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Tech Q Going Wireless The Deal With Firefox

Tech Q Going Wireless The Deal With Firefox

Tech Q Going Wireless Firefox

I thinking about getting a Kindle. Can I download Barnes Noble content on it? How about the Sony Reader? What the best value? Generally, buying an eBook reader is like marrying a specific content purveyor. Of course, just like the competition, nook ties you to its parent company inventory. Sony Reader $199 to $399 comes in three editions with metallic cases in a range of colors. Depending on your needs, you can have 3G connectivity, a touchscreen or MP3 compatibility, as well as support for content from public libraries or public domain titles from Google Books. The Kindle $259 to $489 stands apart from the rest of the readers in many ways, some of which are likely to bite Amazon in the ass sometime soon. For instance, the Kindle doesn support library books or the increasingly standard PDF and EPUB formats. There no touchscreen, but there is a full QWERTY keyboard at the bottom of the bezel, which adds a whole lot of size to something designed for portability. For edgy tech and unbridled cool, you should look to nook $259. Rather than the Kindle keyboard or the Sony row of buttons, nook has a small secondary color touchscreen with which you can browse the B store and control the device. nook also supports library borrowing, a bunch of formats and book lending: You can transfer your license of any purchased book to another nook owner for up to two weeks. For all of this, and for working on both WiFi and 3G via AT nook wins. There are other readers out there, but the wacky nature of the market essentially locks most of them to Google Books and other public domain sources. For the moment, the three readers here are the best choices for the typical American whose tastes run beyond ancient books or classics.

Firefox keeps crashing on me. What going on, and is it really the best browser out there? If you were one of those affected by the GIF bug in Mozilla October 27th Firefox patch, you might be wondering what the hell going on with what was the best Explorer alternative out there. Well, Firefox extensions, themes, plugins, and other gewgaws have bloated the app and created issues like the infamous crash and the equally galling Firefox Memory Leak. There good news: If you were affected by the crash from that October update, you using Windows, which means that there are a lot of browser options for you including Internet Explorer, of course. Some, like Opera, take unique approaches to the whole browsing metaphor, whereas others are just leaner, meaner Mozilla variants. KMeleon is a good example of a Mozillabased browser that is both fast and tightly woven into the Windows look and feel. On the Mac side, Camino is a leaner, Macier version of Firefox, though Apple own Safari is also a nice, quickfooted Firefox alternative. Linux users can choose from more versions than is really healthy. But, the most exciting browser right now is Google Chrome. That rather than because whereas it kicking butt and taking names on the Windows side, the recent beta for Mac OS is anything but ready for primetime. Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux should be out of beta by early 2010, but for now the anemic array of plugins, PDF issues and a general unpolished feeling make it little more than an exciting curiosity. In terms of speed and functionality, Windows users would be very well served by Chrome or Opera, whereas Mac users don have to look any further than the latest Safari update. As for Linux users, they generally don like being told what to use.

I want to go completely wireless; what can I do? The simple answer is: a lot. Options for the wireless enthusiast range from Bluetooth keyboards to a fullon multiroom wireless sound systems and home networks. On the PC side, opting for a wireless keyboard and mouse will really clean up the desktop, though you may end up paying through the nose for batteries. Connecting the broadband modem and printer to a wireless router will also help reduce nests of wires that used to be under every computer desk. Macs now come with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard by default, and makers like Logitech, Microsoft and Kensington are working to bring wireless peripherals into the norm in the Windowshpere. However, where the wireless buzz concept comes into its own is in the area of home media systems. Whereas the completely networked home is still years away, you can still rock that way with a setup like one of Linksys Wireless Home Audio kits, where one central music controller accesses content from your computer, an iPod or CD, then broadcasts it to players throughout the home. Sonos makes a similar system, and Sony goes a little further with home theater systems that will either play your Blurays in 7.1 sound or broadcast two channels to speakers in another room. For DIYers, a NAS drive and iTunes will play nice as the centerpiece of a computerbased setup, though it unclear whether you enjoy any real cost savings over a wellpriced system like the Linksys.

Which is the better phone: the BlackBerry or the iPhone? And do you need a Mac to run an iPhone? No doubt about it: The two biggest smartphones in town are the BlackBerry and the iPhone. Up until now, the two have been on parallel courses: the BlackBerry making corporate hearts flutter and the iPhone reigning over the highend consumer market. But, over the last year or two, things have been getting a little muddier. BlackBerrys with cameras and an iPhonelookalike show that RIM is very interested in moving away from businessonly solutions; likewise, the iPhone configuration profiles, data encryption and Exchange compatibility are helping move it into offices. But really, neither one of these bigticket smartphones is ready to invade the other personal space. For instance, the BlackBerry Storm gives up the line coveted keyboard in favor of an iPhonelike touchscreen, nicely doing away with one of the things that business customers like without pumping up the onboard memory to anything close to what a mediasavvy iPhone user would expect. In the BlackBerry favor, some models boast a much better battery life than the iPhone. This is a big point for anyone who travels a lot. No matter how you slice it, the BlackBerry looks are downright utilitarian next to iPhone sleek lines Storm included. It may sound shallow, but looks matter, especially on the crucial highend consumer side of things. A hipster with all of the right moves is not going to pop a BlackBerry out of his pocket. Similarly, the iPhone MTV looks make it a little too flighty for the boardroom. The two companies design philosophies extend to their operating systems as well: The BlackBerry OS is pretty but functional, while the iPhone is like couching your eyes in silk. In terms of which is the better phone, it kind of a tossup, and no matter what Apple and RIM are doing to kill the other off, it still comes down to business or pleasure, and it doesn look like things will change anytime soon. Though, the existence of the BlackBerry Storm says something: Apple sure hasn felt the need to bring out a BlackBerry clone.

What a good choice of sound system for my PC? This is a great time to be on the market for computer speakers. Those who been making do with a couple of scrappy old desktop speakers can go out and spend a little or a lot on a PC sound system that will resonate like a choir of angels which just happens to sound a lot like Modern Warfare 2. Aside from the iconic harmon/kardon Soundsticks, there are many good options available. Altec Lansing offers gamers the Expressionist Ultra, which offer five amps and 200 watts of tummyscrambling sound, plus a desktop control module. At about $200, it not the cheapest solution, but it not really expensive, considering the sound quality. However, the Ultra looks a little too spaceaged for some. For those who prefer less extreme looks, Sony SRSD25 set is a stylish option. At 25 watts total, the D25 isn going to punch your ears right off your head the way the Altec Lansings could, but the sound is clear, if not extremely loud. And at about 70 bucks, it a great deal. Just don expect it to be the oompiest system around it a sub$100 system, after all. Another maker that worth a look is Boss that features the sweet but pricey Companion 5, which offer 5.1 sound from three speakers. The system looks are hohum, and the $400 price tag makes it less than a deal, but it still worth a look. If it sounds like we backing the Altec Lansing horse here, it because we are. Of the units listed, the Expressionist Ultra hits all of the best price/performance sweet spots even if it loses points for its appearance. When looking for a sound system, make sure there a headphone jack involved somewhere so that your latenight zombieslaying doesn shake her from her bed and you onto the couch.