Sunday, April 2, 2006

Q I can't get my Verizon Treo 650 to use the Bluetooth hands-free mode in my Toyota-- something I hear is possible with Sprint's version of this phone. How's that?

AAlthough Sprint PCS's Treo 650 has been Toyota-compatible since a Bluetooth update shipped last June, Palm still hasn't finished a Verizon version of this patch. Ryan Luckin, a Palm spokesman, said that the company "is close to delivering the software" to Verizon Wireless.

Palm needed that long -- even though every Treo 650 includes the same Bluetooth hardware -- because, Luckin said, this update had to be customized for Verizon and folded into a broader system update for the Treo.

After Palm ships that software, Verizon will still have to test the software before offering it to subscribers. That step often lasts longer at Verizon than at other carriers; noting that, Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney would not predict a release date.

This saga bears little resembles the original sales pitch for Bluetooth, in which a universe of gadgets would all link up wirelessly by common standards.

What are DLLs, and why do I keep seeing error messages about them?

"DLL" stands for "dynamic-link library," a small segment of code (usually bearing a hopelessly cryptic filename like "msvcr71.dll") that Windows programs can employ as needed.

But a program can lose track of a DLL that it needs, and a program's installer can overwrite another program's DLL. The resulting errors can make the whole DLL system one of the ugliest features in Windows.

--Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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