Cyberspace is tough enough terrain without the added confusion of stray hyphens, periods, underscores and other punctuational flora. But a number of readers have been tripped up by just such undergrowth while attempting some of the tricks we recommend here.
The problem is fitting some of these jawbreaker Internet addresses and commands into standard newspaper columns. So if something you read here doesn't immediately work for you, try dropping any suspicious hyphens, which may have been inserted by an errant automated typesetter. If a command ends in a period, chances are the period isn't part of the command; it just means the sentence is over.
Sometimes readers are confused as to what is part of an address. We put e-mail addresses, commands, gopher sites, newsgroup names and the like in boldface.
Make sure you didn't make a mistake typing; transposed letters, slashes confused for back slashes and other typos are invariably fatal. Make sure you substitute your name for the famous names we typically use to indicate that a user's name must be inserted.
If we say to leave the message subject blank and your system won't allow that, try a subject of BLANK. And if you get back something called an "activity report" from an automated mail server, that's fine. You'll get the document you requested shortly thereafter.