Personal Tech Live with Rob Pegoraro

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Rob Pegoraro
Friday, October 8, 2010; 12:00 PM

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Good afternoon: It is a good afternoon in D.C. - beautiful weather outside. I'd say that I hope you're logging in from a park bench via mobile broadband, but if you're outdoors on a day like this you shouldn't be staring at a screen at all. Log off already!Now that I've told a large chunk of my audience to go away: What can I tell you about today?

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Comcast CableCards?: Rob, I'm considering the purchase of a Tivo Premiere and will need a multi-steam cablecard. I've read about the difficulty of getting cablecards from Comcast in the past. Has there been any improvement by Comcast recently? Also, do you know whether I can pick up and install the cablecard myself, or do I have to go through the whole circus of dealing with an "installer" to come out?

Rob Pegoraro: Let's start with this one--a perennial topic around these parts, unfortunately. The answer depends on where you live: In some markets, Comcast makes you wait for a technician to show up in a truck, pop in a CableCard and then call in to read a number off the screen. In others, you can pick up a CableCard, pop it into the TiVo, and call in to read a number off the screen. (For example, my in-laws live in the Bay Area and could set up their TiVo HD that way last year.)You'd think that Comcast, having gone to the trouble of buying up so many different cable systems, would want to standardize on the simplest, cheapest deployment methods--letting the customer do it. Apparently not.

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Apple iPhone antenna reception fix?: Hi Rob,I know that Apple quietly ended their free bumper case program for iphones on Sept. 30, but I didn't see any other announcements about what they have done to fix the antenna problems....I thought Apple had pledged to give out free bumpers until they had come up with a more permanent fix???

Rob Pegoraro: That promise is still in effect--it's just not giving them out automatically. You need to call AppleCare and say you're having reception problems, and then they'll ship you a free bumper case.

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USB portable browsers?: Where do you get a portable browser? A number of experts, possibly including you, have recommended accessing shared computers at places like internet cafes with a portable copy of Firefox or another browser loaded on a flash drive. You do everything through the drive, so you don't leave tracks on the computer. Are these things available commercially? It's easy to find instructions about how to create one yourself, but they often seem to involve downloading some obscure program or another, which always makes me nervous. Or can you recommend the best way to make one?

Rob Pegoraro: There's nothing to "get"; all you need is any old USB flash drive, then you go to portableapps.com and download the installer for Firefox Portable Edition--it's free, just like the browser.I used Firefox Portable extensively when the Post was renovating its newsroom and I had to borrow random computers. The major hassle I had in practice was mailto: links--they'd open up the default mail client on each machine, which of course would not be set up for my own account. There can also be complications keeping the Flash plug-in up to date. But--yes, it works.

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Rob Pegoraro: ... for those wondering where I was, and then why a series of Q&As appeared out of nowhere, somebody forgot to flip a switch here earlier. Things should be working fine now.

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Facebook's New Groups: I don't like what I've read thus far. With the new Groups, anyone can be added to a group you're in. Will it be possible to keep people who are not on your Friend list, but who are in your Group, from seeing your posts?I use Friend Lists to "keep my worlds from colliding", and feel it is the best solution. All FB needs to do is allow users to secure ALL of their information using these lists.

Rob Pegoraro: You need to think of Groups just as how you think of Facebook's photo-tagging feature: You can't stop friends from either tagging you or adding you to a group, but you can undo the action with one click (though Facebook confusingly labels this action "unsubscribe," not "leave group").By default, groups are "closed"--people can see you're in the group, but they can't see posts in it.Facebook's privacy controls ought to let you control who sees your membership in closed groups, just as you can regulate who sees photos tagged of you. That option doesn't seem to exist at the moment, at least not in my account's privacy settings.

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TV reception woes: I'm one of those people who bought a converter box and special antenna when TV went digital. I have frequent problems with dropped signals, frozen images and the video getting out of sync with the video. WETA is almost impossible to get for more than 2 minutes and MPB and WHUT are completely unavailable. Is all this because I don't have a digital TV, or does everyone have these problems? And if it's probably the converter box or the antenna that is to blame, please recommend what I should get -- especially the antenna, as next time I have to cough up TV-related money, I'm going to buy a digital set.My apartment faces East.

Rob Pegoraro: I'm assuming you're somewhere in the D.C. area, but where? Facing East is handy if you're Muslim and engaged in one of your five daily prayers, but it doesn't have any special relevance to DTV reception.I would guess that your issue is either the receiver or the antenna, as MPT has an extremely strong signal--every DTV receiver and antena I've tried has pulled that in right away.

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Media Boxes: Rob - read your Apple/Roku write-up today and I'm wondering if you've had a chance to see the Logitech Revue in action yet. Seems to me this one might end up being better than the Apple TV or Roku options.

Rob Pegoraro: I have not--Logitech introduced it an event in NYC on Wednesday, but I wasn't around for that. I'm supposed to be getting a review unit, but I'm not sure of the timing.

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Windows 7 or stay with Vista?: I have Vista Home Premium on a Sony laptop and it works fine. I bought the upgrade but I am now thinking whether the upgrade would be worth it. " If if ain't broke, don't fix it." On the other hand, if Windows 7 would give me a far superior or far safer experience I would do it. What is your advice?

Rob Pegoraro: For the love of all that's holy, dump Vista and move on to 7. You'll thank me for this advice (well, unless Windows acts like Windows and the upgrade craters for no obvious reason).

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Google TV: The main thing I want is a real browser that can basically do anything a regular browser can. IE log on to ESPN3, load any video etc. Is this something the chrome browser on Google TV can pull off? Also since VLC is probably the most versatile media player, any chance that it (along with the tons of formats it can play ) makes it to the web to tv boxes?

Rob Pegoraro: It's up to the site in question--they can, if they feel like acting like obstructioninst jerks, block a particular browser. And apparently Hulu has done just that with Google TV.

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Win 7: I'm thinking about upgrading my Vista laptops, each with 2 GB RAM and 150+ GB hard drives to Win7 with the upgrade only. Make sense?

Rob Pegoraro: See my earlier answer--Win 7 isn't as much of a memory hog as Vista, so you should do the upgrade first and then see if you need more memory. (Memory is cheap, but doing a RAM upgrade on a laptop isn't always easy.)

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iPod Touch 4 - use in the car?: Rob, were you able to find out anything more regarding the question someone asked in the last chat about not being able to use the latest iPod Touch with a car stereo - http://live.washingtonpost.com/personal-tech-live-0917.html#question-31 I currently have a 2nd gen. that I use in my car all the time. I have it plugged in through the AUX input and although I can't control it using the stereo controls, which would be helpful, I can listen through the speakers just fine. I wanted to upgrade my 16GB (been waiting for one with a camera, although its only 1MP while the iPhone is 5MP, but that's another rant), but if I can't listen in the car, it's almost useless to me. Thanks.

Rob Pegoraro: Still researching that one. I (ahem) couldn't remember where I'd left the review iPod touch for a few days--of course, it was stashed inside a bag. Chatters, have you had issues playing back audio from an iPod touch through a car stereo's iPod connector?

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E-Reader: I'm considering an e-reader, probably the 3G Kindle. What's your take on the Kindle versus the readers that are reported to be coming out in the near future (such as the Playbook)?

Rob Pegoraro: Don't buy it. The Kindle's due for an upgrade, so unless you're prepared for the inevitable buyer's remorse it's better to wait. RIM's PlayBook, however, is unlikely to be an option--that's a general-purpose tablet computer. It may be do that job well, but we wont' know until it ships in January--which, in turn, will be about time for Apple to introduce a new iPad.

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Transfering info from a Mac to a PC: I have a MAC Power Book G4 running 10.5 And aToshiba running Windows 7. Is there any way to transfer the music from one to the other. IOW from Itunes to Windows equivalent or vice versa?

Rob Pegoraro: It's no different from copying any other folder of files. See this Help File item for details.

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battery affecting wifi?: Hey Rob. I have a circa 2006 MacBook Pro and the battery is pretty much shot. It holds a charge for only a few minutes if unplugged. I've resisted buying a new battery because I don't really need the laptop functionality anymore; the computer is serving well as a desktop.One problem is my wifi signal is awfully low most of the time. It used to be full strength and now it's regularly 10-20% in the same location/position it's always been in. We have Verizon FiOS, but there have been no changes in service that suggest a reason for the drop in signal strength (and, thus, speed).Is it possible the battery is the culprit? If not, any ideas for what I can attribute the change to? Thanks.

Rob Pegoraro: No, the battery's not affecting the WiFi. You've got the standard Vz-issued Fios router, right? Call Verizon to complain; they should replace it for you.Then think about replacing the battery. These things do wear out over time. (And look outside Apple for a replacement; third-party vendors often charge less and sometimes provide better performance.)

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Portable DVRs?: Hi Rob,I was on a cross country flight last week and the man sitting next to me watched TV the entire flight using an Archos Portable DVR. When he finally turned it off and I could get his opinions on it he really liked itI think this is a fabulous Christmas gift for my father who LOVES his TiVo but also flies about 100,000 miles a year.But what I've quickly discovered is I know nothing about this area and there is very little out there. The particular device my seatmate was using appears to be many years old and no longer made. Everything has been replaced by tablets but its unclear to me how easy it will be to use these as a DVR player.According to TiVo it is compatible with the iPad?So I would love ideas and suggestions for a portable DVR/media tablet that would be easy to add TiVo'd shows to it (Dad's not the most tech savy guy out there).Bonus point if it has a removable battery so that when the battery dies mid flight to Asia he's still able to watch TV. Or is buying an older piece of electronic a good move at this point?

Rob Pegoraro: If your dad's not a techie, he may not find any TiVo-compatible solutions too easy. You need to set up a computer with TiVo's desktop software, then sync the transferred recordings to a device like the Archos--you'd want to set that up.Then again, if your dad's clocking 100k miles a year, I'd hope he'd be getting regularly upgraded to C or F seats with on-demand audio and video...

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Several Browser Problems -- linked to new ISPs?: 1. Both I and my Daughter's systems have seen Mozilla Firefox go from perfect to frequent freeze-up, "Can't Find Server", or "Time Out" for the last few months AND after we changed to a new ISP ( but different between us, Cox & Verizon). I can no longer find a Time Out adjustment on Firefox. My system is 64 bit, Win7, Hers is XP. She says "Firefox has gone to pot recently" TRUE??2. My 64 bit Internet Explorer 8 cannot seem to load "Flash Player Square" the Beta Fix. I have tried, as directed, to delete all Flash Player Programs before loading "Square", but they keep coming back and "Square" doesn't load. ARE 1, & 2. BECAUSE I HAVE TWO BROWSERS?? ("Firefox" is the default) ??Thanks. Appreciate ALL your work. McLeanDave

Rob Pegoraro: First: Stop using IE 64-bit. Use the regular, 32-bit flavor of that. Second: Try running Firefox in its "safe mode" (it's an option in its Start menu program folder)--or create a new user account and run Firefox from that, which should tell you if you've got a corrupt user profile.Frequent can't-find-server errors may also suggest that Cox's Domain Name Service is having problems. That's something you can fix yourself--visit opendns.com for details.

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HDTV's that are internet ready for wireless connecting: Rob ... can you explain and suggest some +60" HDTV's that contain wireless internet connectivity without having to add/purchase usb or another gadget add on? i want an HD set that i can connect to my wireless connection and don't want an apple, roku, et al device. thanks

Rob Pegoraro: '09-vintage Sony, only have wired, Ethernet connectivity. (I solved that by parking the Fios router underneath the TV, which also happened to be a short cable run from the network terminal in the basement). Some sets do include WiFi now--Toshiba talked up one at CES in January--but I don't have a shopping list handy.

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wiredog: So, if I say "Verizon iPhone" will you have apoplexy, or just sigh?Any thoughts on the latest brouhaha over Facebook's groups feature? Anyone tried to sing you up for the "Friends of Osama Bin Laden" group yet?

Rob Pegoraro: I sighed as I read your question. The apoplexy stage came and went months ago (though it may return if the rumors continue to escalate).

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iTunes reload: I've been trying to reload iTunes on an XP(SP 3) laptop. It won't let me. The error message I get is that it doesn't recognize its digital signature. I can load other software. Any ideas?

Rob Pegoraro: Download a fresh copy of Apple's iTunes installer. That happens sometimes when a download gets corrupted or scrambled in some way.

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out-of-sync video: Hi, Rob,Many times when I'm watching video on-line, either a prerecorded program or live-streaming, the audio and video get out of sync. I'm not sure if this has to do with my connection or my computer. I live in a high-rise in NW DC that does not offer access to high-speed services like FIOS or Cox, so I use Verizon DSL. A neighbor says I should switch to another provider and that would solve my problems.My computer is a PowerBook G4 10.4.11 with a 1.5 GHz processor and 2 GB DDR SDRAM. If you think the problem is my computer, is there something I can add to it?Thank you, Rob.

Rob Pegoraro: If a Web site's video doesn't have its audio straight, that's either the fault of the site itself--it didn't produce or encode it properly--or it's buggy software. Assuming you have an up-to-date copy of Adobe's Flash Player (what most sites use for video), then it's the site at fault. And switching providers won't do a thing to fix that.(Tip: Don't rely on that neighbor for tech advice.)

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Alternative TV providers: Still no live sports without cable or dish, though, right? Thanks.

Rob Pegoraro: Wrong. You can watch a fair amount of games over the air with a digital TV and an antenna. Most sports leagues also sell Web subscriptions--though most enforce dumb blackout rules that require you to be a fan of some other city's team. There's also ESPN3.com, included with most Internet services. And in some cases, you can watch for free at a league's own site--my wife watched much of the U.S. Open on the USTA site.

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Anyone here?: Oh-oh. I think Apple Special Ops grabbed Rob after he started doing head-to-head comparisons between the AppleTV and the Roku box. When next we see him he'll be wearing a spiffy black turtleneck and driving a Prius.

Rob Pegoraro: I do, in fact, own a black turtleneck--and my wife and I own a Prius. But I don't think I've worn the turtleneck while driving the Prius. Yet.

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errors on washingtonpost.com pages: I tried and tried to read your article about Verizon and the iPhone yesterday and it crashed my browser every time I clicked on it. Now I can't find it.

Rob Pegoraro: That's too bad--I gave away free Verizon iPhones to the first 200 readers! Oh well. But here's a link to that post anyway.

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Google TV: Two-parter: Any idea if Google TV will be of any benefit to me as an OTA TV user?Second: Is it me, or does Google have a hard time initially explaining its various products at or before launch? I never knew what Wave was, what Voice did and frankly, what TV does. Just an observation. thanks!

Rob Pegoraro: The newteevee item I wrote about said that--at least on the Revue--Google TV doesn't help with OTA reception. I don't see how it would on Sony's Blu-ray player either. Sony's HDTV might get around that... but I probably won't review that. I need something I can take to the houses of people with different video services, and a 40-inch LCD doesn't fit that bill.About Wave... don't feel bad. Nobody really knew what the heck that was good for.

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Mobile Broadband: Have you tried the new Virgin Mobile $40/mo broadband2go? I'm wondering if I should scrap my home service and just use this. It sounds like it costs less than I'm paying, and has higher speeds. But I don't understand the security implications, if any -- Is it safe?

Rob Pegoraro: Haven't tried the new service plan, but I did review Virgin Mobile's prepaid broadband back in 2009.

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RE: Comcast and Tivo Premiere cablecard: I had to pay $30 for a truck roll for Comcast Tallahassee to put a card in my Premier, but I must admit my fears of "multiple visits/broken cards/only-supervisor-can-do-it/etc" were unfounded. Took about 5 minutes from start to finish.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the report. But you won't enjoy hearing that my father-in-law paid $0 for his self-install.

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Social networking and employment: Do you have a good sense of how often employers check social media sites when considering a possible hire? My young nephews and nieces sometime post things about themselves that make me cringe as their aunt, but I can also a future employer cringing. Can I emphasize to them that such postings are not only painful to me personally, but also could have an impact on their future job prospects (only the latter argument will probably have an impact)?

Rob Pegoraro: That definitely happens. You should make that point--or at least tell them to adjust their privacy settings so they're not advertising their debauchery to the world.At some point, though, I have to think that employers are going to have to overlook minor issues and save their alarm for evidence of seriously disturbed behavior. I mean, who hasn't done silly things like dabbling in witchcraft in high school?

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DTV: My converter box seems to work pretty well. Rainy days create some problems but not not enough to go buy a new tv. I do find I have to rescan from time to time. Do you think the stations still mess around with signals or is it just me. The rescanning is maybe once every 6 weeks or so.Tina in Falls Church

Rob Pegoraro: There can be fluctuations in signal strengths. The best place to stay on top of them (if you don't mind a surplus of jargon) is AVS Forum's thread on D.C./Balto. reception.

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TV reception woes, pt II: I'm in NW DC, between American University and the Nat'l Cathedral. So I guess I do face the Mosque and Mecca, but I can't see either one from here.I have a Terk antenna that looks like a weapon, and an Apex converter -- the only one I've been able to find.BTW I meant earlier that the audio and video get out of sync. It's like watching a tennis match from a distance, minus the tennis match: First you see it, then you hear it.

Rob Pegoraro: From that close, you shouldn't have any problems whatsoever. Is your antenna amplified? If so, unplug it--that'll only cause problems.The Apex converter might also be an issue. I heard better things about LG/Zenith and Insignia's boxes (same hardware inside).

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Kindle upgrade?: Wait, the Kindle's due for an upgrade? Didn't it just get upgraded in August?

Rob Pegoraro: That was a minor upgrade. Amazon has all but said directly that it's working on a touch-screen version, though I don't know if that will ship for the holidays or not.

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Comcast Cable Card: Don't bother! I tried to get a multi-stream cable card from Comcast in PG County. They wouldn't give me the card, denied they existed, said they were back-ordered, and ended up canceling four appointments because the technicians never had the cards in the truck. You can get a new Comcast digital box, activate the box, then move the card to the Tivo (which causes problems) or do what I did and go with FIOS.

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks for the report.

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Another Facebook issue...: Discussions about Facebook privacy issues don't often touch on what I see as the most serious problem: Anybody can register as anybody. There is no confirmation of anything, as there would be if, say, registration simply required paying a token $1 with a credit card. Nothing prevents me from creating a page for, say, "Rob Pegoraro," and someone who knows you (or somehow knows OF you) could post your picture (lifted from the Post if they couldn't get one somewhere else), provide information about you (some true, some false), and even post your whereabouts (again true or false). You might not even know about it. Then down the road, when the Post shuts down and you have to find another job, every potential employer will discover, say, your lurid accounts of drunken bacchanals at Italian nudist colonies. This seems like a problem. At an absolute minimum, it seems like a Facebook page should always show the date it was created and the general geographic location (NOT the IP address) of the computer that created it. Any chance of something like this happening?

Rob Pegoraro: Your privacy solution seems to involve surrendering much more privacy upfront--how else can the site prove that I am who I am except by making me document it with legal proof like a driver's license number, SSN or credit-card payment.The best fix is not to assume that a new friend request from a familiar name necessarily comes from that person. Wait for their own family members or closer friends (who presumably know what's up) to friend that person.

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Fairfax, VA: I have a Dell laptop. Bought a new battery from Agptek (sp?) compatible with it. 2 months after new battery, computer now says "I don't recognize this battery and won't charge, so there" or some such language. Do I need a driver? Only buy a Dell battery? Let the battery run down and then re-charge?

Rob Pegoraro: Not sure. Can you e-mail me the details of your story, so I can inquire further with Dell?

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Frequent flier dad: Hi Rob,He does usually sit up front but isn't a real fan of the on demand options. Hence the portable TiVo so to speak.I think (hope?) if I downloaded the TiVo software and set it up he could do the transfers. He knows how to fix the TiVo network adaptor when the WiFi goes out of whack. I'm hoping this is similar in terms of difficulty.Will any of the Archos tables do it? They used to have some specifically called media tablets - now they're all called Internet tablets. What'd the difference?Also the screen on all of them is much smaller then the one I saw on the plane.I've also got battery concerns - 7 hours max really isn't a lot. Does anyone out there make one with a removable battery so he could pop a new one in mid flight?Honestly it just shouldn't be this hard - made harder by the fact that the Archos site isn't all the great and no store that I can determine has any of these in their physical stores. I'm loathe to buy one online not really having a clue what I'm looking for.

Rob Pegoraro: I haven't tried the Archos tablets myself since testing the one they made to plug into Dish Network DVRs a few years back--as I recall, it wasn't the most polished device but it did work as advertised. Anybody have experience--from a non-techie perspective--with Archos tablets?

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San Francisco: Why would the AT&T Data Plan for its USB LTE devices not be compatible with Apple Macs? What would be the tech issue here? Thanks.

Rob Pegoraro: Driver support for AT&T's USB devices?

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TV RECEPTION WOES, PT III: No idea if the antenna is "amplified" but I do know the TV doesn't work without it. It's a TERK "HDTV antenna-pro."

Rob Pegoraro: Hmm. You could try going with a less fancy, lower-end model: I have a $13 Radio Shack rabbit-ears antenna plugged into my HDTV downstairs. Works fine (although 50.1 is really flakey, which bothered me when watching Nats games on Sundays).

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Rooting a Droid Incredible: After reading your columns on the subject, I'm thinking, with some trepidation, about rooting my Droid Incredible. Any particular programs you recommend? Any thing I should watch out for or avoid?

Rob Pegoraro: Use the Universal Androot app I mentioned in that post, and select its "Soft Root" option--then undo the root when you're done nuking carrier-installed apps or taking screenshots or whatever.The main thing to watch out for is simple: Don't trash something unless you're 100 percent sure you don't need it. When you have root--aka superuser access--you can do all the stupid and destructive things you want.

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Windows 7 back-up: Hi Rob,Probably a basic question, but I'm puzzled by Windows 7's back-up feature. When I use it to back up my computer to an external hard drive, it looks like it creates a ghost image of the entire drive. I'm thinking I would rather have discrete back-ups of, say, my pictures, Itunes, etc., then be able to access those on the external hard drive when I need it. Does Windows 7 do this, or do I need to download something like Sync Back?

Rob Pegoraro: You'd need another app. This is something I called out in my Win 7 review, as I recall: The backup app only lets you restore your entire backup set, not an individual file out of that.

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Basic tv-computer question: I'm a little embarassed to ask this question, but here it goes. I have an HP laptop that is a few years old and I want to connect it to my tv...how do i do this? what cords do i need? i can stream netflix movies to my tv, right? My tv is new enough to have the proper connections (i believe). Sorry for the simple question, i just don't even know where to start.

Rob Pegoraro: Here's the Help File item you're looking for; it explains the difference between VGA and HDMI connections, the two you'd want to use.

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Mac refresh?: Hi Rob -My iMac is pre-Intel, and I was told it won't work well with iPad or iPhone 4. First of all, is that true (it's 10.4.1)? Secondly, have you heard anything about when the iMac or Mac laptops might get a refresh? I'd hate to buy one & have something new come out (like touch for the laptop) in just a few months. Thanks so much!

Rob Pegoraro: Not true--there's nothing Intel-specific about iTunes syncing to an iPhone or iPad. The iPad, for example, requires a Mac running OS X 10.5.8, but that version runs on PowerPC and Intel processors alike.For your buying question, I'll point you to my usual reference: the MacRumors.com buyers' guide. As you can see there, the iMac was just updated but some Mac laptops are due for revision.

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Reception Help: It's tough to say what may be causing DTV reception problems. For people relying on an indoor antenna, the best thing to do is not have an amplified antenna. If you can, try turning the amplifier off (don't unplug from the power socket). Next, try a site like tvfool.com to see what reception conditions should be. Be precise in specifying your location with a site like that. There are forums that can take those predictions and make antenna recommendations.Most people in this area should have no problem getting reception.

Rob Pegoraro: TVFool is an excellent resource, though it is expert-oriented.

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TV RECEPTION WOES, PT IV: I might get better reception with a less-powerful antenna? Interesting ... Also, forgot to mention earlier, Apex seems to be the only converter box still sold locally. It definitely is less-than-great and I even had to replace it after about 6 months. So rather than pay another $60 bucks, I hope to buy an HDTV. Consumer Reports says not to get anything smaller than 32" so that's what I'm thinking -- just some store brand that lets me plug in dvd and vhs players.

Rob Pegoraro: Some HD sets have built-in DVD players... but I don't know of any with built-in VCRs, nor do I ever want to see such a thing.

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iPod touch: Hi,I have the new Gen 4 iPod touch and plug it into the aux input in my Toyota -- it works and sounds great! yes, this is the same set up I used with my old iPod nano. There is absolutely no difference in sound quality -- sounds fantastic!

Rob Pegoraro: Thanks!

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handheld book readers and internet: Do any of the hand held book readers allow decent internet browsing ?

Rob Pegoraro: Nope.

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Safari problem with pdfs: Hi, Rob, When I'm using Safari and click onto a .pdf link, I get a black screen with a tiny spinning wheel in the middle -- and nothing else happens. When I use Firefox, the .pdf document opens without problem. I have the most recent versions of both Safari and Firefox that a PowerBook G4 can handle. And, the problem only started a few weeks ago. The only possible clue I can offer you is that the previous owner had installed a high-end Adobe program that I never tried to use but that tried to open my pdfs for a while, before they opened normally. (The previous owner supposedly removed or disabled it when I bought the computer). Then I got pop-up messages for a while saying a newer version was available, and I kept clicking "remind me later" until they stopped. The problem started sometime after those pop-up messages stopped but not right away, so I'm not sure there's a relation.Any suggestions on how I can fix this problem, without taking the 'puter in for repairs?Many thanks.

Rob Pegoraro: Delete Adobe Reader--which I strongly suspect was installed alongside the old Adobe bundle--and stick with Apple's Preview app.

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Just to say "thanks": Thank you, Rob, for spending so much time with us. Other WaPo chat hosts log off after one hour, even if there are multiple hosts. So, hooray for you!

Rob Pegoraro: You're welcome!

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Rob Pegoraro: ... I do need to sign off. I've got a Help File and a blog post to write--but more important, I need to eat lunch.Thanks again; I'll see you here in couple of weeks.


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