Spam is almost impossible to stop, but you can do a few things that will at least reduce its volume, writes Patrick Marshall. He also discusses updating a Kindle through a USB computer connection.

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Q: Somewhere along the way my email address has been sold and now I have friends all over the world sending me spam — sometimes more than 100 at a sitting. I have tried to stop it and it just keeps rolling in.

Do you have any methods that one can use to stop this? Spam will come in then go to junk mail and then it has to be deleted. While deleting, more will roll in. It doesn’t interfere with personal emails but loads the inbox with junk.


— Bob Crandall

A: Ultimately, I believe the only way to stop spam is legislation that requires Internet service providers to charge the sender a nominal amount for each email. The amount would be small enough to not matter to individuals but it would matter to those sending out millions — or even just hundreds of thousands — of spam emails.

OK, I know we’d then see an increase in the number of hackers accessing others’ computers to send the spam. But if individuals see their bills for email going up, they will take steps to shut out the spammers.

As for right now, the best way to cut down on spam is to occasionally change your email address. Yes, I know that’s a pain, especially for those using the email for business.

So here are a few steps you can take to at least cut down on spam.

• Use a “junk” free email account when you register software, sign up for newsletters or conduct any other activity that might land you on a list sold to spammers. Occasionally, you may want to check this account to see if there’s any mail you actually want to pay attention to.

• Use an email provider that offers good spam filtering and make sure you have it turned on. This will keep masses of spam from ever reaching your inbox or your client’s junk mail folder.

• Use your client email program’s spam filter as a final defense. Yes, you still need to occasionally look at and delete the contents of that folder, but it saves you from constantly being pestered by incoming spam.

• Don’t hesitate to unsubscribe from emails from legitimate but unwanted advertisers.

Q: Do you know anything about updating Kindles to their latest version via USB computer hookup?

— Patty Bomba

A: The easiest way to update the Kindle is over a Wi-Fi connection. It’s easier in that it happens automatically.

If, however, you need to update without a Wi-Fi connection, you can connect the Kindle to an Internet-connected computer using a USB cable. On the computer, use your Web browser to go to

As you’ll see on that Web page, depending on the version of software on your Kindle, you may need to go through several updates to get to the current version of the operating system. Drag and drop the appropriate update from the Web page to your Kindle drive. Don’t drop it into one of the folders on the Kindle drive, since it needs to be in the root folder.

After the update has transferred, eject the Kindle from the computer and disconnect the USB cable. Next, select the Menu button on the Kindle Home page and choose Settings. Select the Menu button and then Update Your Kindle. Finally, select OK. Once the update is completed your Kindle will restart.

If that doesn’t work, you can try two other things. First, reset the device. To do so, from the Home screen select Menu and then Settings. Select Menu again and then Reset Device or Reset to Factory Defaults. Bear in mind that resetting the Kindle will remove your configuration and the content you have downloaded.

If you’re still unable to update the Kindle, try taking the Kindle to the Amazon brick-and-mortar store at University Village and see if it can do anything for you.