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Rob Pegoraro
Washington Post Personal Technology Columnist
Friday, September 4, 2009; 12:00 PM

The Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro will be online Friday, Sept. 4 at Noon ET to discuss Apple's Snow Leopard. He will also take your questions on recent reviews and provide gadget advice.

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Read this Sunday's Fast Forward column early: With Snow Leopard, Apple Changes Few of its Spots.

Rob's latest tech thoughts and tips are cultivated daily on his blog Faster Forward.

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Rob Pegoraro: Good afternoon on this wonderful Friday (please tell me you all are logging from outdoors...). My column today assesses Apple's new Snow Leopard releases and counsels waiting a little while--unless you're a developer of Mac software, in which case you should jump right in.

What can I tell you about that? How about the other reviews I've done lately?

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Tampa, Fla.: As an owner of a PPC Mac, I'm extremely disappointed that Apple will not offer a PPC version of OS 10.6. How hard would it have been for Apple to develop a PPC version of Snow Leopard?

I assume Apple just wants to force myself and the millions of other PPC Macs to buy new Macs. I won't, of course, until my Mac requires replacement.

Rob Pegoraro: When Apple announced the move to Intel chips back in the summer of 2005, I didn't expect it would abandon PowerPC code that rapidly (here's the analysis I wrote right after that announcement: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/18/AR2005061800140.html ). But Mac developers moved remarkably fast to Intel processors; at this point, the only major consumer Mac app that doesn't run "natively" on Intel is Intuit's Quicken, and we know how obsolete that is. Apple last shipped PowerPC Macs in August of 2006, and those were all pro-level hardware (Power Macs or Xserves, I forget which).

One result: Apple says that the installed base of Macs is now 80 percent Intel-based.

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Alexandria, Va.: Help, please! My toddler yanked the power cord out of my 2-year-old HP laptop yesterday, which did not have a battery in it (because HP recalled it due to problems with it overheating). The laptop now begins to start-up, then shows a message saying it needs to shut down to protect itself and proceeds to shut down. I took it to GeekSquad, who observed this start-up/shut-down process and declared my laptop dead (and charged me $100). Is it really dead? Just $1400 out the window? I am in a state of shock. GeekSquad said they could recover the files for $160. I don't know what to do. I can't believe it's really gone.

Rob Pegoraro: Try holding down F8 as it boots up to start it in Safe Mode (where it loads the simplest possible configuration of Windows). I would expect that the Geek Squad rep would have done that... but you never know.

Also, even if the drive suffered a fatal crash from the interruption--it can happen, which is why "punishing" a crashing computer by pulling the plug is a really bad idea--you should still be able to reformat the drive and reinstall your software. And even if the power circuitry is nuked, that can also be replaced in many cases.

So you should get a second option, I think. Got a computer-repair shop to recommend to Alexandria?

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Milwaukee, Wisc.: I am running a Kodak photo program on my computer that seems to be slowing everything down. Can I load that program onto my external drive and still run it? Also, it seems to reside in my lower taskbar and I believe it is running in the background. Is there anyway on Windows that I can stop it from starting up when I turn my computer on? I am running Windows XP from a few years ago.

Rob Pegoraro: Kodak's EasyShare can be a bit of a resource hog--and no, you can't run it on an external drive. If you like it that little, why not just uninstall it? Google's Picasa and Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery are both decent, free, non-processor-intensive alternatives.

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iPhone and MMS: Hi, It's the end of summer any good knowledge on when the iPhone can send a MMS msg? Thanks

washingtonpost.com: Scroll down to the bottom of Rob's recent Faster Forward post and read the update.

Rob Pegoraro: AT&T announced the date only hours after I wrote a post about this--MMS is due via a software update Sept. 25. Wanna bet there's a complete network meltdown from everybody trying out this new feature?

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Washington, D.C.: I have an iMac with Leopard and everything seems to be working fine. So do I want/need Snow Leopard?

Rob Pegoraro: Right now, I'd say no. The $29 price for SL isn't an exploding offer; it will still be good when Apple's updated it to 10.6.1 or 10.6.2 and third-party developers have updated their software to work right in SL.

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Silver Spring, Md.: the whole POINT of snow leopard was to make things efficient and stable. Supporting PPC processors would have negated that.

So it would have been "hard" or impossible to make a PPC version of Snow Leopard.

Your PPC machine still works fine with Leopard. Enjoy it until it conks out terminally.

Rob Pegoraro: There is a price for backwards compatibility (see how Microsoft can't do much about some issues in Windows because it's afraid of breaking too many existing apps).

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Washington, D.C.: I'm in the market for a new cell phone, with my number 1 priority being reception. I had to go back to my old Motorola V276 because my newer phone(RAZR v3m) constantly dropped calls inside my Capitol Hill brick apartment, and never got more than 1 bar at any time. I'm on verizon. Reading reviews is very frustrating; sometimes they focus so much on the bells and whistles that they just don't talk about reception.

Rob Pegoraro: In fairness to reviewers, reception isn't an easy thing to judge, because we tend not to have a stash of old, activated phones on hand to do these comparisons against. I can tell if one phone seems to work dramatically worse than my recollection of a different model on the same network, but that's as far as it goes.

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DTV Time-out Comment: I know you are probably sick to death about Dtv. BUT, I have a question or comment, why oh why does it have a 4 hour time out "feature"?? It is still "ON", so the energy savings, which is the only reason I can figure it is there, but that has got to be negligible. Any way to short circuit that "feature"? Really messes up taping anything. Thanks!

Rob Pegoraro: Odds are you can turn this off on your set--go to its Options or Settings or Preferences screen, usually an item on its main system menu you can select with the remote, and click around until you see something labeled "power" or "energy." That's worked for me in the past.

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Tampa, Fla.: Hope you don't mind a second question from me. My sister just got a corporate Blackberry. She uses an Intel Mac at home. Have you tested the BlackBerry Desktop for Mac (in beta, I believe), or PocketMac for BlackBerry?

Rob Pegoraro: I tried Pocket Mac a while ago and found it somewhat Mac-like, but still generally inelegant. Haven't tried the upcoming BlackBerry Desktop for Mac. (You should note that I don't think RIM's Windows desktop software is any better.)

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Austin, Texas: Do you think that Apple will announce any changes to the iMac line and anticipated price reductions at next week's presentation or wait until next month?

Rob Pegoraro: I strongly doubt it. Apple's press event next week (sorry, Apple PR, can't make it) is entirely music-focused, given the "It's only rock and roll, but we like it" headline on the invitation. Also, remember that Apple has had a music/iPod-focused event every September for at least the last two years.

Meanwhile, why would any computer vendor want to ship a bunch of new desktops or laptops right *after* back-to-school season?

So bet on new iPods--and possibly no more hard-drive-based models, on account of how cheap flash memory is--and probably some iTunes Store news, but nothing related to the iMac.

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Bethesda, Md.: Why does it seem so hard for peripheral manufacturers to have drivers ready when new OS's come out? Upgraded to Snow Leopard last night, and my HP multi-function is now a single-function (printer only).

Rob Pegoraro: I wish I knew--as I noted in the review, I have the same issue with my HP printer/scanner. Want to guess what vendor I won't be considering whenever I'm shopping for a replacement?

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Virginia Beach, Va.: I am also waiting for my PPC to conk before I make the Intel switch. Now, I will wait until next year when the Snow has fallen and laid on the ground for a while.

After years of being an Apple user, I still think the QT Player, and Safari, aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

Do you think that Apple will at least push out the new version of QuickTime to PPC users.

Rob Pegoraro: Apple PR says QuickTime X is a Mac-only release, which makes some sense--why waste time developing video-editing tools for a competing platform? I could see some of its features arriving in the next Windows version of QuickTime, though.

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Tiger to Snow Leopard: Hi, Rob,

I have two Macs with Tiger OS. I'd like to upgrade both of them to at least Leopard. Is there a way to do this relatively cheaply?

Thanks very much.

Rob Pegoraro: Apple says that you need to buy the $169 "Box Set"--Snow Leopard plus iLife '09 and iWork '09. But that only includes a license to install it one computer. There is a "family pack" that you can put on five Macs, but that costs $229. Of course, if you've already updated iLife or iWork separately on those machines, you're not getting much of that value back.

But... Apple also admits that there's no technical barrier to installing the regular, $29 Snow Leopard DVD--or its $49, five-Mac family pack--on Macs running Tiger. It doesn't have any "product activation" or other DRM to stop you from doing that.

So it's ultimately a matter between you and your deity/karma/flying spaghetti monster.

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Columbus, Ohio: Help! I finally tried to migrate all things Outlook Express to newly-installed Thunderbird, including my address book(s). OE would NOT export my address book/subfolders to T-bird, but instead exported ALL addresses from the main book and all its subfolders to T-bird. The result: I now have a hash of a major address book in T-bird: with lots of duplicated addresses and no way, that I know of, to subdivide, except one address at a time. Is that my only choice if I want to retire OE and send/receive exclusively via T-bird? I really wanted to do the latter. Now, I'm thinking my only practical choice is Windows Live Mail. Trouble is, once I commit to that, (as far as I know) there's no going back to OE if I don't like WLM or if it does not work for me. I run an organization of @300 members from my computer. I cannot afford any irreversible errors or experiments. I repeat: Help!!

(Running XP-SP3, fully patched.)

Rob Pegoraro: Thunderbird should be able to import your Outlook Express messages and address book without you first exporting them from OE--it'll offer to do that when you first run it. Why not delete your existing Tbird address book and import it separately (the command is under Tbird's File menu, I think).

As for going from OE to Windows Live Mail--yes! Do it! OE is a fossil of a program that has no future, and the longer you stick with it the harder your eventual migration will be.

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Re: Peripheral problems with Snow Leopard: You can add Canon to the list. My MP980 only showed up as a scanner after the upgrade. Reinstalling the software got it to work, but it required that I install Rosetta.

Rob Pegoraro: Interesting... thanks for the tip. At least you got all the utility of your hardware back afterwards!

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Virginia Beach, Va: I meant Apple PPC, not, a PC.

Virginia Beach, Va.: I am also waiting for my PPC to conk before I make the Intel switch. Now, I will wait until next year when the Snow has fallen and laid on the ground for a while.

After years of being an Apple user, I still think the QT Player, and Safari, aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

Do you think that Apple will at least push out the new version of QuickTime to PPC users.

Rob Pegoraro: Apple PR says QuickTime X is a Mac-only release, ...

Rob Pegoraro: I actually read that as "PC" in the first place. Context is everything!

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Livermore, Calif.: As someone who develops software for PowerPC and Intel Macs, I can tell PowerPC users that there is a cost to supporting their platform. Everything has to be tested twice. It's not twice the effort, but wouldn't you rather Apple concentrated on moving forward?

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the needed perspective...

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OS Upgra, Del.: I have a laser printer (Samsung ML-1710) that used to work fine with both my desktop Dell pc and my macbook, but I got a new Dell pc that shipped with 64 bit Vista and now I can't get it to work with the printer (Samsung says they don't have a driver for 64 bit Vista).

So my questions are: 1) what if anything can I do to get my printer working with my PC? Should I just try random other printer drivers to see if they work? 2) Is there a way to test to see if my printer will work with Snow Leopard before I purchase and install the upgrade?

thanks!

Rob Pegoraro: Yet *another* story to justify my skeptical view of 64-bit Windows. (Not that Samsung looks any better. Look, printer vendors; the PC manufacturers have made up their minds to push x64 Vista and 7 as consumer products, so you might as well, y'know, support your customers.)

As for using that printer in SL, you may be out of luck there too. It doesn't show up in Apple's list of supported printers (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669), though slightly newer models do. It's possible that SL's generic PostScript driver will work with it, though.

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Toms River, NJ: Shame on Apple for not doing a more thorough testing on Snow Leopard. I have had to remove several 3rd party helper programs that appeared to be causing problems; slowness, high network usage, random program crashes. No system crashes yet.

The biggest problem I have is Aperture and PS Elements 6. Both crash on queue when I attempt to use any plugins for those programs. I have read some of the Apple discussions where some are saying that the Apple install program failed to restore some files. I checked my system and I have them.

My next step is reinstall Aperture and PS Elements 6 from scratch and see what happens. Since all of my photos (more than 10,000) are in referenced libraries there should not be an impact on the photos.

I opened this with saying, "shame on Apple... ", I have to take some of the blame, so shame on me for becoming too complacent with Apple's long standing track record of smooth upgrades. You can rest assured, I have learned my lesson well; no more major upgrades until three to six months after their release.

Rob Pegoraro: Third-party plug-ins sometimes use undocumented software features--and in those cases, they almost always break when the underlying software changes. I don't know if that's the case with these two programs (which I didn't test in my review, given Aperture's $199 price and Elements' tiny market share), but I tend to think that at least Aperture would work just fine in SL, given that it's Apple's own pro photo-editing program.

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Erie, Pa.: Last night a red "x" showed up on the bottom right of my desktop. It wants me to install "antivirus pro 2010" which is a paid program. The message tells me I am at risk and pops up every 10 seconds, preventing me from doing anything unless I close the message, which I do but it just pops up again. I can't get rid of this thing. Any ideas?

Rob Pegoraro: That message is a lie. See Brian Krebs' blog post from earlier this week about what to do with "scareware" prompts: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/09/what_to_do_when_rogue_anti-vir.html?hpid=sec-tech

And please, upgrade your browser. You shouldn't see those prompts if you're using secure software.

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Safari problem: I have a 2004 eMac running Tiger, which I still use because it runs fine and I have some old programs (including a way obsolete version of Quicken, but it does what I need). I also have a much newer Macbook Pro, which I use for most of my web-surfing, music, photos, etc. Anyway, for the last 6 months or so, Safari has crashed almost every time I try to use it on the eMac. I hoped that updates would solve the problem, but they didn't. I've been using Firefox instead (which works fine), but Safari is still the default any time I open an e-mailed link. Eventually I'll need either to fix the Safari problem or (if possible) set Firefox as the default browser. Any advice?

Rob Pegoraro: If you've got the most recent version of Safari (4.0-something) and you've kept Adobe's Flash Player up to date (check at http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/), then you should just switch to Firefox. You'd make that switch in Firefox's Preferences window, under the Advanced heading.

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Bethesda, Md.: No question, really, more of a field report: I loaded up Snow Leopard on Friday. The only glitch I encountered was some difficulty syncing keychains across MobileMe and an old user account (orphaned when I upgraded from a G5 to a G6). After a couple tries, I seem to have been able to get the keychains reset and synced (at least, I'm not seeing anymore annoying "wrong password" error messages). Can't say I see a huge difference in load speeds, etc., though I haven't yet tried a lot of memory-intensive functions. All in all, I'd say it's worth the $30 even if most of the improvements are of the relatively low-visibility, under-the-hood variety.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the report. Glad things seem to be working out...

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Mac guy meets PC girl: I'm a lifelong Mac user and have a working unfamiliarity with PC virus protection. My girlfriend bought an EeePC netbook a couple of months ago and picked up a virus on Facebook (we think). I know she needs some kind of antivirus software, but as I've pretty much never had to deal with that, I have no idea what she should get. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Rob Pegoraro: Here's my most recent evaluation of free anti-virus apps: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/11/AR2009021103622.html

I'd say go with Avira... but keep an eye out for Microsoft's upcoming, free Security Essentials anti-virus/spyware software.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Re: DTV Hey, it's working great, by the way. I like having more channels and the great picture quality (I live inside the beltway).

As noted in your later columns, it wasn't so hard once we got the extra coupons in the pipeline and it's amazing how few people this affects in the end (less than 15 percent of homes rely on over the air signals)

Rob Pegoraro: The DTV hate mail has died down a bit--but I'm still annoyed about WUSA's weak over-the-air signal. They are so much worse than every other major network here; it takes a lot more tweaking to pull that in.

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Seattle, Wash.: Hi, My wife and I purchased a Buffalo external hard drive for use as a backup for her PC hard drive a couple of years ago. Currently, it doesn't appear to be working in that when you insert the USB port, it makes the sound that a USB connection was made but the hard drive never appears. I've tried it on my laptop and it also doesn't appear.

I'm assuming this means that the external drive is toast, but could it just be that the power isn't working properly? If so, is it worth trying to fix or should we just shell out another $100 or so for another external drive?

I don't think there was anything on the drive that we don't have copies of on the current PC so it's not that big of a loss.

Rob Pegoraro: When the same gadget fails on multiple computers, the odds are that the gadget's busted. You could try plugging it into a Mac and using the Disk Utility program there to reformat it (it can detect a drive that's plugged in but not usable as a regular drive).

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DCRichmond: Would love advice from you and chatters about the free news readers/aggregators... Google Reader, Bloglines.com, etc. What do you use, Rob?

Which ones are the most customizable and user-friendly? I'd like to find one where you can actually view the content as it appears in the original source (vs. everything in the same boring font) if something like that exists.

Thanks for any input and advice. Love the chats!

Rob Pegoraro: I've been using NewsGator's NetNewsWire Mac app for years, which means I recently switched from using NewsGator's Web site for away-from-home reading to Google Reader. That continues to work well; I like being able to scan new headlines by pulling NNW's Dock menu when I'm on my Mac, and I also like being able to keep up with things through any Web browser when I'm away from that computer.

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San Diego, Calif.: Here's a question about laptop battery life ... You'll recall that in 2006 there was a recall of laptop batteries because of a fire hazard. In my case, Apple sent a free replacement for my iBook G4 that I bought in Spring 2005.

I've noticed that this replacement battery runs down after about an hour. The original battery powered my machine for at least 4 hours. The replacement was fine initially, but it depletes it's charge much more quickly now.

Have you gotten similar reports about this?

Also, what is the proper way to actually use a laptop battery? I only use my laptop in a "battery-only mode" maybe once or twice a week. The rest of the time I use it with the machine plugged-in to an AC outlet.

Given the age of the battery, it doesn't seem normal that it would run-down in less than an hour.

I've priced a replacement battery at $129 and it looks like I just may need to replace the free replacement battery. If this turns out to be the way I need to go, it would be great if whoever makes these things could make 'em last longer!

Scott

Rob Pegoraro: I've gotten one e-mail reporting this problem... but I think it came from you. (Sorry about not answering it yet!) Your battery shouldn't be running down that soon; I'm sure it's out of whatever warranty applies, but that doesn't mean you couldn't take it to an Apple Store's Genius Bar and ask if there's anything they can do. The folks there will often do out-of-warranty fixes--I know because they took care of some disk-formatting issue on my mom's now seven-year-old iMac for free earlier this week.

If the Apple Store won't play ball, don't get a replacement battery from Apple; shop around to see what aftermarket vendors might charge.

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Quicken and Snow Leopard: Just checking to make sure I've got this right: Quicken 2007 should work with Snow Leopard but Quicken 2006 won't, right?

Am I the only Mac user who feels like I'm in an abusive relationship with Quicken? It treats me so badly, yet I can't just walk away from all that history...

Rob Pegoraro: No, Quicken 2006 works in SL.

And no, you're not the only one to feel that way.

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Houston, Texas: To Columbus, Ohio, on the subject of trashing OE:

I switched over to Windows Live! Mail earlier this week, after Hotmail support for OE was terminated.

The same thing happened in Live! Mail. I had multiple copies of some Address Book entries, and it seemed that every address from which an email had come in (regardless of whether I'd actually responded to the email) was represented in the book.

I'd say you can expect those problems no matter which platform you move to.

Rob Pegoraro: At worst, just delete the extra entries (which may also prove to be an opportunity to update some out-of-data info in your contacts list). I mean, there are much trickier problems to have.

BTW, no need for an exclamation point in Windows Live, unlike Yahoo (although I don't use the exclamation point with them either).

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Washington, D.C.: Add Norton Anti-virus for Mac to the list of software programs that don't work with Snow Leopard.

It will still scan and update, but the "auto-protect" feature is disabled. I asked Norton when they would issue and update and got the dreaded, "Soon."

Rob Pegoraro: That's been documented on Apple's list: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3258

But, really, considering how many Norton-related problems I hear about from Windows users, why would you expect anything different on the Mac side?

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Anonymous: Internet Explorer has quit working on my laptop. I get that message and it says it will look for a solution and notify me. never does.

Rob Pegoraro: Sounds like it's time to switch to Firefox.

Yes, I know that's my default response to questions like this. But it's also a million times easier to do that than to figure out these random IE malfunctions.

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Hallandale Beach, Fla.: I am about to purchase a Macbook Pro. The rep at the Apple Store told me that all in stock computers are loaded with Leopard,and that a Snow Leopard disk is included in the box. Based on your article today, I would assume that you would recommend that I wait to install Snow Leopard. Is my assumption correct? Also, in your opinion, am I more secure doing internet banking on a pc with a good anti-virus or using a Mac with no a/v software?

Rob Pegoraro: With a new computer, it's a little different--there's no backlog of already-installed software to worry about. And, of course, the upgrade doesn't cost you anything. So as long as your printer and the programs you're sure you'll install on the new Mac work, I'd go ahead with the upgrade now.

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Washington, D.C.: Rob,

I forwarded an e-mail to you last that I received from Amazon regarding the removal of "1984" from my Kindle.

They are offering to reload the novel or send me a $30 e-gift certificate or check. I am taking the gift certificate as I can buy the Kindle version for $9.99 and have the $20 to spend on something else.

Good move on Amazon's part, albeit a delayed one.

Rob Pegoraro: True. But the Kindle's DRM still bothers me.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Rob, do you know if Windows 7 will still have the "multiple updates from MS a day" that typifies Vista? Just when I thought it might be safe to automatically install only "important" updates, I noticed that one MS labels important is one that only tests if version of Office is legitimate. So I've kept as notified of but must agree to and it's a royal pain.

Rob Pegoraro: Well, Windows 7 is still Windows...

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Germantown, Md.: I love my G1 phone, but don't like T-Mobile as a carrier (limited coverage for voice and data, frequent dropped calls, and now this greenwashed fee for receiving a paper bill). From the sound of things, unlocking my phone and switching to AT&T isn't any better.

Problem is, Verizon and Sprint don't use SIM cards, so to switch, I'd have to chuck my phone and buy a new one.

Are there any reliable regional carriers that support SIM phone?

Rob Pegoraro: Not in the D.C. area. But even with AT&T's issues, you probably will see improved coverage from them--T-Mobile's 3G network is just awful compared to everybody else's.

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Sacramento, Calif.: Observation: Since installing Snow on 3 MacBooks - I've not seen the annoying spinning pinwheel (even once). Whatever they did... that alone was worth the upgrade.

Rob Pegoraro: Sorry, I still get the spinning beachball myself. I've had one Safari crash, too, although in SL it's supposed to survive any plug-in-induced crashes.

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Downtown DC: I've usually waited until I absolutely, positively had to do more than the automatic, free upgrades of an operating system. In fact, the only time I've gotten the new, highly-touted OS's has been when I've had to get an entirely new computer. But the $30 asking price is making me consider upgrading to Snow Leopard on my one-year-old iMac. On the other hand, I don't want to upgrade only to find my other software can't keep up. What's the sweet spot here? Should I wait for a .1 version, for instance, or wait three months, or what? And do I need to be concerned that the current low price is one of those introductory gimicks, or should that stay stable?

Rob Pegoraro: Wait for the 10.6.1 update. The $29 price isn't going away.

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Tina in Falls Church re: MAL HIFRM: Computer with Vista and Trend I'net Security. Trend has found "MAL HIFRM" as malware/virus. It warns me it has found it but can't clean or quarantine it. I have no performance problems. I called Trend. They say not to worry, it's not a threat but it is an annoyance. They also say it may be a case of their heuristic algorithm finding something the "looks like" malware of that name. Dumping temp files fixes it for a while. Besides the obvious....why does Trend embarrass itself by warning me of something that may not be real or/if real can't do diddly about...is this a legit threat? Many postings on message boards about the exact Trend issue. I have used umpty different scanners and all come up clean as a whistle. Does the collective brain trust have any clues about this mystery? Many thanks, hope to join you for the chat. Tina

Rob Pegoraro: Trend Micro's page on this (http://threatinfo.trendmicro.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/default5.asp?vname=MAL_HIFRM-2 ) says it's a "heuristic" detection--meaning the program is telling you that it thinks this file has the traits of a virus but can't identify it as a known suspect. That page says to delete the file yourself and not run it.

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David, Herndon: Generally speaking the only people who seem to ask about vendors and drivers are people who don't write software.

It is hard, drivers even more so. If the OS vendor doesn't supply good or timely docs, it is even harder.

Apple rolled out their update early and MS tends to ship everything, including documents and SDKs late.

Stop being Monday morning quarterbacks. Software developers like myself do the best they can.

Rob Pegoraro: Sure, but HP and Canon--to name two printer/scanner vendors cited here--are large companies with plenty of resources to throw at the problem. (How else can you explain HP's hideously bloated driver downloads? The "basic feature" download for my model is over 100 megs!)

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Scottsdale, Ariz.: Is anyone else having trouble with Mail in OS 10.6? The system seems to be dropping/changing my outgoing SMTP password.

Rob Pegoraro: It happened once to me; I turned SMTP authentication back on for my home account and haven't seen that issue since.

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Hallandale Beach, Fla.: Please forgive my persistence, but you may have missed my second question. In your opinion, for online banking would I be more secure using a PC with a good anti virus or a Mac with no A/V?

Rob Pegoraro: Sorry I missed that. The Mac should be more secure in that case--there aren't any Mac viruses in the wild, just some trojans that only work if you type in your admin password. (Not that things will always stay the same.)

But on either computer, you need to be smart about not running strange programs, not getting spooked by scareware messages on the Web and not getting fooled by phishing scams. If you're going to throw aside skepticism online, no operating system or security program will keep you safe.

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Rob Pegoraro: OK, folks, gotta run here--too many other chores calling me. Thanks for all the questions; enjoy the holiday weekend!

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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