Sunday, April 9, 2006

Q What's this HighMat option that Windows Movie Maker uses to burn CDs?

AHighMat (short for "High-Performance Media Access Technology") is, or was, a format for multimedia CDs developed by Microsoft and Panasonic that seems to have gone nowhere in the market.

It wasn't a bad idea; this software ( ) would allow you to create interactive music, picture or video CDs that would look and play the same on both computers and CD or DVD players. On other players, you'd still be able to play or view the songs, photos and videos, but you'd lose the HighMat interface.

With backing from Microsoft and Panasonic, you'd think this format would have had more than enough traction in the market. And yet nothing has happened with it, in terms of other companies moving to adopt it or consumers embracing it in any meaningful way. It's just . . . dead.

Sometimes things work that way. Even the support of the largest firms around may not persuade people to adopt a new technology; an older, much more compatible option can win out.

So if you see an entry in the "Add or Remove Programs" control panel for a HighMat CD-writing extension, feel free to uninstall that software.

What printers can I plug into the USB port on my new AirPort WiFi base station?

Apple used to maintain a list of printers that would work with its AirPort wireless access points but then took that page off its site. You can find an updated version of the list at a third-party site ( ), but that page is not complete, either. (For example, a Canon Pixma IP1600 worked just fine over AirPort, but it's missing from this list.)

If in doubt, your best option may be to visit the discussion forums on Apple's site ( ) and ask there.

-- 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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