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Navigation devices, PC vs. Mac, Blackberry vs. iPhone, eReaders, Starbucks WiFi fail and more on Personal Tech Live with Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro
Friday, August 20, 2010; 12:00 PM

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Rob Pegoraro: It's been over four weeks since I did one of these chats--have I missed anything?[checks e-mail, Web, RSS feed, etc.]Apparently, I did. Well, let's get into all that.

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Office 2010 vs 2007: Hi Rob, congratulations on your baby!I read your Office 2010 review where you said you didn't think it was worth upgrading from Office 2007. But what if you don't even have Office 2007? I'm thinking about getting either Office 2007 or 2010. Office 2007 is still available in certain channels (ebay) at a lower price, so would you recommend getting that or paying a higher price for Office 2010?

Rob Pegoraro: No, I'd go with Office 2010 unless the price is seriously lower--like, 50 percent lower. Outlook in particular got a decent, but not great, upgrade from 2007 to 2010, which is something to consider if you'll be using that for e-mail.

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WiFi login problems at Starbucks: Hi Rob and congratulations on your baby girl.I have an iPod Touch 3G and never had problems doing WiFi at Starbucks before because (God help us!) we have an ATT account. But now that it's free for all, I can't get through the long logon procedure without it locking up. Baristas don't know how, and the Apple Store folks can't seem to help either. Any ideas?

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the congratulations! (That's what I've been up to, if you missed my blog posts on the subject.) Hadn't heard about any issues with SBUX WiFi logons since they made WiFi free--does this happen only at "your" location? Anybody else had issues logging into Starbucks WiFi?(Note: I'm one of those coffee snobs who either brews a cup at home or goes to one of the non-Starbucks coffee shops nearby.)

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"Xfinity" Is the Answer to the Question: How Many Failed Attempts can Comcast make When Installing Service?: In response to your suggestion a while back, I bought an Elgato and a Mac Mini so I could watch free OTA tv. Great recommendation! However, I still need internet access, and so I called Comcast. What a mistake! They've now missed three appointments, and the four (!) different Comcast technicians who have come to my Bethesda house have all failed to install cable internet because they cannot communicate with Comcasts' own "bucket truck" drivers. In an age where Comcast has been allowed to become a near-monopoly, we really need to call our local reps and demand more competition to force Comcast to get its act together. Changing its name to Xfinity won't make anyone forget how terrible their customer service is! <End rant.>

Rob Pegoraro: Sounds like you should go with Verizon's DSL or Fios instead (or RCN's cable-modem service if available). Nothing gets a company's attention quite as well as taking your business elsewhere.

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Windows 7: Hi Rob,I'm thinking of switching from Windows XP Home to Windows 7 on my Dell laptop. I have several dozen Windows-based programs. Will they continue to work in Windows 7?Thanks very much!John

Rob Pegoraro: Moving from Windows XP to 7 is as bad as upgrades ever get in the Microsoft world--it's a destructive upgrade that will require you to reload every single program on the PC. But most of your programs should work fine, unless they were a) written by people who ignored Microsoft's development guidelines and b) have since failed to update them to work in 7. The only possible exceptions I can think of: some system utilities and anti-virus apps, all of which have to tinker with the innards of your system.

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Navigation device: Just found a 2008 Lexus SUV that has all of the options I want - except an in-dash navigational system. What are your thoughts about stand-alone navi systems? Are they worthwhile, or a big pain in terms of cables and finding a place to mount on dash or windshield. Any recommendations you have, i.e. Garmin, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Rob Pegoraro: The standalone GPS-navigation market is rapidly dying off--with an Android phone, a car charger and a dashboard mount, you get excellent turn-by-turn directions for free, provided you have service. (The same is possible on an iPhone with add-on software, though some of that costs extra.)

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IPAD: Wife signed up for live in baby sitter duty for a pair of busy Med residents. IPad sounded like a good idea both as a kindle like appliance but much more. She is not a mac person so wondering how to get her up to speed on itThen apps that might be useful, she like news on lineWhat would be your suggestions to getting her set up, using efficiently and novel ways to use itWe have been in an RV for 14 mos so have not stayed abrestJimMclean va

Rob Pegoraro: Experience with a Mac--or a Windows PC--won't help you with an iPad: Its interface doesn't owe anything to desktop software. I don't think she'll have any problems, although if the baby-sitting spot doesn't have WiFi she won't be able to do anything online with the iPad unless you get the 3G model and pay for one of AT&T's access plans.

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iPhone 4G in France: Hi Rob,I need to know what to turn off or mode to change when i leave the USA for France. Can I get email in a WiFi spot in that mode or do I need to do something first. I don't want to incur any charges but need the phone when I return so I'm taking it.thanks

Rob Pegoraro: Set the phone in airplane mode, then turn WiFi back on. Make sure you don't turn the phone part on until you're back in AT&T territory--you'll get hit with roaming fees even for calls that you let go straight to voicemail.

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Clear update: You gave a generally positive assessment of the Clear internet service a few weeks ago. Any new developments? Any outages? Lost signals? Are you usually getting the "up to" 6 mbps downloads promised? Also, they offer a lower-cost, lower-speed home modem delivering about 1.5 mbps for $10 a month less. Is that fast enough for most purposes, particularly streaming non-HD video? Or is the higher speed worth the extra 10 bucks?

Rob Pegoraro: The slower service should be fine for non-HD video, but I didn't try that. (My old, slow DSL was in that speed range and seemed fine for standard-def clips.)

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DSLR: Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, Rob!I'm also going to be a new dad soon and I need to get a decent camera. I think I want a DSLR because the shutter lag in pretty much every point-and-shoot would make it hard to get the pictures that I want. I'm on a budget, so I was thinking of getting a used camera from a few years ago. Do you think that is a decision I would regret? Are there any features on newer models that I would really miss?

Rob Pegoraro: As you might imagine, I've done a fair amount of portrait photography over the past three weeks. I think you're worrying too much about shutter lag--my three-year-old point-and-shoot and my wife's year-old point-and-shoot seem fine. (The lag we do keep running into: the time it takes to find the camera after we see our daughter making some cute expression on her face... fortunately, she does that pretty often.)

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Personal Tech Buying Advice: I know you are not in the business of suggesting Personal Tech items to buy, and you write for the median purchase, not the cheapest or the most expensive. Could you suggest (whenever you discuss a camera, phone, TV, etc) give a list of GOOD, BETTER, BEST in your opinion? We really do read & heed your opinion.

Rob Pegoraro: A lot of the time, I can't. Have you noticed how many cameras, phones and TVs there are in the market? I only ever get to try out a handful of them (and among them, I'm happy to offer my advice).

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Washington,DC: Hello -Looking for advice on a good gaming laptop that balances weight, battery life and graphics card performance. I know a "good gaming laptop" is an oxymoron but I've been on the road a lot for work lately and I'd love to be able to play the latest releases (Starcraft II, Mass Effect, etc.,) making the flight go by that much faster rather than have to wait a month later. I have the V-series from Sony, it's a three pound beast, good for everything else but it throws down the white flag of defeat for most games.

Rob Pegoraro: Sorry, you're asking the wrong guy--I haven't tried out gaming rigs in a long time. And given my personal lack of interest (and skill) at fast-paced action games, that's not likely to change. Sorry...

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from Windows XP Home to Windows 7 on my Dell laptop: Rob,The poster needs to take the W7 test from Microsoft. My old Dell laptop wouldn't do well because it could only hold 1.5Gb of RAM. It was 5 years old too. RAM is important for W7.

Rob Pegoraro: Very good advice. Download the free Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor before you do anything else.

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Next Ipad?: Has there been any insider chatter about what the next version of the Ipad might have and when it might come out? As I recall, the second generation of the IPhone arrived a few months after the first one. Could that happen with the Ipad?

Rob Pegoraro: I wouldn't be surprised to see an update to the iPad ship in time for the holiday shopping season, but it really depends on whether Apple will update this with iPod frequency or only on the iPhone's one-change-a-year schedule.

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Computer to TV?: What is the best (for me, that means "easiest and cheapest") way to connect a computer to a TV to watch streaming video (the TV is fairly new with HDMI inputs)? Also, what is the minimum download speed the user needs for smooth viewing?

Rob Pegoraro: If your laptop has an HDMI output, run an HDMI cable from there to one of the TV's inputs. (This post reviews a wireless option that didn't like all that much and points to earlier stories I've done on the subject.)

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Most Evil Software Company: It's been there for awhile, but Facebook has now cemented itself on my personal list as the #1 Most Evil Software Company in the World.Even though I have no account, they can now make my home a "public place" without me being able to do anything or even knowing about it. They have made it perfectly clear that they want to make everything about everybody public knowledge and sell it.Tell me how I'm wrong.

Rob Pegoraro: You're wrong in that Facebook doesn't want to sell your info. What they want is to have people spending as much time on their site as possible, which in turn will make its ad inventory that much more valuable to advertisers. Facebook is no different in that respect from every other site, this one included.

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smartphones: It seems like every time I buy a new piece of electronic equipment, I always pay more than initially expected. I find the best price, but after being nickle and dimed by the accessories including extra batteries, chargers, cases, memory cards, etc. I have spent at least $100 more than I had expected.I have been considering getting a new cell phone... The one item I don't know much about are the Apps. Are most of the phones ready to go, or will I be shelling out an extra $100 on the Apps? What are the must have apps?

Rob Pegoraro: One of the cardinal rules of consumer-electronics shopping is this: Don't buy accessories in the store. They carry a much higher profit margin than the gadgets themselves (ever compare what Best Buy and aftermarket Web retailers like monoprice.com charge for HDMI cables?).If you spend $100 on iPhone apps, you'd be unusual. It's easy to get an iPhone or an Android device and spend nothing on apps--there are so many good, free ones out there.

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Satellite internet?: At her concert last night Mary Chapin Carpenter lamented the lack of broadband at her rural Virginia home and had a few choice words about Verizon. On the off chance that she reads your column, what advice would you give her about the satellite providers?

Rob Pegoraro: I'd be honored if she'd read my stuff! If so, I'd warn her that going online by satellite is the hard way--it's more expensive and slower than DSL or cable and comes with fairly stringent usage restrictions. But that is an issue with living in rural areas... lousy broadband access is one of those stones in the road. (Wireless broadband has the best shot at fixing that, but it's unclear when that will happen.)

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Android 2.2: The Android 2.2 update was just pushed to my Motorola Droid. I read on-line that Android 2.2 enables tethering and hot-spot for Android phones...except for the original Droid!! If this statement is true, do you know why that isn't supported on the original Motorola Droid? Is it a hardware issue, or is it just a way to force an equipment upgrade?

Rob Pegoraro: Could be a hardware issue, could be a carrier issue. You can always install PDAnet and use that for Bluetooth and USB tethering.

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Nook update: --Wiredog

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the report! I envy your beach time...

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laptop connection to old tv: I have dell laptop with VGA standard connectivity on back, and a TV with RCA (yellow, red, white) plugs in front. Best Buy nor radio shack could connect the two with cables, adapters, etc. They say they stopped selling those items, as everything is HDMI now. Is there a way to do this so i can show slides from laptop to my tv? thanks!

Rob Pegoraro: Try that monoprice.com site I mentioned before. But you should realize that RCA inputs will yield the worst picture quality available--those slides don't involve any fine print, do they?

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proximity sensor: Any word from Apple of when they are going to fix the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4. When I went to the Apple store over a month ago they told me I could exchange my phone, or wait for a software update that they thought was going to fix the problem that they said should be coming soon. I haven't heard of any update so now I am wondering if I should have taken the new phone.

Rob Pegoraro: Steve Jobs said at that weird press conference in July that a fix for the proximity sensor was on the way, but I haven't heard anything since. I'm sure the fix is still being worked on, but--Apple being Apple--the company won't say a word about it until it's ready for download.

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Home as "public place"?: This is a quick question about an earlier one: How does Facebook make somebody's home a "public place" without the user's knowledge? I have a Facebook page that I rarely use, and I have my privacy settings turned way up, but this sounds like a new problem.

Rob Pegoraro: It's an issue with the way anybody on Facebook can add a location to the Places database--just as you can in Foursquare. (You can see this at work if you visit Facebook's touch.facebook.com smartphone site and look for nearby spots; note how many have names misspelled.) If some jerk added your house as a Place, it still woudn't be visible to strangers unless a lot of people checked into it--but still, there should be a way to tell Facebook "See the home address on my profile? I live here, and nobody should be able to add this address as a place." Making people ask Facebook to remove their house from the database after the fact isn't good enough. (This will probably show up in Sunday's Help File.)

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IOS4 for iPad: Rob, have you heard anything more than we've heard ("Fall") about the release of iOS4 for iPad? Thanks!

Rob Pegoraro: Nope.

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iPad: When the iPad first came out, I thought I read somewhere that it needed to be hooked up, or synced, (wirelessly?) to a computer, much the same way that an iPod has to be.So, my brother recently bought an iPad, and said he did not do that.Is he confused, or am I?

Rob Pegoraro: You need to connect an iPad to a computer, somewhere, to set it up and then to back up your data and install any software updates.

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4g or mifi in DC?: Rob, have you tried 4g in DC yet? I got a virgin mobile mifi and am very happy with the pay as you go plan, but speed isn't great. Downtown especially, people with 4g phones have told me that they are having trouble getting a signal inside the building, so I discounted the idea. The speed is tempting, though. Not sure if Sprint is officially offering 4g, but Clear is ... I was wondering if you've tested these recently to see if 4g only is reliable enough in this neighborhood.

Rob Pegoraro: The Clear modem worked great at my desk--delivered the advertised speeds. The Sprint Evo 4G did not offer the same performance, but that was true everywhere I tested it. (I don't have that phone anymore--Sprint PR wanted it back.)

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White IPhone: Any insight into when the white iphone will be available?

Rob Pegoraro: Never? Look, Apple has delayed it twice already. And, considering how much dirt white handheld gadgets pick up, I don't think you'd want a white iPhone anyway. In other words: Always bet on black!

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Rockville, MD: RE: Opting out of Facebook like page on Washington Post.Congratulations on the new baby but glad you're back.Ever since the Post changed its format, when I sign in a Facebook like page comes up and a bunch of stuff comes up. I can't find out how to opt out of the whole thing. I don't do Facebook and I don't want the Facebook stuff on the Post. How does one contact the Post's web site to get out of this layout? Why is there no opt out? For regular Facebook, I have it on spam filter and that seems to work.

Andrea Caumont: Producer here. This is simple to disable. The top right corner of the "Network News" box on the homepage or any article page has a big red "X" in the top right corner. Click it to disable the feature. There's more info here.

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Quandary between BB Torch and iPhone: I'm in a position where I MUST buy a new phone (my BB Curve is totally obsolete and just old), and I MUST stay with AT&T or i would consider an Android phone. I really don't want to drink the Apple Kool-Aid, but I'm worried that the limited memory issues and lack of apps (not a problem if there's not enough memory to upload them!) on the BB will continue to be a thorn in my side. My family and friends tell me I won't be happy with the touch keyboard, but I've used it easily. Evil Steve has made such a cool phone--is the BB far enough along to bring me happiness? If I got the iPhone, I would get the 32G and use it as an iPod as well. My friends who are Mac Nazis are so nasty and aggressive, it completely turns me off, along with nasty Apple business practices.

Rob Pegoraro: I just started trying out a BlackBerry Torch, but I can tell you this much: It is not much competition for an iPhone. I hear you about iPhone absolutism*, but that buying an iPhone doesn't mean you have to adopt the annoying habits of some people who use the device.* Please promise me that you will never use the N-word again unless you're talking about somebody who holds Hitler in high regard, supports the industrialized murder of Jews, homosexuals and other "undesirables," and believes that the wrong side won World War II. I'm not joking about this request.

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Comcast/Verizon FIOS: (BTW, nice MCC "Stones in the Road" reference)After months of service hell we dumped Comcast for Verizon FIOS, glad we did. But I don't think Comcast cares....

Rob Pegoraro: Was hoping somebody would notice that! FYI, the guy who ran the @ComcastCares Twitter account recently said he'd be leaving the company. Can't blame him; that must be an exhausting job.

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DVD recorders with hard drive?: I've been using a DVD recorder with hard drive for several years but it is wearing out. I checked with the manufacturer and they are no longer making replacement parts for it. I understand that TIVO units can be adapted to make DVDs, but in real time, not at the 15x speed my current unit can. Any suggestions?

Rob Pegoraro: There are still DVD recorders on the market... let's see, Amazon lists some from LG, Panasonic, Toshiba and Philips/Magnavox. (I'm not counting cheaper models that don't include a digital-TV tuner).

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Hack, yuck: Hi Rob, someone hacked into my gmail the other day. I was able to use gmail's feature to log out of all locations, I undid the email forwarding the person set up, sent apologetic notes to the people who he chatted with and attempted to scam, and of course I changed my password and security question.I'd like to keep the account, since in addition to my email, it houses most of the features on my Android phone.But my lingering concern is about how this person hacked in in the first place. I consider myself pretty computer savvy. I use a Mac at home, a pretty locked-down corporate PC, and the phone. Is there anything I can do to better protect myself in the future?

Rob Pegoraro: This was the subject of a Help File item not long ago. As I recall, some of the more frequent causes of Gmail account compromises are: using the same password for multiple accounts, logging in from a compromised machine with a keystroke logger, and falling prey to a phishing attack. Any of those sound like a possible cause?

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Comcast/Xfinity: I will second the recommendation of Verizon Fios - I have not had any trouble with installation or service. Since the writer lives in MoCo, they can contact the County Cable office thru this link. They used to be very responsive.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the pointer...

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Vonage: I have been experiencing phone calls issues where the person on the other end cannot hear me (whether or not I dialed or they called me). Vonage says the issue is due to our cable modem which was made in Mexico, and has a "known Vonage issue". He says I need to buy a different modem. Ever heard of this?

Rob Pegoraro: No, although it doesn't sound implausible. (Aside from the vaguely racist made-in-Mexico bit. The Vonage people didn't really say that, did they?)

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Why do my questions not appear?: I've entered the same question twice, but it hasn't appeared. Has it been edited off, or is there something wrong with my connection?

Rob Pegoraro: There's nothing wrong with your connec tht I awa

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The Cloud: I read your semi-recent article on the Microsoft conference where The Cloud was promoted to near self-awareness by Mr. Ballmer. Your disdain was obvious, but beyond the comedy of it all I was wondering what you found off-putting most: the terminology, Microsoft's typical hype involvement, or the ideas behind the hype itself? For me the ideas behind the hype are that platforms and infrastructure as a service provided over the internet will begin to rapidly catch on with previously conservative enterprises...

Rob Pegoraro: Really, the phrasing onstage--the whole "Do what The Cloud wants or your computer gets it!" implication. I think cloud computing as a general strategy makes a fair amount of sense.

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macbook pro slow via airport express: Hi Rob, I've been getting fairly pokey throughput from my comcast account to my macbook pro. Decided to try it directly (coax to mac) and found that the speed increased more than 4x (to 19 vs 4 mbps). Not sure if it's a router problem, an OS problem (running 10.4.11 on this 2 yr old computer), a firewall issue, or just crowded airwaves. The same airport feeds my ipod touch at about 13, but the mbp is really slow with airport. This may just be a speedtest glitch, or ... comcast issue? I am thinking firewall (using WPA2). Any suggestions?

Rob Pegoraro: Could be a Speedtest glitch. How fast do file downloads go on the MacBook? Do you have the "interference robustness" option enabled on the Mac? The fact that things work fine on your iPod touch suggests it's not a router problem.

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WiFi lockup at Starbucks: I ALWAYS have problems with WiFi at Starbucks, Borders, or any other free hotspot that requires me to accept conditions and/or access a log in page, even though the access is free. My iTouch 2G simply locks up and Safari won't load the log in page. I think it's a "known issue" at Apple.

Rob Pegoraro: Hmm. Thanks for the report.

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The eternal question: Mac vs PC: Welcome back, Rob! I have what must be the most common question to ask but I feel like it needs an update. I am in the market for a new laptop (which will be my main computer). I have been a PC user forever but am thinking of switching to Mac, mainly for the slick design, lack of viruses and ease of use. However, I wonder if the Mac/PC gap holds true anymore: the Sony Vaio and some Samsung laptops have a pretty slick design, Macs have started getting viruses and the apparent learning curve one goes through switching from PC to Mac is enough to make me wonder if the supposed ease of use is really worth it. Not to mention the price tag... Please help!

Rob Pegoraro: Macs have not "started getting viruses" in any meaningful sense. There have been a few trojans that require an extraordinary amount of gullibility on the part of a Mac's user, but that's as far as it goes. Meanwhile, the difference in usability between Windows and OS X remains, although Win 7 has narrowed that a bit in some areas. (Security and application install/uninstall/management are not among them.)

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Facebook followers: You currently have 665 followers on Facebook. Do you think we could get one more before the chat is over? Then we could all go to a heavy metal concert and call it a day.

Rob Pegoraro: That'd work for me! For one thing, it would get me out of spending two hours in software training class this afternoon.

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DSL and streaming video: I would love to dump my current ISP (whose name begins with "C" and isn't "Cox"), but I love streaming Netflix flix on my Roku box. Do you know DSL (no FiOS where I live, sadly) is fast enough for streaming video through a Roku? Thank you.

Rob Pegoraro: Entry-level DSL won't be enough for some Roku content, certainly anything HD. You'd want to upgrade to one of the faster speeds available; as I recall, Verizon sells access at up to 7 Mbps, though you may not get that actual speed at a particular location. 5 to 7 should be more than enough for SD viewing, but would be cutting it close for HD.

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Printers: I use my printer ( a Brother MFC-5100C) only occasionally -- perhaps 10 pages a month -- and am somewhat horrified at the implied real cost per printed page every time the ink cartridges dry up and I have to replace them. I am told that simpler laser printers may be a better bet, since their costs are coming down and replacement cartridges don't cost so much. Does this advice make sense, or am I missing something?Chevy Chase, MD

Rob Pegoraro: Inkjet cartridges are expensive because each one includes a few drops of unicorn blood. (Well, not all. Kodak advertises cheaper cartridges on its models, so maybe they use fewer drops.)Color laser printers aren't a great replacement option--the color output looks worse, and they also tend to be larger and heavier.FWIW, the current or almost-current issue of Consumer Reports has a great comparison of inkjet printers that includes cost-per-page figures for each model reviewed.

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Windows-based laptop replacement: Have you published a laptop review recently? I'm looking to replace my old, dying Dell. I just need a basic, home computer, mostly for internet access with some Excel, Word usage as well. No gaming.

Rob Pegoraro: Most summers, I do a guide to laptop shopping, but the arrival of my daughter got in the way of that. On the upside, I've acquired all these diaper-changing skills.

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Using iPod with TV: While visiting my mom last week, I saw that her new TV came with an iPod dock, making it easy to connect an iPod to a TV to watch shows or movies. Is this kind of thing available to work with other TVs? It would certainly be easier than having to connect a laptop to a TV and cheaper than getting fancy hardware like Apple TV.

Rob Pegoraro: Some TVs (and Blu-ray players and A/V receivers) feature iPod docks. For example, quite a few Sonys do--which cracks me up, given that company's attempts to knock off the iPod with its own MP3 players.

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Antenna for Cell Phone: One of my friends, an A+ certified tech, claims that you can use an antenna which boosts the signal for a laptop, to boost the signal for a cell phone. He claims there is a plug on the bottom of some phones to attach the antenna.One cell phone store said they'd never heard of such a thing, another said they could order me a special phone for about $400.What say you?

Rob Pegoraro: Haven't seen such a plug on any cell phones in a long time myself. I question the physics here--WiFi and 3G wireless don't use the same spectrum, which gets in the way of using the same antenna for both.

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Windows XP Question: I have an older Dell Inspiron with 1.5 GB worth of memory and a new 360GB hard drive. Should I upgrade to Windows 7? Transition to Ubuntu (Im not a tech nerd but I think I can manage)...If I went with W7, should I upgrade the existing 1.5 GB to something higher?

Rob Pegoraro: You didn't say if the Inspiron was running XP or not. If it is on XP, you might find that the Ubuntu transition would be easier--Ubuntu will probably support all of its hardware right away, while with Win 7 you'll have to hunt down some device drivers. In both cases, you'll need to install every app you want. But if you've got a lot of files that can't readily be used in Linux applications (for instance, copy-protected music or video, or proprietary files like Quicken Data documents), that would make a switch to Linux difficult.

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Gmail hack, cont: I'm wondering about these keystroke loggers. How recently would that be an issue? (For example, I know for sure which computers I've been on in the last 4 weeks or so, but before that all bets are off.)I guess the most likely culprit is my tendency to use the same password for everything. Probably ought to work on that.

Rob Pegoraro: Bingo.

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laser instead of ink jet: Rob, I replaced my trouble-some/expensive ink jet with a $100 HP laser and it has worked out wonderfully. I don't miss color print-outs. We only print 5 to 10 pages a month at home and the laser has worked perfectly. I should have done it three years ago.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the report...

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Gmail hacking: I received a notice from Gmail stating they suspected my account had been hacked. Looking at the information they provided with IP addresses, I doubted my account had been comprimised, however I changed my login information anyways. I had traveled a bit in 24 hours, but nothing too crazy. Do you know how Google makes a determination like that?

Rob Pegoraro: It probably was the travel--you can map IP addresses to geographic reasons, and if you'd covered a lot of distance it might suggest a hack. It's sort of how credit-card companies watch for suspicious buying patterns.

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Voice Memos for iPhone/iTunes: Hi,I record a ton of voice memos on my iPhone for my job. When they are on my phone I can save them each under a unique title, but when I sync with iTunes the title goes away and I can't seem to find a way to save it again with a specific name. I did go by the Mac store and the well meaning salespeople didn't know how to go about this. Do you have any ideas?Thanks,Amy

Rob Pegoraro: Nope, but I'll try to research this for a Help File item. (Unless anybody else already knows the answer.)

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Vonage guy again...: Yes, he actually did say that the Mexico-manufactured modem had a known firmware related issue that interfered with Vonage. Originally (A month or so ago) they told me that my cordless phone was too close to the Vonage modem, so I moved it upstairs (nothing was said about the Comcast modem at that time). That seemed to help for a while, but not any more. Now they say it's the (Mexico-made) cable modem.

Rob Pegoraro: Ay caramba!

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USB Wireless Device: Fairdale, KY- Ron, Congrats to you & your wife on your new daughter! I have a simple question. If I purchase a USB wireless device to plug into an extra computer I have in the TV room, is that all I need to get the internet from my wireless router? Thank you.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks! Yes, that should suffice, as long as you can get drivers for the thing for your operating system. (Which shouldn't be an issue unless you're running Windows ME on that PC.)

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Rob Pegoraro: I'd like to stick around longer, but as I mentioned I'm looking at the prospect of two hours of training this afternoon, which means I need to get all of my other Friday chores done first. Thanks for all the questions; I should be back here in two weeks... well, maybe three, since I'd really hope that we'd all be offline by Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend.

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