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How to back up your social networks (podcast)

Josh schools us in saving your social connections and data for posterity, and what makes the new game Minecraft so addictive. Plus: Rafe on passwords and laptop theft, and more questions about HP laptop reliability.

Facebook finally gives users a way to save their social-networking data for their own later use. This week, we check out Facebook's new tool as well as other ways to back up your social data.

In Road Tests, Josh explains the allure of the game Minecraft, while Rafe finds replacements for products he's been using forever.

User topics include two questions from unhappy HP notebook users, what to do about a loud MacBook, and how to make several hard disks act as one.

Got a tech question? E-mail or leave it at our new toll-free number: 877-438-6688

Now playing: Watch this: CNET to the Rescue Ep. 21: How to back up your social...


Episode 21: Back up your social networks

Social network backup
Josh goes hands-on with Facebook's data download feature. Also examined: Social Safe; Tweetbackup; Backupify.

Road tests
Josh on Minecraft.

Rafe on LastPass and Prey

Voicemail: James from Portugal


Dr. F: I recently bought an HP laptop for school, and it's been driving me crazy. Whenever I do anything bandwidth-intensive on it, it says I suddenly have no connection to the Internet, and nothing I have tried short of a reboot will bring it back to life. Most of the time it will even freeze up if I try to reconnect to the network or disable/re-enable my Wi-Fi chip. I think it might be a driver issue because I'm running Win7 Ultimate x64, despite the fact that HP provides drivers for my OS. Should I bother messing around to fix it, or should I go through the hassle or returning/replacing the laptop?

Rafe: Return it!


Tim: I got an HP dv5 September 1, 2008. Have been using it since and got a two-year accidental damage plan extension in '09. The laptop always overheats and I am getting tired of sending it in to HP. It started shutting down lately at least once a day and telling me on a blue screen that this might be due to a hardware problem or software I installed; I haven't installed anything new in months. Called tech support and the technician told me to get the latest Norton and it would solve my problem although that seemed like a joke since I am on Comcast and already have Norton Security Suite for free.

I got a Dell for my Dad in January this year and I could actually put it on my lap. It was as cool as ice and it wasn't an iseries chip Intel even. I want to get a customizable laptop, would love an HP but the heating issue is a big problem. I checked out Dell but I don't like cramped keyboards that have an extra number pad. I'm feeling like I should throw my laptop down the stairs and cash in on the accidental damage plan.

Rafe: Return it!


Antonio Gomez: I just bought a used MacBook, about a year and a half old. I just noticed that when I download a video to watch, what sounds like a fan motor turns on. It is quite noticeable while you're watching the video. When I'm done watching the video and go back to surfing the Web or checking e-mail, you can hear the noise decreasing until it goes away. Is this normal?

Rafe: Yes, totally normal.

Josh: Give Adobe's Flash beta a try. It brings hardware acceleration to the table.


William: My laptop died on me and I can't afford a new one as I am currently laid off, so I am sharing my son's computer and the boot-up time is a full three minutes (feels like an hour when you actually sit there and watch it). It is a Dell Dimension 4400 running windows XP Home Edition with Pentium 4 1.6GHz and 2GB of RAM. I am running Avast antivirus because my nod32 license expired and I notice it running somewhat slower after that. I have run ccleaner and tune xp also and that has helped with some things, but the boot time is driving me crazy. Is there something else I can do other than starting it up before bed at night so it might be done by morning?

Josh: Soluto. Run it to see things that cut down on the boot time. I'd also recommend, if you haven't already, make a backup of your files and do a fresh install of XP on the machine. That will at least give you a starting point to see where your boot time should be.

Rafe: You can use Microsoft Security Essentials instead of Avast. It's very light on the resources.


Josh's cousin: How do I record video on an iPhone 3G without jailbreaking it?

Josh: Qik does it on iPhone 1 & up. Camcorder does it for a buck. UStream can do video, but won't save it to the device.


Matthew: Is there a way to mount or map internal and external drives into one large HDD? I'm looking at 2TB HDD and also looking at my future storage needs. I keep my iTunes library directed to one single HDD. Is there a way for me to buy a 2TB HDD, and then when the capacity is needed, buy another 2TB drive and "merge" these two drives together so that Win7 and iTunes and other software see and recognize this as one drive?

Rafe: Use RAID 0 disk array, which is a motherboard option. But be warned, it can't be done on the fly, and it doubles your data loss risk factor. Or look at Drobo.

Josh: A safer, but more painful option is to simply have that iTunes library on the external drive, and keep it plugged in when you're running iTunes. I did this for years until I upgraded to a laptop with a bigger hard drive. It's much easier with a desktop since you don't have to worry about it.


Don Robson: I'm renovating my master bathroom and have the drywall down so I would like to take advantage of the opportunity and install an in-wall iPod dock to send audio to a pair of in-wall speakers. I've searched and found in-wall iPod mounts as a part of very complex home audio systems, but I don't want anything that complicated or expensive. I'm looking for a simple mount, possibly with a volume control (either on the mount or enabled on the iPod) with some sort of amplifier. Do you have a recommendation?

Rafe: Direct link is not the way to go here. Look at Airport Express or Airplay. Or Sonos. It's more money, but way more future-proof and flexible.

Josh: If you are set on adding some sort of dock, I'd say keep it simple and get an Apple universal dock ($50). That way you can just get a new adapter for whatever future iOS device you end up upgrading to. You'd have to control the volume on the device, but the dock also has an IR port, so you could use the remote that comes with it to make adjustments from your bathtub.


Fremont: How do I get all my iTunes content, music, video, and apps on my new Mac? My old computer is an XP computer and I really want to sync my iPod Touch 4.1 with my new Mac.

Josh: If you go into an Apple store with both your computers and pay them $100, they'll do this for you as part of the one-to-one customer support program. Alternately, you can follow this guide from Lifehacker or this one from eHow.


Puzzler of the week
Bill: I use a Gmail account for work, but mostly I download the messages through Outlook using Pop3 and then set Gmail to archive messages after downloading so I'll have a backup. Anyway, I receive a lot of large image files--2-6 meg--as part of my work, which I need to pass along to an art director. I only need to keep the attachments for about a month, but I do need to keep all the e-mails in case there's a later conflict.

I have a utility that allows me to batch-remove attachments from my PST files. But I can't find a way to remove attachments from Gmail in batches, say, remove any attachments from e-mails more than 4 months old.

I don't know if going to IMAP would solve this problem--would batch removal of attachments cause e-mails to resync to the smaller sizes or blow everything to bits? In any case, still need to figure out how to slim down my current Gmail bloat from it's current 30 gig.

Any help appreciated.

Got help for Bill? Send your advice to!



Lincoln: I solved the redirect problem (from last week) on the Mac. We turned off public sharing on the PC. But we are still seeing the problem on the iTouch. I double-checked the DNS settings in the router, they match the ISP. I checked with friends that have the same ISP and they are not having trouble. I took the iTouch to friends with and without the same ISP and no issues. The next step is a new router. I will let u know what happens.


Sam: Roku technical support (or PR) or whoever you talked to (about streaming media from your home PC to a Roku) is slightly wrong. You can use it as a media extender using an experimental channel called Roksbox which Roku allows you to add via the account manager.


Next time, more of your questions answered.

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