Keeping Word confidential

By J. D. Biersdorfer
New York Times / February 2, 2009
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Q. Microsoft Word keeps a list of documents I've been recently working on under the File menu. Is there a way to stop this or clear the list?

A. Microsoft Word is trying to be helpful, but some people may find the list of recently used documents a little too revealing. (On the current Mac OS X edition of Word, the documents are listed under the Open Recent submenu within the File menu.)

In any case, it is possible to erase the list and have Word keep quiet about what you've been working on. In many Windows versions of Word, go to the Tools menu to Options and click on the General tab. Remove the check in the box next to "Recently used file list" and click on the OK button. (If you find the recently used list handy but want to change the number of files displayed, keep the check mark in the box and type in the number of entries you'd like to see.)

To get to the settings in Word 2007, click the Microsoft Office button onscreen and select Word Options. (Microsoft has information at that shows how to find the options for other programs in the Office 2007 suite, as well.)

In Word 2008 for the Mac, go to the Word application menu at the top of the screen and select Preferences. Click on the General icon and remove the check in the box next to "Track recently opened documents" before clicking the OK button.

Q. Do you need a TV tuner card in the computer to get IPTV?

A. Internet Protocol Television, also known as IPTV, is a way of delivering digital television programming over a broadband connection. Equipment varies depending on the service provider, but you may need special software on the PC or Mac to tap into the signal and a set-top box to pipe the shows into a regular television.

But a TV tuner card in the computer is not required for IPTV. If IPTV service is not available, however, an external TV tuner on a USB drive can snag over-the-air signals to play and record shows on the computer. (One company, Pinnacle Systems, sells several models at

IPTV can be found in several places, like Verizon's high-speed fiber-optic FiOS service, which competes with cable providers for both broadband Internet and television customers. Cable companies also have their own IPTV offerings, although some may be geared more for corporate users. Time Warner's service brings live television to the computer with its own player software and a high-speed connection. has a guide to IPTV at Even without a dedicated IPTV service, it's possible to find TV streams from around the world. The World Wide Internet TV site has links to thousands of stations at

Tip of the week
Grabbing a Post-it note to quickly scribble down information from a Web page can lead to sticky-note buildup on the monitor. If you would like to jot those notes right in the browser while you work, there's a new Firefox plug-in called (short for Latitudinal Information Scrap Trapper that Indexes Things) that does just that. creates a sidebar panel in the Firefox window with a box to type or paste in notes and other bits of information. Developed by researchers at MIT, can be downloaded at Notes can also be synchronized with other copies of Firefox with the add-on, which is a lot easier than shuttling paper sticky notes between work and home.

J.D. Biersdorfer writes for The New York Times.

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