Find way to eliminate Gmail conflict

July 01, 2007|By TIM HENDERSON

Q. I have a new laptop running Vista Home. When using Google's Picasa program for photos, there is a choice to send them either by Outlook Express or Gmail.

The Outlook Express works fine, but the Gmail option gives the error, "Unable to connect." Every other connection is fine.

I really like Gmail because I can leave sent copies online and look at them any time from anywhere.

A. This seems to be an issue on and off for some users of Picasa, Google's photo organizing tool, available at The inability to connect usually happens with Gmail or Picasa Web Albums.

Some people get relief by updating Picasa to the latest version, and it looks like Google developers have been working on the issue. For the latest discussions, see and search "unable to connect" for this particular issue.

Q. For the past few weeks every time I try to get into Goggle at, a giveaway contest comes up and says I have five minutes to select a prize.


Is there anything I can do to override this contest and not get involved?

A. The site you want is It's always good to remember that any slight slip of the fingers will give you an entirely different Web site, and in the case of a popular spot like Google, there will be plenty of vultures waiting at any address that remotely resembles it. I myself have done something like this - and more than once - since mistakes remain in my list of recently viewed sites.

Q. I receive e-mail from friends with files to download. But when I click on the files I get a window from Microsoft Office asking for my name, company, occupation and product key.

This stops me from viewing the file. Sometimes I am able to open the files. Could you please give me some information on why this is happening?

A. Could be one of two things. If this is a newer computer, you might have a trial version of Microsoft Office and the file is one Microsoft Office usually handles - an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. If you really want to see those files, you need to either purchase Microsoft Office or get a free viewer for the files you're getting. For example, if you search for "PowerPoint viewer," you'll find a free download that lets you see PowerPoint presentations.

If you already have Office 2000 on an older computer, it may be this strange issue from the past. Some computers with Office 2000 will somehow accidentally trip the Installer when it uses certain kinds of e-mail on the Internet.

You can work around it by canceling all the dialogues, but if it's annoying enough to fix, the details are here:

Tim Henderson is database editor for the Miami Herald's computer-assisted reporting team. Send questions to

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