Feb 04, 2011

Rob Pegoraro answers your questions on recent gadget reviews, technology news and provides personal tech buying and fixing advice.

It's been a busy two weeks in tech, hasn't it? We've learned that suddenly unplugging your country from the Internet apparently doesn't work to quash dissent, Google showed off the tablet edition of Android, and News Corp.'s The Daily iPad app launched to unimpressed reviews. Oh, and Verizon is apparently going to sell some new iSomethingOrOther.

 

I know you are breathing a sigh of relief at not getting asked when the iphone will come to verizon ... so, can I ask whether you have a sense for if/when it will come to other carriers? I would love to have one T-mobile. Really, Apple, it's GSM, is it so hard??

Sigh... no, I don't have a real sense, except that I'm sure nothing will happen on this front until the next iPhone ships in June or July. Apple might  bring it to other carriers then. Or it might not.

You can always jailbreak and unlock and iPhone to use it on T-Mobile today, although you lose 3G speeds (T-Mob and ATT don't use the same 3G frequencies).

I got an iPod Touch for Christmas and have been having to charge it every day. I'm used to charging my Nano once a week. I figure I have Wi-fi on two or three hours a day and am playing games maybe an hour and a half a day. Does Wi-fi really drain the battery that much? I'm not sure if it's my usage or possibly a bad battery that is causing me to have to recharge so often. Thanks.

Take it to an Apple Store. Apple says its battery should allow seven hours of video playback, which is about the most battery-intensive thing you can do on the device.

So, my friends are trying to cut the cable but are not happy with the choice of DVRs for over the air reception. Is the only solution the ChannelMaster DVR or building your own media center computer? If so, what is the easiest software to use for TV recording and playback? Use the Linux Mythbuntu distro? Thanks for your help.

Sorry, the electronics industry has failed you there. If you want a subscription-free DVR that allows the same kind of easy on-demand and scheduled recording as a TiVo--i.e., no programming a recording by punching in a time and a channel--you're pretty much limited to using a computer. I've found that Elgato's eyeTV Mac tuner and software is the easiest option; frequent commentator wiredog has one and may share his thoughts on that later on.

FYI, Sunday's column is all about my own cord cutting experience.

Any word on price points or wifi only options for the XOOM. I heard 24 Feb for a release date

Not as yet--at CES, Motorola had zero specifics on those details, and I haven't seen it provide any news on them since.

I am in danger of not being able to read Kindle Books on Ipad?

Our reader is asking about what looks like a seriously greedy move by Apple--it's apparently going to require that any iPad/iPhone app that lets users access content bought at an external Web site or through a subscription also let users make the same purchase through the App Store.  (See my post on this from earlier this week.)

The problem this raises for other developers is that Apple takes 30 % of every App Store transaction--which is a lot for something like a Kindle e-book purchase or Hulu Plus subscription. In both of those cases, Apple isn't hosting a file or a stream or doing anything else but processing a credit-card transaction. Piggy, piggy, piggy.

Hi Rob, thanks for the chats. I missed wether or not Skype has started charging a monthly fee for using its app over AT&T's 3G network. Do you know if it has started and if so how much is it? Thanks!

No fee and no plans to charge one.

Last week my Sharp Aquos stopped tuning in channel 4.1. Channels 4.2 and 4.3 come in fine. I'm on Cox cable and they have a habit of randomly moving channels around (for a while channel 7.1 was on 13.1) but rescanning did no good. The Insignia in the kitchen, however, tunes channel 4.1 in fine. This weekend I'm going to take a hard look at what it will take to get an antenna working in a ground floor condo in Falls Church. wiredog.

And speaking of wiredog--saw your comment on this earlier. That's seriously odd behavior to have a local station's primary digital channel not come in while its secondary channels do. But in this case, you've got the vagaries of "QAM" basic digital-cable tuning to deal with. And once you've got the cable company moving channels around at random (it happens), anything can go wrong on its end.

Our local newspaper last week reported how an IPad which had been donated to the local Futures Unlimited (a job training program for adults with developmental disabilities) was a big hit with the disabled adults there, who easily figured out how to use the touch screen to access content they liked (f.ex. movies, football games, music, etc.). Based on this favorable coverage, we're considering purchasing an IPad for our adult autistic son's birthday this fall. What experiences have others had with introducing IPads to disabled users? I expect they might be easier for disabled individuals to use than traditional computers -- but is the content that disabled adults (& kids) might be interested all available in IPad versions yet?

My colleague Hayley Tsukayama wrote about this earlier. Haven't looked into it myself but I should (a  friend's son has autism, and I simply haven't asked him if they got an iPad for their kid).

I followed the suggestion from last chat and put MSE on my machine. Way better than Trend. Thanks a million. Trend has a toolkit on their web site for uninstallation...seems good old add/remove is not sufficient to get it's tentacles out of a computer. Tina in Falls Church

Glad that suggestion (for Microsoft's free Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus) worked out for you.

So I have an iPad, which I love (3G and WiFi). And I'm no really troubled by all the news about the 2nd gen iPad mostly because the whole camera thing really does nothing for me, which leads me to my question: Given that I do nearly all of my emailing now on the iPad, I'm beginning to think I don't really need a smartphone anymore, and am thinking about a basic plain-Jane flip-phone or something similar. What are the flaws in my plan? (On a semi-related note, short of using Dropbox, do you know of any ways to add document/file attachments to email on an iPad?)

If you're already paying for 3G service--yes, you can cut down your telecom costs by using a dumb, aka "feature" phone. But:

* You'll lose easy syncing of your address book to the phone, unless you've got a Mac and the new model is compatible with iSync.

* An iPad is a lot bigger to haul around (less of a problem if you have a large purse, but I can't tell your gender).

Sorry, managing documents is one of the worst features on the iPad. Maybe Apple will address this in an update to iOS.

Rob, What's the difference between an Android and a Droid? Talk about confusing.

It's all marketing. Droid is Verizon's brand name for some--not all!--of its Android phones. Droid Android phones, however, can come from different manufacturers and include different software configurations, making it a largely meaningless description.

There is one clear winner in all this: Lucasfilm, which licensed the name "Droid" to Verizon.

I was afraid of that... Well, that's why this weekend I'll be seeing if putting rabbit ears in an east facing window will improve reception enough to let me cut the cord. Still, odd that the Sharp TV won't tune it, and the Insignia will. Also going to try to root my AppleTV (2nd Gen), so I can put XMBC on it. Turns out you have to be able to plug it into both the computer and the TV simultaneously to root it.

One other thing you could do... check Sharp's site to see if there's a firmware update for the TV. No, really: HDTVs often get bug-fix improvements through software updates.

Hi Rob, When I first started shopping for my HDTV, I remembered that a few chats back you recommended a matte finish for the monitor. I was set to go with that, until I saw side-by-side comparisons among several models in the store - the non-matte finish seemed to have the superior picture each time. Of course, it also had the most problems with glare. Would it be reasonable to say that the non-matte finish might be a better choice if glare is not an issue in your TV room, or if you rarely watch TV during the day?

I believe that's what I wrote--it's also part of my usual "plasma or LCD" advice. In my own case, there was no question about what kind of screen finish to get: The living room has windows on two sides.

I have two colleagues, currently Verizon customers, who were looking forward to buying the Verizon iPhone until they learned from Verizon that they do not quality for the "discounted" price (one has 4 months remaining on her contract, the other nine months). As a result, they're not happy with Verizon and might even look elsewhere (such as at the AT&T iPhone instead). I recall that when AT&T tried this with an earlier iPhone upgrade, they quickly changed their minds and brought the prices down for those currently under contract. Have you heard any similar complaints from Verizon customers?

Yes. One of your friends may not be out of luck, though--Verizon says it will give customers the new-subscriber price once they're 20 months into a contract.

I suspect the other one will just have to wait. It's not as if Verizon is hurting for buyers.

i also have a sharp aquos and had issues last week with some local digital channels 4.1, 7.1. similiar issues with my samsung (but only 4.1 in that case), am also with cox in fairfax. my htpc was able to tune in fine, i guessed it was sensitivity issues with the signal.

So there's definitely something wonky with Cox's QAM signals in Fairfax.

Hi, Rob -- I use the DVR to record basketball games (I can watch a college game in about 70 minutes), and when I record a three-hour window, it seems to take more of the DVR space (measured by %) than if I record, say, a movie of the same length. Is that because it's live, it's faster motion, it's less compression, or something else?

Probably because the game has more moving subjects. Video compression usually relies on devoting fewer bits to static areas of an image--you can see this in heavily compressed footage, when the background remains clear while the talking head in the foreground is blurrier.

Since it doesn't have USB or SD card slots, how do you get the new firmware on it? VIA the HDMI cables? What's the chance of bricking the TV? The mind boggles.

I don't know in that case. There's no hidden USB port labeled "service only"? No Ethernet port?

In a nutshell, what was your experience with cutting the cord? My wife and I have considered it, but non-cable content still seems a little sparse.

Pretty positive overall--the worst side effect has been not being able to watch Nats games. OTOH, Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler call a great game on the radio. But, as I say upfront in the column, my wife and I weren't watching that much TV even when we paid for it.

Are there consumer-grade (meaning cheap) devices that would allow me to watch PAL dvds here? Quite a number of interesting British movies and tv series seem to be available on PAL dvds, but not NTSC.

Your bigger issue with overseas DVDs will be their incompatible region coding. And the easiest way to fix that avoids the PAL-or-NTSC output issue: Watch them on a computer using the free, open-source VLC Player, which ignores region coding.

You have said that your first choice of browser is Chrome, closely followed by Firefox. What do you see as the comparative deficiencies of Opera and Safari, particularly Safari for Mac users? Do you see a privacy/security problem with the Chrome browser meshing your surfing habits with Google search and Gmail? Also, what do you think of Scroogle, which purports to provide Google search results while insulating the user from cookies and IP logs?

Not quite--I recommended Chrome over Firefox for new/beginner users, because it takes care of updates not only for itself but also PDF and Flash. Chrome does put you deeper into Google's orbit, but you can also disable the search-suggestion and auto-complete features that rely on Google's services. You can also set Bing or Yahoo as your default search.

As for Safari, I continue to use that as my primary browser on a Mac. The way it integrates with OS X--for example, having form auto-fill tied into your contacts data stored in Address Book--is really convenient.

I just got a new Droid Incredible (about 2 months ago) and want to get some good earphones. THere seem to be many types out there from $10 to over $100. How do you know you are getting a good pair? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on which ones to choose?

No idea at all. Any advice on earphones for an Android phone?

Any chance the just announced Android operating system for the tablet will be coming to my Droid Incredible soon?

None--unless you root your Incredible and install a third-party build of Honeycomb that's been reworked for a phone. This is a tablet-only release.

I received an e-mail yesterday from AT&T about receiving an AT&T 3G Microcell if I wish for my iPhone? The e-mail discussed enhanced coverage indoors, easy plug-and-play set up, etc. The small print talked about it not intended for sale or use in homes or areas with strong wireless signal strength. Under what circumstances would such a device be useful?

If you have a weak wireless signal at home.

You think there's any chance that one of Google's un-monkeyed-with Googlephones will make it to a carrier other than T Mobile? Or do the other carriers just adding their own improvements too much?

The odds aren't good. Remember, Sprint and Verizon said they would sell the Nexus One but then bailed out.

My current laptop has had numerous problems, most recent being that the built-in wifi randomly turns on and off. So I was going to start shopping around for a new laptop when I considered that maybe there are other, better, options for me. I'm looking for something fairly portable that doesn't have to be plugged in after an hour of use. Typical usage is email, online shopping, web surfing, downloading videos and pics. Also, I need to be able to plug in a digital camera with a USB 2.0 plug, and eventually to print wirelessly from the device. So, should I get another laptop, or would an Ipad or Android tablet be a more logical option for me?

Your scenario could fit with one of the upcoming Android or iPad tablets--more likely Android, since even current Android tablets have USB ports and SD Card slots, while you'd have to buy Apple's camera connector. Apple's AirPrint solution is also severely limited, while Google's CloudPrint should work with any printer connected to a computer running Chrome.

 

Barnes and Noble has pulled almost all its inventory of Nook Color readers off their shelves in preparation for an "upgrade" lots of rumors swirling around as to why, what's your take?

I don't have one--I hadn't heard of this until seeing your question. Guess I should stop by the B&B near my house to see if they have any left in stock.

When it comes to deals, both phone prices and plans, is it better get a smartphone from the carrier (i.e. at a Verizon Wireless store) or from an electronics store (such as Best Buy) or someplace else? Do any options limit the ability to transfer the old phone number?

There's no consistent answer--you need to shop around, and you should also see if you're eligible for any discounts on the price plan (for instance, because of your employer, age or school). But you can port over your old number no matter how you buy the phone--even if you're switching to a prepaid service.

Any luck on your end? I have yet to get an app to push to my phone I tried the forum suggestions, but no luck. I think it is a cool approach, but unfortunately it doesn't work for me. At least I am not alone..

No luck here--but I've only tried that once. (This is the new, Web version of the Android Market, which is supposed to let you click to have an app beamed down to your phone.)

Hi Rob. I have an iPhone 3GS and, since my contract is up, I am wondering if I should stick with AT&T or switch to Verizon. Although I haven't had a terrible experience with AT&T, Verizon sounds like the promised land. That said, I do occasionally like to use data and voice simultaneously, so I'd want the reception improvement to be large enough to outweigh that loss. Thanks!

Not an easy question to answer. Here are other things to consider:

* Do you want to be able to take calls overseas? If so, stick with AT&T.

* Do you use little data each month (check in the Settings app)? If so, AT&T's $15 plan will let you save a fair amount.

It wouldn't hurt to wait a little to see if VzW's network implodes when all the new Vz iPhone users start using their new toys. I don't expect that to happen... but AT&T's network didn't have a bad reputation until the iPhone came around, right?

I really don't use much of talk time and have used prepaid phones to date. But I am intrigued by the internet access of most smartphones. I see that Virgin mobile offers plans from $25 that has Unlimited data /internet and some talk time. Is this a good option? Does unlimited data and/or internet for $25 sound too good? I presume it's on Sprint and so it should work fine? Any experiences or suggestions to help? thanks.

Yes, Virgin Mobile is Sprint (Sprint bought the company a couple of years ago). That is a good deal, although they can afford to tout it as "unlimited" because most mobile users don't actually use that much data over the network.

I am looking at a LG phone that has android software (for prepaid) and a similar phone not using android for a good amount less. Are Android 2.2 phones that are more up to date much better in performance than similar smartphones not running on android? I am trying to see if the premium is worth it if the web and all other capabilities are similar between the two phones. Thanks.

Be very wary of phones advertised as "smart" but that don't have an identified operating system. You may wind up with something like the Samsung Craft that Slate's Farhad Manjoo just eviscerated as  "the worst cell phone on Earth."

recently ported two Verizon cell phone numbers, one to AT&T and the other to a prepaid T-Mobile account. Transition was seamless for the AT&T phone and took two business days for the T-Mobile phone - I only wish I hadn't waited so long.

Thanks for the report. When I ported my cell... four years ago?... the move was done in less than an hour, maybe a lot less.

I bought the digital media adapter two years ago and used it to show pictures on the television ad not much else. Great job. When I moved to a new house I had internet and Ethernet to the box, but have not set it up again. Is there any use left in these boxes? Or should I get something new? I really would like to get programming from the Internet and save it on my computer which has lots of hard disk space.

Had to look up that thing. It's apparently a Windows Media Extender--a now-defunct category of devices that offer access to music/photos/videos stored on a Windows PC on your home network, plus some Web services. But if you're mainly interested in Web streaming, something like a Roku would be an easier (and cheap) fix.

I'm not an audiophile, but there are a few things I've heard about earphones. The one big one is that sets in the sub-$100 range tend to be essentially the same in sound quality -- there's only like one or two companies that make the actual speakers, and all of the extras in cost tend to be more about the form factor. If you're looking for really good sound quality, then you're going to want to start looking at the >$100 range. Shure is a popular name I hear, and they have a $120-ish set that's supposed to be pretty good.

Thanks for the input.

I had a Sprint phone from '01 to '06 and then got rid of it in favor of Virgin Mobile prepaid. My bills were cut in half. I switched to an LG Rumor Touch last year (the dumbest smartphone on the planet, I believe) with their $25/mo plan. It doesn't have any fancy bells and whistles, but if all you want is decent voice quality and the ability to hit the web in a pinch, it's far more than I would have expected from a $25 monthly service.

Appreciate your review.

Please provide pros and cons re: Kindle as opposed to other e-Readers.

OK. The Kindle is good because:

* It's really simple to use

* It's cheap.

* The Kindle Store has an enormous inventory of titles.

* You can also read your purchases on any smartphone, tablet or computer running Amazon's Kindle software.

The Kindle is bad because:

* The Kindle doesn't support e-book loans from your local library.

* No color screen

* The basic design has been around for a while and is due for some kind of replacement.

* Your purchases usually come wrapped in proprietary DRM that prevents you from using them as you would a physical book (loans on your own terms, for instance).

Actually, the last point is a generic strike against all the mass-market e-book stores and readers.

I have a T-Mobile Motorola Cliq XT that is unlocked. When I got to Puerto Vallarta about ten days ago, I bought a local Telcel SIM card which worked on voice but no data service. I took the cellphone to the main Telcel office here and they were able to make it work on their Edge 2G network but not their 3G network. Two more visits, and they still can't make it work. I called Motorola and their response was that it was a network operator problem. Telcel "engineers" claim it is a "platform" problem (my Spanish isn't good enough to talk with them much about this, and their English is not too great). Internet research has yielded no answer. I thought that the standards that applied were good internationally, but there is a problem I can't seem to get defined. Can you tell me what the reason is that my quad band cellphone that covers the frequencies involved won't work? Better yet, can you tell me how to fix it?!

If this is an incompatible-frequencies issue--four bands may not, in fact, be enough--there's nothing you can do about that. But I don't know Telcel's 3G frequencies or the ones that the Cliq XT supports. 

I suggest you deal with this by spending some quality time on the beach, then go out for a nice dinner. El Arrayan is still there, right?

I have a birthday in march and am thinking if asking for a tablet. I tend to lean towards Apple. Is there some new advancement coming down the pike sometime this spring I should hold off for?

Apple may be hard to predict in some ways, but it's pretty regular about updating its mobile devices once a year. That means a new iPad--at least, a WiFi-only iPad--in April.

Hi Rob. I currently pay about $40 month-to-month to Sprint, for voice only. My Sanyo Katana phone was bought used and has been chewed by a dog. I don't use my cell phone nearly as much as most people, and I rarely text. Frugality has kept me from jumping on the smartphone bandwagon. I do see where they can be useful, as I use my home desktop PC many hours per day. Also, I feel like I'm woefully behind the times. I'm considering getting a prepaid smartphone. I'm looking at Virgin Mobile's $25/mo. plan, which includes 300 anytime voice minutes, and unlimited text and data. The purchase of a Samsung Intercept will run between $190 and $220, depending on whether I catch a good sale. There are cheaper phones, but I wanted to get a 3G Android phone (maybe I'll learn to write apps for it). My main concern is coverage. Any thoughts?

You'll get the same coverage that you have now--Virgin Mobile is Sprint.

Rob: My friends use IPhone cameras and do post processing interactively to output photo's with various "screens" that produce awesome special effects. Can I do t his on my EVO4 Sprint phone and where can I download these screens for a android platform?

There are picture-tweaking apps for Android too. I've seen a few people recomment picplz, for instance.

What's your guess -- assuming Apple releases the iPhone 5 for at least AT&T this summer, will it also release a version for Verizon, or let that wait until next February? I can imagine plausible strategic stories (& partner relationship stories) either way.

I expect that there will be a new iPhone on both AT&T and Verizon out no later than July. But can we go a few more weeks before people start obsessing over its possible features?

it runs on Windows 3-point-whatever and has a floppy disk slot (back then there were no CD drives; it's a Compaq). I want to pull everything off the hard drive and copy it to me new laptop and remove the hard drive before disposing of it properly. How do I do this (there's stuff on the hard drive like a novel I've been working on in dribs and drabs, etc.) Thanks for your help.

You could open its case, disconnect the hard drive and plug that into a new computer to wipe it. But since the entire computer is good only for scrap, it would be easier to take it to a shop that can physically destroy the drive. If you're around D.C., PC Recycler in Chantilly is one option for that kind of service.

Dear Rob, I am what is known as a premiee, I was born and schooled before the Digital Age, I am a great reader but at this time in my life I am nomadic. So I was thinking of buying one of the electronic readers, like Kindle or Ipad. however I have heard complaints about eye strain, Is there any data to clarify this issue? I really do need sound advice and you come highly recommended.

You shouldn't have any eyestrain issues with the e-ink display on the Kindle and most other e-readers--that puts a static image on the screen that doesn't need to be refreshed 30-60 times a second. But if starting at a computer screen all day [looks in mirror] doesn't bother you, then reading a tablet e-reader's LCD shouldn't either.

One of the best head phones ever made is the Grado SR60. Its my go to head phone. Now I have a tube powered head phone amp for it but it will work with my Iphone. I also have a Stax headphone that cost 3 times as much but the sound quality is close but cant compare to the Grado Sr60' Clifton

Hello again, Clifton. Nice to hear from you. (These headpones go for $79... cheaper than some of the other gadgets you've recommended here :)

I just bought a new computer and need to remove about 80 gb of files from the old computer. Which method do you recommend, online back up or external hard drive? Or should I just invest in a few high-capacity memory sticks, which tend to be pricier per GB than external hard drives?

External hard drive--flash memory costs a little too much at those sizes.

Other than the monthly fee being higher, and reception issues if you live where cell phone reception is also sketchy (out in the country), are there other issues to be aware of if you want to use a wireless USB modem?

Bandwidth caps: Some of these come with a 5 GB limit each month. You may also run into some buggy drivers--a MacBook Air has had issues waking up since I installed Clear's drivers.

Rob, I have my Windows 7 PC set to go to sleep after 15 minutes of non-use. When I backed up my data to an external drive, I noticed it was taking forever and guessed it might be due to the automatic sleep setting, which I then disabled. The rest of the backup seemed to go more smoothly. Can you tell me whether the sleep setting was likely to be the problem? Would it also prevent automatic updating of Windows and anti-virus software if the PC was on sleep mode (I use Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebyte)? Thanks.

Set the computer to stay awake a little longer--but incremental backups shouldn't take as long as the first session.

The great, formerly free, Firefox add on Readability has decided to charge $5/month for their service of reformatting web pages to remove distractions, the bulk of the money supposedly going to authors they identify by snooping on what I'm reading. http://blog.readability.com/2011/01/the-new-readability/ Most of the blog's commentators seem quite excited about the opportunity to pay. What's your take? Are there free alternative page reformatting add ons for Firefox for those of us who only use the add on once or twice per month?

Yo could tinker with extensions like Greasemonkey.

Hi. I have some friends who say that you can watch TV shows from the internet on your TV through some device. I am moving and thinking of cutting out cable, but it would be great to not have to watch my shows on my 13" laptop screen. What are these devices and how do I figure out which one is best for me. Also, since I like won't get cable, I am thinking of getting my internet through clear wireless - does that work well in DC? Thanks!

For watching shows off network sites and Hulu for free, you pretty much need a computer--but connect it to the HDTV with an HDMI cable and you don't have to stick with the small screen.

This may sound crazy, but you can also watch TV shows on a TV by tuning into TV broadcasts with an antenna.

Check Clear's coverage map--if you're in a "best" coverage area you should be in great shape.

Rob -- Thanks for all your insights. What's your current thinking on the "best" free AV for multiple (Windows) computers in a home network that doesn't place a heavy load on memory or performance? Some of the machines are running Win7 or Vista, but most use XP Pro SP3 and seem to have more and more performance issues with the load on RAM placed by newer applications, though their installed RAM is maxed out to capacity. I've been using avast! v5 for a couple of years, but the transition from v4 to v5 seems to have resulted in noticeably greater lag for the AV to allow apps to start up and initialize. Also, do you have any thoughts on why the nVidia class-action settlement approved in December was limited to just 3 manufacturers (Apple, HP and Dell) despite there being many others (Toshiba, Asus, etc.) whose models contained the same faulty/suspect GPU chips? Thanks again -- Jim in Tx

Try MSE. I know I sound like a broken record, but Microsoft's AV app does work well.

(When I first saw this question, I read "AV" as "audio video.")

Greetings, Master. I recently inherited a 2008 Macbook, with no documentation/disks whatsoever. Don't really know where to start to get the machine up to a "current" status, haven't used a mac since the mid 90s and don't even remember how to check the version of the OS. Apple's support site is vast. Can you provide me with any suggestions on where to begin? Thanks in advance.

Go to the Apple-icon menu at the top left corner and select "Software Update..."--but that should run on its own anyway. You should have OS X 10.5, Leopard, on board; upgrading to 10.6 Snow Leopard will only cost you $29, so I'd do that next.

I could spend another half an hour answering questions, but I also need to eat before the next item on my calendar. Thanks for all the queries... I should be back here in two weeks.

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Rob Pegoraro
Washington Post's Fast Forward columnist Rob Pegoraro, writes about computers, the Internet and consumerconsumer electronics. His latest tech thoughts and tips are cultivated daily on his blog Faster Forward.

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