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CNET to the Rescue: Loud keyboards, obsolete networks, and used cameras

Josh Lowensohn joins the show to help us pick input devices, get things done with to-do lists, and figure out what to do with our old TiVo when the world moves to IPv6 networks.

Apple reporter Josh Lowensohn joins the show to help us pick input devices, get things done with to-do lists, and figure out what to do with our old TiVo when the world moves to IPv6 networks.

If you have a tech question for CNET to the Rescue, e-mail 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.

Now playing: Watch this: CNET to the Rescue Ep. 43: Loud keyboards, obsolete networks,...


Episode 43: Keyboards, IPv6, and refurb cameras

Road tests
Rafe and Josh go gaga for Portal 2.

Rafe's new noisemaker, the Unicomp Customizer 104.

Josh's fancy coaster, er, trackpad, the Apple Magic Trackpad.

Talking about to-do lists: Check out WunderList and GroceryIQ.

Listener Questions
John Kirby from the Small Animal Hemodialysis Unit University of California, Davis: So I've been interested in the transition to IPv6, and I just learned some ISPs will start rolling out hardware to support it, partly to test systems on IPv6 day. So I am wondering, are you aware of any IPv6 home routers yet? I've done a little Googling, and found the yet to be released Netgear WNDR4000, which 'supports IPv6,' but what does that mean? Can I use IPv6 inside the router, or just outside? Have you heard if we can continue to have a wireless connection for legacy devices (TiVo) via IPv4 and also use IPv6 on my laptop?

Dong: Moving to IP6 is going to be a big mess and this is because it's almost completely different from IP4. The biggest difference is that with IP6 the router will not need the NAT function anymore (which is the biggest and most common function of a router that translates one WAN IP in to multiple local IPs to share the Internet between devices).

Most routers will be able to support IP6 via firmware update, though which ones will or not depends on the vendors. Apart from the Cisco routers mentioned here, Asus is also making a new firmware to support IP6 soon for its RT-56U router, which is one of the best true dual-band on the market.

From the consumer's perspective, moving to IP6 doesn't offer many benefits. And you can only fully move to IP6 if all devices within the network support it, which is the main point of IP6: every Internet connected device has a unique IP address. In the meantime, which will last for years, if the ISP move to IP6, then the router, if supported, will take care of it and continue to take care of the local network via NAT. So for now, you should only worry about IP6 if the ISP requires a router like that for the service. For nearly everyy consumer, you need to worry about IP6 at all right now.

Rafe: See also Stephen Shankland's explainer.


Rich in Lovely Cleveland: In my last e-mail to CNET to the Rescue, I asked about refurbs vs. open-box items. I followed your recommendation and got a refurb Olympus E-PL1 and so far I'm loving it. My only problem is the kit lens that comes with it only opens to f 3.5. My old film camera was a Pentax KX, and it has a nice 50mm lens that opens to f 1.7. I saw on Amazon that I can get a K mount to micro four thirds adapter, but I don't know if it will work with a K mount lens that old. I was wondering if you could lend your considerable camera expertise and passion to help me figuring out if I can make this happen.

Lori Grunin (camera reviewer): It will probably work, but not autofocus (though the old lens probably doesn't have AF anyway). Might also take some jiggering to change the aperture. If the adapter is cheap, it's usually worth it because people have fun playing around with old lenses.

Stephen Shankland: I concur. Manual focus is harder in the current era in which cameras don't come with manual focusing aids, and screens on the back of a camera are pretty weak for judging focus. Plus, f1.7 means a shallow depth of field that won't offer a lot of leeway. So it won't be good for taking pictures of fast-moving children, but it's potentially fun for photography enthusiasts. If this is the old lens, the aperture can be set manually, I think.


Juan J. Lydon: I enjoy your program listening to it from here in Peru. I have a question for your consideration. Because of pictures and video, my laptop hard drive is almost full. So I want to get a larger hard drive, but I want to know if that requires that I reinstall the many programs I have on the hard drive. Is there a way to copy everything to the new hard drive, including the programs with an imaging software program or something like that so I don't have to reinstall the programs? Reinstalling everything would be a major drawback to any update to the hard drive. Thanks for your guidance.

Jonathan from New Jersey: So often I read on the Internet about swapping in bigger hard drives into laptops and desktops, but I haven't found comprehensive instructions for putting back Windows onto that new HDD. Usually there are mentions of burning the 'ISO installation image' onto a bootable DVD and somehow harvest the original Windows product key for the new installation. Just a little too techie for me! If I roll in my own hard drive, will I have to spend a few hundred dollars for a Windows installation disk, or is there some other way?

Rafe: You guys both want cloning programs. Try Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost. Clone the old drive to a new one. Get the Windows key from the old system. It should be on a label on the computer. If you get a license alert when the new system is running, call Microosft, they will unlock it for you.

Mac folks, Just use Time Machine

Regardless, you'll need a way to connect you new hard drive temporarily while you copy stuff over. This new "toaster" is overkill, but it would do the trick.


Don in Indiana: I am using a Windows 7 laptop and I have both passwords for Facebook and Twitter stored in the autocomplete feature. I already know by heart my Facebook password;but, I am having trouble re-finding my password for Twitter. How can I get out of memory of my laptop so I can write it down on paper? Add to that, I am trying to confirm my e-mail for Twitter, but I am having trouble getting a confirmation e-mail back from them on my Hotmail account. Do I delete my current account for Twitter?

Rafe: Some older browsers will display passwords they've stored in clear text. Poke around in Firefox, I think it had that feature. If you have access to Twitter but you can't get confirmation emails to your Hotmail account, the easiest thing to do is to change the email your confirms go to. If you can't get emails and you can't find your password, try Twitter tech support, because you now have an authentication problem that you might not be able to solve with standard tools.

A better way to handle passwords is to use a password manager like LastPass.


Ivan: Is it safe to charge your gadgets like an iPod touch overnight? Should I be worried about overcharging them?

Rafe: It's safe. Modern electronics won't overcharge. Cheap stuff (I'm looking at you, old electric razor) can. But one issue to consider is parasitic draw. Your power transformers draw power even when they're not charging; even when your device isn't connected. It's not much, but in the grand, green scheme of things it can add up. So unplug your adaptors, or put them on switches. Or use USB charging, since USB cables don't draw power when they're just hanging there (your computer, though, does).


Tom Breit: In one of your recent podcasts, someone asked about converting their external drive to NTFS and was told that he had to reformat it. "You can't change a tire on a moving bicycle," I believe was the phrase Rafe used.

In fact, you CAN convert from FAT32 to NTFS while keeping your data intact--but not the other direction. Microsoft describes the process.

Thanks, Tom!