) But its slick interface may be a bit of a shock, and it only runs on XP and Vista. Another option, the free, open-source Mozilla Thunderbird (mozilla.com), runs on Win 98 and anything newer and offers a wider array of options to sort and search through your messages.

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If you've got a slow connection, a site designed for broadband users can feel intolerably slow. You can sit and stew while the graphics and animations at these sites make their way down to your computer — or you can try using a mobile-phone edition of the site, if it's available, to get the same info without all the associated flash. For example, instead of waiting for Major League Baseball's multimedia-saturated mlb.com home page to arrive, you can check scores, schedules and statistics much faster at m.mlb.com. To find a site's mobile edition, try searching for "mobile (name of site)"; often, however, you only need to replace the "www." at the start of its address with "m."