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CNET to the Rescue Ep. #35: Rich Brown on why you want a PC and not a laptopCNET senior editor Rich Brown joins Rescue today to bring us up to speed on the latest in desktop PC tech, including the best buys in graphics cards. Also, your questions answered, including how to prepare yourself for the theft of your gadgets, how...
Hi everyone welcome to CNET to the rescue -- great people and San Francisco this is our weekly show we try to. Dispel some fear the answer -- that out of using tech products answer your questions primarily. Today special show and joined the -- New York Internet link. Two rich brown who is our senior editor covering hardware PCs out of our New York reviews. Office lab central. You they have that by the way you've never seen the New York lab may have a sliding glass door that opened slowly on purpose those feels like you're going to do something important. But if -- Hazmat -- to go and -- with each. The president very high tech yes anyway -- thank you for joining us. -- thanks for having my first podcast ever actually that's hard to believe. I know I've dodged the bullet -- successfully so far that Batman gets up and they'll. -- I'm just the better shot I'm glad you where we're here to join us. So the latest works if you have a tech question forcing it to the rescue you can email -- to us at rescue at cnet.com for next week or call it -- 8774386688. Again 8774386688. For people who want to call in your questions armed with small bit of advice here com don't. Speak your phone number -- then we have to edited out lets you and everybody calling new after the show. The email rescue at cnet.com or call 8774386688. No question is to basically got some the most basic questions the end of this show. That he got a tech problem send it along. Now we're gonna start this week with a couple of quick keyboard road tests I've got one in the riches down one. That -- talked too -- a little bit about what's happening in desktops and get some advice is that this area and then we've got to really interest in questions so. Here for -- and start with this this. Is. Looks like a laptop doesn't. This is the type pad generation to iPad keyboard -- -- don't think the -- that -- at all. -- -- -- what this is is a Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad. And you have to crop the thing up -- those kind of like this. And then it'll kind of stay there with that big floppy restricts the front of it. We had one of these before the type pad gem one which I was really excited that -- accusing -- take notes. Up but it didn't have a right hand shift key. And as I discovered I haven't used the right hand shift -- lots I couldn't use it this one does have a right hand shift key it's a hundred bucks -- batteries both the left little bit longer. But still that a membrane keyboard. And it's big and 400 bucks for this and 500 for the iPad you -- buy a netbook. You back to -- yet. Anyway so what if you really really keen on doing text entry on your iPad and you don't mind carrying around something that's bigger than a lot of laptops. And you don't mind. Having a squishy. Keyboard feels like it's covered in -- -- of Saran -- give it a shot it's great rich what you got. Though it reached here we've got this. Pretty cool keywords from this company RAZR that make a lot of gaming accessories mice keyboards on non of this particular model is idea. The -- ultimate arbiter Fraser black will ultimate. 129 bucks that's definitely. Not for the casual gamer. Visit you can sort of see I hope it lights up. And that's that's good -- -- in a dark and social mechanical keyboard and if you've never used one of these there'd sort of coming -- is really high -- -- keyboard market lately of the past year so company name DOS. I brought -- back and DOS keyboards the das keyboard that's right and those. Yet is that is they actually Harken back to these old IBM keywords and -- spring behind every key unit had a very satisfying. -- -- -- So RAZR and a couple of the companies that are now making these again and -- on it type by -- It clear that you can hear that out outside -- at soundproof studio. -- and not only is it lab and -- it is really satisfying you get a nice tactical response. And yes they you can type super fast and these things -- find and good for gamers because of -- keys are very very responsible pick up every press. This one has the macro recording features latency -- Buttons on the side dedicated to recording macros to them they are using and it feels good. Feels awesome I love this thing -- -- expensive but. Come on how one point nine while. Yet so going to be serious -- Now you know I figure though seriously if you're if you. It's like people -- You're not spending money and a -- keyboard is like buying a 9000 dollar receiver and then spending getting -- forty dollar speakers I mean that the keyboard is the thing you touch. It's your it's your -- -- it's it's where the rubber meets the road where the flesh meets the -- and it's why not spend money on a really good keyboard. I you know I agree with that and -- -- and it's there's so many cheap ones out there that think it's easy for people -- right -- out. How can it possibly spend more than like 22 bucks and keyboard when regular for free I -- to find out their form. -- -- a really formal price -- If I don't you spend a hundred bucks plus the have a good typing experience. And -- -- -- and makes an eighty dollar version of this one that doesn't have. Doesn't that isn't backlit so -- -- Now -- even -- the back that I could live without. Yet you know it's it's and that's more luxury feature article thanks to it now I do here though that New York. State or city now that they've banned smoking in buildings. Are going to band buckling spring keyboard because they are so loud they are allowed as an error on their office mates like -- rich we've we've stuck typing. You know I use one Justin -- -- wanna -- could get around us that he's been typing and mechanical keyboards for a long time now and we both. Just -- especially he gets a lot of -- at all right. Thanks -- let's go on to our main topic which is desktops who needs them now your job this is a little bit of a I feel that data that's -- your job is reviewed is covering -- senior editor desktop among some other things what. Advice you have for somebody who's interested in a desktop computer and a wide Unita -- that with all the action seeming to be happening in in notebooks and -- You know. Still a desktop is gonna be faster that's kind of and the bottom line -- that's sort of been very excuse for desktops for a while now but. It really is true you know you're not tied to battery -- -- that have that power management stuff. And you know just -- to in depth like the heat and thermal stuff isn't as big -- deal the desktop. There are dozens of laptops he can really -- -- the CP is there are faster. -- You know if you. We like in the living room where you are seeing a lot of small desktops the -- and stick on your home network and -- consonants you TV. And you know that got big storage -- you know big hard drives so it's easy to. -- -- dump your -- media library on their instrument all in net that's one good use for desktop gaming of course. I especially want -- a nice big monitor and really have good performance and that. You know there's certain day to day tasks where you can get a button give out an iPad we just showed or be -- much less expensive and more portable but. You know I think there's still -- particularly in certain niches desktop is your best -- -- -- so I I this kind of -- disingenuous question that -- a big desktop fan and every 23 or four years I build my own so long as they got you here let me ask you this. It's about time for me to do another home built. What is kind of the sweet spot in video now I'm I'm not gonna get a console for everybody chat thing just you know desktops are for gaming in -- -- get a console. I before year old -- -- wanna do is put an Xbox or Wii or something living room to get my vehicle and videogames -- desktop is minus in my office. So what -- what what is what I want for. Not super -- hardcore but you know -- play some games what I want video. -- I mean it to a fifty dollar price point like 200 to 300 bucks is kind of photo video for video -- not a holder of video card -- credit -- -- right at home computers for 300 dollars. Yet -- you don't want them okay. But yes so -- if you go for video card to 300 dollars. That'll play pretty much any game in the market a -- high resolution. You know you might not be able to play it with. Play games and every detail setting dial up but it'll. The most -- the look pretty good if -- under -- 23300 there's a the cards right now that are the latest in a price point is a GeForce. 560 TI if you remember that. Sort of that lingo from Nvidia's older cards that's an Nvidia card -- -- but there are fifty then -- As a radeon HT 6951. Gigabyte model. That's they came out pretty much the same days but -- -- TI to compete at that price. And either one of those really is gonna give you great gaming experience that'll play HD video no problem. And effort -- out relatively affordable price now realistically does anybody need a multi cart system and that's a -- crossfire system. -- you know no not really unless you have. I'd still most hardcore gamers. Can make any excuse for us -- -- kind of money because they have. Very big monitors about two very big -- and they want you know the 3-D they want every detail settings -- and possibly goes -- as they have three or four monitors. -- -- even more depending. So for that was kind of super huge resolutions yet yet you kind of do actually need an extra horsepower and and you can't get it in which -- one card. But even if you wanna play on. 27 inch LCD at full resolution a single high end card should should take care. -- let's -- on your tech questions guys so dispersants in college he says my house was broken into a few days ago and as far as tech goes which was the main target I'm now left with only my Android phone. And I had lot of gadgets. I want to make sure this doesn't happen again and -- need your advice regarding tech related gadget and home security can you give me ain't it for any of the following. Software that -- remotely wipe windows laptops the best way to keep data backed up so it's not gone with the stolen hardware. And any home security rights such as IP -- motion sensors or something it's moderately to Android phones and warnings. Well first of all. We're really sorry that yes -- that's a real -- news I hope I hope the only thing you lost. Was your hardware and not the data because hardware while can be very expensive. It's irreplaceable data is priceless so. Here is my being in my -- enriching a chime in here anytime. For the after that the after the fact control you have to do some work -- -- -- you wanna doing it on all your computers is installed. -- tracking system. Such as prey. Or LoJack for laptops low tech is a paid service. Prey is a free service now what these things do is on Wi-Fi mission Wi-Fi enabled machines may soon -- -- turned on you can. Locate your machine. -- geographically more or less within a -- -- couple of houses. It'll tell you where your machine is but that's not all as the commercial says. With pray you can lock it. With a password that is unique to pray so that when the as soon -- prayed -- up with and you and -- realizes that it's lost. It'll -- and you'll be able to get into the system. I don't know but I don't think it does white. But it will do. A lock it'll send an alert if you wanted to it will take a picture through the webcam if you want to to. LoJack will do a lot of these things as well but it's different because it only works. When you file police report and at least you'll have -- you can do directly yourself and -- I actually have both and you know might as well. My my theory on this is -- if my house gets broken into and they steal my stuff. My stereo my TV which please you'll. Somebody please take -- TV. The silverware whenever and my MacBook that hopefully it all fit together because the MacBook is -- -- Still -- not so much so if the stuff all this together for a brief period of time I can find everything because the MacBook acts as the -- so I highly recommend that. -- rich any thoughts on that so far. I guess my only. It's we have to spend money and -- -- -- stuff like that and this is maybe more more cellphones. It's my only concern is spending money on an iPad is that it -- -- -- the batteries on right I mean if the batteries run down as. You know I find -- -- generally are when they're not connected. If they run out more than a day via then you know it's kind of I don't know how effective the -- that is going to be actually like -- and I think I don't wanna be negative overly negative here but I I I tend to think that -- hardware is a pretty tough for. Our -- yes it's tough but sometimes not impossible in this stuff canned can give you clues so you know -- it's worth a shot and praised -- Cingular -- -- There are there a free premium version -- paid versions but. Now. For back up which of course is the key thing here you want cloud that you want your machines to back -- all your data. Especially your photos your place -- photos and documents to the cloud so that if your hard were stolen. You can still get your data down -- make sure that the passwords are somehow not automatically. Set up so if somebody when they -- your computer also has your data. So -- Mozy which used to have unlimited plans which doesn't anymore there -- note. Or synchronizing service like sugar sink or drop box to make sure your data is stored and backed up somewhere that is not in your home. Because even -- you have like a time machine backup on your Mac or some other you know. A home server that backward step makes feel all your hardware and all your data goes with the -- they'll all start back -- Finally for home security this is the real thing so you know something someone is breaking into your house. My recommendation is serial fashion. You get a real security system that is monitored by security service there are services people some in the chat -- is -- mentioning I -- Ants and their services that will let you see what's happening -- even send you alerts on your phone. But. And I actually have some of those. -- these Panasonic netcams for example I can see -- happening in my house. But. I subscribe to an expensive home monitoring security service and if somebody breaks in the house and -- -- alarms go off then they call me if they cant reach me. The in the call the cops. And -- in an airplane you know that's what you. So I just I recommend -- nationally for real actual home security I don't I don't I consider a lot of this other stuff unless you're able to monitor all the time at a -- But fun to see -- your kiddies -- too. Rich anything on that. Yet I don't know if you give -- in your house. We don't know it's and may tuition than we live in Brooklyn but yet and I don't alumni are getting ultimately -- annoyed -- -- yet 990. -- yet no wait we don't worry about that's something much -- actually did have -- -- is broken into was drawn up in and all I can say and that is that it's just really unsettling the F -- -- since the security things pretty well documented that that those of the -- A one more thing -- will recommend. I just submit these guys a week or so -- there's this -- -- called go to camera. It turns your webcam on your computer into a motion sensing camera. So if you leave your computer on when users on your desktop computer which you -- -- have. And -- but it walks into the framing -- not expect and there are certain time you can get alerts that -- go to camera Hugo lap. Are right so. Susie -- wrote. I enjoyed your December 8 show regarding fixing your relative slow computer. I am actually the -- relative with the slow computer and I have no tech savvy person in my family to fix it. I've installed some of the free software he suggested such as malware -- -- seek the seek clean air Foxit and AVG my question is should I remove for example Adobe for my computer. Do I keep my subscription to McAfee or Norton. I have an older computer running XP and I have McAfee and I have a new laptop running Windows 7 and I run Norton so what do -- do. This this this question kind of you know tugs at my heart strings -- -- because. Windows. Owning computer shouldn't require you to be you know a tech geek or have a tech geek. Son in law or something like that. The basic advice if you're totally solo and -- -- -- not a geek you don't wanna be in just not your blood and if you know that's what some people are that's fine. China to duplicate your services too much. You can actually get yourself in the troubled by over scrubbing your computer and running all these cleaner apps then and in the -- stuff that doesn't need to be deleted. Is so if you -- -- one anti virus that just keep it and don't worry about the rest. So as to the recommendation about Adobe reader yet you can delete it if you have Foxit instead it's lighter weight and -- on an older XP computer fox it will do 99 and a half percent. Of what Adobe does. But it what you have right now with Adobe reader -- refined to just leave it on -- that half of the leading. Rich what's your -- for people with XP machines. -- I recommends going AVG in particular of the virus questioned the virus antivirus software question particular and AVG just. Far more lightweight in my experience than. Norton or McAfee they don't give me the annoying pop ups. As much as those organs in unsecure -- launch load it launched from the from the computer on. And yet think if you're running AVG and near -- -- then by all means you can get rid of Norton and. If you have AVG stick with that my recommendation. What I use of my machines as Microsoft security and essential. What I recommend. -- -- AVG obviously but they're both lightweight and free. My father got himself into a real -- by having a machine that had. Norton on -- and then installing Mac if he over a top of that and man. These these apps that maybe they do now but back -- at the time they didn't know -- 21 -- for the other one we have to antivirus apps on their basically. 80% of his CPU was. Checking for -- virus yet another left to do -- work. I chocolates -- us and says can I tether my work phone which is a BlackBerry Curve. With its unlimited data plan to my iPod Touch four G using Bluetooth. That would be totally awesome. What an interesting. Idea I I asked Nicole whose one of our mobile phone expert she said that -- are two separate concerns. The tethering of the BlackBerry Curve and the connection to the iPod Touch now the first as possible yes you can set up at BlackBerry Curve to be tethered if you have the right tethering plan from your carrier. Most carriers do required to have tethering I've tethering plan in addition your data and it typically costs -- -- almost a month extra. But since your machine your Blackberry through work this might not be a concern for -- -- can get your work to pay for. Now the other issue though is not such an easy solution. The iPod Touch does not currently support Bluetooth -- UN dial up networking profile that means you can't connect. The touch via Bluetooth to use the phone's Internet connection is regardless of the phone the touch doesn't have the dun profile however. If -- -- -- your iPod Touch. Then you can get -- -- -- speedy -- via. Expedia Expedia -- way DIA app called I -- ever that will let you do this and we'll put a link here -- the show notes it's five dollars but it does seem to be popular. So the short answer is in no. Who not if you don't feel great but yes if you do so -- area. You do -- this effort. You know -- I don't and the people like to jailbreak. -- certain attempted but I haven't found the need you know when when I had an iPhone did everything I wanted to him. And and -- the current -- Android phone. -- -- oriented iPhone iPhone could make phone calls but and that feed everything on -- because there's Android and that also pretty much does it also. -- I don't. Our company here provides a -- with anyway with them. Little pocket book Wi-Fi gateways I have one of those sprint overdrive which is beginning to work okay. Nazis Stephen Siegel -- at all. Says -- -- the latest iPod Touch related the last I put some MP four videos on from my own sources into iTunes and they -- find there but -- -- -- an iPod they don't show up anywhere. Videos downloaded from iTunes work fine. Any fix for -- non playing it before. Boy I'm reading this question the answers quite simple get to in the second of four that -- editorial comment here Apple makes this so hard. -- -- these things aren't rich you wanna Chiming of a -- a blow a gasket. No mean. And go ahead -- mentioned your -- at this so you should mean. That all the stuff about Apple it just works right you get the video from this. You little Japanese can remotely plug in initiatives play on your -- device -- it does at least not reliably what you have to do believe and I you have to convert. Yet to convert your MP fours into -- -- v.s now you can do this. With Apple. Software quicktime. X which is in snow leopard should do for you can say that there's and there's a setting there reconsider that there's an iPod setting -- drag that file back and iTunes and think it should work fine. That doesn't work there converters out there that are free or paid or whatever. Reveals the not a free one that'll do it for. And that should work but why doesn't iTunes do for you. -- -- -- And Steve if you're watching this and I know you -- because you always watch -- shows come on you've got all the -- its arm of the Mac just make it do it. What people want -- -- -- -- short answer you have to -- the tools -- there quicktime X reveals the feel better yes they do and I hope I -- I help it -- if you met Jackson wrote to us and said. It is a well known the want to use a modern day digital TV is a computer monitor I recently bought an insignia 32 inch TV. But it does not truly function at the monitor there are no settings or turn on -- economic computer turn off like turn off my computer automatically and have a blank screen and standby or hibernation mode and that there's no signal. Things -- memory about burning. What TVs truly function as computer monitors. So again I went to the experts here when it Samir office -- there rich David Katzmaier says them. Who recovers TVs he says I don't normally test for this but we do the -- smaller LCDs in the lab that would potentially make good. Although seven to -- The Sony Katie L 32 B at 300. -- -- -- -- Samsung LN 32. C thirty we'll put these. Model numbers show notes. He checked him out with HDMI input and -- and supported any of the three features you mentioned all of Sony does have an auto shuttle. Feature that can be set to 12 or three hours. With -- input the Samsung behave the same as an H as HDMI no auto shut off. Sony did turn off when the PC input remained inactive for like ten minutes. And he thinks the most Sony. Knowing that same brand TVs function about the same way. No TV that he knows that he says in truly function as a computer monitor according here criteria. So Eric Franklin -- here in San Francisco office who also test monitor says I think the better question is what computer monitors work as TVs. And he thinks there are few all of and a giant -- He has. Tested here. The Samsung sync master -- 2330. HD which is basically HT TV disguises as the monitor. And he says -- it it down. That's the test -- them -- -- criteria requested by Matt. And -- When connected to -- VGA and there's no dvi connection on its model. -- did indeed functions monitor and order all three of those features that stand -- and the blank screens and -- auto power cycling. He think he'd be surprised some larger cousins up to 27 inch didn't also support -- features -- -- arts and technology okay this one rich I'm gonna give you read the question here and then. And here's here's your solution is -- from -- Rochester New York. New York State. He says I'm literally going nuts keeping tracking keeping track of log ins. Passwords and secret questions for all my accounts I'm a -- and it Evernote but I think it's too dangerous to use it to keep track of my log -- I just offset review of Seth Rosenblatt -- -- of last past and I'm using it. I like the encryption features that make it myself to trust this tool my money accounts what do you guys keep track log in passwords do you trust any of them with your banking credit card. I admit I'm maybe not the most responsible password manager -- -- -- keep everything in my head and I use -- Or five passwords that I rotate between sites. Up from my finance stuff they do have separate passwords and log -- so it I agree that I want that separate but. For the most part it's it's been okay no big -- -- doctor media hacking. Hack that happened a couple of weeks ago where everybody's log in and -- got stolen that kind of burn me a little bit elements so my plan backfired but. Yet for the most part I get so frustrated trying to remember -- and passwords that I've learned to just kind of keep it to very -- lists and the most part it works that are -- you think. -- -- issue. Now do you. Do you just use rotating passwords or do you have some kind of algorithm in your head where it's like I got this word. Plus the second letter from the name of the site plus the something like that plus some other letters just to make them unique and or do you suggest the same password that's that's one way to do -- the kind of have an outward demeanor had that you can divine the password for. -- and starting to. Starting to work and a formula actually and and I'm only need to couple generations and but -- it's the most part it's all endemic report passwords so. Alright well I -- -- use my my solution is I use last past and I trust that might choose to trust that. I was using robo form before. Any of these things that synchronize your password information into the cloud. You gotta take it on faith -- -- the got to believe that. The encryption that they use is as they say which is its their data the data stored on their sites in the encrypted format and it only gets -- -- on your computer at your end. I don't know what to tell you I mean -- I I totally understand your reticence to trust a site like last that's what your financial passwords but. I don't know I'm not I'm not gonna -- do the rich model and thank -- -- my head. -- -- I don't blame -- there's too many now. The I do really like last -- I mean I really like it because I have my passwords on all my computers. As well as on my mobile devices and in most cases. The one exception being the CR 48 Chrome netbook machine. The passwords don't activate until I log on. At Chrome the Chrome the CR 48 when it last tested it last passed this is Chrome plug in for the thing. Every time I turn down the laptop when -- logged in. It automatically log me in the last past which I didn't like -- little secured debt free media player installed here for it. And by the way Evernote has a feature that lets you. Encrypt certain notes so you can put your passwords in a note in Evernote and then encrypt that note everybody's been waiting not pandering and it's never. Finally in the -- questioned two basic category we've got to number one from Sean. Our WiMax and LTE that same thing. Kent -- -- reviewers says no they are two distinct and incompatible technologies. Just two different ways to approach. Four G now Richie said have an Android phone idea give forty undertone I -- -- -- incredible -- those fires and others still through okay. Are you gonna get a -- -- phone. Isn't the definition of forgy a little -- and it does point out I'm not -- -- what's legal fight G just a mixture of things ironed out. -- the one -- so established at that that's sick. Number two question in. Number two entry in the department of no question -- to basic is this from Athlon though -- says I want to know who decided which combinations of ones and zeroes would represented particular character. And wears a translation being made yes computers -- -- one. You're asking about ASCII the international assist them in what's called. -- in American standard code for information interchange Atlantis on ninety. To look up on Wikipedia anyway ASCII goes way back to the early days of computing and I believe the fifties. Where people needed a way to encode the alphabet in -- -- And you like to agree on that otherwise you know -- be able talked anybody else and there were other encoding systems. But ask you one out in the early days it's an eight bit code. And it is done in the keyboards. Okay that's where ASCII is starts now everybody every system out there reads ask -- knows that 32 is a space I remember correctly. And -- -- right after 32 space yes it is. And and stuff like that. Now the problem with -- is that -- eight bit. And -- it means is 256 characters in fact the original ASCII proposals were six -- seven bit with one bit for parity and stuff like that and then. There -- -- original six bit code was his with caps only than people -- await. But what our language -- with upper case and lower instantly added another bit. Anyway. Eight -- is good enough for the for our you know. Modern Latin character set. But in fact the falls apartments start getting into international characters and multiple character sets so there are new versions of extended ASCII. UTR eight for example that are more than eight -- That will let you sixteen bit Unicode characters and that -- translation with the pain -- -- -- for programmers when it happened but -- it's -- Being done Richmond missing anything on that. I think that about covers it. Somebody's curriculum in the chat room ASCII. It is seven -- okay fine it's and it. Eight it if you. Anyway that's a little primer on character encoding rich working people find more of your good stuff and -- what are you working -- right now. Our market right now as a bit too little slim towers in the lab one from -- -- and one from Gateway. So hope to have those results soon and you confines. All the desktop reviews at. If -- -- -- -- read at CNET tech com slash reviews last desktops. Right on rich thank you so much for joining us everyone again if you have questions for me and my next victim I mean guest -- CNET. To the rescue tended to rescue at cnet.com. Or call it ended at 8774386688. Or goat for the show notes to. -- make -- this is the working theatre com slash. Rescue yes it is the working so for all those model numbers and stuff and links that you want but CNET -- complex rescued thanks have room for watching things -- for producing. Rich thanks again with the guys -- actually thank senators --