CNET to the Rescue: Apple questions answered

CNET's Josh Lowensohn is with us today answering tech questions about iPhones, iPads, iMacs, iEtc. Also covered: Which Apple products are worth buying today and which aren't.

Our last Apple-focused Rescue was such a success, we decided to do it again. This time we have Josh Lowensohn, CNET News Apple reporter, and former CNET to the Rescue co-host, joining in. He's got practical advice on what to buy from Apple now, how to fix common problems, and more.

If you have a tech question for CNET to the Rescue, call us with your questions to get on the next show: 877-438-6688 or e-mail rescue@cnet.com. No question is too basic, so if you've got a tech problem that's been getting under your skin, please call us and we'll try our best to help you out.

Podcast




Episode 37: Josh on Apple


Apple buying advice
What's worth buying, right now, in these product lines?

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • MacBook

Josh reminds us to check out the useful MacRumors buying guide.

Road test: The Jambox
Rafe checks out the Jambox , a cool mini-boombox and speakerphone for iPhone, the Jambox.

Your questions answered
Matt Wilkins: I'm looking to buy an iPad in the next few months (waited for various reasons). Now that the iPad 2 is out of the bag and I see that I wouldn't really have a use for any of the new features I'm considering an iPad 1.

What do you think will happen to the prices of used iPad 1s especially after Friday when people buy the iPad 2s and want to sell their old ones to recoup cost? I'm also trying to look ahead to next month as iPad 1s start becoming a year old and will no longer have the warranty (which could make those units less valuable compared to ones that still have warranty left or refurbished units).

Rafe: If you want to save $ by getting an iPad 1, you are a smart shopper. Prices will drop on eBay, Craigslist, elsewhere. Currently, refurbed iPad 1 32GB Wi-Fi is available at Apple for $429. Compare to $599 for new one.

Side note: Not all products get cheaper when they get discontinued. Sad case in point: HP MediaSmart EX495 server. Price went up when MS killed DE and HP killed line. It's a good product.

Josh: The savings are good, but one thing to keep in mind is the performance boost you're getting. Apps will load faster, and the newer device will be able to run some applications the first generation may not be able to a little farther down the line. The same thing happened with the move to the faster processors in the iPhone and iPod Touch. The bottom line is that developers want as big of an audience as possible, so it shouldn't be a primary concern.

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Chris Pickles: I am looking for an all-in-one solution to streaming Music, Video and Pictures throughout my house. I have an Ipad that I would like to use as a controller and I have a NAS connected to my network which stored all of my media. I like the look and idea of the Sonos Multi-room system for audio but can you recommend the best overall setup for Music and pictures?

I know Apple TV can stream my pictures from my Ipad to the tv, but I would only use it for that and not any other features of the Apple TV. Ideally i would like one solution to do everything allowing me to stream music around the house using the Ipad as a controller, and then be able to stream pictures directly from my Ipad to any TV to show friends and family. Does this system exist or is it a case of using both Sonos and Apple solutions to make this work?

Rafe: The Apple/Sonos solution is not bad. It's a shame Apple doesn't have a Sonos-like whole-house music system that's as easy to use, and it's a pity that Sonos doesn't do video or pictures. Because for whole-house audio, Sonos cannot be beat. For video and photo, iPad plus Apple TV (or other Airplay TV) is also a very easy-to-use solution

Josh: With the iOS 4.3 update which went out this morning, the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch can all stream photos and videos to Apple TVs using AirPlay. You also get iTunes Home Sharing, so you can see your iTunes library from a computer on your iOS device.

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Darone, New York: I am considering a move from windows to Mac, but here is my concern... I have an external hard drive that holds all of my media, files etc. It is formatted for pc and am worried that it will need to he reformatted from FATt32 to NTSF. My question is how do I go about doing that without having to off load all of my data, and also what do I do if I move to Mac and wife stays on windows? I want us both to have access to the external drive. Any advice would be appreciated.

Josh: Well, there's MacDrive. Without it, Macs can read FAT32 drives, but not write to them.

Rafe: There's no way to reformat a drive w/o erasing its data, so offloading will be an issue. If you want two people to have access to the same drive, then try attaching it to a network server. Your router might let you do that, or check out Pogoplug..

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Phone call guy with Irish accent: Should I Jailbreak an iPhone on Verizon? Is it worth it?

Josh: There is less of a need to Jailbreak your phone these days with Apple adding many of the features people used to jailbreak for just a few years ago. I'd say you should only do it if you need an app or a feature you can't possibly live without, since Apple is constantly on the march to patch Jailbreak exploits.

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Matthew: I'm curious if there is a universal remote control that can handle both a Windows Media Center environment and also control regular home theater equipment such as a TV, Blu-Ray player, Surround Sound receiver, etc.

Rafe: Logitech Harmony, for sure. If you have problems, try the community at TheGreenButton.net

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Joseph in Oxnard: I've had this problem for many years and I hope you can help. Back in 2007 I had the first gen iPod touch. When I played videos from the YouTube app, they would constantly stop to buffer. I figured this was because of a slow cpu. In 2009, I upgraded to the 3rd generation iPod touch and had the same buffer problem. In 2010, when my old XP box crashed, I bought an iMac. While YouTube didn't buffer as much as it did on my iPods, it still buffered at least twice a video. You can imagine how annoying this is trying to watch a three minute video. When my cell phone contract was up in May 2010, I bought the Droid Incredible. When I play YouTube videos on this device, they rarely ever stop to buffer. Lastly, my iPad 1 has the same problem with YouTube as my other Apple devices. Why would this be happening? Does Google hate Apple? Do Android phones go through a separate Google server that prioritizes traffic, or does my phone just have an extra splash of Google Juice? My iPad has a similar cpu to my phone, and my iMac has a superior cpu compared to my iPad and my phone. I play videos over wifi only and my isp is Road Runner/Time Warner. I've also heard reports of Time Warner throttling YouTube traffic. Thanks for your help in solving my predicament.

Josh: Yeah, YouTube is slowing down.

Rafe: Also, you have two issues: 1. You have a slow network setup. 2: Google/Android has a more aggressive buffer, so is better able to compensate.

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Laz: My iPod seems to randomly close apps a lot.It's a 4g iPod Touch. At first it was only happening with one game but now it is happening with multiple apps and the app store. Is there any way to fix this?

Josh: Do a clean restore of the device. DO NOT load a previous back-up of your apps and settings. If it's still crashing, take it to an Apple store for them to look at. Also try with the new iOS 4.3 software, which was released this morning to see if that might have been included in a list of bugs.

If you take it to an Apple store right now, they'll probably have you go through the same test to make sure it's not just the software, so you might as well do it ahead of time.

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Jim Hosney: When I try to update applications in my Applications folder (on a new iMac 27") I keep getting the message "The operation can't be completed because you don't have permission to access some of the items". How do I get the permission -- this keeps happening when I try to install a newer version of an application. I would so appreciate your help with this.

Josh: Repair permissions! Occasionally an app will install an update, or write a file with improper permissions. The easiest way to fix this is to head to the Disk Utility application and repair your permissions in one fell swoop. Instructions on how to do that are on an Apple Support page.

If that's not doing the trick for any reason, right-click on your Applications folder, click the "get info" option, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu where it shows who has permissions. Make sure you have read and write.

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Matt Rutledge: Last week you talked about Synology and I started looking around at other options and wondered if it would be possible to build your own NAS. I have seen FreeNAS, but the hardware it supports is limited. Can you recommend hardware and software to run a custom NAS?

Rafe: Yeah, I looked at FreeNAS. Don't have the time for a custom build -- customer hardware, raw Linux installation, etc. Let us know if you take this on...

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