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The Real Deal 187: Should you buy that warranty? (podcast)

Should you buy that extended warranty? Tom Merritt says no. Rafe Needleman says sometimes. We'll give you some guidance on how to decide if it's worth the money.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
5 min read

Should you buy that extended warranty? Tom Merritt says no. Rafe Needleman says sometimes. We'll give you some guidance on how to decide if it's worth the money.

Watch this: Ep. 187: Should you buy that warranty?


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Episode 187

Should I buy that Warranty?

Recommended for: laptops. Applecare. Just factor it in.
Not recommended for TVs

GreenUmbrella: If you must buy an extended warranty, buy this one

sneaky anti-applecare idea:

Best advice: Don’t buy stuff that has a chance of breaking. Ex: My seagate drive. I’m on my second. Sure, I can send it back, but what a PITA plus I have to pay shipping for the privilege.

E-mail questions

Hey Tom and Rafe,

you said in BOL that the short answer to warranties is no. What about Best buy’s new extended warranty plan that for $140(basic) on a $400-$600 laptop, you can get a free battery at the end of two years(because your battery “won’t be functioning like it was when you bought it”), and if you have any major problems during the warranty they will more often than not replace your computer with a new one.

I’ve had to use an extended warranty a few times and have been VERY grateful for them, though some are obviously better than others.

Great shows,


P.S. when’s your next “all questions” ep? I have one that stumped the Geek Squad.


Dear Tom and Rafe,

After breaking my fourth pair of white apple earbuds in less than 10 months, I have decided to move on. I’m looking for ear buds that work with the iPhone (same clicking to answer/pause/skip + mic). I’m looking for something for no more than $100. I actually prefer durability and comfort over sound quality since I assume any decent earbud will sound better the apple’s. I checked out CNET’s reviews but their were SO MANY and I couldn’t always tell if they had the clicker/mic. Thanks for all the great advice and keep up the great work.

-Dan in MA via RI

Answer: Spend $20 on this http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/smarttalk Then take this advice from Jasmine France. Koss earphones (i.e. http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/koss-keb-79/4505-7877_7-32521878.html) come with a lifetime warranty, Shure also has a good durability reputation but they’re a bit more expensive. Skull Candy “Smokin’ Buds” (http://reviews.cnet.com/headphones/skullcandy-smokin-buds-headphones/4505-7877_7-33715606.html?tag=mncol;lst) sound like crap but have cloth-coated cable and those are usually more durable.



There is an internet myth circling about the home and student edition of Microsoft Office, obviously the EULA says that: “The software is not licensed for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating business activities.”

The myth goes that if it is used for business purposes, such as writing a book that then gets published, Microsoft owns part of that book and its income. Do you know if there is anyway to verify that?

I only ask because as I was searching for information, I saw an article you wrote on Microsoft Office.

Answer: MS says: This rumor is untrue. You cannot use Home and Student for any business or revenue generating activities and if you do so you are in violation of the EULA. However, Microsoft does not 'own' or receive income from those business activities.


Hi CNET crew,

I am high school students and a couple of years ago when my needs weren’t that great I signed up to Yahoo Mail and now everything comes to Yahoo, but I want to go to Gmail for a variety of reasons, there’s not a single problem with that but I want to forward all my E-mail automatically onto G-mail which Yahoo won’t do unless I sign up to their premium version which I cannot afford. Is there a third party way of automatically forwarding all your incoming E-mail to gmail from yahoo. Any help would be great.


Karan (pronounced: Kar-aaan)

Answer: Ingenius Linux solution – http://digitalcardboard.com/blog/2009/04/15/forwarding-yahoo-mail-to-gmail-for-free/ There’s also Mr. Postman which will transfer mail for you from your desktop http://sourceforge.net/projects/mrpostman/ Gmail will import the mail for 30 days http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ctx=mail&answer=117173

But the best way is….
Gmail go to settings. Choose Accounts and Import. Under Check Mail Using Pop3, Enter your Yahoo adress. Put in your password. And you’re set!

Hey guys,
I’m currently coming up on the end of my iPhone contract with AT&T and
I’m pretty sure I’d like to move over to Sprint’s service for the
great rates. I’m looking for a smartphone and I’m considering the Pre
and the HTC Hero. Which do you guys think is a more worthy iPhone
competitor for the long haul, WebOS or Android? Thanks!

– Tony the insurance adjuster in Miami

Answer: Android.



In regards to the essential apps episode, and Rafe’s refrain throughout about how installing apps slows down the system and adds processes. Uh, what? First of all, good software doesn’t add startup items or services without your permission. And for those that do, try “msconfig”. There’s no law that says you have to have a process running in the background for every installed bit of software, and you can disable these entries in your startup list to avoid the whole problem.


Rafe: Correct, good apps don’t add resident processes. Bad apps do. MSConfig is very useful. Also, Process Explorer will tell you what’s running.

Hey Rafe and Tom,
Just so you know, download.com also offers TechTracker in Mac flavor.
It’s a great app, and although it keeps my apps up-to-date, it’s best
function may be reminding me of all the apps that I’ve downloaded and
only used once. Keep up the good work.
-Alan in New Jersey

Greetings Tom and Rafe,

On your latest podcast of essential PC software, you mentioned HijackThis.

There is a website: hijackthis.de that will take your hijackthis log file and analyze it.
It displays the results in a user readable form with user feedback and rating about
Each program running on your system.

One other tool that I think was left out was Malwarebytes.

Thanks for great podcast.

Henry Cocozzoli
Sr. Systems Engineer


Which peripherals are covered under Apple Care


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