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Q: My daughter-in-law is an author/editor and she (or LinkedIn) sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. I checked with a friend who knows a lot more about computers than I do, and he said it was a safe site and would be a good way to keep up with her activities.

So innocent little me signed up and, while doing so, recorded my email address and password. I must have checked the wrong box because the next thing I know I got an email from a friend in Eastern Washington asking about LinkedIn and why did I want her to join.

I emailed her back and explained that I had joined but didn’t expect her to. The next day I received an email from a friend in Sweden asking me the same question. I was astounded because that was certainly not my intention, and subsequently I received emails from most of the people in my email address book. How did they access those email addresses?

I was so angry and decided to cancel my membership. I signed in, was on LinkedIn’s home page and in a place where it asked what could it do for me, I said I wanted to cancel my membership. I was whisked off the page, and when I tried to log back in I was told that it didn’t recognize my email address. When I resubmitted, it told me it didn’t recognize my password.

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Can you help me get out or will membership in LinkedIn be included in my obituary?

— Nadine Anderson

A: In my experience, LinkedIn is a safe site. But unintentionally or not, it can be a little deceptive.

I made a change to my profile a few weeks ago and found that it was then broadcast to all my contacts. I hadn’t noticed the little check box that could have prevented that from happening.

And I have received endorsements for skills I have never claimed and, in fact, haven’t exercised as part of my job in several decades.

It turns out LinkedIn suggests that members endorse their contacts for skills without the contact asking for it. And LinkedIn guesses people’s skills by looking at the jobs they’ve held.

Since I write for newspapers, LinkedIn prompts my contacts to endorse me for, among other things, my copy-editing skills.

Fortunately, you can turn off the endorsement feature by editing your profile.

As for invitations to join, a LinkedIn spokeswoman said, “We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on our members’ behalf unless they have given permission to do so.”

When I asked if that permission was something buried in the membership agreement, she replied via email, “The member would have actually had to have clicked a button in order for an invite to be sent.” Still, it wasn’t clear if that was in each specific instance of inviting or if that button might have been the membership agreement.

As for closing an account, I haven’t experienced — nor have I heard of — problems closing accounts. Once you work out access to your account again with LinkedIn, log back in, right-click on your profile picture and select “Privacy and Settings.” Next, click the Account side tab next to the shield icon near the bottom left of the page. Finally, under the “Helpful Links” section, select “Close your account.”

Q: I have an HP laptop that had trouble connecting to my wireless network. After repeated calls to Comcast, one of its techs changed something in the modem (from a 10 to an 11) and told me that if that did not help I should go to its store and get a replacement modem. So far it has stayed connected.

However, I have had another problem. My HP printer no longer works. When I check the system I see that the printer is recognized but “offline.” It works fine with our desktop HP, which is running Windows 8.

— Pam Ripley

A: What the Comcast tech had you do was change your wireless channel. Wireless modems can operate on any of 11 different channels in the 2.4 gigahertz band.

The problem is, your neighbors’ modems may also be operating in the same band as yours. And if there’s too much traffic you may encounter degraded performance … or none at all. In that case, it’s a good idea to switch to a less-crowded channel.

As for the printer, it sounds like it is connected to the network via both Ethernet and wireless connections, and the desktop is connecting over Ethernet while your laptop is trying to connect over wireless. Try reconfiguring the printer’s wireless connection.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to or, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at


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