QI just read an article on "blogging," but nowhere does it even hint at what this term means. What is it?

AA Web log is a personal journal -- a log posted to a Web site. The term has been condensed to "blog," which serves as a noun and a verb ("I blogged that topic").

Thousands of blogs cover every topic imaginable, such as technology and politics. Many are (sometimes boring) personal diaries.

Blogs can be written in HTML like any other Web page. But most bloggers use blogging software that makes it easier to create and update Web logs. Often, the programs tie into specialized blog-hosting sites, including Blogger, Radio UserLand and Movable Type.

Can an external CD burner be as fast as an internal one?

With fast interfaces such as USB 2.0 and FireWire, there should be no difference.

The IDE connection used by internal CD-RW drives is theoretically far faster than either USB 2.0 or FireWire. But the burning process is quite a bit slower than either internal or external interface.

Writing data to a CD, even with a fast burner, involves several lengthy steps -- preparing the data, burning it to disc with a laser (a task that is inherently slower than working with a magnetic disk), verifying the copy and closing the disc session. The quality of the blank CD can also be a factor.

You may sometimes find external CD-RW drives with USB 1.1 connections, which are vastly slower than internal drives. Also note that even a new external USB 2.0 CD burner, if plugged into an old USB 1.1 port, will default to the low speed.

-- John Gilroy

John Gilroy of Item Inc. is heard on WAMU's "The Computer Guys" at noon on the first Tuesday of the month. Send your questions to him in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or via e-mail to jgilroy@iteminc.com.